FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Bad news: parents are spending more time with their kids

   
Author Topic: Bad news: parents are spending more time with their kids
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
... and I don't mean that ironically. See this recent article in the Chronicle which summarizes and connects some of the latest sociological, psychological, and economic research surrounding parenting. Basically, the idea is that studies by sociologists show that we're almost certainly spending more time with our children here in the US relative to prior generations. But psychologist have shown pretty conclusively that nurture has very little to do with eventual adult outcomes in the big things like reported happiness, education levels, career, etc (see the book The Nurture Assumption for more). And happiness research by economists suggests that a fair amount of time that is spent parenting is not enjoyable for the parents - so perhaps more time spent parenting isn't a good thing.

I've been meaning to read the Nurture Assumption for awhile now - has anyone here read it?

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
But psychologist have shown pretty conclusively that nurture has very little to do with eventual adult outcomes in the big things like reported happiness, education levels, career, etc
This is not actually true. Harris has not conclusively shown that her theories are correct. They are still very controversial.

It should be probably be noted that Harris wasn't talking about what is traditionally understood as "nurture", but rather specifically parents' effect on their children. One of the her main contentions is that the effect parental nurturing influence is minuscule to the nurturing effect of a child's peer group.

---

edit: I only read sections of her book back in undergrad, but I wasn't impressed with her approach or treatment of the data.

Posts: 10177 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, the various people I discussed that article with this week mostly did the verbal equivalent of a [Roll Eyes] , raising issues along the lines of what Squick said (among other concerns).
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Most economists I have talked to have had very positive reviews of Harris' research, and I generally trust economists' ability to handle data above any other social scientist. *shrug* Like I said, I haven't read any of her stuff myself.

Edit: also, the studies mentioned in the article aren't just Harris' research - there's also twin studies and adoption studies.

[ January 23, 2009, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: Jhai ]

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Such cold calculations.

Maybe the solution, based on the extensive research by an economist, isn't to stop trying so hard at something you don't enjoy doing. Maybe it's to try harder to make it enjoyable. It could be that if you actually enjoy spending time with your kids, rather than just putting on a good show of it, it will actually have a positive effect. Rather than just taking this article at face value and cutting down the amount of time you schedule in for your kids, try learning to enjoy the time you spend with them, and finding ways to make that time more enjoyable--and not just for you.

Sometimes my youngest just wants me to sit down and play cars with him. Sometimes my middle kid just wants to play catch with me. Sometimes my oldest wants me to sit down and do a word find with her. Not my favorite activities in themselves, but if it means I get to spend time with my kids, I need to forget myself for a while, because nothing in my life is more important. They feel important, loved, and needed, their self-esteem is built, their identity is strengthened, and the bond between us becomes stronger. I have felt that over and over. I don't think my kids are the exceptions. That time, and as much of it as I can possibly give, is vital. Time together as a family is vital. It forms our favorite memories. There's no way that our kids are just going to pop back into their pre-molded plastic shapes when they hit the magical age of adulthood. We are helping form who they are and the lives they'll lead.

Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'll note, afr, that he's not saying "don't spend anytime with your kids." What he's actually saying is that there are marginal returns to everything, and just maybe it's better for some parents to spend time on themselves than to spend that extra hour of time watching little Jimmy at soccer practice.

I'm not yet a parent, but I know of parents who feel they need to be there for everything - partially of their own making, and partially an expectation of certain subcultures of America - and they're stressed out from trying to manage that while also taking care of themselves.

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 8594

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is the first I've heard of this but my first thought is not to take this at face value. This study seems contrary to most everything else I've ever read on parenting, and contrary to my own personal experiences as a mother.
Posts: 2392 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I did note that--but I still don't think spending less time with your kids is a solution to whatever problems the study said were cropping up (disappointed parents?).

I didn't think the conclusion was based on any actual reality in parenting.

Watching Jimmy at soccer practice is not spending time with him. It is spending time on him. I think these things are being confused a little here. Sure, cut down the amount of time you're spending carting your kids around to activities and waiting for them to be done with them. Cut those out and actually spend time with them. There is a big difference in the payoff.

Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Teshi
Member
Member # 5024

 - posted      Profile for Teshi   Email Teshi         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What everyone else said.
Posts: 8473 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AvidReader
Member
Member # 6007

 - posted      Profile for AvidReader   Email AvidReader         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm with afr. If being a spectator counts as quality time, my in-laws deserve credit for nurturing the Bucs careers.
Posts: 2283 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kwea
Member
Member # 2199

 - posted      Profile for Kwea   Email Kwea         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Economist hardly understand their OWN field, let alone anyone else's. I found that comment more disturbing than the supposed findings regarding nurturing...
Posts: 15081 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DDDaysh
Member
Member # 9499

 - posted      Profile for DDDaysh   Email DDDaysh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Afr - that is an excellent point about how spending time ON kids is much different than spending time WITH kids. I personally would like to know when exactly it became crucial for parents to watch every moment of every sports practice (or dance practice - whatever) that a child attends!

I'm not exactly old, and I did the normal amount of extra-curricular activities, if not more. My parents used to take me to practice, drop me off, and come back to pick me up later. Same with piano lessons, 4-H classes, and play practices. Heck, they had so many kids that if the had actually tried to watch us at the activities, they would have needed to find a good cloning method!

I never missed my parents being around for those sorts of things. In fact, I think sometimes we really do need to just step back and let our kids interact with each other without constant adult interference.

At the same time, I think that encouraging parents to spend less time with their children is a grave mistake! As a teacher, I saw just how little time many kids actually got with their parents. That led to far TOO much time with only peers or friends for guidance and affection, which led frequently to seriously trouble and teen pregnancy. Giving parents a scientific "excuse" to NOT parent is a very bad idea. People ought to think about that before publishing studies with such blatantly problematic "summary statements".

Another thought to consider is this - are the parents who are spending this excessive amount of time with their kids trying to parent their kids or recreate them? Too often the parents you see that are "over involved" spend far less time with their actual child than they do with the imaginary child they've created for themselves. When little Johnny eventually cracks the imaginary child mold and has himself shine through it creates stress and trauma for everyone involved.

Posts: 1321 | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Belle
Member
Member # 2314

 - posted      Profile for Belle   Email Belle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Afr - that is an excellent point about how spending time ON kids is much different than spending time WITH kids. I personally would like to know when exactly it became crucial for parents to watch every moment of every sports practice (or dance practice - whatever) that a child attends!

It depends on the sport and activity. My oldest daughter doesn't need me present when she practices with the band. It would be silly for me to be there. My son doesn't need me in the room with him and his piano teacher - I would only be a distraction.

But, my competitive gymnast is a different story. She likes having me there and sometimes needs the reassurance and support of a parent present. When she is trying something pretty scary - a back handspring on the balance beam for example, or a flip off the high bar which is seven feet off the ground - she sometimes needs to come over and talk it over with me before she does it. Plus, it gives me a chance to share in what she's doing, on the way home when she asks me what I thought of her flyaway off the bar I can talk about it with her.

However, there is a limit. If there is something my other kids are doing that requires me to be there, then I won't stay in practice with her. I also use that time to shop occasionally and even go do something for myself - Tuesday, for example, several of the moms are going out to eat together. Monday, instead of being with her I will be with my son at his Cub Scout pack meeting because he is receiving a new rank. So, I don't go to gymnastics practice to the exclusion of all other things. Still, I think some sports require more parental involvement than others.

Posts: 14428 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tresopax
Member
Member # 1063

 - posted      Profile for Tresopax           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Economist hardly understand their OWN field, let alone anyone else's. I found that comment more disturbing than the supposed findings regarding nurturing...
Measuring the "happiness" generated by a certain behavior IS the field of Economics....

But I do agree you'd need to look closer at what exactly an economist means when he says spending time with children is not enjoyable. Parents might not find it "enjoyable" in some sense of the word, but they might find it fulfilling or positive in a different sense that isn't apparent using whatever metric those economists are looking at. Sort of like how going to work isn't necessarily "enjoyable" but for many (but not all) adults they'd prefer having a career over one where they never need to hold any job.

Posts: 8120 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Economist hardly understand their OWN field, let alone anyone else's. I found that comment more disturbing than the supposed findings regarding nurturing...

There's a massive difference between macroeconomics and microeconomics - to the point where most ph.d training only requires you to take one year of courses related to the one you're not interested in. I agree that a lot of macroeconomics theory is rather bad - and I think the current generation of economists coming out of programs were questioning a lot of macroeconomics way before any of the current crisis started.

Also, for the record, the economist in question (I read his blog) has several children, and appears to find his time with him incredibly rewarding. He's currently writing a book called Selfish Reasons to Have More Children.

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2