Data from 13 national surveys were compiled for this report about parental attitudes and behaviors, family formation, and fertility. Indicators address beliefs about the importance of becoming a parent and the value of children, attitudes toward spanking, conflict resolution, warmth and conflict between parents and children, time spent with children, and participation in school activities. Child custody arrangements, marriage and divorce, cohabitation, and parental sexual history also are examined. The analysis can be used to support policy and practice decisions about mothers and fathers. The statistics reveal that the vast majority of mothers and fathers are affectionate with their children and tell them that they love them every day. Although both genders indicate that they share responsibility for playing with their children, mothers tend to participate in activities such as board games and puzzles with their children, while fathers are involved in sports and other outdoor activities. Mothers are more likely than fathers to be engaged in school and religious activities with their children. Most parents also report that they share responsibility for discipline. However, a greater proportion of fathers than mothers reported that discipline was shared. A 1994 study found that 42 percent of women and 26 percent of men believed that a single parent could be as effective as two parents. The rates were similar between parents and nonparents. Six percent of mothers and three percent of fathers admitted to physically abusive acts toward their child, including hitting, kicking, choking, or burning. Marriage rates declined for both men and women from 1991 to 2001. Marriage was less common among poor men and women. Twenty percent of men and 12 percent of women believed that parents who have problems in their relationships should stay married for the sake of their children. Numerous notes, figures, and tables.
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