Unequal Childhoods


Unequal childhoods is a non-fiction book written by an American author, Annette Laureau. The book is based on ethnic studies of about 88 American families, 12 of which were talked about in the book. The book specifically aims at discovering how social class, that is race, ethnicity and socio-economic status plays out on family life in America and in particular on the lives of kids. It was published in the U.S., in 2003. The thrust of the book’s persuasion is that socio-economic class is the overriding factor that determines children’s developmental trajectory in terms of the cultivation of life skills.

Examining the Pathways of Development

In her initial study, Laureau explored how socio-economic class impacted on parental approach to child upbringing. The study focused on differences between parents that were working class and those that were middle class. She asserted that parents generally made use of deterministic cultivation and natural growth as instruments in training up their kids. Having concluded her initial studies; Annette Laureau set out to demonstrate how these child rearing methods help in shaping kids into the adults that they eventually become.

The author later went back to the families she had featured in her book in order to see what had happened to them and to discover if her earlier conclusions had held true. Annette found out that those kids from working class families had similar experiences to each other just as those from the middle class families did. Those from the working class families generally had not quite been able to obtain a decent level of education and had started working earlier that those from the middle class families and generally did jobs that did not require a college education. Also, some of these kids were supporting parents to pay rent and generally looked older than their counterparts from the middle class families.

By contrast, those from the middle class families generally had better education and started working much later than their working class counterparts. They had been exposed to career guidance counseling and had been exposed to a variety of colleges and universities and generally ended up pursuing professional careers like law and medicine. Then again, they looked much younger than their counterparts from the working class families. Laureau was able to prove that her conclusions from her earlier studies were true. Parenting approaches by parents from working class and middle class families differed significantly and had a profound effect on the education and work outcomes of their children.

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