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Old 08-14-2014, 11:35 PM
 
11,393 posts, read 6,441,030 times
Reputation: 6152

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Another thread I made about how raising a child doesn't have to be terribly expensive drew a lot of criticism.

It seems that some people hold the opinion that being content with what you've provided your child (unless it's the best) is a disservice to that child. They feel that a parent should constantly strive to provide better, better, better for the child. This could be in the form of better schools, better neighborhoods, better city, a slew of extracurricular activities, the best ranked childcare providers, the best foods, clothing, medical care, etc, etc.

My question is - is it OK to be content with what you've provided for child? For example:

- child attends an average public in the state (a mix of poor, working class and middle class families)
- family lives in an average (or even below average) home in a working class/average neighborhood/city (not dangerous, but not the safest)
- child wears relatively modest clothing (perhaps even some hand-me-downs)
- child receives 2 or 3 star childcare instead of 5 star
- child doesn't have access to all extracurricular activities/tutoring and parents probably can't afford to pay for all college expenses

Is it somehow morally wrong for this parent to be satisfied with what they've provided (i.e. calling it good enough and enjoying life) or should they constantly strive/work hard/stress to provide their child with something better?

Where do you draw the line between fanatical and satisfied?

 
Old 08-15-2014, 12:55 AM
 
9,286 posts, read 7,305,429 times
Reputation: 22791
Eddie, I'm with you on this. I grew up in less than stellar circumstances and I had less than what you mentioned above. Guess what? I'm fine. I'm a productive member of society. I've grown up and my parents are off the hook for the quality of my adult life. As an adult, my life is what I make it.

The material stuff in childhood means very little.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,229,248 times
Reputation: 10153
Nothing wrong with average, I had an average upbringing (well my high school was worse than average but everything else was about middle of the road). Quite happy for my kid to have the same (except for the below par school, but all schools are average here really, and good)
 
Old 08-15-2014, 01:44 AM
 
11,393 posts, read 6,441,030 times
Reputation: 6152
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
Eddie, I'm with you on this. I grew up in less than stellar circumstances and I had less than what you mentioned above. Guess what? I'm fine. I'm a productive member of society. I've grown up and my parents are off the hook for the quality of my adult life. As an adult, my life is what I make it.

The material stuff in childhood means very little.
I agree. I think the important thing is getting a child to adulthood with the ability to have control of their happiness in life while feeling loved, supported and appreciative. I know many people like yourself that grew up with less than I mentioned and I don't think any of them look back and lose any respect for their parents with the mindset of well, they should have done this or that or picked up a 2nd job so I could have ____.

As an adult, I would like to know my parents made an effort to protect me from obvious danger, but I wouldn't like to think my existence was a source of stress and some unhappiness while they strived to give me the best of everything.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 05:15 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,018,139 times
Reputation: 30256
There's nothing wrong with average. The majority of the country is providing an average lifestyle for their children. Here's the median household incomes by states. There are only so many top school districts to go around, and most Americans can't afford to buy homes in them. I'll bet the majority of school age children are in before and after school programs at their schools. That's very average. I know many people limit their children's extracurricular activities to one thing at a time.

I get sick of when people come to my city's forum wanting to know THE BEST school districts, and they won't give up wanting the best when their budget doesn't allow them to buy in the best. There are plenty of average school districts in my region that are better than the best in other states. Alternately, the forum members rattle off the 4 more affluent districts to people with a budget of 150k for a home. The ironic thing is we have a few top-notch districts that aren't the most affluent, but people rarely mention them.

The only things I'd change about your list is that the neighborhood should be safe and tutoring should be done when needed. In my city, there are plenty of low income neighborhoods that are very safe. Income is not excuse to not keep a child safe here unless a family is utterly impoverished (and poverty isn't an average lifestyle so those dangerous neighborhoods aren't relevant). Tutoring should be provided to a child who is struggling. That doesn't mean paying for expensive tutors. Parents can tutor their own child. When they can't due to lack of knowledge, there are affordable tutor options out there---even free if a relative or family friend has the particular skillset.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 05:17 AM
 
Location: Planet Earth
2,768 posts, read 2,314,254 times
Reputation: 4956
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
Another thread I made about how raising a child doesn't have to be terribly expensive drew a lot of criticism.

It seems that some people hold the opinion that being content with what you've provided your child (unless it's the best) is a disservice to that child. They feel that a parent should constantly strive to provide better, better, better for the child. This could be in the form of better schools, better neighborhoods, better city, a slew of extracurricular activities, the best ranked childcare providers, the best foods, clothing, medical care, etc, etc.

My question is - is it OK to be content with what you've provided for child? For example:

- child attends an average public in the state (a mix of poor, working class and middle class families)
- family lives in an average (or even below average) home in a working class/average neighborhood/city (not dangerous, but not the safest)
- child wears relatively modest clothing (perhaps even some hand-me-downs)
- child receives 2 or 3 star childcare instead of 5 star
- child doesn't have access to all extracurricular activities/tutoring and parents probably can't afford to pay for all college expenses

Is it somehow morally wrong for this parent to be satisfied with what they've provided (i.e. calling it good enough and enjoying life) or should they constantly strive/work hard/stress to provide their child with something better?

Where do you draw the line between fanatical and satisfied?
Nothing wrong with diversity in the public schools, how will a child learn to interact with different people if the public school has nothing but children from the same SES?

After my experience of living with working class and even poor folks, I realize there is one thing the upper echelon do not have: we watch out for one another.

Nothing wrong with hand me downs, that's all I wear now.

I think kids are way too scheduled with extracurricular activities. I wonder how children will handle boredom.

I seriously doubt how spending tons of money on a child will help the child later in life.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 05:21 AM
 
35,121 posts, read 37,842,380 times
Reputation: 61845
Original Poster: Do you have children or are you planning on having children soon?

You seem very concerned with how others view parents and I really don't understand it.
Most parents do the best they can for their child and there is no parental handbook that spells out
everything for everyone.
Each parent is different, each child is different, each family dynamic is different.
There are some who are poor and have the most loving, giving, intelligent, successful children on the planet.
Then there are those who are very rich, have provided the best of everything and have children who are drunks, drug addicts or getting into legal trouble all of the time.
No matter what income level, education level, social level your child is going to turn out how your child turns out and there is no guarantee how that will be.
At some point one has to back away and allow the child to make their own choices, to gain life experience, to make those mistakes and either learn from them or continue to make more.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 05:49 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,018,139 times
Reputation: 30256
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
Original Poster: Do you have children or are you planning on having children soon?

You seem very concerned with how others view parents and I really don't understand it.
Most parents do the best they can for their child and there is no parental handbook that spells out
everything for everyone.
Each parent is different, each child is different, each family dynamic is different.
There are some who are poor and have the most loving, giving, intelligent, successful children on the planet.
Then there are those who are very rich, have provided the best of everything and have children who are drunks, drug addicts or getting into legal trouble all of the time.
No matter what income level, education level, social level your child is going to turn out how your child turns out and there is no guarantee how that will be.
At some point one has to back away and allow the child to make their own choices, to gain life experience, to make those mistakes and either learn from them or continue to make more.
I really don't understand the tone of your post since you're basically saying you agree with the OP: Providing an average lifestyle is acceptable, and it doesn't equate to a bad parent.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 06:11 AM
 
Location: The analog world
15,642 posts, read 8,764,064 times
Reputation: 20968
I think that most parents will stretch to provide the very best for their children given their means, whether it's an annual salary of $30k or five times that. As a participant in the other thread, however, I also believe that the OP is woefully ignorant of the true expense of raising children today. We each face unique financial pressures and have to make choices based on the resources available to us given our life circumstances. That said, if he can manage to do it better for less, more power to him.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 06:55 AM
 
8,545 posts, read 5,268,314 times
Reputation: 9115
I was a participant in the other thread and I'd say that the op has gotten the wrong impression of what parents were trying to convey to him in that thread, which was not that that parents need to provide the best of the best of everything for their kids but rather, parenting is not cheap. I think everything on the op's list is just fine for a family. Most good parents will do the best they can for their kids with the resources that are available to them. I know kids who have much more then what is on the list and I know kids who have much less. Most fall somewhere in the middle.
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