Cover Letter- critique

May 21, 2010

As mentioned in one of my blogs, I very much enjoyed English class. I loved hearing about everyone’s lives out of school and what the dynamics were like in their homes. And although I think Unequal Childhoods is very repetitive, I still enjoyed reading it. The PIE paragraphs were hard for me to get used to because I’ve been using the same style of writing for so long. I loved that the class was so interactive and it wasn’t like a lecture hall class. However, at times I did feel that there were some individuals who were called upon to participate much more than others. All in all though, it was a very enjoyable class and I learned a lot about social classes and different methods of writing.


Final Unequal Childhoods Essay

May 21, 2010

Talia Stein
Steven Alvarez
English 110
21 May 2010
Child Rearing Methods: Discovered By Annette Lareau in Unequal Childhoods
          When parents raise their children, they use certain techniques. While every parent reserves the prerogative to raise his child as he sees fit (so long as its not abusive), parents’ techniques will inevitably greatly affect their children. In addition, each technique has its pros and cons. Parents choose child-rearing techniques based on what works best for his child, right? Wrong! Social classes, income, and surroundings limit parents to certain child rearing methods. Therefore, the chosen techniques used by parents often come as a result of where they fall in the social structure.
          Unequal Childhoods, written by Annette Lareau, delves into the facts and theories of social classes. Lareau observes several families very closely, some from the working class and some from the middle class. She concludes that two major methods of child-rearing exist. The middle class parents use the method of “concerted cultivation” while the working class parents use the method of “natural growth”. Everyone falls under a category or at least a mixture of the two. Lareau gives real-life examples of children brought up under both circumstances:

Laughing and yelling, a white fourth grader named Garrett Tallinger splashes around in the swimming pool in the backyard of his four-bedroom home in the suburbs on a late spring afternoon. As on most evenings, after a quick dinner his father drives him to soccer practice. This is only one of Garrett’s many activities. His brother has a baseball game at a different location. There are evenings when the boys’ parents relax, sipping a glass of wine. Tonight is not one of them. As they rush to change out of their work clothes and get the children ready for practice, Mr. and Mrs. Tallinger are harried. (Lareau 1)

Garrett’s parents practice methods of concerted cultivation which is when parents sign their kids up for many after- school activities such as sports, dance, and art classes. Their schools never lack resources and parents involve themselves in children’s lives in and out of school. In addition to the involvement of parents in their children’s lives, they also interact with their children, and they negotiate with them as well. Parents and children of middle class families harbor a “sense of entitlement” which means that they feel they deserve to get what they want. Garrett is obviously a member of a middle class family which is evident from the fact that they live in a nice four bedroom home with a pool in the suburbs and his parents have the means with which to sign him up for many activities. Like Garrett, I also grew up in a four bedroom home in the suburbs. However, my parents didn’t always practice methods of concerted cultivation. My father is a doctor and when I was younger he worked very long shifts which only left us with an opportunity to spend quality time with him over the weekends. This is not a characteristic of concerted cultivation, as one of the main characteristics of concerted cultivation is that parents and children spend a lot of time together. However, after many years of working so many hours, he decided that he would rather spend more time with his family than in the hospital so he changed his schedule and now he only works until about six o clock in the evening. Now my father is available to have dinner with us and help my brothers with their homework. This is a relatively new luxury for us being that he used to come home so late at night.
          Natural Growth, however, is very different from concerted cultivation. “The accomplishment of natural growth” is the method practiced by working class and poor parents. Due to the lack of resources that working class and poor parents have, they cannot sign their children up for extra-curricular activities. In addition, they spend their time working and taking care of everyday responsibilities which leave their children to be free to spend their time how they wish. Parents of natural growth families do not elicit opinions from their children and usually use directives to discipline their children. Their schools are not well equipped due to their financial situations. As Lareau puts it:

A significant consequence of working class and poor parents’ view of their children’s social lives as not particularly important and their children’s acceptance of that perspective is that the children are not trained to see themselves as special and worthy of being catered to in daily life. Children appear to gain a sense of constraint, as opposed to entitlement, in their workings with the larger world. A feeling of constraint is not the only outcome, however. When parents follow the child-rearing strategy of the accomplishment of natural growth, providing close supervision in custodial matters and granting children autonomy in leisure matters, the children appear to take real pleasure in their playtime. The lack of adult attention and involvement in their activities leaves children in working-class and poor homes free to concentrate on pleasing themselves. The children we studied tend to show more creativity, spontaneity, enjoyment, and initiative in their leisure pastimes than we saw among middle-class children at play in organized activities. (83)

Natural growth includes a lot of free time for children. They usually do not partake in more than one extracurricular activity per year. This leaves children to organize their leisure time on their own and to get together with friends and relatives often. Since children hang out on the street a lot they have the advantage of developing “street smarts”. Although street smarts come with important skills necessary for life, schools don’t generally validate them. The schools that natural growth children attend don’t have many resources which leaves the children to feel a “sense of constraint”- the feeling that they don’t have enough resources to get what they need. In addition, they don’t feel entitled to express their opinions in school. If they find something unfair they don’t fight for it, they simply deal with it. Parents don’t have adult like conversations with their children. Their interactions consist mostly of commands or directives, and the children obey in an obedient manner. My parents practiced certain methods of natural growth. There were times in my life when I only attended one extracurricular activity per year, either gymnastics or art class. Also, when schoolwork was easy and I finished my homework early my parents would allow me to spend a lot of time outdoors with my friends riding bikes and playing capture the flag.
          Lareau takes a bunch of child rearing methods and groups them into two categories. I have a problem with this. For example, she states that middle class families use concerted cultivation which includes parents constantly talking to their kids and eliciting opinions from them as well as signing them up for many activities. However, I am very familiar with many middle class families in which the kids are able to plan their own leisure time and their parents don’t talk to them so formally. On the contrary, their parents talk to them on a friendly level and their conversations aren’t limited to “important” issues.

I mean I always spoke to you but I didn’t ask you when you were ten years old what you thought of the prime minister in Israel. But I did speak to you and reason with you, especially when you did something wrong. I didn’t just punish you without telling you why. And I think its crazy to push kids into doing so many activities and not giving them any free time. I don’t believe in over stimulating kids. (Stein, D)

I am an example of a mixture. I don’t think there are only two main methods of child rearing. I think parents take each issue at hand and deal with it the best way they can, given the circumstances. For example, as far as extracurricular activities goes, I know that not all middle class children are apart of so many activities even though their parents have the money for it. I am living proof of that argument. I come from a middle class home and my mother doesn’t believe in over stimulating her children which is why I grew up with free time. My mother also happens not to be interested in politics, or my feelings about certain issues. She’d rather talk about people and clothing. That’s why our relationship doesn’t consist of us having heated debates over worldly issues, for example. Even though my parents don’t practice certain methods of concerted cultivation, they still practice others, such as reasoning with us as opposed to giving us commands and directives.
          Lareau also states that children from natural growth families have a lot of respect for their elders. She argues that their parents give them directives and they obey immediately whereas in concerted cultivation homes, the children question their parents. When I first read this idea of hers I was very hesitant to accept what she wrote as truth. I spent my summer as a counselor on a program that helps juvenile delinquents at risk, and majority of my campers came from working class families. However, I was only a counselor on this program for one summer so I wanted to see what the director of the program had to say:

Most of our campers come from low-income families where the parents are forced to work a lot and therefore don’t have time to discipline their children. Their children are left with the freedom to do whatever they want, and when they get bored they resort to trouble. Most of the time their parents are so busy working that they don’t even know what their children are up to. Sometimes they’re shocked when I tell them that their children are up to no good, doing drugs on the street. And these children are not respectful towards adults. It takes so much to get them to obey to the rules of the camp. (Weinberg, A.Y.)

The director of the camp, Avraham Yehuda Weinberg, confirmed my skepticism of Lareau’s claims about natural growth children. And logically it makes a lot of sense. Many children from low income homes lack attention and guidance from their parents because their parents have to take care of everyday responsibilities. Working class parents don‘t have the resources to make these responsibilities easier and less time consuming, so their time is almost occupied by these burdens. For example, middle class mothers and working class mothers both have the responsibility of going grocery shopping. However, for a middle class mother it will take less time because she drives to and from the grocery store. On the other hand, grocery shopping for a working class mother is usually a much longer affair because she has to take the bus. This leaves less time for the working class mother to spend with her children and more time for her children to do whatever they want. Based on my own experiences, I can attest to the proposal that children who spend less time with their parents get into more trouble and don’t have respect for authority figures. My campers were extremely difficult to control and often cursed at the counselors and directors of the camp. They didn’t exhibit any signs of fear or respect for authority figures and they came from working class homes where their parents use methods of natural growth.
          In addition to the respect dispute, I find that not only does class contribute to whether or not children show respect to their parents and authority figures, but religion is a huge indicator. Lareau wrote that child rearing methods come as a result of social class, but I believe that there is so much more that determines family interactions than just that. Religion, for example, plays a huge role in the determining factor. In Judaism, one of the ten commandments is to honor your father and mother. Jewish religion greatly stresses the importance of respecting parents, elders, and authority figures:

Do not sit in a place that was designated for your parent. For example, don’t sit in your mother’s chair at the dinner table and don’t sit in your father’s special easy chair (unless you’ve asked permission). Do not contradict anything your parent says, even if it is obviously wrong. Rather, you can phrase it as an uncertainty: “If I’m not mistaken, I may have read differently.” (Simmons, Shraga)

Lareau proposed the idea that, included in concerted cultivation, is the freedom for children to talk back to parents and fight for what they want. Lareau may consider me concerted cultivation based on some of the child rearing methods my parents practiced but I wasn’t taught or encouraged to talk back to my parents. I started out in a Jewish three year old nursery school and continued my Jewish education up until I graduated high school. From day one we learned about respecting our parents and elders. As little kids, we sang songs that included messages on respect, and as understanding adults we learned the more intricate details of the laws, such as those mentioned above. Clearly, in this area, I disagree with Lareau, and I have legitimate sources to back me up.
          My upbringing cannot be clearly characterized by either concerted cultivation or natural growth. Different situations came up throughout my childhood and my parents dealt with each situation as best they could. Parents, in general, want the best possible life for their children. My parents follow that rule very carefully. They always tried their hardest to work together to provide me with the best life. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward them for that and everything they’ve given me thus far.

Works Cited Page

1. Lareau, Annette. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life.California; Regents of the University of California press, Ltd, 2003. Print.

2. Stein, Davida. Personal Interview. 4 May 2010

3. Weinberg, Avraham Yehuda. Personal Interview. 18 May 2010

4. Simmons, Shraga. Aish.com, 21 May 2010

 


Final Scholarship Essay

May 11, 2010

Talia Stein
Steven Alvarez
English 110
10 May 2010

The Journey that Led me to My Future: A Special Education Teacher

I was nine years old when my life took a turn. My father woke me up early in the morning on a Sunday, which was very unusual because my parents used to let me sleep late on weekends. But this weekend was different. I didn’t know exactly what was going on or what would happen next. All I knew was that my mother was on her way to the hospital and she wouldn’t be back for at least a month. I was shocked. I had no clue that something was wrong with my mother’s health. She never complained about any symptoms. I was so scared of what the future held, but being that I was a fifth grade student, I was forced to go on with life and concentrate on my studies. However, I would need some extra help.

The people around me made it a lot easier for me to continue to lead a normal life. The whole community pulled together and helped my family a lot. My father left for work very early in the morning, so several mothers from the community took turns driving my siblings and I to school. My aunt came over every night to make dinner for us and do homework with us. My friends’ mothers were very understanding and offered to drive me to and from school, activities, and social events. They also took me to visit my mother. I was so impressed with everyone who offered their services, and being a receiver of so much giving inspired me to be a giver myself.

I felt like I had to give back to the people who gave so much to me. But I realized that I can’t, and the only way to show the world that I recognized goodness, is to put goodness and giving back into the world. I was just finishing up fifth grade at that point in my life and I had plans to go to sleep away camp for the summer. At camp, I met a girl who desperately needed a friend. She stood out from the crowd, in a negative way. She was messy, unattractive, and unapproachable. As a result of her situation, she was sad. Therefore, I made it my responsibility to be a friend to her. It was tough, but I was very serious about it, so I persevered. It took much patience, acceptance, and tolerance, but to this day we are still friends. This was my first major selfless act as a child.

After that first act, I thought of myself as someone who could do it- someone who could be a giver and who could put others’ needs before her own. Middle school was the next stage of life, and there were many opportunities to be a giver there. My school had a program for special needs children called “Kulanu”. I was very involved with this organization. I befriended a few of the participants to the point where we would get together outside of school. I remained a contributor to Kulanu all throughout middle school and High School. Although High School is over and I’m not around Kulanu anymore, I still keep in contact with my special needs friends. I recently decided that I want to take this involvement further, and make it into a career.

I plan on majoring in education and then going to graduate school so that I could get a masters in special education. I am confident that I will follow through with these plans and be successful as a special education teacher. I am personable, strong willed, tolerant, and accepting. These are all traits that are needed to be successful when dealing with special children. It is easy for me to learn how to love someone despite a disability
he/she has. The fact that I’ve been involved with Kulanu for so long, is an indicator that I will persevere and make it far in the field. I believe that I am worthy of being helped to achieve my goals. When I had a meeting with the college guidance counselor in High School, she told me that Queens College has a very reputable education program. I feel secure in my choice to study at Queens College for that reason and I would love to get everything I can out of it, despite my financial struggle. Financial problems should not prevent someone who is motivated from accomplishing his/her goals. I don’t want to be at a disadvantage because it is a struggle for me to pay for textbooks. If I am granted money from “Esther’s Book Fund”, I will be able to fulfill my goal without the financial struggle.


Essay revision 1

May 5, 2010

Talia Stein
Steven Alvarez
English 110
May 4, 2010
Concerted Cultivation and Natural Growth: The Two Major Child- Rearing Methods According to Annette Lareau’s Unequal Childhoods
When parents raise their children, they use certain techniques. While every parent reserves the prerogative to raise his child as he sees fit (so long as its not abusive), parents’ techniques will inevitably greatly affect their children. In addition, each technique has its pros and cons. Parents choose child-rearing techniques based on what works best for his child, right? Wrong! Social classes, income, and surroundings limit parents to certain child rearing methods. Therefore, the chosen techniques used by parents often come as a result of where they fall in the social structure.
Unequal Childhoods, written by Annette Lareau, delves into the facts and theories of social classes. Lareau observes several families very closely, some from the working class and some from the middle class. She concludes that two major methods of child- rearing exist. The middle class parents use the method of “concerted cultivation” while the working class parents use the method of “natural growth”. Everyone falls under a category or at least a mixture of the two. Lareau gives real- life examples of children brought up under both circumstances:
Laughing and yelling, a white fourth grader named Garett Tallinger splashes around in the swimming pool in the backyard of his four-bedroom home in the suburbs on a late spring afternoon. As on most evenings, after a quick dinner his father drives him to soccer practice. This is only one of Garrett’s many activities. His brother has a baseball game at a different location. There are evenings when the boys’ parents relax, sipping a glass of wine. Tonight is not one of them. As they rush to change out of their work clothes and get the children ready for practice, Mr. and Mrs. Tallinger are harried. Only ten minutes away, a Black fourth grader, Alexander Williams, is riding home from a school open house. His mother is driving their beige, leather-upholstered Lexus. It is 9:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Ms. Williams is tired from work and has a long Thursday ahead of her. She will get up at 4:45 a.m. to go out of town on business and will not return before 9:00 p.m. On Saturday morning, she will chauffeur Alexander to a private piano lesson at 8:15 a.m., which will be followed by a choir rehearsal and then a soccer game. As they ride in the dark, Alexander’s mother, in a quiet voice, talks with her son, asking him questions and eliciting his opinions (1).
A significant consequence of working class and poor parents’ view of their children’s social lives as not particularly important and their children’s acceptance of that perspective is that the children are not trained to see themselves as special and worthy of being catered to in daily life. Children appear to gain a sense of constraint, as opposed to entitlement, in their workings with the larger world. A feeling of constraint is not the only outcome, however. When parents follow the child-rearing strategy of the accomplishment of natural growth, providing close supervision in custodial matters and granting children autonomy in leisure matters, the children appear to take real pleasure in their playtime. The lack of adult attention and involvement in their activities leaves children in working-class and poor homes free to concentrate on pleasing themselves. The children we studied tended to show more creativity, spontaneity, enjoyment, and initiative in their leisure pastimes than we saw among middle-class children at play in organized activities (83).
Concerted cultivation includes signing kids up for many after-school activities
such as sports, dance, and art classes. Their schools never lack in the resources department and parents involve themselves in children’s lives in and out of school. In addition to the involvement of parents in their children’s lives, they also interact with their children on an adult-like level. They make sure to elicit opinions and thoughts from their children, and they negotiate with them as well. Parents and children of middle class families harbor a “sense of entitlement” which means that they feel they deserve to get what they want. My parents raised me like a product of concerted cultivation- but to a certain degree.
I attended private school my whole life up until college. My school, famous for always being well- equipped with nice facilities, offered many resources for students. My parents attended parent-teacher conferences- not much more. Despite the small extent of their involvement, they do harbor a sense of entitlement. If I ever came home from school with a complaint and they saw validity to it, they would express their concern to the school. My parents respect my opinion and often initiate conversation with me. In addition, my parents feel that since they pay for me to attend institutions (school and camp), these institutions have a responsibility to provide me with certain needs including a promising future.
Natural growth, on the other hand, includes a lot of free time for children, usually not more than one extracurricular activity per year. This leaves children to organize their leisure time on their own and to get together with friends and relatives often. Since children hang out on the street a lot they have the advantage of developing “street smarts”. Although street smarts come with important skills necessary for life, schools don’t generally validate them. The schools that natural growth children attend don’t have many resources which leaves the children to feel a “sense of constraint”- the feeling that they don’t have enough resources to help them get what they need. In addition, they don’t feel entitled to express their opinions in school. If they find something unfair they don’t fight for it, they simply deal with it. Parents don’t have adult like conversations with their children. Their interactions consist mostly of commands or directives, and the children obey in an obedient manner. My parents practiced certain methods of natural growth. I only attended one extracurricular activity per year- gymnastics or art class. I never had a busy schedule outside of school. I had a lot of free time and therefore spent time outdoors with friends and neighbors. My favorite outdoor activities included playing basketball, hockey, and capture the flag with my friends. I also loved to ride my bike.
The way my parents chose to rear me changed subtly over different time periods. For example, in third grade I wanted a dog. My parents refused to get me one until we came to an agreement. I would have to follow a “points system” and when I reached 100 points I would get a dog. In order to earn points I had to wake up on time for school, do all my homework on time, do well on tests and go to sleep early. Beforehand, my parents very rarely enforced such stringencies. During that period of my life my parents practiced methods of concerted cultivation.
When my parents got divorced, in sixth grade, they practiced concerted cultivation. They each wanted to make sure that I received proper attention in the midst of a hard time. They got the school guidance counselor to take me out of class periodically to talk to me. They also signed me up for more after- school activities in an attempt to distract me from the chaos at home.
However, my parents didn’t always practice these methods. As I got older, they took more of a natural growth approach. In middle school, I loved the freedom. I had so much fun doing whatever I wanted and hanging out with my friends all the time. But that love of freedom didn’t last long. As I got older I wanted my parents to treat me more like a child even though adulthood seemed very near, simply because I wanted more attention from them. Parents, in general, want the best possible life for their children. My parents follow that rule very carefully. They always tried their hardest to work together- despite their divorce- to achieve the best for me. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to them for that and everything they’ve given me thus far.


field notes

May 4, 2010

English Homework- interview with parents
Interview with Daddy and Step-mom
Daddy: So Tals, what are you doing in school these days? Anything interesting?
Talia: Yeah I have an essay due soon. It’s about the different child-rearing methods practiced by different social classes.
Daddy: What are the different methods?
Talia: One is concerted cultivation and the other is natural growth. C oncerted cultivation is when the parents sign their kids up for too many extra curricular activities, the parents talk to their kids rather than demand, the kids are comfortable with adults- no fear. Natural growth is when the kids have a lot of free time, they listen quickly to adults… stuff like that. Their parents don’t really ask for their opinion they just command their children to do things and their children listen.
Daddy: Which one do you think you are?
Talia: Natural growth.
step-mom: Relax. She’s pulling your leg.
Daddy: No. She’s serious. Talia, what makes you think you’re natural growth
Talia: Well I only had one extracurricular activity at a time. I always had a lot of free time.
Daddy: what about the fact that you have a double curriculum. Doesn’t the second half of the day count as extracurriculars?
Talia: maybe. I don’t think so.
Step-mom: You should know, one of my employees mentioned something interesting to me, that she noticed that Jewish mothers are ALWAYS talking to their babies. They talk to their babies all day long.
Interview with mommy
Talia: I explained each child-rearing method
Mommy: helped me explain- she knew what i was talking about- concerted cultivation is when the kids are overstimulated and pushed into things. natural growth is when the kids are able to evolve naturally like they should.
Talia: so which one do you think you raised me with
Mommy: Natural.
Talia: concerted cultivation parents try to elicit opinions from children. natural growth parents have a more demand-obey relationship with their kids.
Mommy: you were half and half.


I love English Class

April 21, 2010

I enjoy english class very much. I find myself thinking about social classes throughout the day and each interaction I have with people can be related to something I’ve learned in class. Funny story- I was talking to my friend about how nuts her mom is for going to Mardis Gras, and I mentioned the beads. My friend was like “Yeah my mom just had a billion beads around her neck.” And I was like “What is the deal with those beads I don’t get the hype”, and she said “I don’t know what the deal is with those beads, I don’t even know where they came from.” Then obviously I told her where the beads came from and she was horrified. I was amused to see how my friend illustrated the point shown in the video. Nobody stops to think where things come from.


Different child rearing methods based on Annette Leareau’s Unequal Childhoods

April 8, 2010

Talia Stein
Different child rearing methods based on Anette Leareau’s Unequal Childhoods

Unequal Childhoods is a book that delves into the facts and theories of social classes. Annette Lareau, the author, observes several families very closely. Some from the working class and some from the middle class. She concludes that there are two major methods of child rearing. The middle class parents use the method of “concerted cultivation” while the working class parents use the method of “natural growth” (both of which will be described below). Everyone falls under a category or at least a mixture of the two. In which category would I be placed? Here are examples of how children are raised in middle class families:
Laughing and yelling, a white fourth-grader named Garrett Tallinger splashes             around in the swimming pool in the backyard of his four-bedroom home in the
Suburbs on a late spring afternoon. As on most evenings, after a quick dinner his         father drives him to soccer practice. This is only one of Garrett’s many activities.         His brother has a baseball game at a different location. There are evenings when
The boys’ parents relax, sipping a glass of wine. Tonight is not one of them. As         they rush to change out of their work clothes and get the children ready for             practice, Mr. and Mrs. Tallinger are harried .
Only ten minutes away, a Black fourth-grader, Alexander Williams, is riding         home from a school open house. His mother is driving their beige, leather-        upholstered Lexus. It is 9:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Ms. Williams is tired         from work and has a long Thursday ahead of her. She will get up at 4:45 a.m. to         go out of town on business and will not return before 9:00 p.m. On Saturday         morning, she will chauffeur Alexander to a private piano lesson at 8:15 a.m.,         which will be followed by a choir rehearsal and then a soccer game. As they ride         in the dark, Alexander’s mother, in a quiet voice, talks with her son, asking him         questions and eliciting his opinions (Leareau 1).
These children are being raised in a family in which their parents use the method of concerted cultivation. Concerted cultivation includes signing kids up for many after-school activities such as sports, dance, and art classes. Their schools are full of resources and parents are very involved in children’s lives in and out of school. In addition to the involvement of parents in their children’s lives, they also interact with their children on an adult-like level. They make sure to elicit opinions and thoughts from their children. Parents and children of middle class families harbor a “sense of entitlement” which means that they feel they deserve to get what they want. This sense of entitlement is usually expressed in school settings. I am an example of a child brought up in a family in which the parents use the method of concerted cultivation but to a certain degree. My childhood didn’t include all aspects of concerted cultivation. I attended private school my whole life up until college. My school was always well equipped and offered many resources for students. My parents attended Parent- Teacher conferences but that was about the extent of their involvement in my schooling. Despite the small extent of their involvement, they do harbor a sense of entitlement. If I ever came home from school with a complaint and they felt it was reasonable they would express their concern to the school. My parents respect my opinion and often initiate conversation with me. In addition, my parents feel that since they pay for me to attend institutions (school and camp), these institutions have a responsibility to provide me with certain needs. In contrast to the life of the aforementioned children, children like Wendy Driver and Little Billy live like this:
The limited economic resources available to the working class and poor families     make getting children fed, clothed, sheltered and transported time-consuming,     arduous labor. Parents tend to direct their efforts toward keeping children safe,     enforcing discipline, and, when they deem it necessary, regulating their behavior     in specific areas. Within these boundaries, working-class and poor children are     allowed to grow and to thrive. They are given the flexibility to choose activities     and playmates and to decide how active or inactive to be as they engage in these     activities. The lack of adult attention and involvement in their activities leaves     children in working-class and poor homes free to concentrate on pleasing     themselves. The children we studied tended to show more creativity, spontaneity,     enjoyment, and initiative in their leisure pastimes than we saw among middle-    class children at play in organized activities. (Leareau 83)
Natural Growth includes a lot of free time for children, usually not more than one extracurricular activity per year. This leaves children to organize their leisure time on their own and get together with friends and relatives often. Since children hang out on the street a lot they have the advantage of developing “street smarts”. Their schools are poorly equipped which leaves them feeling “a sense of restraint”. The feeling that they don’t have enough resources to help them get what they need- a proper education. In addition, they don’t feel that they’re entitled to express their opinions in school. If something is unfair they don’t fight for it, they deal with it. Parents don’t have adult-like conversations with their children. Their interactions mostly consist of commands and the children obey. Certain methods of natural growth were practiced by my parents. I only attended one extra-curricular activity per year whether it was gymnastics or art class. I never had a busy schedule outside of school. I had a lot of free time and therefore spent time outdoors with friends and neighbors. Playing basketball, riding my bike with friends, and playing “capture the flag” were all some of my favorite outdoor activities.
The way I was raised changed subtly over time periods. When I was in third grade my parents were a lot more involved in my life and my development than they were when I was in middle school and high school. There was a very specific reason for this: In third grade all I wanted was a dog. My parents refused to get me one until we came to an agreement. I would have to follow a “points system” and when I reached 100 points I would get a dog. In order to get points I had to wake up early for school, do ALL my homework on time, do well on tests, go to sleep early, etc. These are things that beforehand, my parents very rarely enforced. Therefore, during that period of my life, I was raised more like a product of a concerted cultivation home. However, as I got older, my parents raised me more and more according to the natural growth method. As I got older they were more involved in themselves and their endeavors than in my achievements. To be completely honest, when I was in middle school I loved the freedom. I had so much fun doing whatever I wanted with my friends. That love of freedom didn’t last too long. As I got older I wished that my parents treated me more like a kid even though I was breaking through the surface of adulthood. Parents, in general, want what is best for their children. My parents are no exception. They always wanted what was best for me and worked together (despite their divorce) to achieve that. I feel a huge sense of gratitude to them.
Talia Stein
Different child rearing methods based on Anette Leareau’s Unequal Childhoods

Unequal Childhoods is a book that delves into the facts and theories of social classes. Annette Lareau, the author, observes several families very closely. Some from the working class and some from the middle class. She concludes that there are two major methods of child rearing. The middle class parents use the method of “concerted cultivation” while the working class parents use the method of “natural growth” (both of which will be described below). Everyone falls under a category or at least a mixture of the two. In which category would I be placed? Here are examples of how children are raised in middle class families:
Laughing and yelling, a white fourth-grader named Garrett Tallinger splashes             around in the swimming pool in the backyard of his four-bedroom home in the
Suburbs on a late spring afternoon. As on most evenings, after a quick dinner his         father drives him to soccer practice. This is only one of Garrett’s many activities.         His brother has a baseball game at a different location. There are evenings when
The boys’ parents relax, sipping a glass of wine. Tonight is not one of them. As         they rush to change out of their work clothes and get the children ready for             practice, Mr. and Mrs. Tallinger are harried .
Only ten minutes away, a Black fourth-grader, Alexander Williams, is riding         home from a school open house. His mother is driving their beige, leather-        upholstered Lexus. It is 9:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Ms. Williams is tired         from work and has a long Thursday ahead of her. She will get up at 4:45 a.m. to         go out of town on business and will not return before 9:00 p.m. On Saturday         morning, she will chauffeur Alexander to a private piano lesson at 8:15 a.m.,         which will be followed by a choir rehearsal and then a soccer game. As they ride         in the dark, Alexander’s mother, in a quiet voice, talks with her son, asking him         questions and eliciting his opinions (Leareau 1).
These children are being raised in a family in which their parents use the method of concerted cultivation. Concerted cultivation includes signing kids up for many after-school activities such as sports, dance, and art classes. Their schools are full of resources and parents are very involved in children’s lives in and out of school. In addition to the involvement of parents in their children’s lives, they also interact with their children on an adult-like level. They make sure to elicit opinions and thoughts from their children. Parents and children of middle class families harbor a “sense of entitlement” which means that they feel they deserve to get what they want. This sense of entitlement is usually expressed in school settings. I am an example of a child brought up in a family in which the parents use the method of concerted cultivation but to a certain degree. My childhood didn’t include all aspects of concerted cultivation. I attended private school my whole life up until college. My school was always well equipped and offered many resources for students. My parents attended Parent- Teacher conferences but that was about the extent of their involvement in my schooling. Despite the small extent of their involvement, they do harbor a sense of entitlement. If I ever came home from school with a complaint and they felt it was reasonable they would express their concern to the school. My parents respect my opinion and often initiate conversation with me. In addition, my parents feel that since they pay for me to attend institutions (school and camp), these institutions have a responsibility to provide me with certain needs. In contrast to the life of the aforementioned children, children like Wendy Driver and Little Billy live like this:
The limited economic resources available to the working class and poor families     make getting children fed, clothed, sheltered and transported time-consuming,     arduous labor. Parents tend to direct their efforts toward keeping children safe,     enforcing discipline, and, when they deem it necessary, regulating their behavior     in specific areas. Within these boundaries, working-class and poor children are     allowed to grow and to thrive. They are given the flexibility to choose activities     and playmates and to decide how active or inactive to be as they engage in these     activities. The lack of adult attention and involvement in their activities leaves     children in working-class and poor homes free to concentrate on pleasing     themselves. The children we studied tended to show more creativity, spontaneity,     enjoyment, and initiative in their leisure pastimes than we saw among middle-    class children at play in organized activities. (Leareau 83)
Natural Growth includes a lot of free time for children, usually not more than one extracurricular activity per year. This leaves children to organize their leisure time on their own and get together with friends and relatives often. Since children hang out on the street a lot they have the advantage of developing “street smarts”. Their schools are poorly equipped which leaves them feeling “a sense of restraint”. The feeling that they don’t have enough resources to help them get what they need- a proper education. In addition, they don’t feel that they’re entitled to express their opinions in school. If something is unfair they don’t fight for it, they deal with it. Parents don’t have adult-like conversations with their children. Their interactions mostly consist of commands and the children obey. Certain methods of natural growth were practiced by my parents. I only attended one extra-curricular activity per year whether it was gymnastics or art class. I never had a busy schedule outside of school. I had a lot of free time and therefore spent time outdoors with friends and neighbors. Playing basketball, riding my bike with friends, and playing “capture the flag” were all some of my favorite outdoor activities.
The way I was raised changed subtly over time periods. When I was in third grade my parents were a lot more involved in my life and my development than they were when I was in middle school and high school. There was a very specific reason for this: In third grade all I wanted was a dog. My parents refused to get me one until we came to an agreement. I would have to follow a “points system” and when I reached 100 points I would get a dog. In order to get points I had to wake up early for school, do ALL my homework on time, do well on tests, go to sleep early, etc. These are things that beforehand, my parents very rarely enforced. Therefore, during that period of my life, I was raised more like a product of a concerted cultivation home. However, as I got older, my parents raised me more and more according to the natural growth method. As I got older they were more involved in themselves and their endeavors than in my achievements. To be completely honest, when I was in middle school I loved the freedom. I had so much fun doing whatever I wanted with my friends. That love of freedom didn’t last too long. As I got older I wished that my parents treated me more like a kid even though I was breaking through the surface of adulthood. Parents, in general, want what is best for their children. My parents are no exception. They always wanted what was best for me and worked together (despite their divorce) to achieve that. I feel a huge sense of gratitude to them.


Revised PIE paragraph

March 24, 2010

The doll experiment was an experiment that was reconducted by black girls. The original experiment was conducted by a Doctor during the famous court case entitled “Brown Versus Board of Education”. The experiment was to present black kids with two dolls- one black and one white. Then, the children are asked to choose the doll they liked best, or which was the “good” or “bad” doll. In majority of cases the white doll was chosen. The most fascinating part of the reconducted experiment was that a girlw as asked two questions. The first was “Which doll is the good doll?” She chose the white one. Then when asked which doll looks most like her, she first reached for the white doll but hten realized she obviously looks more like the black doll so ultimately chose the black doll. Pierre Bordieu, a famous sociologist, wrote  “The dominated perceive the dominant through the categories that the relation of domination has produced and which are thus identical to the interests of the dominant”. This quote can present a theory as to why the girl answered the two  questions as she did. this quote says that the inferior group perceives the superior group by what domination in general means. Domination means power, wealth, entitlement, happiness, and all good things. The inferior especially believe this to be true. The little girl reached for the white doll because she is happy and is leading a non-inferior life. Her first instict was to choose the doll that is associated with those things. She then realized that she’s black and chose the black doll because it looks more like her. This whole episode contradicted her first answer.


My opinion on whether or not its important to know about MLK’s visit and why

March 24, 2010

HEllooooooo. Ok so Martin Luther King Jr. came to Queens College to talk about non-violence and civil rights. On one hand, I think its important to know about the places in which one is involved. I go to school 4 days out of the week. School is a big part of my life. Therefore, I think its important that I know about the school- that includes knowing about the administration, the school’s rankings, and the school’s history. MLK’s visit was a big hit. Its a significant piece of QC’s history. MLK is like a celeb! But honestly, the only reason why I think its important for students to know about their school’s history, administration, rankings,etc is because it makes them well rounded, intelligent people. AKA, they’ll sound more intelligent when they speak to people. Whether or not knowing about MLK’s visit is important, is dependent on if sounding intelligent is important to you. To me, it is. But only a 5 on a scale from 1-10.


my understanding of social classes (not assigned in class)

March 7, 2010

Social classes. They’re all around us. They’re inevitable. And still I can’t seem to completely understand them. 1. Does it really matter who belongs to which class. 2. Can everyone really be put into a such a small “box”? Personally, I’m not interested in how much money people have. That to me doesn’t define their class. To me, class means “class” as in “classy”- like if you’re a dignified person. I judge people by how they treat their families, kids, people around them and what their values are. The other day I was at the department of financing in Queens. There were so many different types of people there. And of course I looked around and tried to figure everyone out. And that’s when I realized that I don’t categorize people by money or where they live. I categorize people on whether or not they act as dignified people. There was a woman in back of me on line, yelling on her cell phone as if nobody else was there. She was totally impatient, cursing on the phone. She referred to the people in the department as “welfare cases”. To me, she’s in a lower class no matter how much money she has. She has no class. On the other side of the line there was a hispanic woman with her daughter. She treated her daughter with much care and was disciplining her daughter. I don’t know how much money they have, but that woman had class. To me, she’s an upper class citizen.


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