One in five parents believes it is more important for their child to be successful and wealthy than happy and healthy when they reach adulthood, research has revealed.
A study of 2,000 parents of children aged between four and 18 found 20 per cent of parents think money and success are imperative to their child’s future.
Researchers found a further fifth of parents have a difference of opinion on their child’s future – with mothers wanting top exam results while fathers just wants them to be happy.
Not surprisingly, half of parents have ended up arguing over this, the poll found.
The study was commissioned by The Military Preparation College (MPCT), a specialist college for 16-19 year olds, designed to get young people fit and motivated for adult life.
It was also found that 70 per cent of parents believe life skills will get their child further in life than academic skills.
And three quarters of parents say that when it comes to their child’s future, qualities are more important than qualifications.
Huw Lewis, managing director of MPCT said: ‘Every parent worries about their child’s future and wants what is best for them.
‘But it’s surprising that some parents think money and qualifications are more important than anything else, even their child’s future happiness.
‘That said, it’s encouraging that the majority of parents see strong personal qualities and life skills as key to their child’s future.
‘We believe success and happiness should go hand-in-hand. So we’re successful if we’re happy and we’re happy if we are successful.’
The study also found one in six parents are most worried about their child being unemployed once they finished school.
While one in ten are most worried about their child being lazy or that they don’t try and get themselves a good job.
Overall, however, many parents just want their child to grow up and be an honest, happy person who is also confident.
But what defines happiness? According to parents this means being healthy, being loved and having a family.
It also means being employed and having a good career, being in a steady relationship and possibly even ‘being rich’.
Success, on the other hand, has been defined by parents as being financially secure, feeling content and being fit and healthy.
They would also say you were a successful person if you’re debt-free, doing well at work and have your own family.
More than 500 teens aged 13-18 also gave their opinion on the definition of happiness and success.
They said to be happy you should be healthy, rich and ‘loved’.
It was also found that having a good career and having a family were ingredients of happiness in their opinion.
Having money also sits within a teen’s defining list of success along with being well-qualified and fit and healthy.
But despite these opinions, more than one in five families have never sat down together and spoken about the future together.
Huw Lewis added: ‘It’s interesting to see that ‘being rich’ is higher on the list of importance for teens than it is for parents.
‘It’s also interesting to see that health and fitness are seen as key ingredients of happiness and success for both parents and teens.
‘We are great believers that when young people are fit and healthy, they are happier, more motivated and ultimately more successful in whatever they choose to do.’