U.S. leads the world in the judgment of parents

Nine in ten Americans parents feel judged by others; nine in ten U.S. non-parents admit to judging parents for the way they raise their children

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, March 22, 2021 — A new global Ipsos survey finds a majority of parents in every one of 28 countries saying they feel judged by others at least sometimes with the U.S. showing the largest proportion, 92%, in a tie with Singapore. Concurrently, 89% of Americans who are not the parent of a child under 18 admit to judging parents at least sometimes, the third-highest proportion of any country surveyed.

The U.S. ranks #1 among all 28 countries surveyed in:

  • The percentages of parents who feel judged for how they manage their children’s behavior and for how much time their children spend looking at screens and using technology.
  • The percentages of non-parents who admit to judging parents for their children's behavior, for the way they manage it, and for the way they speak to their children.

The survey was conducted among more than 23,000 adults under the age of 75 from December 23, 2020 to January 8, 2021, on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform.

Detailed Findings

A high proportion of parents feel judged

  • Among Americans with a child aged 0-17, 92% report feeling judged as parents at least sometimes, including 15% very often, 24% fairly often, and 53% sometimes. Singapore is the only country with a percentage of people reporting as high a percentage of parents ever feeling judged at least sometimes among the 28 countries surveyed, which is 10 percentage points higher than the global average of 82%.
  • Their children’s behavior (50%) and how they manage it (58%) are the top reasons given by American parents for why people are judging them.
  • Next are things their children can or cannot do (39%), being too strict (35%), how much time their children spend on screens and using technology (29%), how they look (28%), spoiling them (25%), how they speak to their children (21%), being too lenient (19%) and the amount of time they spend with their them (14%).
  • The U.S. shows the highest percentages of parents who feel judged for how they manage their children’s behavior (19 points higher than the global average of 39%) and for their children’s screen time (10 points higher than the global average of 19%).
  • The countries where parents are least likely to ever feel judged are Russia (65%, including only 3% very often and 11% fairly often) and Japan (72%, including 5% very often and 14% fairly often). However, Japanese parents who ever feel judged are those who are most likely to say it is for the way their children behave (68%, 22 points more than the global average).

The judgment that parents perceive is real and not imagined. A similarly high proportion of American non-parents say they judge parents.

  • Reflecting the high levels of judgment reported by parents, 89% of Americans who are not the parent of a child under the age of 18 say they do judge parents at least sometimes (including 11% very often and 19% fairly often). This is 8 points above the global average (81%) and behind only South Africa (93%) and Canada (90%).
  • The top reasons given by American non-parents for judging parents relate to children’s behavior, mostly how parents are managing their children’s behavior (76%) and the way their children behave (73%). These rates are the highest among the 28 countries. American non-parents are also those most likely across the countries surveyed to judge parents for how they speak to their child/children (58%) and for being too lenient (47%).

About the Study

These are the results of a 28-market survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,004 adults aged 18-74 in Singapore, 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 21-74 in Singapore, and 16-74 in 22 other markets between December 23, 2020 and January 8, 2021.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey.

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of their general adult population under the age of 75.

The samples in Brazil, Chile, mainland China, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these markets should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.

The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

The “Global Average” reflects the average result for all the countries where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country and is not intended to suggest a total result.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” or not stated responses.

The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, U.S.
+1 646 309-4879
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]


About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs