Children vote parents as #1 heroes
Published: July 31, 2006 | 4530th good news item since 2003
The Every Child Needs A Hero report by the Australian Childhood Foundation released yesterday revealed children overwhelmingly admired their parents over a range of other people of influence, including stars such as singer Delta Goodrem and cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Mothers scored the top vote, with 42 per cent of the nearly 1000 young people aged 10 to 17 surveyed for the report rating them the “most admired”.
Fathers were ranked second, followed by friends, siblings, grandparents and other relatives.
Goodrem and Armstrong ranked ninth and tenth.
“Children admire people who they directly know and engage with over pop stars and sports stars,” the report said.
“This finding confirms the critical importance of relationships with children and the role that parents, siblings, other relatives, friends and teachers play in the lives of children.
“It is the everyday things that significant adults do that become heroic in the eyes of children and worthy of admiration.”
Nearly 90 per cent of the young people surveyed also said family was the most important thing to them.
Reflecting the difficulties many parents face juggling work and family commitments, however, 37 per cent said they would like to do more things with their parents and almost one in five said they would like their parents to spend less time at work.
The report said the children’s sentiments mirrored those in a 2004 survey of parents who believed they did not spend enough time with the children.
On other issues, nearly 80 per cent of young people thought they were growing up faster than children used to, with 44 per cent saying they did not believe their generation would be better off than their parents.
Large numbers admitted to being worried about facing things when they were older such as cancer (49 per cent), terrorism (39 per cent) and being a victim of crime (31 per cent), while one in four were concerned the world would end before they grew old.
A significant number of children also admitted to having low self-esteem, with nearly one quarter saying they never felt like they were doing well enough and 43 per cent reporting they would like to feel more confident.
Two-thirds reported feeling angry in the last month.
While 84 per cent of the young people surveyed reported feeling happy in the last month, two thirds also reported feeling angry and about a half said they experienced worry and stress.
The report said the findings “challenged the traditional idea that childhood was a carefree time of life, focused on having fun in the here and now”.
“The incidence of anger, worry, stress and sadness portrays a picture of children experiencing significant degrees of emotional turmoil,” the report said.
The findings also suggested that society was struggling to reassure and build the self-esteem of a significant proportion of children.