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Article Review: Unequal Childhood Essay


Lareau’s open and detailed information about the issues and difficulties of conducting the research. The importance of this topic can’t be overstated, confronting the legend of equal opportunity in order to address the realities of providing good opportunities for all children will be a crucial area of social discussion for the coming years Sociological Connection: In the book Class, Race, and Family Life, Lareau explains that although working-class and poor parents are no less eager than middle-class parents to see their children succeed in school, they take a different approach to reaching this goal (Lareau 198). To me, keeping this point in mind as a future educator is crucial. So often, it seems as though school personnel have a tendency to blame the child or the family when issues arise. Instead, educators should take into account their own practices, as well as consider larger societal influences that are at work. If our goal as teachers is to have harmonious partnerships with students’ families, then we have to approach these relationships with patience and understanding.

Lareau reports that many working-class and poor parents feel that educators hold the expertise, and often fear doing the “wrong thing” in school-related matters; therefore, their tendency is to maintain a separation between school and home (Lareau 198). Whereas middle class parents can be demanding toward school personnel, working-class and poor parents tend to be deferential (Lareau 198). Most educators wish that poor and working-class parents would be more assertive (Lareau 198). “Put differently, they wish these parents would engage in forms of concerted cultivation” (Lareau 198). Instead of schools imposing their beliefs on working-class and poor families, it would be far more productive to take a step back, try to understand where these families are coming from, and respect their position. To automatically jump to the conclusion that parents who aren’t constantly advocating for their children don’t care about their education is detrimental, counterproductive, and above all, a far cry from the truth.

So What/Insight: All of the families want their kids happy and to grow and thrive. Still, social Class makes a difference in how parents go about meeting this goal. Middle-class parents promote what I call “concerted cultivation.” Middle-class parent’s actively foster kid’ss talents, opinions, and skills: enrolling children in organized activities, reasoning with children, and closely monitoring children’s experiences in institutions such as schools. Through this pattern of concerted cultivation, middle-class children gain an emerging sense of entitlement. There is a focus on kid’s individual development. Most of the middle-class families in the study are extremely busy; this pattern holds for white and Black middle-class families.

Children have soccer games, Girl Scout trips, homework, and birthday parties; parents need to arrange these activities as well as get children there and back. None of the parents report having this kind of schedule of activities when they were children. Despite this busy schedule, most parents work full-time and some of the parents have overnight travel for their jobs. In addition, parents need to manage the details of life. Like going to the grocery store, preparing dinner, having children take showers, and getting children to bed. The book says children’s schedules mean for family life. Things are so hectic that the house sometimes seems to become a holding pattern between activities.

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