Global Kids’ Responsibilities, Rules, and Repercussions at Home

Are kids around the world helping at home? When they break their parents’ rules … what happens? And do Millennial and Gen X parents have different ways of handling this tricky terrain?

With more Millennials having children, a recent Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS project sought to find out more about the experiences of kids today–and to identify any contrasts in Millennial and Gen X parenting approaches.
This study consisted of online interviews of kids ages 8 to 14 and their parents, covering nearly 4,000 households in 19 countries.

Here are key findings from this project on the subjects of responsibilities, rules and repercussions:

Around the house, kids are more helpful than not—sometimes surprisingly so.

  • 60% of all parents surveyed say their child is a great help around the house
  • 2 out of 3 parents are often surprised by how helpful their kids can be
  • Girls 8-9 are most helpful—and parents are more surprised by their helpfulness than by 10-14s

Most kids have some duties at home, but not a lot.

  • More than 9 out of 10 kids are responsible for at least one chore
  • Cleaning their room is by far the most common household job (80%)
  • The next most common duties are pet care (40%), taking out trash (39%), washing dishes (33%), house cleaning (24%), babysitting siblings (20%), and packing school lunches (20%)
  • Gender stereotypes still apply—boys 10-14 do more outside work (trash/yardwork), girls 10-14 do more household work (cleaning/dishes/laundry), and boys 8-9 are least expected to do chores

Compared with Gen X parents, Millennial parents say they expect less from their kids—and that their kids do more.

  • 75% of Gen X parents say they expect a lot from their kids, compared with 65% of Millennial parents
  • However, Millennial parents are more likely to report that their kids are great at helping around the house (70% of Millennial parents, 60% of Gen X parents)

For most kids, breaking the rules isn’t cool.

  • Only 20% think it’s cool to break the rules
  • 7 in 10 kids agree that getting punished for breaking their parents’ rules makes them less likely to break them again

Explaining to the child what he/she did wrong is the most common repercussion for rule-breaking.

  • 63% of parents explain what the child did wrong or give them a “talking-to”
  • 52% of parents make their child apologize
  • Taking away electronics is a common punishment: 39% of parents don’t allow computer/tablet use, 29% don’t let the child go online, 28% don’t allow TV, 15% take his/her phone away
  • 26% of parents forbid the child from doing something they looked forward to, and 21% don’t let him/her hang out with friends
  • 25% of parents yell at the child for rule-breaking; 22% ground him/her

Millennial parents are stricter and more concerned about kids’ rule-breaking than Gen X parents.

  • Millennial parents are stricter with punishments than Gen X parents (41% vs. 36%)
  • Millennials’ children are more likely than Gen Xers’ kids to agree that getting punished makes them less likely to break the rules again (74% vs. 68%)
  • Millennial parents are more likely than Gen X parents to think kids get away with a lot (42% vs. 33%)
  • 41% of Millennial parents believe kids break rules just to see if they can get away with it (vs. 36% of Gen X parents)
  • However, Millennials’ fears are unfounded: Millennials’ and Gen Xers’ children are equally likely to say they sometimes go against their parents’ rules just to see if they can get away with it (43% vs. 42%)