Skip to comments.A Field Guide to the Middle-Class U.S. Family
Posted on 03/13/2012 5:49:56 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Anthropologist Elinor Ochs and her colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles have studied family life as far away as Samoa and the Peruvian Amazon region, but for the last decade they have focused on a society closer to home: the American middle class.
In 22 of 30 families, children frequently ignored or resisted appeals to help, according to a study published in the journal Ethos in 2009. In the remaining eight families, the children weren't asked to do much. In some cases, the children routinely asked the parents to do tasks, like getting them silverware. "How am I supposed to cut my food?" Dr. Ochs recalls one girl asking her parents.
Asking children to do a task led to much negotiation, and when parents asked, it sounded often like they were asking a favor, not making a demand, researchers said. Parents interviewed about their behavior said it was often too much trouble to ask.
For instance, one exchange caught on video shows an 8-year-old named Ben sprawled out on a couch near the front door, lifting his white, high-top sneaker to his father, the shoe laced. "Dad, untie my shoe," he pleads. His father says Ben needs to say "please."
"Please untie my shoe," says the child in an identical tone as before. After his father hands the shoe back to him, Ben says, "Please put my shoe on and tie it," and his father obliges.
Ben's next words: "Please get my coat from the closet." Then his father says that Ben should get it himself.
"Isn't that amazing?" says Dr. Ochs. "It's only after he escalates that the dad asks him to do something for himself."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
I wonder how these children will react when they have children of their own, making such demands on them. Will they turn themselves into the servants of their own demanding monsters, or will they expect their children to wait on them?
I was reared middle class;
A working dad, stay-at-mome mom *she really DID dress like Donna Reed in the fifties), 6 kids, a shade above average neighborhood (because my dad wanted to live in a more 'country' atmosphere ... than Archie Bunker Boston), church every Sunday at Holy Name Catholic church, never wanted for anything necesarry for life and well being, not new but well clothed, we learned to work and developed a work ethic, all us boys bought our own cars young (16/17 years old), there's some et cetera's but the point I want to make is ...
This "study" cites kids that are spoiled from (imo) guilty yuppy types that have more money than brains and the social graces of ... uh ... a socialist.
This is NOT middle class.
I set her straight. Loudly.
My first thught is what it will be like when these kids join the workforce.
But then I realised that many of them will not join the workforce at all.
Many of the females will get pregnant (with or without a husband) and spend the rest of their lives on the dole.
Many of the young men will be so lost in the real world as to become emotionally unable to cope, become homeless, and end up on the dole.
Others of both sexes will end up with such a sense of entitlement and lack of morals,will act stupidly and unlawfully to satisfy their urges as to become inmates and end up on the dole.
I could go on....
Amazing. I couldn’t wait to do things on my own and always hated dependency. I was more the type to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
This expression is a cover for parents who don't have the nerve to discipline their kids. You get the feeling they're afraid the husband will assert some authority, somehow, somewhere. Discipline requires an ultimate Enforcer, and it pretty much has to be Dad. Discipline is avoided, in the end, because it requires both Mom and Dad to do the mental work of having a coherent philosophy of life, sticking to it, and being held to it themselves.
I will say that, whereas my kids haul and split wood, do laundry, cook and serve dinner, and take care of babies, in addition to any outside employment, work here is certainly not without what those anthros would call "resistance" or "negotiation." The most popular gambit is trying to deflect a chore to another siblingwhich can be justifiable, or pure gold-bricking. I don't think this aspect of child-rearing is ever absent, this side of Paradise. It's not always pretty, but it's all good.
God must have had mercy on me in the kid department. Wow!
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