The Influence of Children on Their Parents’ Values



Many parents report that their values are influenced by their children. However, few studies provide direct evidence regarding child–parent value transmission. We review this evidence and propose five main processes of child influence: (i) Passive child influences, causing change in parental values by the mere presence or development of children; (ii) Active child influences, due to children directly attempting to influence their parents’ opinions or providing parents with relevant information; (iii) Differentiation, the emergence of a distinction between parents’ own personal values and their socialization values; (iv) Reciprocal influences; in which parents’ and children’ influences are intertwined; and (v) Counter-influences, in which parental values change in a direction opposite to that of children's values. A study on child influence illustrates some of these processes. The roles of migration, aging, and parent and child characteristics in child-to-parent influences are discussed.