Does SAH create demanding children?

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Does SAH create demanding children?
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Wed, 03-26-2003 - 8:03am
I am reading The Mask of Motherhood and although I am not in total agreement of her theories and discussions, I thought they would be interesting in the context of this board.

One of her discussions focuses around the idea that now that mothers have more time/less household demands coupled with the parenting child-centered philosphies that the children have become more demanding of our time and attention.

Of course this discussion can take place regardless of employment status, but as the author seemed to be a SAHP, she clearly points to this as part of the reason we have "selfish brats".

SUS

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:00pm
I think that those issues are elephants of an entirely different stripes/

I am curious do you really expect that a parent would know better based on their job/salary/education level? Why? Do you expect that an adult of average intelligence working a labor type job can not understand the importance of safety equipment or age appropriate tv? What if it is a person with average intelligence, but a specialized skill, in middle management somewhere? Do you think that jobs/salary directly correlate to intelligence? (I know you gave one example where you find that not to be the case, but it seemed more of an anamoly)Do you automatically set higher standards to the child based on the address/position/degree of the parent?

SUS

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:25pm
Well here is one of the breakdowns. I am not saying anything qualitatively. I am saying that because of the level of choices, the time, the overall level of education that there is a difference. You made up a bunch of adjectives and attributed them to me.

I presented someone else's theory to the board.

Personally, I do see that the author has a point in the premise that we are told - as a group/society - that we can control more things with good mothering than the previous generations. I do see where a case can be made that we pay more attention (see the crying baby example) than the previous generations and eschew their advice in favor of the "experts". I can see that a case can be made that this attention paying creates a situation of more attention demanding. Let me reiterate that the author presented it as more of a charestic behavior of the middle class SAHM - she has a whole 'nother ball of whammies for the middle class WOHM. She exempts the working classes (as well as the very wealthy) from her discussions by some type of default.

Beyond that, clearly and concisely, yes I believe that SES and working status have a relationship with parenting styles. I think that it varies on the individual, but in general, the whole concept of choice leads to different paths. When you don't have those choices, the stressors tend to be different and differently focused? When I am worried about making the mortgage, I am not going to stress over whether or not the Montessori or curricilum based preshool is better for jr's self esteem. It doesn't make your stress any less valid, but it is a different focus. When I am choosing between yogurt and cheese to make the grocery budget work for the week, the idea that Suzie is not going to be in with the right crowd becuase she doesn't have xyz brands is just a blip on my radar. Part of that is my personality, I am sure, but there is a heirarchy there. Again my stress doesn't belittle yours. It is what it is.

And I can see how this translates to then and now. When I had to bake the bread for dinner and churn the butter and laundry takes 6 hours of my day, I am just not going to have the time or the choice to worry about Mary and Johnny getting enough floor time.

SUS

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:37pm
The reason I contest this is that people are multitaskers at stressing! While I worry where I am going to get the money to pay for the new roof, I am simultaneously wondering whether my older ds is too sensitive to start K "on time," and I'm also worried that the baby's not eating all of a sudden.

I think the point you're making is that if you are working class, you were raised working class and you have no aspirations to be educated and highly paid enough to become part of a "higher" class, some worries about some refinements like floor time and Montessori aren't part of your horizon. But for the working class who know that the key to their kids' SES in the future is education, perhaps the working class is equally concerned about preschool as about making the mortgage.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:56pm
No that is not the point I am making. I understand that there is an inherent generalization built into the argument. But I am NOT saying that a working class person is so ignorant as to not be concerned about their child's education or has no aspirations for a middle class lifestyle. I am saying that there is - IN GENERAL - a different focus, even multi-tasking the stressors between the two lifestyles are different and the ones with the levels of urgency take precendent.

Look at the demographics of this board. As a group we don't represent the majority of mothers. We are not representative of the average income/education level of the US. We are here because we have the time and luxury to debate the issue - and that is where the classism discussion falls for me. It doesn't make a qualitative argument about the parenting styles either way. (with the small exception that I do believe the population here are largely quality parents, or why would they be hanging out on parenting sites? a preaching to the choir type of thing)

SUS

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 3:33pm
what if the people regardless of education, just disagree.

i would lay odds that my kids have later bedtimes than most kids on this board but i am perfectly happy with their bedtimes, they are getting plenty of sleep for their needs so i really dont think i need some "expert" who has never met my kids to tell me they need to go to bed earlier. the same with age appropriate tv, so much of it is based on individual preferences that i really dont think have anything to do with ones education level.

Jennie

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 4:01pm
No, I don't think jobs/salary correlate to intelligence at all, just that jobs/educational attainment might(maybe should) indicate that the parent at least has the ABILITY to understand these things. If mom is a doctor with a PHD, I can assume she has access to information regarding safety,the ability to understand this information, and the mental capacity and ability to enforce it.

I don't think certain types of jobs/degrees/education makes anyone a better parent; I guess what I'm saying is that I don't understand why someone with the apparent advantages of education and wealth are unable to handle basic health, safety and discipline issues with their children. I readily admit that I hold the 45 year old professional woman to a higher standard that a 17 year old welfare mom, because I think she has a lot of advantages working in her favor.

My neighbor is a teacher, I heard she was going for her MA in education....she has no problem with her young child riding in a car without a seatbelt; she has actually pressured me to give him rides in my wagon when I had had no room, saying, "Can't you just throw him in back?" My first reaction to her is "You should know better". If she were a 17 year old high school drop out, I might assume she just DIDN'T know any better.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 5:10pm
No, I don't think moms work status has anything to do with how a child turns out. I think kids pretty much turn how they're going to turn out inspite of our bungled attempts at discerning what MIGHT be best for them, lol. If you're a reasonable parent, your kids, usually, turn out reasonably well. There is the odd one every now and again who turns out bad in spite of good parents and those who turn out well in spite of their parents being lousy parents. I think a lot of things influence how our kids turn out far more than working status. My top 5 would be, SES, parenting skills, demographics, parents education levels and religion (or lack thereof). I'm not sure how far down the list I'd have to go to get to working status but I'm willing to bet it would be far enough down that it wouldn't be worth considering when compared to all the things above it.
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 5:16pm
ita, with you. when i started having children i was going to do it the best, and i thought i should read everything on the subject because the authors are after-all educated in the area. i wish i never read any of it. our society accepts certain behaviors, or should i say most behaviors from children, it used to not accept. ie: even when my own children were little it was not uncommon to see a mom "pop" her child on the fanny or the leg in public. it got to the point where if your child pushed you into fury, others would stand there and say(and i've seen this), do you think she has control? if i did half of what the kids today do in public, i would probably gotten wacked on the leg and still be in my room!! our society as a whole justifies certain behaviors that are inappropriate as well. we have ADD/ADHD, depression, ODD, etc. my own son has some of these issues, and in my own opinion, he needs to compensate, and not just use it as an excuse, and i told him so. he is grown now, and actually "gets it". this behavior is so often nothing but "pushing mom's buttons". i am totally guilty of being drawn into it.

i would like to share one more issue i have a really big beef about. i dont know how it is in the rest of the country, but in this city/county, reps from the dept of social services(dss) come into the schools, hand out business cards to elementary age kids, and tell them to call the phone number if their parents do the following things, and then list all kinds of actions they consider "child abuse". i say they call it this, because i would really love to know who decided what is and what isnt child abuse. to me it is very obvious what it is, and when my ds2 brought his dss business card home to us, and told me if i raise my voice to him he can call that number because that is child abuse, i took the card, tore it up and told him this was not an option in this house. it absolutley infuriates me other adults are pouring this bs into my childrens heads. if i beat them all the time, or locked them in closets, etc, i think i should be fearful, but when my child tells me to shut up, or "why dont you do anything around here", i think they deserve at least a spanking or some kind of punishment. my point is not to condone spanking or not, but meerly giving parenting rights back to parents allowing us to be parents without worrying about being turned in for child abuse for an *occasional* raised voice, slap across the fanny and not justify every misbehavior with excuses.

my last point and then i will go away. the "80s and 90s philosophy" taught us to talk to our children, give them choices, explain "why". i truly feel childrens brains which are in the developing stage cannot and do not understand all the explanations. they dont/cant think like adults, and all the "talk" in the world does not get the point across all the time. and teenagers are a whole other animal. their rationalization part of their brains is way out of whack, and they act like it for the most part. even the good ones make rediculous decisions sometimes.

for me, hindsight is 20/20.

beth

Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 7:21pm
I agree. Way too competitive. I see a lot of parents living through their kids accomplishments as if they were somehow theirs and threatened by other children's accomplishments. Because my dd#2 is older than the other kids in her pre-school and a bit ahead of the curve, she started pre-school, at three going on four, already writing her full name. On the first day of pre-school, she wrote her name on the board. Another mother grabbed her dd by the shoulders and pushed her over to the board and kept repeating "THAT little girl WROTE her name!! Did you see THAT Suzy? THAT little girl WROTE her NAME!!". I didn't know whether to laugh at the mother or cry for her dd. Apparently, that mother takes the mommy olympics very seriously.

When my oldest dd was in pre-school, I was talking to another mother and somehow the fact I'm an engineer came up. This mother looked at me and said, in an exasperated tone "Oh great! My kids don't have a chance in the science fair competitions now!!! Um, science fair was like 6 years off!!! I never realized that motherhood was such a competive sport that you planned science fair projects in pre-school!!!

Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 7:33pm
SES makes a big difference. It is one of the known predictors of how children turn out. SES determines your choices in life and how frustrated/stressed you feel with life. I've worked and SAH as a parent living hand to mouth and now as a parent with more than enough and I can tell you first hand the difference in the stress level makes a BIG difference in your ability to parent. Back when we were struggling, it seems like all you thought about was how to make the budget work. I found the stress to be exhausting and it's hard to be a good parent when you're exhausted.

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