How do parents in South Africa differ from parents in other countries?

Using data from our Are We There Yet? project that delved into the lives of global families, here are some highlights about South African parents:

They are exceptionally close with their kids. More than their own parents and more than other parents globally, South African parents are affectionate with their kids and willing to help them navigate life. They report that they tell their kids they love them more than their parents told them (73% South Africa vs. 59% globally), they play with their children more (69% vs. 55%), and they guide their children more when they’re in difficult situations (65% South Africa vs. 51% globally).

Compared with parents globally, they feel less pressure to keep up. In South Africa, 39% of parents feel pressure to keep up with other parents, compared with 44% globally. They’re also slightly less likely to compare themselves to other parents (45% South Africa vs. 48% globally).

They worry about their children’s future more than anything else. Like parents everywhere, South African parents’ top worry is about their children’s future. After that, their top concern is in-person bullying, dying, school and education, and money. For global parents, bullying is also a major source of anxiety, as well as their child’s physical and mental health, and social media rank higher as concerns.

Making sure their kids are well-educated is extremely important. South African parents really value formal education – they are substantially less likely than global parents to think it’s more important for their child to learn practical skills than get good grades (69% South Africa vs. 80% globally). With that in mind, it’s no surprise they are also more likely to say they would do anything to get their child into the best school or university (90% South Africa vs. 73% globally).