Part of parenting means teaching children values and qualities that will one day shape them into the adults they become. According to a new study, parents of all ages, races and political views want to teach their children responsibility more than any other quality.
The Pew Research Center study on parenting attitudes sampled more than 3000 adults who were asked to evaluate which of a list of 12 values are the most important they feel children need to learn.
The adults ranked the importance of teaching children the following values from most to least popular: responsibility, hard work, helping others, good manners, independence, creativity, empathy for others, tolerance, persistence, curiosity, obedience and religious faith.
The adults were also asked to list their top three picks most important for children to learn. While the study found that 93 percent reported that teaching children responsibility is "especially important," 55 percent also ranked it on the list of top three values.
Researchers found that while "being well-mannered" was rated high on the list among all groups, it wasn't as strong as a desired quality among the most liberal participants. Instead, liberals selected "empathy for others" and "hard work" higher on the list. Pew suggests that children are starting to be taught increasingly different values as political and cultural differences continue to evolve.
Religious faith was found to be one of the most important things parents wanted their children to develop, but it was not rated as important as the other qualities. "Obedience" ranked much higher in the list for consistently conservative parents more than any other quality, following responsibility.
Another difference in the types of qualities parents want to teach their children lies within their level of education. Less than half of college graduates chose religious faith or obedience. The study found that the college graduates selected tolerance, persistence and curiosity more than parents of a lower education. Parents with only high school education valued their children helping others more than those with some college or a college degree.
The study shows that even though political beliefs, race, religion and education vary between American parents, most parents want their children to learn similar qualities.