Reminder: Money Still Affects Upbringing
According to a new study conducted by Pew Research Center, socioeconomic status effects parenting strategy, child rearing outlook, children’s success – and it all feels a bit like déjà vu. Class divisions have been present for a long time. It’s grown apparent in more money-saturated neighborhoods, distinct geographic divisions, and a general rift between financial success as the result of economic upbringing. More defined child rearing strategies is seemingly the newest symptom of the age old problem.
The study, reported by the New York Times, cites a growing achievement gap between rich kids and working-class kids. The comprehensive study notes a 30-40% increase over the past two decades, much of which is attributed to financial differences. While middle and upper class kids are consumed by their calendars, swamped with ballet, soccer, violin, volunteer work, and other extracurriculars, children of lower socioeconomic families are spending more time at home and with family. Different access to resources lead to different parental priorities, and in turn different levels of achievements for their children. The stark binary of success appears to be contributing to the steadily growing and festering wealth gap.
More than ever, outlook is closely tied with wealth. In a wealthier context, parents view their kids as projects that need to be cultivated. Parents in this economic setting ($75,000 annually or more) report that 84% of children are involved in sports, 64% in volunteer work, and 63% in create lessons. Alternatively, poorer parents are more focused on ensuring greater autonomy for their children with less supervision, a strategy that has been shown to encourage self-sustainability and independence in the long run.
The study also shows that wealthier households are more satisfied with their neighborhoods, where poorer families are less satisfied, and worry more about their children’s safety. And while more well-off parents are concerned about the psychological states of their kids, lower income parents worry first and foremost about the physical dangers that threaten their children.
But again, is this really anything new? Is it surprising that high earning families rate their neighborhoods as better than lower earning families? Or that higher income families are more worried about their kids getting into college, while lower class families have anxiety about their children’s safety? Mothers are still statistically more protective than fathers. The wealth gap still has an effect on resources. Resources inevitably still outline how parents can provide for their kids, and in turn what provisions are a priority. This all seems like a big “duh.”
The more pressing fact is that for all the chatter and rant, not much has changed This study, rather than pointing to any ground breaking new data, points to a more upsetting constancy. It’s clear that wealth relates to upbringing and upbringing to the wealth gap. It’s not a product of parenting, but as proven over and over again, due predominantly to pre-existing financial circumstances. The effect is static, and change remains to be seen. The problem is clear: the wage gap needs mending, and the same old studies and statistics aren’t the solution.
Images via Pew research Center, Washington Post, and Huffington Post.