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What is Wrong With American Style Parenting?

 
 
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2012 12:28 pm
Quote:
Researchers who analyze what people do with their time have found that, on average, American parents indeed spend more time with their children than parents in other developed countries. (French fathers? From time studies, you’d think they didn’t even have children.) American mothers who work outside the home — and that’s three-fourths of all moms, many of whom work full-time — spend more time with their children today than stay-at-home mothers did in the 1960s. They do so by forgoing sleep, personal care, housework and any shred of personal leisure. Their “free time” is largely spent with their kids.

Still, surveys show, they worry it isn’t enough. And new studies are finding that the same breathless time stress is becoming an issue for young American fathers, who, like mothers, are juggling intense demands at work and increasingly intensive standards for what it means to be a good parent.

“American parenting is child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor-intensive, financially expensive and is expected to be done by mothers alone. And it is impossible to do alone,” said Sharon Hays, a sociologist at the University of Southern California. “The mothering you see today in America is culturally and historically unprecedented. We expect selfless devotion to what we interpret as the child’s needs, wants and interests at every moment of the day. And with the vast majority of mothers working, that puts them in an impossible paradox.”

While the intensity is at its most acute in the middle and upper-middle class, she said, her studies have found that low-income parents feel the same parenting pressures, compounded by the guilt of having neither the resources nor the time to meet them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/whats-so-bad-about-american-parents-anyway/2012/02/27/gIQAa1vFnR_story_1.html

Then the article takes a detour into blaming the lack of government support for parents in the form of daycare and paid family leave from work....after admitting that American parents spend more time with kids than we used to or than others do, and of course American has NEVER had European style family support programs.

I think that the problem is at root an unwillingness to leave kids the **** alone to figure out on their own who they are and how to take care of themselves. American Parents want to be in control, we want to do for our kids what they should be doing for themselves, and so we are stressed out. American Parenting claims to be child centered but that claim is obvious BS, it is extremely parent centered. Government programs will not solve that problem, only a reboot on parenting practices will work.
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2012 07:47 pm
@hawkeye10,
I haven't read the whole article yet but I tend to agree with your "unwillingness to leave kids the **** alone to figure out on their own who they are and how to take care of themselves" comment.

I've often referred to parenting as a competitive sport and I truly mean it. If you leave your kid the **** alone to figure out who they are and how to take care of themselves you're considered negligent at best and insane at worst.

We recently let Mo make a decision about something that directly affected his life. It was a BIG decision and he's so much happier now and things are working out really well.

Still, I know it would cause a major **** storm of criticism for me and Mr. B is people knew that we had let him make this decision for himself.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2012 08:03 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Still, I know it would cause a major **** storm of criticism for me and Mr. B is people knew that we had let him make this decision for himself.


As the article alludes to what you are supposed to do is take counsel with "experts" and then do as they recommend. If your kid resists then you are supposed to make them follow the expert advise. No. *******. Way. I am not outsourcing child rearing decisions to busybodies who claim to know more than I do about what is best for me and my family.

Also, you might recall me mentioning at several points that I have always believed in giving my kids as much freedom and control over themselves as they can handle. At MO's age I would rarely insist upon anything, though I would strongly recommend. On those things that were insist (like grades and a extra-curricular activity) I would only insist upon the goal, not how it was gotten to.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2012 08:08 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I haven't read the whole article yet but I tend to agree with your "unwillingness to leave kids the **** alone to figure out on their own who they are and how to take care of themselves" comment.

I've often referred to parenting as a competitive sport and I truly mean it. If you leave your kid the **** alone to figure out who they are and how to take care of themselves you're considered negligent at best and insane at worst.

We recently let Mo make a decision about something that directly affected his life. It was a BIG decision and he's so much happier now and things are working out really well.

Still, I know it would cause a major **** storm of criticism for me and Mr. B is people knew that we had let him make this decision for himself.
I have no advice on what to say to Mo,
but I wanna acknowledge my pleasure & satisfaction
at having been alone most of the time in my early youth,
with plenty of cash, to arrange my own affairs. I 'd not have had it any other way.
(My parents were away administering our family businesses 6 days a week.)


ASKING for advice from a respected mentor, is something else.





David
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:02 am
@hawkeye10,
One thing that struck me, reading the article, is that all of these "Foreign Parents are Better" books are sold HERE. The Tiger Mother book isn't a Chinese book, it's an American book. The French Babies are Better book isn't a French book, it's an American book. Etc.

What this says to me is less that Americans are bad (or good) at parenting than that that we're an intensely self-made and self-conscious society.

Compare these books to diet books. French women know how to eat and stay thin. Etc.

Those kinds of things sell here -- and then going ahead and saying "no, American parents aren't terrible for this reason, they're terrible for this OTHER reason" just plays right into the same dynamic.

So, I give a gallic shrug.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:33 am
@hawkeye10,
I've really benefited from the counsel of experts so I can't really point fingers at those who do.

I've even benefited from the counsel of non-experts. I've asked a lot of questions here, for example, and while I might not have followed the advice (there's really no way you can follow all of the advice you receive on a board like this) it has given me a good way to consider other perspectives.

We do give Mo a lot of freedom but there are usually provisions attached: A "Show us that you can make the most of this freedom and we're cool but know we're watching and if you get in over your head we'll pull back" sort of thing.

I agree with the article that the constant comparison of one child to another or one parent to another (or even another culture entirely) is counter productive. It's really more about the parents than the kids.

I particularly liked the third page where they talk about happiness v. achievement as a road to success. I too think parents need to not worry about building their child's resume from the minute they're born.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:34 am
@OmSigDAVID,

Quote:
ASKING for advice from a respected mentor, is something else.


Agreed!
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:44 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:


Quote:
ASKING for advice from a respected mentor, is something else.


Agreed!
When my mom passed over,
I lost my respected mentor.



David
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:48 am
@boomerang,
Did he finally get that earring? Wink
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 09:51 am
@DrewDad,
Haha! Nooooooo. Mr. B is an immovable object in the matter of earrings.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 11:18 am
@sozobe,
I don't have a clue about what kind of parenting books are sold in other countries. Maybe they have "Parenting the American Way" or some such thing.

I know that the "Tiger Mom" book has been translated into many languages and I'll bet most others have too.

Now I'm really curious about parenting manuals in other countries!
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 11:24 am
Kids need two messages;

"I believe in you"

and

"I got your back"

PS - don't sweat the male earring thing. Both of my boys (now men 43 and 23 went thru that - neither have it in now) and my grandson, age 16, has both ears done. Say YES as much as you can because those NOs must be considered very important.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 11:38 am
@PUNKEY,
Quote:
"I believe in you"

and

"I got your back"


Perfect. I'd add "I love you" to that though.

I don't have a problem with the earring thing. Mr. B has a problem with it. When I posted about it here you'd have thought that by even considering it that I was a child abusing monster who was trying to figure out the most economical way to make sure Mo ended up in prison at some point in his life.

I'm exaggerating but not by much. It was weird.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 01:03 pm
Quote:
What is Wrong With American Style Parenting?
IS there an "American Style" of parenting?

I dunno. Maybe that the kids just hang around for about 20 years ?

American parents give them ultimata, occasionally ?
Those were my casual observations of it, qua friends, relatives, n nabors.





David
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 02:09 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
I agree -- I'm not sure what it actually is. America's a big, diverse place, and there are many parenting styles within it.

I mean, I know the stereotype of American parenting. But the stereotype doesn't really accord with what I observe in everyday life.

And I'm generally suspicious about these kinds of reductive stereotypes. I'm smack in the middle of Generation X, and I remember reading stories explaining me and my generation to the older generation and thinking how very, very wrong they were. (They've remained wrong throughout, as my cohort ages.)
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 02:16 pm
@sozobe,
Interesting... I was just looking up a definition of Generation X to remind myself what I had disagreed with. What I remembered was the whole "Slacker" thing. Lazy, unmotivated, etc.

Found this:

Quote:
Individualistic: Generation X came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates and a faltering economy. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. In the workplace, Generation X values freedom and responsibility. Many in this generation display a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. They dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy.



http://legalcareers.about.com/od/practicetips/a/GenerationX.htm
So, get that?

Gen X dislikes authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because we were latch-key kids and parenting was hands-off.

Meanwhile, the current younger generation dislikes authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because they had helicopter parents and they're all entitled 'n' stuff.

Could it be that young people dislike authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because they're young, no matter how they've been raised?
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2012 03:47 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Interesting... I was just looking up a definition of Generation X to remind myself what I had disagreed with. What I remembered was the whole "Slacker" thing. Lazy, unmotivated, etc.

Found this:

Quote:
Individualistic: Generation X came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates and a faltering economy. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. In the workplace, Generation X values freedom and responsibility. Many in this generation display a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. They dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy.



http://legalcareers.about.com/od/practicetips/a/GenerationX.htm
So, get that?

Gen X dislikes authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because we were latch-key kids and parenting was hands-off.

Meanwhile, the current younger generation dislikes authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because they had helicopter parents and they're all entitled 'n' stuff.

Could it be that young people dislike authority and structured work hours and being micromanaged because they're young, no matter how they've been raised?
Yeah, but the elderly do not like to be micromanaged, either.

Come to think of it, I don 't wanna be managed AT ALL.





David
0 Replies
 
lindalewis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2012 12:28 am
@hawkeye10,
As per my view and experience American style of parenting is “good enough” as it is always evolving, and growing . And I believe American parenting style will always be reflective of our core values and beliefs that support freedom to express our potential, pursue happiness and success, and also find whatever opportunities there are to continue learning.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2012 12:56 am
@lindalewis,
lindalewis wrote:

As per my view and experience American style of parenting is “good enough” as it is always evolving, and growing . And I believe American parenting style will always be reflective of our core values and beliefs that support freedom to express our potential, pursue happiness and success, and also find whatever opportunities there are to continue learning.


"it should work"/"I want it to work" is very often different from "it works". Americans back in the day were known to be practical people, but we sure cant say that today can we........we now tend to ruin our kids and their futures as we chase after our fantasies and the warm fuzzies.
0 Replies
 
 

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