Nineteen percent of American parents fall into the category of “The Detached,” researchers say.
These parents have lower expectations about their own ability to influence their children, and feel less strongly about most parenting questions than other types of parents. They believe that “kids will be kids,” and will grow up however they’re going to grow up. Fewer than 4 in 10 Detached parents say instructing “appropriate moral behavior” plays an extremely important role in parenting, as opposed to 86 percent of other parents. Detached parents are also far less likely to report being “very happy” about their parenting experience, and less likely to report being "very happy" about their marriages.
Detached parents value practical skills over book learning; they believe growing ethnic diversity has been bad for the country; they tend not to know many of the parents of their children’s friends, and they spend less time with their children than other parents. They are more likely than other families to have the TV on during dinner. They feel they do not have control over their children, and their older teens are more likely than those of other parents to get into fights at school.
The demographics: Two-thirds of Detached parents are white, 17 percent Hispanic, 10 percent black. They are less educated than other parents, a quarter have an annual household income below $25,000 and only 33 percent are employed in professional and managerial occupations. They are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but are more likely than other parents to either say they are Independents, or simply not vote. Two-thirds are married, just over half are in their first marriage. Twenty-seven percent indicate they receive at least moderate help in parenting from a parent of their children who lives at a different residence. They live across the US.