In an Uncertain World, Global Parents Turn to Overprotection

Parents around the world are anxious -- and they protect their kids through "friendship."

There is a lot to worry about in today’s world—and global parents are certainly not immune. How does this affect their parenting?

Last year, Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS had conversations with over 60,000 kids and parents in 24 countries. Below is what we learned about how this unease is affecting moms and dads around the globe.

Anxiety is prevalent among parents. Some of their chief concerns include:

  • Being a good parent (89%)
  • Their kids’ safety (94% overall, 67% worry “a lot”)
  • Their kids being bullied (84%)
  • Unemployment (76%)
  • Losing their home (61%)

Parents filter many of their kids’ decisions. In several areas of life, parents allow kids to choose from a set of pre-selected options. About 6 in 10 parents feel they should pick which websites their kids view. Around 4 in 10 want to choose family activities, as well as their kids’ video games and TV shows. Additionally, a small but notable (1 in 7) proportion of parents choose their children’s friends!

Parents protect their kids through “friendship” and keeping them “close.” Nearly 8 in 10 parents feel they are strict about rules, and the same proportion agrees that they should be friends with their kids. This approach has paid off—kids feel very close to their parents (92% to Mom and 81% to Dad). Half of kids (49%) feel their family is closer than other families. Most of the rest (47%) say theirs is just as close.

While parents claim to encourage independence, many admit their kids aren’t as independent as they could be. Virtually all parents (94%) say they encourage their child to be independent. However, 4 in 10 wish they had done more to make him/her less dependent on them.