How social class influences children’s education


Book Title:
Love, money and parenthood: how the economy explains the way we raise our children


Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibottie

Princeton University Press

Indicative price:
£ 15.00

Parents everywhere are subject to multiple constraints. It is clear that the pandemic will expand existing inequalities, increasing social stress and the fragmentation of society with subsequent effects on children and parents.

While the importance of parenting is clearly recognized by most people, the incentives and constraints that influence parenting behavior are not so clearly understood. Indeed, parenting has become even more complex as families respond and adapt to the new realities of pandemic life. The crisis has highlighted the precariousness of low-income families.

At first glance, a tome on parenting by two male economics professors doesn’t seem like a must read at this critical juncture. Yet this informative and engaging explanation of how children’s education is influenced and shaped by cultural and economic forces is very readable. This is not another handbook on parenting dos and don’ts, but rather an attempt to explain why parenting choices can differ among parents who live in the same society. The authors, a German and an Italian, draw on some of their own family experiences to illustrate how parenthood can change over time and adapt to different socio-economic circumstances. The central argument put forward by the authors is that economic conditions, the degree of equality or inequality of a society, have a significant impact on parenting practices and on what is considered good parenting. Seen through the prism of the economy, parenthood, like any other human activity, is subject to financial constraints.

Parental choices

Parenting style, a concept in developmental psychology referring to the approach parents take to raising their children, is informed by the type of skills, competencies and attributes that parents believe are necessary for their offspring to be successful in life. One of the most influential typologies of parenting style has its origins in the work of Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. She identified three main parenting styles: bossy, permissive and bossy. A bossy parent will rule, control and monitor the behavior of their children. Discipline, often administered through corporal punishment, instills obedience and obedience. Permissive parents take a hands-off, less controlling approach to child rearing. They promote autonomy and independence by letting children make their own choices. An authoritarian parent seeks to guide and influence their child’s choices through persuasion and argument. Historically, the authoritarian style dominated child rearing practices until the early 1960s. Declining inequalities led to permissive parenthood and the disappearance of authoritarianism.

Technological changes have created opportunities for independent and well-educated children to obtain well-paying jobs. However, as inequality levels rose in the US, UK, and some European states during the 1970s, authoritarian parenting was on the rise. While rising inequalities may in principle have affected all parents, perceptions varied among parents as to how best to shape and influence their children’s future. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, cultural values ​​associated with authoritarian parenthood such as hard work, respect for authority, and habit formation were supported by growing right-wing political beliefs such as resistance to the redistribution of wealth. Authoritarian parenthood prepared children for an uncertain competitive future where upward social mobility was reduced.

Parenthood helicopter

Middle-class parents, in particular, have resorted to an intensive child-rearing effort that has found expression in the term “helicopter parenting.”

“The term ‘helicopter parenting’ is widely used to refer to the highly involved, time consuming and controlling approach to raising children…, what activities they choose, and even who their friends and romantic interests are.

Parents in helicopters restrict the independence of their children and invest heavily in their education. When helicopter children enter the education system, the greater investment in the education of middle-class children manifests itself in two ways. First, children are better equipped to learn and second, their parents continue to engage in helicopter parenting by investing a lot of time and money to support their offspring’s participation in extracurricular activities – ranging from athletic activities and arts to participation in civic projects – which have broad implications for the future of children. They provide participants with a diverse portfolio of resources: a range of cognitive skills, personality attributes, and soft skills that are essential to positive self-definition and building identity capital. Out-of-school participation is an indicator of upward mobility and there is a substantial class gap in participation levels.

This book covers a lot of ground and shows how class-based child rearing regimes create and sustain social divisions globally, which consolidate damaging parental gaps. It compares parenting strategies in different countries and examines the relationship between socio-economic systems and parenting outcomes. It advocates for policies to reduce inequalities and parenting gaps through education reform – especially investments in early childhood services – and financial interventions such as progressive taxation. allied to a positive redistribution.

The authors of this compelling and argued book have laid bare the link between parenting decisions, economic systems and inequalities. As we now know that inequality has been a key determinant of the threat of Covid-19 to life across the world, thoughtful policy interventions to reset our parenting practices for a more equal future are urgently needed.

Colm O’Doherty is Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Studies, co-editor of the Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies and co-author of Learning on the Job: Parenting in Modern Ireland (Oak Tree Press)

Source link


Leave A Reply