Perceptions of parenthood: Parents’ vision of an ideal childhood versus reality

  • Aleksandra Jacukowicz
  • Adrianna Potocka
  • Dorota Merecz-Kot
Keywords: parenthood, childhood, Maslow’s pyramid of needs


Parents create visions of a perfect childhood for their children. At the same time, parenthood is a process shaped in response to conditions and demands of the environment; fulfilling this vision depends crucially on the environmental, cultural or social conditions in which the family lives. The authors used Maslow’s hierarchical theory of needs as a theoretical framework to illustrate Polish parents’ opinions on the components of an “ideal childhood” and the possibilities of realising such a vision. This paper presents the results of interviews with 31 Polish working parents, each of whom had at least one child aged six or younger. Their opinions on perfect childhood lead to the supplementing of Maslow’s theory with a Pyramid of Needs in a Perfect Childhood. Confronting parents’ expectations with their reality showed their beliefs and hopes concerning the chances for the comprehensive development of their children but also revealed financial problems, as well as difficulties related to child care and medical health care.