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Unequal Childhoods Summary

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Unequal Childhoods is an ethnography outlining the study done by Annette Lareau which researched how socioeconomic classes impact parenting among both white and African American families. She used both participant observation and interviewing. 12 families participated in this study where she came to conclusions on whether they displayed parenting styles of concerted cultivation or natural growth based of their socioeconomic status. Concerted cultivation is a parenting style where the parent(s) are fully invested in creating as much opportunity for their child as possible, but results in a child with a sense of entitlement. An example of this would be a parent who places their children in a wide array of extracurricular activities and/or actively speaks to educators about the accommodations their child needs to effectively learn. Natural growth is a parenting style where the child is left to carve their own path in a sense, but is left with a more reserved attitude. Some examples of this might be that they are taught to trust authority and not question it or they are more likely to make their own fun like play with the kids around the neighborhood rather than be in organized activities set up by their parents. What Lareau found through her study is that those families who were in the middle class displayed a concerted cultivation parenting style while those in the working class displayed a natural growth parenting style. While reading Unequal Childhoods I kept finding
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