I grew up in the 50s but raised my children in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. My feeling is that Elkind has analyzed the changes in American families very accurately. He has NOT said that everything was wonderful before nor that everything is dreadful now. But I do believe he is correct when he says that the imbalance in the 50s was in favor of the child and the imbalance now is in favor of the parents. I don't consider myself any sort of fanatic, but I was a stay at home mom myself and our children seem to have turned out very well. I agree with the reviewer who said that it is not always necessary to have two incomes to support a family. It IS however necessary to make intelligent choices about what a family wants and needs. There is a lot that makes life worth living that doesn't have to be paid for with money. Maybe having a mother at home is the greatest luxury a family can choose as far as impact on life style and living. Kids don't need multiple after school classes and sports...
Although I have not read this book, I feel compelled to provide a "rebuttal" to Scott's views. He wrote that all parents have to work, which indicates to me that he is buying into the great cultural lie that exists today. It is indicative of the parent-centered world that modern America has created. My partner works outside the home, I am a full-time mother. Contrary to what you may be thinking when I make that statement, we are by no means even "middle-middle" class. In fact, we survive on VERY little money at the moment. We simply have undemanding lifestyles! We don't have brand-new cars, we have a very modest home that meets our needs but is not large or extravagant, I don't get my nails done, we don't eat out often, etc. As parents, you must ask yourself honestly which is more important: do you want to live like most Americans (or Brits, or Canadians, or other industrialized countries' citizens), who are in debt up to their eyeballs and push their kids...
I had to purchase this book for a master's level class. I found the topic that children are often stressed out at home coming back throughout the book over and over. We know as educators that children today are faced with much more stress than their parents or grandparents had to deal with. There is drugs, peer pressure, the internet, bullying, divorce, family financial problems, single parent homes, etc. The list could go on and on. There is not much we can do as teachers to change children's families. We can only understand and try to make our classrooms places that they want to come and learn. This is a good book but I already knew that some children get the short stick when it comes to their families. I was hoping for more advice to help them succeed in school.
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