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Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I - 1

Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I
I. Survey Outline

1. Survey Objectives
Socialization of children in pre-school through 2nd grade was examined by surveying mothers' awareness of discipline and education. Activities of mothers were also studied. We asked mothers to respond to the following topics:

1) Concerns about information sources on child rearing, fun of raising children and sensitivity to maternal responsibility.
2) Views on discipline and education, children's daily habits and independence.
3) Beliefs on division of labor (school versus home) regarding discipline and education.
4) Expectations of children's future and higher education; after-school lessons.
5) Present and anticipated future activities of mothers themselves; mothers' personal relationships.
6) Husbands' level of understanding and communication with him; present level of satisfaction with life.

2. Survey Period: September to October 1997
3. Survey Subjects: Parents of pre-school children (born between April 2, 1991 and April 1, 1994), 1st and 2nd graders of primary school.
4. Survey Regions: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures
5. Survey Method and the Number of Questionnaires
Survey Method: 21,000 random mailings
Respondents: 4,766 *1 (Response: 22.7%)

Grade Pre-school Primary school Not in Pre-school
Lower grade
Middle grade
Upper grade
1st grade 2nd grade

*1 Of the parents surveyed, mothers account for 96.8% (4,613). Others, including fathers and grandparents, are 3.2% (153). This report used responses only by mothers.
*2 This survey uses abbreviations for school grades such as lower grade, middle grade, upper grade, 1st grade, and 2nd grade.
Lower grade: lower grade of pre-school and 3-year-old children in nursery school
Middle grade: middle grade of pre-school and 4-year-old children in nursery school
Upper grade: upper grade of pre-school and 5-year-old children in nursery school
*3 Children not attending pre-school or whose schooling status is unknown were not included in this survey.

II. Topics
PICKUP DATA 1 Mothers think that keeping their own lifestyle is also important. Mothers do not particularly aim to be "good mothers." However, they feel that until the age of three mothers should raise the children.

88.0% of mothers do not consciously try to be good mothers in particular. (Table 1)

Mothers' Perspectives on Life and Child Rearing

While child rearing is important, I want to value my own time as well. 75.7 24.3 I sacrifice myself for my children.
I try very hard to be a good mother. 12.0 88.0 I do not try to be a good mother in particular.
I was fond of children before marriage. 55.3 44.7 I do not like children very much.
I am not very maternal. 49.6 50.4 I think I am maternal.
I may not be giving my children enough love. 33.0 67.0 I am sure that I love my children very much.
Child rearing suits me. 47.6 52.4 Child rearing does not suit me.
Mothers should care for their children until they reach three. 74.3 25.7 Mothers do not have to raise their children as long as children are loved.
Mothers were asked to choose one of two opposing views on seven areas of child rearing. 88.0% do not try to be a good mother in particular, while 75.7% want to value their own time as well. 74.3% think that mothers should care for their children until they reach the age of three.

The respondents have pre-school children or children in the lower grades of primary school. These figures show, therefore, that the mothers want to be involved in learning hobbies, to find personal satisfaction, or to start working after their children enter pre-school or primary school.

81.3% of full-time housewives think they should care for their children until they become three years old; 71.9% and 46.5% of part-time and full-time workers respectively support this opinion.
Depending on their working status, mothers have very different views about their own life and the idea that mothers should care for their children until they reach three years old. 81.3% of housewives think that they should care for their children until they become three years, while 71.9% and 46.5% of part-time and full-time workers agree respectively.

Although there is a big difference in percentages, this does not imply confidence in their current choice. Some mothers stay home to care for their children because their children have not yet turned three years old. Others work and entrust childcare to others. Both groups are worried about the current situation as we can see from answers to other questions.

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