After reading the article Class and Childrearing by Kohn, I was left with several mixed messages and understandings of the text. The majority of the article discusses differences between middle-class and lower income/ working class parents in their parenting methods. The main purpose of the research was to find a relationship between class and self-direction within family dynamics. The impact on leisure time and verbal interactions between parents and children were also looked at. Though I do agree with some of the research presented, I can’t help but to feel that not all of the research is valid. This is due to the part in the text that reads, “even if the case does provide insight into broader behavioral patterns, it does not conﬁrm that the parental behaviors exhibited by middle-class parents are, in fact, motivated by a valuation of self-direction in their children. Indeed, the observed behaviors may derive from entirely different values and attitudes”. In my opinion, it is difficult to have a clear cut answer when the individuals that were studied are just a select few among an entire nation. Every person, family, etc has a different way in which they choose to raise their children. Personalities, outside forces, and many other characteristics can contribute to the way a child grows up, and I think it is important that we do not push these features to the side.
However, on the subject of choice and leisure activities, interesting points were made. The article states that “the more options they will be able to see for themselves, the more they get a sense of improved self-esteem, self-worth, and self-conﬁdence. I think that will carry them through adulthood.” This was in regards to the importance of both choice and exposure in a child’s life. The more they are exposed to, the easier it will be for them to evaluate their choices—whether good or bad. The use of activities in fostering growth in an individual is also an important concept to consider. Sports and different leisurely activities are important in helping youth grow cognitively, emotionally, and socially. They are able to develop lifelong skills and lessons that will help them throughout their life.
Lastly, I enjoyed when the article stated that the “children were being taught to justify their choices by providing convincing reasons while at the same time being exposed to another’s perspective via the reasons offered for the alternative”. I think that this is a great way for children to learn what they do or do not like and why. Additionally, children are able to learn how to express themselves and give reasons for why they feel the way they do about specific topics. This makes me think about Youth in Action and how the youth are expected to justify their opinions. This approach is fundamental in the learning process and paves the way towards understanding and identification.