A1 Journal article (refereed)
Vanhempien käsitykset ihannevanhemman ominaisuuksista sekä yhteiskunnan vanhemmille asettamista ihanteista Suomessa (2021)
An ideal parent in the light of the parents' own and perceived societal ideals in Finland

Halonen, J., Rintala, R., Sorkkila, M., Rönkä, A., & Aunola, K. (2021). Vanhempien käsitykset ihannevanhemman ominaisuuksista sekä yhteiskunnan vanhemmille asettamista ihanteista Suomessa. Psykologia, 56(3), 304-318.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Halonen, Juuli; Rintala, Rosa; Sorkkila, Matilda; Rönkä, Anna; Aunola, Kaisa

Journal or series: Psykologia

ISSN: 0355-1067

eISSN: 2670-322X

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 56

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 304-318

Publisher: Suomen psykologinen seura

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access: Channel is not openly available


Parental ideals reflect norms of the individual and surrounding society and can therefore be seen to represent the expectations and obligations of parenthood. The present study examined parental ideals of mothers and fathers, and parents' views of parental ideals set by society in Finland. The study is based on the Finnish dataset collected in the context of International Investigation of Parental Burnout (IIPB) international consortium. Views on the qualities of an ideal parent and perceived societal parental ideals were collected from 1,431 parents using an internet-based questionnaire. The results of a thematic analysis demonstrated that parents reported similar ideal characteristics of a parent for themselves and for their spouses. Mothers and fathers' reports were very similar. The most typical characteristics of an ideal parent included loving, patient and disciplinarian. The results further showed, however, that parents' personal parental ideals differed from their perception ofideals set by society; selflessness, work-oriented & educated, wealthy, housekeeping occurred only in ideals perceived to be set by society. Overall, the parental ideals of mothers and fathers were discordant with their views of societal ideals. Because expectations from society and a discordance between ideals can affect parental well-being and parenting, parental ideals and possible discordances should be taken account when aiming to support parenthood.

Keywords: parents; parenthood; maternity; paternity; ideals; expectations; demands; roles (expected behaviour); gender roles

Free keywords: parenthood; ideals; ideal parent; ideal mother; ideal father; social expectations; parental ideals

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-19-08 at 19:49