What parents and children really want from each other – and how Scouts can help

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This Father’s Day, we reveal new findings on what parents and children really want from each other and how Scouts offers a perfect platform to nurture these relationships.

It may come as a surprise to hear that buying your teenager the latest gadget and plying them with pocket money is probably not the way to their heart. Research carried out by YouGov and Scouts has revealed invaluable insights into what children are really looking for from their parents, and vice-versa.

Time, not money

The research gathered the views of parents and young people between the ages of 14 and 18 from across the UK, and revealed that when it comes to giving your children what they want, money and things have got nothing on time and attention.

When asked what makes a good dad, only 5% of young people surveyed say that getting the latest gadgets counts. A mere 7% are after lots of pocket money. But a whopping 76% say what they really want from their dads is simply to spend time with them.

The young people’s responses are a heart-warming reminder that the things that build and nurture relationships between parents and children are right in front of us, hiding in plain sight. For instance, 82% say they want their dad to be there when they need them. 73% are looking for someone to teach them useful skills and give them good advice.

Developing skills together

When asked what they really want from their children, 9 out 10 (88%) parents say they want their children to develop skills that will help them later in life, including working as a team, taking charge, giving things a go, and thinking for themselves – things frequently cited as skills developed in Scouts. And so, no wonder 84% of parents polled believe Scouts to be a good place for them to do this. Some 6 out 10 (62%) parents went on to say they thought that volunteering with Scouts is a good way to spend quality time with their children.

As a parent, volunteering is an ideal way to spend time with your children while teaching them skills. Considering that the waiting list for young people who want to join Scouts is at an all-time high, we need to share the benefits of volunteering with more and more parents. To give those 60,000 young people on the waiting list an opportunity to be part of Scouts, we need 15,000 more adult volunteers and we need your to help us find them.

Keep a look out for our new film to share, Ted’s Story, which highlights the opportunities Scouts gives to parents and children to spend time together, while learning skills for life.

Volunteer today


The research was undertaken by YouGov, an independent polling agency that specialises in measuring the views of the wider population. Total sample size was 260 14 – 18 year olds and 1,058 parents. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 21st May 2019.

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