Thursday, November 14, 2013

Class and Childrearing 

Kohn's article, Class and Childrearing talks about the differences in how middle-class parents and lower income/working-class parents raise their children.

The article stated that middle-class parents often exposed their children to many different activities so that they could see which ones they liked and which ones they did not.

As stated by Lareau (2009), "For these parents, exposure and choice are linked.  The more varied a child's experiences, the more he or she will be compelled to evaluate "options,"deciding which activities to pursue, which to abandon, and why."

They believe that by doing it this way, their kids learn to make choices on their own and learn to use their voices to "speak up" about what they do and do not like.  They also learn to negotiate with adults. Many middle class parents explain to their children the reasons behind their parenting.  For example, "You can't jump on the bed because you may fall and get hurt". 

The article then states that working class/lower class parents often do not expose their children to as much.  Lareau explains that this is often because these children have more "independent" play time.  They let them pick what activities they like instead of exposing them to many different ones.

"Because their parents did not view life as a series of "teachable moments" ripe for developing their children's reasoning abilities, working-class and poor children were not subjected to the constant indirect manipulation we observed in middle-class families" (Lareau 2009). 

Because of this, the "role" of children is much different in working-class homes than middle-class.  It appears as if middle-class parents see their children as more than just children.  

 "The  result as Bernstein's (1975) work suggests, was a clearer boundary between adult status and child status in working-class and poor homes than in middle-class ones" (Lareau 2009). 

When I took Educational Psychology at RIC, I learned that it is good to expose children to many different activities so that they can learn what they like and do not like. I think that this article is very relevant to all the theories of Youth Development.  We have talked in class about they way that society views children.  They are often seen as incapable, when in fact are full of knowledge and ideas.   I, personally, like the idea of letting children be more independent and having them make their own choices.  As long as there is adult guidance, I see this as a great way for children to learn and grow.

Lareau Article


  1. Jess I don't know about you but I disagree with Khon in that lower class children's parents don't expose their children enough because I think that they do ! Just in another way, a more adult way.

  2. Megan I completely agree with you on Khon's views. I also agree with Jess on the fact that youth need to experience and experiment to see what activities the enjoy or not. The rich education people gain from experiences are great and your views are similar to mine.