Middle-Class Children

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A child’s experience of their childhood is shaped by who they spend their childhood with. This revolves around which social class they belong to. Middle-class children rarely see their relations even if they live close by, whereas poor and working-class children have strong ties with their relations and see them often (Lareau, 2002). Middle-class children have such busy schedules they do not have time to visit extended relatives. Poor and working-class children spend their birthdays almost entirely with their family and not their peers from school or activities like middle-class children (Lareau, 2002). A child’s experience of their birthday was different depending on their social class. Children’s experience of Christmas was different depending…show more content…
Middle-class children are listened to more and given more attention, although not always and not by every middle-class family. They are given a greater number of opportunities to negotiate and discuss issues or events (Lareau, 2002). Middle-class children have the ability to use their debating and reasoning skills to get what they want from their parents. They picture themselves as worthy of and entitled to their parent’s time. In comparison to middle-class children being entitled, working class children are “viewed as subordinate to adults” (Lareau, 2002; 773). Working class parents do not decide a course of action based on the children’s wishes as much as middle-class children. Poor and working-class mothers talk less and when they do talk, they tend to be more authoritarian, using directives and do not probe for more details or opinions. There are differences between parents from different classes, and within the same class. For example, in some working class families physical discipline is used. Harold’s mother, who is black and poor, listens to him but does not ask questions or encourage him (Lareau, 2002). She uses direct statements without elaboration. Working-class children are listened to but not always responded to. Conversations are not seen as opportunities to expand their critical thinking skills or analytical skills, whereas they are among middle-class families.…show more content…
Working-class parents and children were uneasy during these interactions, whether formal or informal. They distrusted and feared most social institutions as many working-class families had experienced negative ordeals with social institutions such as schools. In Lareau’s study (2002), Harold’s mother who is black and poor, gets her nephew to observe a weigh in and pass on the information, rather than trusting what the doctor says. Working class parents felt inferior to professionals who themselves were middle-class. Parents from working-class families passed on feeling of powerlessness when dealing with professionals to their children (Lareau, 2002). In contrast, middle-class parents were confident when criticising professionals such as educators as a result of their own education. They also had a wider vocabulary so they understood the interactions with professionals more than working class parents did. Working class parents were not as aware of the terms being used in these interactions and often appeared confused (Lareau, 2002). Working class and poor families although distrustful of professionals, tend to be overly accepting while middle-class parents translate skills in how to negotiate the child’s way through his or her own life path. Middle-class children are taught to be prepared, be confident and be
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