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American parenting: My family is OK, yours is not

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John Overmyer/

(Read caption) American parenting is viewed by many parents as harder now than it was 50 years ago, according to a report released this month by University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

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Even before the heartbreaking shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, American parents were anxious about child rearing. 

According to a report that came out earlier this month from the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, less than a quarter of US moms and dads believe this is a  great time to be bringing children into the world, and most say it is tougher to raise children today than it was 50 years ago. Fewer than 1 parent in 10 thinks the quality of American family life has improved since they were growing up.

RELATED: America's 4 family cultures – what's yours?

But in a twist, researchers found that most parents in the U.S. think their own kids and family are doing just fine, thanks. It’s the other families out there that are the problem.

“Given the chorus of cries from all quarters about family crisis, families in decline, the pernicious effects of technology, and the increasingly tenuous nature of contemporary family arrangements, there was really only one thing we did not expect to unearth in our investigation: That parents actually think their families are doing well,” researchers wrote.  

Better than well, actually. 

Based upon parents’ responses in the project (a national sample that was surveyed with rigorous academic standards, according to the researchers), only 1 out of every 20 American school children consumes alcohol. Even limiting the analysis to teenagers, parent answers suggest only 1 in 10 kids ever drink.  (Compare this to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 72 percent of all high school students have tried alcohol.) 


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