A new survey of 10,000 children has revealed that 80% of children believe their parents think it’s more important for them to get good grades and be happy than it is for them to be kind.
Rick Weissbourd, who conducted the study at the Harvard Graduate School of Education said:
“We are hyper-focused on our own kid’s happiness, I wasn’t surprised that happiness was ranked the highest, but I was surprised that achievement was ranked so high.”
The survey, which was carried out in 33 school districts, asked students to rank the importance of ‘caring for others’, ‘achieving at a high level’, or ‘being a happy person (feeling good most of the time)’.
The surprising results found that children believed that being kind was the least important thing of the three, and they were three times more likely to agree with the phrase: ‘My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member.’
Weissbourd expressed his concern: “The achievement pressure can have a bunch of negative results, I’m concerned that it makes kids less happy.
“I think that the irony is that when kids are caring and really able to tune in and take responsibility for other people, they are going to have better relationships, and those relationships are probably the most important aspect of happiness.”