Author Topic: What Happened???  (Read 20443 times)

Offline milomorris

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #110 on: February 17, 2012, 01:02:23 am »
And, believe it or not, I've never seen Kramer vs. Kramer, but I have a memory of hearing some place that the dad was the "good parent" in that film.

Well the way I remember it (I saw the movie when I was 14 or 15) was that Dustin Hoffman's character came across as the more emotionally attached parent, and Meryl Streep's character seemed to treat the boy more like a trophy.

Just my recollection as an adult.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #111 on: February 17, 2012, 09:49:54 am »
Well the way I remember it (I saw the movie when I was 14 or 15) was that Dustin Hoffman's character came across as the more emotionally attached parent, and Meryl Streep's character seemed to treat the boy more like a trophy.

Just my recollection as an adult.

That would make sense of that list entry, I think, if the dad was the more emotionally attached parent.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #112 on: February 17, 2012, 11:47:08 am »
As I recall, the dad begins the movie as the typical ambitious, workaholic dad. Then the wife abruptly leaves to "find herself." The dad is forced to take over and become a more engaged parent, resentfully and clumsily at first, but with increasing sensitivity and involvement and appreciation for the role. Eventually there's some sort of showdown where he has to choose between work and family. He chooses family. In the end, the wife returns and, I think, wants the kid back. The dad argues that he should retain custody and in the end he does.

In other words, it's basically the story of the struggle that most mothers with careers are familiar with in real life (whether the dad remains in the picture or not). But in this case, hey --- it's a dad deciding that his kid's important! Let's all celebrate! Wow, he's such a great father!!!!  ::) ::) ::)



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #113 on: February 17, 2012, 12:04:36 pm »
As I recall, the dad begins the movie as the typical ambitious, workaholic dad. Then the wife abruptly leaves to "find herself." The dad is forced to take over and become a more engaged parent, resentfully and clumsily at first, but with increasing sensitivity and involvement and appreciation for the role. Eventually there's some sort of showdown where he has to choose between work and family. He chooses family. In the end, the wife returns and, I think, wants the kid back. The dad argues that he should retain custody and in the end he does.

Oi. Who dreamed up that fantasy?  8)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #114 on: February 17, 2012, 12:16:44 pm »
Here's another update on the Unequal Childhoods/parenting styles issue:

So I posted that list of "parents who are superior to you" on Facebook. A bunch of people commented, and I found one friend's comment particularly interesting: She said that when her (now adult) kids were younger she didn't pay much attention to parenting advice, or feel pressure to do things one way or another, just sort of did whatever seemed best at the time. She seemed pretty satisfied with that.

That's an admirable attitude, actually. But when I read it, I thought, "Yeah, and your daughter had a baby at 16 and your 22-year-old son works in a fast-food restaurant."

My point is NOT that my friend's cavalier attitude toward parenting advice "caused" her kids to turn out the way they did. It may have been a factor, but there were other factors involved -- the kids' personalities, their community (rural), their socioeconomic status, etc.

What is interesting is that my friend, who is low-income, does not draw a line between her attitude toward parenting and the way her kids turned out. Most middle-class parents I know feel a huge sense of personal responsibility for shaping kids to turn out a certain way, including making the right "life choices" (i.e., don't have a baby at 16) and achieving a certain degree of career success --- if they don't, they'll feel they "failed" as parents. That's part of the reason they obsess over their activities and classes and schoolwork and so many other aspects of parenting. My friend, I think, places more emphasis on her relationship with her kids, which as far as I can tell is pretty good. And that's important, too (to middle-class parents, too, of course) -- it's just a different focus.
 

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #115 on: February 17, 2012, 12:37:05 pm »
My point is NOT that my friend's cavalier attitude toward parenting advice "caused" her kids to turn out the way they did. It may have been a factor, but there were other factors involved -- the kids' personalities, their community (rural), their socioeconomic status, etc.

What is interesting is that my friend, who is low-income, does not draw a line between her attitude toward parenting and the way her kids turned out. Most middle-class parents I know feel a huge sense of personal responsibility for shaping kids to turn out a certain way, including making the right "life choices" (i.e., don't have a baby at 16) and achieving a certain degree of career success --- if they don't, they'll feel they "failed" as parents. That's part of the reason they obsess over their activities and classes and schoolwork and so many other aspects of parenting. My friend, I think, places more emphasis on her relationship with her kids, which as far as I can tell is pretty good. And that's important, too (to middle-class parents, too, of course) -- it's just a different focus.

That's very interesting. And I wonder how much that difference in focus is class-related, or related to socioeconomic status? Reading the part about middle-class parents obsessing over their kids--and it seems to me the writer does link this obsessing to class--reminded me of a scene in My Fair Lady, which I recently saw again on TCM. I'm sure everybody knows the basic plot: Speech Professor Henry Higgins takes the Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle into his home to teach her how to speak "proper English" and thereby change her into a "lady." Early in the experiment, Eliza's father, Alfred P. Doolittle, "common dustman," shows up and puts the touch on Prof. Higgins for money. At one point in their conversation, Alfred P. Doolittle remarks to Prof. Higgins that he "can't afford" "middle-class morality." I'm wondering if some (many?) lower-income parents simply "can't afford" to obsess over their kids?

Of course this isn't the only factor, as the writer says, and I'm sure there still are lower-income parents "out there" who do obsess over their kids' schoolwork, and so forth, so that their kids can "have a better life." I'd also be interested in knowing the age of the writer's friend when she had her children--because somewhere I've picked up the notion that some behaviors like having a baby at age 16 can get passed along from generation to generation, and that certainly must have an effect on the outcome of child-raising.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #116 on: February 17, 2012, 01:21:18 pm »
That's very interesting. And I wonder how much that difference in focus is class-related, or related to socioeconomic status? Reading the part about middle-class parents obsessing over their kids--and it seems to me the writer does link this obsessing to class--reminded me of a scene in My Fair Lady, which I recently saw again on TCM. I'm sure everybody knows the basic plot: Speech Professor Henry Higgins takes the Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle into his home to teach her how to speak "proper English" and thereby change her into a "lady." Early in the experiment, Eliza's father, Alfred P. Doolittle, "common dustman," shows up and puts the touch on Prof. Higgins for money. At one point in their conversation, Alfred P. Doolittle remarks to Prof. Higgins that he "can't afford" "middle-class morality." I'm wondering if some (many?) lower-income parents simply "can't afford" to obsess over their kids?

I'm sure that's part of it -- lack of time and money. Another part, according to the book, is that poor parents see teachers as "professionals" who know more about education than they do, so they leave it up to them to handle it, whereas middle-class parents see teachers as equals (or even, in some cases, "subordinates") so they feel more comfortable getting involved or even meddling.

I think another big part of it is what the people experienced growing up. You often hear people say, and I've seen it on this thread, that a certain kind of parenting worked for them, so that's what they firmly believe is the "right" kind of parenting now. Of course, even middle-class parents are more active in their kids lives these days (many childhoods, mine included, were the classic "leave the house in the morning and don't come back tiil dinner" style). But I do remember my parents getting involved in school activities, buying me books and art supplies and a typewriter, encouraging me to write and draw and paint, signing me up for things, helping me with homework and creative projects, and so on. (Not that lower-income families never do those things, of course.) It was taken for granted that I would go to college, and that they would pay for it, as was also the case with most of my middle-class and upper-middle-class friends. The parents of my working-class friends (our high school was not class-divided) did not particularly expect them to go to college and wouldn't have dreamed of paying for it.

Another interesting facet of all this is that some child-development experts these days worry that kids don't have enough unstructured time away from adults. They say kids need that free-play time to develop their imaginations and autonomy. (I've interviewed some of these people.) From that perspective, the hands-off lower-class approach is, to some extent, superior to the overcontrolling, overscheduling middle-class approach.

Quote
Of course this isn't the only factor, as the writer says, and I'm sure there still are lower-income parents "out there" who do obsess over their kids' schoolwork, and so forth, so that their kids can "have a better life." I'd also be interested in knowing the age of the writer's friend when she had her children--because somewhere I've picked up the notion that some behaviors like having a baby at age 16 can get passed along from generation to generation, and that certainly must have an effect on the outcome of child-raising.

By "the writer" do you mean me? That previous post was me talking.

Anyway, my friend had her children in her 20s, after she was married. She's actually kind of downwardly mobile, herself. Her parents owned a small-town store and her then-husband worked as a mechanic in his father's shop. Neither went to college, but both earned a lower-middle-class income. After the divorce, my friend has been working at a newspaper, but it's a very small one that pays a low salary. So it's possible to see her children as having grown up in (and now occupy) a lower class than she herself did.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #117 on: February 17, 2012, 03:45:26 pm »
By "the writer" do you mean me? That previous post was me talking.

Oops. My mistake. All I've got time for at the moment--got to catch a train to go visit my dad--is to apologize. Your post didn't have a quote in it, but my mistake was to assume you forgot the quote, and the whole thing, including the part about the woman whose daughter had a kid at 16, was more quoting from the source of the list of parent types.

Sorry about that!
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #118 on: February 17, 2012, 03:50:52 pm »
Oops. My mistake. All I've got time for at the moment--got to catch a train to go visit my dad--is to apologize. Your post didn't have a quote in it, but my mistake was to assume you forgot the quote, and the whole thing, including the part about the woman whose daughter had a kid at 16, was more quoting from the source of the list of parent types.

Sorry about that!

No prob, Jeff! Have a nice time at your dad's.  :)



Offline delalluvia

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Re: What Happened???
« Reply #119 on: February 17, 2012, 09:11:40 pm »
Well, Del, I'm hoping my parenting life is as easy as you make out.. I'll let you know how its going and you can give me some tips along the way... See you at 2am in the morning from June onwards!  ;)

It seems like you see everything in black or white. No shades of yellow there - why is that?

I'd personally say though, that living with your sister and her daughter for 2 years, does not a parent you make.

There has been things that my sister has done in her parenting life - she has 3 girls (14,10 & 8) - which I think is ridiculous or bad or not *really* in their best interests, and there has been times I have said as much to her. Or when I have reprimanded the kids without asking her permission beforehand. However, most of the time I keep my mouth buttoned because at the end of the day I'm not yet a parent and not in her situation.

Ah, so you're saying that people out there with 2 year olds are not parents?

That's what you're saying, right?

Two years I lived with my sister and did the bulk of the childcare mean nothing?

So two years doesn't count, right?

OK, tell that to all the people out there who have recently adopted, fostered or have two year old children.

HEY YOU OUT THERE, KELDA AND MILO SAY YOU'RE NOT "REAL" PARENTS.

True, right?

If your answer is yes, then I'll buy your statement and we can spread the word that REAL parents have a probationary period that they have to pass before being 'accepted' as a 'real' parent.  What is it, 3 years?  10?   35?  What do you suggest?

If you answer no, then I was a parent.  For only two years, but I was.  My niece certainly thought I was because within a few weeks, SHE was calling me 'mom'.  

And I guess what she thought is what really counts.

As for child care, who knows, maybe I was a natural and I just didn't get to practice much.  Some people are better at adapting than others.  My niece was hyperactive.  She wasn't by any means a nice, quiet child.  So she was difficult, comparatively speaking, yet I had no problems with her.

ETA:  I know you didn't mean it that way Kelda, but it is extremely offensive to suggest that there is some sort of probationary period before someone is considered a 'true' parent.  Like our definition of families has expanded greatly, so must our definition of parents.  It's not a sacred cow and there is no one real way to be a parent.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 10:55:15 pm by delalluvia »