Parental Pressure on Students: Not Enough in America; Too Much in Asia

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

08/24/2006 - Have American parents become too pushy about their kids' education? Many experts seem to think so, judging from several new books by journalists and psychologists that bemoan the growing pressure students feel to do well in school. But at least one group of non-experts the American public begs to differ. According to a Pew Global Attitudes survey, most Americans think parents are not pushing their children hard enough. By a ratio of nearly four-to-one, adults in this country say that American parents are placing too little (56%) rather than too much (15%) pressure on students, with the remaining quarter (24%) saying that parents are exerting the right amount of pressure. Parents and non-parents feel roughly the same way about this question, the survey finds. So do Republicans and Democrats, blacks and whites, older adults and younger adults, people with low incomes and those with high incomes, and people with college degrees and those with a just a high school education or less. The only demographic gap in attitudes about this question and it's not especially wide comes on the gender front. More men (62%) than women (51%) say parents aren't being tough enough.

To find more substantial differences in attitudes about parental pressure on students, one needs to look east. Far East. When the same question was posed in China, India, and Japan about parents in those respective countries, the results were the mirror image of those found in the United States.

In these three Asian countries, solid majorities say children are under too much pressure from parents, and very few believe children face too little pressure. The surveys were conducted from March to May, 2006.

Read the full report Parental Pressure on Students: Not Enough in America; Too Much in Asia on the Pew Research Center Web site. 

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