The Culture of American Families Project was recently released and identifies four different family culture types:
The Faithful adhere to a divine and timeless morality, handed down through Christianity, Judaism or Islam, giving them a strong sense of right and wrong. . Raising “children whose lives reflect God’s purpose” is a more important parenting goal than their children’s eventual happiness or career success.
Engaged Progressives see few moral absolutes beyond the Golden Rule. They value honesty, are skeptical about religion and are often guided morally by their own personal experience or what “feels right” to them.
In turn, they feel obliged to extend moral latitude to others. For them, morality centers around personal freedom and responsibility.
The Detached parenting strategy is: Let kids be kids and let the cards fall where they may. They are skeptical about the old certainties of the Faithful, but just as skeptical about the designs and self-assurance of Engaged Progressives. In general, they are pessimistic about the future of the economy and their children’s opportunities, and seem resigned to the situation.
American Dreamers are defined by their optimism about their children’s abilities and opportunities. They believe in God and say that religion is very important in their lives, but they embrace a live-and-let-live morality when it comes to other people. They believe in speaking their mind, saying that the “greatest moral virtue” is being honest about one’s feelings and desires.
While the four family culture types reveal significant differences among the moral frameworks that guide family values, virtually all parents share some common aspirations and attitudes. American parents of all stripes want their children to become loving, honest and responsible adults of high moral character. The research is worth your attention… but also worthy of consideration is how we might minister distinctively to each family culture.