Social class Essay
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Social class indeed does make a distinction in the lives and future lives of American children. In his works, Lareau draws on a comprehensive and carefully observations of white and black middle-class and working and poor families offering a dramatic portrait of childhood in the modern world. The social class that a child finds him/her in decides whether he/she will achieve the desirable American vision. Parenting and childhood differ with social class; a social class discrepancy influences the speed and rhythm of daily life.
The social class in which the parent belongs to impact significantly on the way the parent will bring up his/her children. Social class creates a unique parenting style. Parents differ by class in the way they describe their own task in their children’s lives as well as how they understand the environment of upbringing. The middle class parents tend to conform to a cultural logic of childbearing which we call concerted cultivation. They attempt to promote their children’s talents by use of planned free time activities and general reasoning.
They also support their children to get involved in various age-specific planned activities that govern family life and generate huge labor, especially for mothers. The parents portray these activities as a way of conveying essential life skills to their children (Lareau 20). Middle class parents lay emphasis on the use of language and development of reasoning and use of conversation as they favored form of discipline. Middle class parents discuss with their children at length seeking their opinions and encouraging their ideas.
Their strategy involves direct expenses like the cost of buying equipment for plating with their children and indirect expenses for example the expenses involved in taking off leave to spend with their children. They get involved in sports, music and educational activities. This kind of nurturing creates diversity of experiences for children and generates an anxious pace for parents, leads to individualism amidst the family and emphasizes on children’s performance.
Working class and poor parents engage in a cultural logic of achievement of natural growth, providing the conditions under which children can develop while leaving the children free to select the kind of activities to engage in during their free time. The childrearing approaches for employed class and unemployed emphasize on the importance of natural growth. These parents believe their children will grow and succeed provided they are given food, love and safety. They do not center on building up their children’s particular talents (Lareau 32).
Working parents make use orders rather than logic. There is no much talking in lives of employed parents. Parents to children discussion in working class is so minimal.. Parents tend to use stiff commands and expect quick positive answers. Children who disobey parent’s orders expect to be punished. Working parents are inclined to issue more orders to their children and put more stress on physical discipline as compared to middle class parents. Working–class children engage in few planned play activities as compared to children whose parents are in the middle class.
Working parents do not monitor their children’s free time and activities; they only intervene in specific areas such as dressing, meal times and chores They also have more free time and hence more profound and stronger ties with their extended families (Hart and Todd 19). On the other side children in middle class have weaker social ties due to the fact that they get engaged in adult-organized activities. The busy and strict children’s schedules found among middle class families make it hard to arrange and attend regular extended family get together.
Their parents also tend to form weak rather than strong ties by having social networks that include professionals only. Working parents not likely to include professionals in their social networks but are more likely to speak with their kin on a daily routine than their friend. Their children interact with different age groups which include their cousins and children in their neighborhood. Despites differences in values between the two classes, there are disparities amongst parents and children behavior.
A difference in cultural logic gives parents and their children differential resources in their interactions with professionals and other adults away from home. Working parents are more skeptical to professionals such as doctors and teachers than middle class guardians. They also display fear of the powerful individuals in the society as opposed to their counterpart. Middle class parents are better armed to exercise power over other teanagers compared to working parents (Lareau 41).
Working class parents teach their children to keep themselves away from those occupying high places in the society, to be distrustful of institutions and to some extend to oppose official authority. These make the children to absorb the adult’s feeling of subjection in their society relationships (Hochschild 17). The middle class children enjoy fortunate lives; they live in large houses, some have swimming pool, most children have their own bedrooms with some with computers and varied kinds of toys.
They also tend to enjoy their holidays as they flew out of the country in airplanes and travel by sports car one or two hours from home to participate in their activities (Hofferth and John 33). The employed class children display a sense of restraint in their relations with powerful figures in society. They are not likely to try to tailor interactions to favor their own choices. They blindly conform to accept actions of persons in authority. Employed parents appear not to be aware of their children’s school circumstances for example when they children are not doing assignments.
They believe that the academic issues should be handled only by the teachers. Due to fear of intimidation by authority figures, they fear teaching their children the wrong things. They perceive school and home as separate worlds. They also dismiss school rules as irrational. Middle-class working parents consider themselves equal or at times superior to their children teachers. They walk in and out of classrooms comfortably as though they have the right and freely ask for their children to be included in certain school programs and more specifically try to modify the school experience to favor their children.
The fact that school use specific linguistic structure, authority models and form of syllabus which the children from middle/upper children are familiar with gives them a ‘home advantage’. School official themselves acknowledge the use of concerted cultivation being members of the middle-class themselves; they believe that concerted cultivation is the right way to bring up children. Lareau never praise one parenting style as opposed to the other. Both taking care of children have their own demerits and merits.
For example, Middle class children are only taught the rules superseding relations with official figures but are not taught on important social skills such as planning their free time hours during weekends or holidays or even on how to associate with adults in a subordinate manner. Middle class children have also learned from their parents to make things work in their own advantage at the expense of others. For example, they make special request to teachers to change time-tables to house their desires (Lareau 47). Each strategy of childrearing makes sense in its own setting.
All these disparities in parenting style have some long term consequences. It has been observed that the approaches utilized by parents and children are not uniformly successful across classes. However, our society emphasizes on the importance of skills learned from the concerted cultivation than those learned through the achievement of natural growth. When working-class children move from childhood to adulthood, they find that the ability to be organized and to be eloquent are appreciated more than the skills to operate outside formal organization, placing them at a lesser competitive advantage.
Parent’s economic resources play a major role in determining the kind of parenting style the parent adapts. Middle-class parents are advantaged to have access to resources as opposed to their counterparts. For example the middle class parents sees the enrollment fees charged in school as small while for the working class it is really expensive. Middle class parents are able to pay for expensive clothes for their children, buy them equipment to play with, pay for their hotel accommodations when far from home during vacations, afford to buy them fast food and summer camps.
Middle-class parents have dependable private means of transportation and flexible working schedules which enable them to spend more time with their children. Educational resources also play an important role in parenting styles. Middle class high level of education gave them an upper hand when it comes to facilitating concerted cultivation and especially in institutional involvement. This also bestow in them assurance of criticizing educational professionals and prevailing in school issues. Where as employed parents view teachers as their social superiors.
Hart, B. and Todd, R.Significant Disparities in the Daily Practices of Young Children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes, 1996. Hochschild, J. Looking Into the American Reality: Race, Class and the Spirit of the Country. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Hofferth, S. and John, S. “How American Family Use Their Free Time”. Journal of Marriage and the Family Relations 63(4), 2001. 295-308 Lareau, Annette. Invisible Disparity: Social Class and Child nurturing in Black Families and White Families. American Sociological Evaluation, 67(2002): 747-776. Lareau, Annette. Unequal Upbringing: Class, Race, and Family Life. Berkeley: California Press, 2003.