Social Class And Parenting Styles Essay

1099 words - 5 pages

Unequal Childhoods explores the lives of children of different races and social classes in order to support Annette Lareau’s thesis that parenting styles are shaped by a child’s social class, and a child’s life chances will depend on the parenting style with which they are raised. These life chances can be viewed as benefits, which “accrue to middle-class children [and] can be significant, but they are often invisible to them and to others” (Lareau, 2011: 13). Life chances are viewed differently for the working or lower class because their strategies are viewed as “unhelpful or even harmful to children’s life chances” (Lareau, 2011: 13). Lareau’s thesis also includes the idea that children will then recreate their class background due to the life chances that their parenting style allowed them to have.
Lareau supports her thesis by focusing on two parenting styles which are dependent on social class and seeing how the children’s daily lives, their interactions with institutions, and their parents’ interactions with institutions vary based on these parenting styles. She looks at the skills a child gains based on either the concerted cultivation or natural growth parenting style by examining one school within a city and one school within the suburbs (Lareau, 2011: 15). A child raised through concerted cultivation, in which parents organize and control their children’s lives, gains a sense of entitlement, and these middle-class children are taught “to question adults and address them as relative equals” (Lareau, 2011: 1-2). Lareau uses examples of how a middle-class child’s daily life is organized and how they use the skills learned from this organization when interacting with institutions. Their sense of entitlement will lead them to expect the institution to change for them, and they will be better prepared for the life chances that they are given. For lower-class children raised through the accomplishment of natural growth, they “appear to gain an emerging sense of distance, distrust, and constraint in their institutional experiences” (Lareau, 2011: 3). In lacking this sense of entitlement, natural growth children will not interact with institutions in the ways in which they will get the maximum benefit To show how many skills are a product of parenting, Lareau looks at how parents interact with institutions and how these interactions are an advantage or disadvantage to the child. A concerted cultivation parent will more frequently interact with the school, while a natural growth parent will interact with the school less often and typically only when necessary. The frequent interaction of concerted cultivation parents and schools leads to schools changing to meet the needs of the child, putting that child at an advantage.
The way in which children’s schedules are organized influences their social psychology, specifically their creative or organizational skills and their autonomy or ability to work with others. Katie, a white child raised...

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