Coming to terms with Modern Parenting

Interesting read said the text from my friend Marty.

He was talking about a New York Times article, “The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.” I sent him a text back.

Pierre: “haha. i saw it the other day and saved it to read.”

Marty: Nice. Definitely worth a read.”

So I read it. The gist is that parenting today costs more. Those costs tax our financial resources but also our mental ones. That’s because modern parents are more involved in their children’s lives. There are benefits and downsides.

But the real issue is that opportunity ain’t what it used to be and everyone realizes this. The goal posts have shifted. It doesn’t matter if you’re working class, middle class or upper middle class. We all know that it takes more to get ahead or stay put. And no one wants their kid to fall behind.

“As the gap between rich and poor increases, the cost of screwing up increases.”

Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland (from the New York Times article)

I’m not white and I’m not upper-middle-class, but I took my daughter to infant music classes. We enrich her life with trips to the museum or the art gallery. She’s seen more of the world in two and a half years than I did in 25.

I want to believe I’m doing that because I never got the opportunity. There’s that word again. Opportunity. The chances of her ascending to a higher class are slim. Her parents are both university educated, middle-class minions. I mean that in a nice way.

I’m unconvinced that becoming a helicopter parent will change that. I don’t want to insulate my daughter and then shove her into the lion’s den. Dependency is damaging. And the problem I see is that it’s growing.
I’m committed to raising an independent woman. I don’t want her to backslide. But there are better ways to equip her for the future. Classic music lessons alone won’t cut it. She’s already ahead.

A major point of this article is that women shoulder most of the burden when it comes to raising kids. If my daughter decides to have kids, I hope she’ll see the example I set and find her own equilibrium.

Maybe then we’ll have some evidence — one way or other — of which parenting style works best.

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