In our latest global study of kids and families, Are We There Yet?, we surveyed parents of kids aged 12 and under in 16 countries. One theme that came through was that kids come first in today’s families – and kids have a closer relationship with their parents than in the past. Here’s some of what we learned on this topic:

All over the world, kids are central in their households. Globally, 96% of parents say their child is the most important thing in their lives. This is universally true, with over 9 in 10 parents in all 16 of the countries we surveyed agreeing with this sentiment. Kids’ age is not a factor, with parents of children of all ages equally likely to agree.

Family relationships are very close. Today, 6 in 10 parents say they tell their kids they love them more than their parents did when they were growing up. In keeping with these more open expressions of love, 95% of parents report that they have a very close relationship with their child.

Kids and parents are more emotionally open with each other. Families are dealing with emotions and talking about their feelings more openly than in the past. Almost all parents (96%) say they want their child to feel they can tell them anything.

Kids are getting more guidance on how to navigate the world. Just over half (51%) of parents say they guide their children in difficult situations more than their parents did with them. This includes allowing children to feel the effects of their behavior – 95% of parents want their child to know the consequences when they do something wrong.

Because families are so close, kids participate in household decisions. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of parents with kids under age 13 say their children play a role in family decisions – and 23% say it’s a big role! This includes but is not limited to the TV remote, with 60% of parents saying their child usually controls what’s on the TV when they watch together.