Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences


Parental influences--Illinois; Child rearing--Illinois; Parent and child--Illinois


The purpose of this thesis was to address two basic research questions: (a) What types of goals do parents have for their children? and (t>) How might an instrument be designed to capture parents' goals for their children in a meaningful way? The availability of such an instrument would facilitate research on parents’ goals. Increased understanding of parents’ goals could improve decision making by policy makers, educators, and program providers. Completing such an instrument also could help parents clarify their goals for themselves. An extensive review of related literature and methodology was completed. It was found that the concept of parents’ goals for their children has not been well defined and often has been used interchangeably with the concept of parents’ values. It was concluded that parents’ goals for their children include both an aspirations component (representing parental values and desires) and an effort component (representing parental effort toward accomplishment of the goal). Existing instruments to measure parents’ goals typically measured only one component. No instrument was found that measured both components in any comprehensive way. Nine focus groups were held to explore parents’ goals for their children. Parents wrote down and prioritized their goals, completed a Parenting Goals Questionnaire, and participated in a group discussion. As a result of the review of related literature and the focus group study, the types of goals parents hold for their children became clearer. Parents have goals regarding what they want their children to do, have, be, feel, and think/believe. Parents’ goals fall into several functional domains, including social, emotional, cognitive/educational, spiritual/ethical, physical/health, self-reliance/responsibility, career/money, and cultural/aesthetic. Parents’ goals also appeared to fall along four dimensions: (a) internal versus external, (b) independent versus interdependent, (c) conformity versus self-direction, and (d) giving versus acquiring. Using these typologies of parents’ goals, a new Parental Goals Survey was proposed that measures both the aspirations and effort components of parents' goals for their children.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [77]-80)


vii, 108 pages




Northern Illinois University

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