Byravee Iyer
Nov 4, 2013

APAC mums tend to worry more than dads about their kids' futures

ASIA-PACIFIC - Mothers and fathers in Singapore, Hong Kong and China react quite differently on a host of questions related to their children, with mums tending to display more concern about the current living conditions and future economic status of their offspring, according to a new study from Ipsos.

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In Hong Kong, 56 per cent of dads reported feeling that the city is a good place to raise kids, while only 33 per cent of mothers agreed. Dads were also more confident about their kids' future, with 45 per cent of dads agreeing that given the current reality in Hong Kong, their children will inherit their parents’ socio-economic status. Only 24 per cent of Hong Kong mums agreed.

Similar trends were evident in China, where 72 per cent of fathers believed their children will inherit their parents’ socio-economic status, while only 54 per cent of mothers agreed.

Regarding education, mums and dads in Singapore differed on how far good schooling can take their kids in life: 72 per cent of Singaporean mothers reported feeling that a child who studies well is going to be successful when he/she grows up, but only 54 per cent of Singaporean dads agreed. 

Parents across the region identified three top concerns: keeping children healthy (66 per cent), teaching children life values (66 per cent) and providing good fundamental education (51 per cent).

Other parental concerns include having a job and being financially independent (42 per cent), ensuring children are socially confident (33 per cent), excelling in academics (19 per cent) and non-academic areas (6 per cent).

Parenting is synonymous with worrying, so it's perhaps not surprising that overall, more than half of Asian parents polled admitted to being worried about their kids' future.

The study was conducted among 916 parents aged below 50 in China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

The top three concerns identified in the individual markets echoed the regional findings, with the slight exception of South Korean parents, who are not as concerned about education (26 per cent) as they are about children securing a good job and being financially independent (50 per cent).

Vivien Lee, VP of Ipsos Korea, blamed an education system that focuses primarily on college entrance exams for these findings. “In Korea, parents are more than willing to provide financial and psychological support for their children, and this often becomes a significant burden to shoulder,” she said.

Also in South Korea, only 17 per cent felt the country is a good place to raise children. 

Some of the study's findings appear contradictory but may accurately reflect parental states of mind. For example, 75 per cent of Malaysian parents agreed that Malaysia is a good country to raise children. However, at the same time 72 per cent of parents in Malaysia admitted to worrying about their children's future. Singapore also came in high on latter aspect, at 65 per cent.

“On the whole, parents believe that Malaysia as a country provides a good environment for their children to grow up, a place where they can learn the right values and receive a strong education,” said Steve Murphy, MD of Ipsos Malaysia. “It is natural for any parent to worry about the future for their children, regardless of where they are raised, so we have seen particular importance placed on their child’s studies, to help secure their child’s success and financial independence for tomorrow.”

“As overly competitive as they seem to be, the Singaporean parents’ goal is to provide a conducive environment for their children to thrive in,” said Amit Gulwadi, research director, Ipsos Singapore. “There is a strong emphasis on discipline and autonomy, which they feel are essential in providing them with a holistic childhood.”

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