Fathers today get higher grades than mothers for their performance, especially from women; about one-in-five (21%) American adults say today’s fathers are doing a better job compared with fathers a generation ago, while far fewer (9%) say that today’s mothers are doing a better job than their predecessors did 20 or 30 years ago. Overall, 47% of Americans say fathers of children under the age of 18 are now doing a worse job as parents than fathers did two or three decades ago; this compares with 56% who say mothers are doing a worse job. The biggest challenge in raising children today, according to parents and non-parents alike, is dealing with the outside influences of society. Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) list societal factors when asked in an open-ended format to name the biggest challenge for parents today. Among the top specific concerns mentioned are drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and the impact of television and other media.Beyond societal influences, other perceived challenges in raising children include teaching morals and values, maintaining discipline, handling the financial aspects of childrearing, and dealing with the educational system. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.