A new study of 86,000 parents taken over a six-year period finds that a whopping 96 percent think their children are well-behaved. Evidently I was not asked to participate in the study.
Had I been, I might have beefed up the percentage of parents (a minuscule 4%) who actually admitted their children are generally not obedient. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my daughter more than my limbs. But one of the things I adore about her most is her well-defined, occasionally defiant personality (did I mention her personality is well-defined?).
I’d so much rather my kid asserts her opinion — be it through tears, tantrums, laughter or kisses — than sit in the corner with a thumb stuck in her mouth while I’m left to wonder what’s on her mind and what will most brighten her day. She leaves little doubt (ever) about what she wants, how she’s going to get it or how she thinks she should get it, and that brings me an abundance of joy (except, you know, when it doesn’t).
And yet I’m actually not surprised in the least that most parents think their kids are good, or that that’s what they say to anyone who asks. Since it’s so often asserted that kids are a reflection of their parents, I can see how some moms and dads are reluctant to admit their kids are the ones sobbing and hissing in the cereal aisle because they get Grape Nuts instead of Lucky Charms.
However, when asked specifically about this survey and that particular question, officials at the National Center for Health Statistics said the parents probably were telling the truth because face-to-face interviews usually yield accurate answers. On the other hand, the author of the study suggests some parents might have fuzzy memories of their children’s behavior over a longer period of time, which I can actually really understand. After all, it can be all too easy to misremember (block out?) our kids’ less-than-finer moments, particularly if they involve biting, grabbing, hoarding or deliberately peeing on Grandma’s rug.
Either way, I’m sure the children of the survey participants are grateful their parents stuck to the party line just as Santa is double-checking his list.
Do you think the parents surveyed are in denial? Is your kid well-behaved?
Image: Meredith Carroll