Family Matters No. 63 - December 2002

Relationships, marriage and parenthood

Views of young people and their parents
Diana Smart

Abstract

Australia's birth rate is now below population replacement rate, and continues to decrease. The author asks whether this trend is paralleled by diminished aspirations for marriage and parenthood. Data from the Australian Temperament Project (a longitudinal study of the psychosocial development of a large, representative of Australian children born in Victoria between September 1982 and January 1983) are used to explore the views, hopes, wishes and plans of teenagers and their parents for future relationships, marriage and family formation. The paper seeks to shed light on transgenerational influences by also obtaining the views of parents, as well as adolescents, on these issues. Three questions are addressed: What expectations do teenagers and their parents have concerning the young person's future relationships, marriage and parenthood? Are there differences in the aspirations between boys and girls? Are these aspirations related to family circumstances, interpersonal relationships, and personal characteristics?

Australia's birth rate is now below population replacement rate, and continues to decrease. The author asks whether this trend is paralleled by diminished aspirations for marriage and parenthood. Data from the Australian Temperament Project (a longitudinal study of the psychosocial development of a large, representative of Australian children born in Victoria between September 1982 and January 1983) are used to explore the views, hopes, wishes and plans of teenagers and their parents for future relationships, marriage and family formation. The paper seeks to shed light on transgenerational influences by also obtaining the views of parents, as well as adolescents, on these issues. Three questions are addressed: What expectations do teenagers and their parents have concerning the young person's future relationships, marriage and parenthood? Are there differences in the aspirations between boys and girls? Are these aspirations related to family circumstances, interpersonal relationships, and personal characteristics?

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