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60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll Asks Parents What Makes The Perfect Child

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The desire to have a "perfect child" - or even believing your child is perfect - is about as old as humanity itself. So what makes a perfect child? A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll tried to find out a bit more about it.

With recent advances in technology, science and medicine, it may soon be possible for parents to select the traits of children. But if you could, would you? Most people say no, according to the poll.

Even if technology allowed parents to decide what genetic traits their children would have, 83 percent of Americans say they'd leave it up to nature, according to the poll.

"In this age of plastic surgery, I was really surprised that people didn't seem to care what the genetic traits were," parenting expert Erika Katz told CBS 2's Alice Gainer.

As far as the "perfect age" of children, 38 percent say children are most perfect when they are newborn. Fifteen percent said toddler, 12 percent said on their first day of school, 16 percent say when they leave the house for good.

As far as religious beliefs goes, 71 percent said children should be allowed to choose what religion they practice. Twenty-six percent said they think children should practice the same religion as their parents.

Spanking children doesn't seem to be the hot-button and divisive issue some may believe, according to the poll. Seventy-two percent of respondents said spanking is sometimes acceptable.

"We're only one generation away from spanking being OK. So I think a lot of parents were spanked and so they think it's OK to spank their kids. I personally don't agree with it," said Katz.

Asked if they'd bail out their teenager from a night in jail, most said no way. Sixty-five percent said they'd let their teen spend the night in jail, with more moms than dads in favor of that.

Nine out of 10 parents surveyed said they love their children equally.

For parents questioning the results of the poll, Katz said these are not one-size-fits-all responses.

"Well you're probably doing everything wrong and you're probably doing everything right. The truth is with parenting, is there's no perfect way to parent and every child needs to be parented in a different way," Katz said.

She adds you can parent two kids the same way and they'll turn out completely differently. Katz also urged parents to not worry about what other parents are doing.

For more of the poll's results, click here.

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