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Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I - 5

Basic Survey on Child Rearing in Japan I
PICKUP DATA 11 Different discipline then and now
More consideration given to "communication with others" now


Communication with others is the first priority (Table 11-1).

Table 11-1
Priorities in Child Rearing Now

(%)
1. Basic greetings and expressing gratitude 90.5
2. Importance of peer relationships 70.5
3. Avoid dangerous behavior 63.1
4. Regular habits such as wake-up time or bedtime 61.0
5. Make sure someone is at home when children come home 58.6
6. Family have meals together 48.5
7. Buy safe food and serve home-made meals 42.0
8. Speak politely to elders and teachers 41.7
9. Share child rearing and housework with father 33.7
10. Try not to give sweets to children such as soft drinks, juice and chocolate 29.3
11. Have children help with housework 27.6
12. Let children play computer games only at certain times 27.6
13. Try not to smoke in front of children (including fathers) 24.2
14. Allow children to watch only selected TV programs 21.6
15. Others 6.8
As shown in the table, mothers give the highest priority to greeting and thanking others property (90.5%), followed by peer relationships (70.5%). They may emphasize communication because of bullying, a problem which seems to have greatly influenced their perceptions.

More mothers of 1st graders try to make sure that someone is at home when their children come home from school compared with parents of the children in the upper grade of pre-school.

As children, parents were told to respect elders (Table 11-2)

Table 11-2
Priorities in Child Rearing When Mothers Were Children

(%)
8. Speak politely to elders and teachers 78.7
7. Buy safe food and serve home-made meals 63.7
15. Others 62.0
2. Importance of peer relationships 57.7
10. Try not to give sweets to children such as soft drinks, juice and chocolate 53.5
14. Allow children to watch only selected TV programs 47.7
9. Share child rearing and housework with father 43.8
3. Avoid dangerous behavior 39.1
13. Try not to smoke in front of children (including fathers) 38.8
12. Do not watch TV during meals 28.3
11. Have children help with housework 24.9
5. Make sure someone is at home when children come home 24.1
1. Basic greetings or expressing gratitude 15.6
6. Family have meals together 12.1
4. Regular habits such as wake-up time or bedtime 6.8
Mothers were asked to compare discipline when they were children with present-day discipline. When mothers were children, they were most often told to speak politely to their elders, teachers and the elderly (78.7%). "Others" accounted for as much as 62.0%, indicating the diversity of discipline in each household.

Comparing the two tables, there is a big generational difference in teaching children basic greetings or expressing gratitude (15.6% vs. 90.5%) and instilling habits such as waking up and going to bed at regular times (6.8% vs. 61.0%). Although parents are concerned about children's habits, lifestyles are changing because parents now tend to stay up late at night themselves.

PICKUP DATA 12 Mothers want their children to be healthy and considerate of others. Expectations of boys and girls based on traditional gender roles (Table 12).

Table 12
What Kind of Person Would You Like Your Child To Be? X Gender of Child

(points)
  Male Female
A considerate and kind person 301.4 341.4
A person who does not trouble others 209.0 199.3
A sincere and responsible person 89.3 61.3
A person with leadership skills 10.3 3.8
A person who contributes to society 21.6 22.2
A person who graduates from a top-ranking university and can get any job 5.4 5.1
A person who is international 14.0 11.8
A person who is an individual rather than group-oriented 18.4 17.5
A person who is physically and mentally fit 333.0 334.2
A person who is focused and assertive 135.0 114.6
A person who values both work and family 72.5 34.0
A person who is sociable and cooperative 59.8 89.5
A person who has a happy family life 53.9 84.7
A person who is proficient in something 28.0 32.0
A person who can lead an economically stable life 45.0 30.1
A person who pursues his/her own dream 103.4 118.6
Calculation method: Five points were given to the first ranked response, down to one point for the fifth ranked response. The figures then multiplied by the percentages converted into points and ranked from first to fifth.

Health and good relationships
Mothers were asked, "What kind of person do you want your child to be?" They selected the five responses and ranked them in order of importance (See table for the calculation method). An overwhelming number of mothers want their children to be physically and mentally fit, considerate and kind, and someone who does not trouble others.

On the other hand, parents least interested in their children becoming a person who graduates from a top-ranking university and can get any job, followed by a person with leadership skills. Mothers think that getting along with others is more important than leadership.

Expectations of boys and girls based on traditional gender roles
In same areas, there was a big difference of more than 20 points between boys and girls. For instance, more mothers of boys want their children to be sincere and responsible (89.3 points for boys vs. 61.3 points for girls) and to value both work and family (72.5 for boys vs. 34.0 for girls). On the other hand, more mothers of girls want their children to be considerate and kind (341.4 for girls vs. 301.4 for boys); sociable and cooperative (89.5 for girls vs. 59.8 for boys); and to have a happy family life (84.7 for girls vs. 53.9 for boys).

Mothers seem to have traditional expectations and think that men should work outside and achieve success while women should stay home and maintain a good relationship with others.

PICKUP DATA 13 Husbands and wives communicate fairly well. Level of communication depends on grade of the child.

75% of wives talk with their husbands fairly often or very often (Table 13-1).

Table13-1

(%)
Do You Talk With Your Husband?
Very often 24.8
Fairly often 50.8
Not so often 20.7
Not at all 3.7
How I feel when I talk with my husband
Appreciate his useful opinions 43.8
Happy that my husband listens to me 41.7
Feel others are more sympathetic 10.6
Others 3.9
Reason for lack of communication
No time to talk 52.2
Subject is not interesting to him 39.4
Others 8.4
The table shows how frequently wives talk with their husbands. 75.6% of them talk with their husband fairly often or very often. On the other hand, 24.4% of them do not talk with their husbands very often or at all. Half of them cited lack of time. Husbands are busy with work and wives are occupied with raising children; they are not able to take time to talk to each other.

Husbands and wives talk to each other more often after their children enter primary school (Table 13-2).

Table13-2
Husband-wife Communication X Grade of Child

(%)
    Very often Often Not so often Not at all
Pre-school Lower grade 24.9 51.7 21.4 2.0
Middle grade 23.9 50.7 21.7 3.7
Upper grade 25.1 48.6 22.3 4.0
Primary School 1st grade 25.4 52.1 18.4 4.1
2nd grade 23.3 49.2 21.9 5.6
The table compares the frequency of communication by the grade of the child. While there is no big difference by grade, 73.7% of mothers of children in the upper grade of pre-school talk to their husbands fairly often or very often, and the figure goes up slightly to 77.5% for parents of first graders.

When asked how they felt about the communication mothers of first graders also accounted for the highest percentage of those who find their husband's opinions useful and appreciate them. After their children enter primary school, mothers communicate with teachers less frequently than when their children were in pre-school. In addition, at this time husbands and wives have to make joint decisions more often so husbands give advice as needed.

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