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Old 06-22-2011, 12:01 AM
 
478 posts, read 661,990 times
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Okay, why do you think that parents feel that raising kids in a small town provides them with a better environment to grow up in? I often hear parents (including well-off ones who could afford good private schools) say things like "we don't want to raise our children in that environment [the city]."

As a kid I was raised in a town of 5,000, about 2 1/2 hours from the nearest real city. Throughout most of my growing up years, I wanted nothing more than for my parents to move us to an area near or in a bigger city.

Trying to be objective, I just don't feel that the trade-offs are really worth it:

Pros of rural area:
-less pollution
-less crime
-possibly better schools on average, depending upon the rural area in question

Pros of urban area:
-much wider network of potential friends to socialize with
-wider array of activities available to try
-more and more varied jobs for teens
-greater diversity in the community
-better "high end" schools if the kid can get in: eg the average public HS in North Dakota might be better than the average NYC public school, but you're not likely to find places like Stuyvesant in North Dakota.

I realize my own biases probably come through in making this comparison, but it's an honest question to those parents who specifically wanted to raise their children in a small town. Why did you feel that the trade-off was worth it?
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Crime might be one facet.

Cities tend to have gangs; small towns and rural areas do not.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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There's also the fact that in small towns the schools are the heart of the community. Usually the whole town turns out for the plays, sports events, spelling bees, and etc. So there's a lot of support from the community for school children in a small town.

Also, in small towns we all know one another's families. So if a kid is acting up in school we all know about it and talk about it - this is a form of behavior control/crime-gang prevention. But this is probably hard on the kids whose behavior doesn't fall in the realm of the "norm" for their community. That's why artsy or gay or socially awkward kids may have a harder time at school in a small community.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
16,300 posts, read 13,787,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily0fthevalley View Post
There's also the fact that in small towns the schools are the heart of the community. Usually the whole town turns out for the plays, sports events, spelling bees, and etc. So there's a lot of support from the community for school children in a small town.

Also, in small towns we all know one another's families. So if a kid is acting up in school we all know about it and talk about it - this is a form of behavior control/crime-gang prevention. But this is probably hard on the kids whose behavior doesn't fall in the realm of the "norm" for their community. That's why artsy or gay or socially awkward kids may have a harder time at school in a small community.
I find it hard to believe unless a small town is really small, like under 1000, that everybody really knows everybody else. Unless you're quite a social busybody, it's hard to keep up with so many people, along with the kids, especially if the town has more than one elementray school. Of course, some may feel if a town is so big that it has more than one elementary school, then it's not a real small town.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Well, I guess it depends what "knows" means.

I mean recognize by sight and know which parents/siblings belong to them and what neighborhood they live in.

I lived in a town of apx. 950 while I worked in a town of apx. 3000, and yes, I "knew" every single kid in both towns, and I think most people except for maybe the very elderly did too. I live just north of a town of 11,000 now, and only "know" some families so far - but I bet there are a large group of people who feel they "know" every family in this town.

Stillwater Oklahoma is a really nice small city, but certainly not rural or small anymore! I used to live about an hour away in a town of apx. 6000. And yes, I "knew" every single kid in that town!
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,304,308 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillwaterTownie View Post
I find it hard to believe unless a small town is really small, like under 1000, that everybody really knows everybody else. Unless you're quite a social busybody, it's hard to keep up with so many people, along with the kids, especially if the town has more than one elementray school. Of course, some may feel if a town is so big that it has more than one elementary school, then it's not a real small town.
Around here not every town has it's own elementary school. It is very common for one town to have K-6, 7-8, and 9-12 schools and provide them for all of the surrounding towns.

We do see some towns that have their own k-6 school and bus across the county for 7-8 and 9-12.

Recent state laws have made some towns close their schools.

It would be a fairly large town to have multiple k-6 schools.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
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Our "district" elementary school is in a town of 96 pop, our high school in a town of 149 pop, 18 miles apart. Most of the students come from surrounding ranches (district school student pop is abt 125 kids.) Everyone knows these kids, their parents, even their grandparents. Most are related one way or another. Most have known each other since before school; they play together at brandings and day care, grow up together in not just the school but in 4-H, rodeo activities, etc. There is a lot here to keep them busy - any kid who says "I'm Bored! I've got nothing to do!" will doubtless find him/herself out on his/her parents' or a neighbor's ranch, fixing fences, or roping calves to give them their medication.

I think that many parents have a romanticised idea of 'control', that their kids can't get involved in drugs or bad behavior when everyone, from family to neighbors to the town gossip is watching and reporting on their every move. This works - to a degree. But then you have the citified folks who move rurally, dont require their kids to do even their own household chores, much less work on neighbors' farms or even cut 'townie' grass - and then complain that there's nothing for kids to do, they need 'fun' things! Raising our kids, we lived in a town of 5,000 - and they had home chores, then at the age of 14 they were encouraged to get after-school jobs and earn their own money. We did our best to ensure that they had no time to get involved in anything illegal. Our kids never had the cops bring them home and we never got a phone call to come pick them up at the Police Station - or to get them a lawyer. They were taught that, when they were 'bored', they had better find something to occupy their time - or we would.

Also when living rurally, there is less chance of your child being involved in something purely random; like drivebys, or 'wilding', or even the most recent activity of masses of teens going into stores, malls, buses, etc and attacking multiple people or robbing multiple stores. You can't take the bus to the other side of town to get into trouble. You can't hop in a friend's car, boom boxes blaring and neon underneath glowing, to race from stoplight to stoplight - it costs too much gas and time to get to a town where that is even remotely impressive. Like as not some parent will already have called the kids' parents before they get halfway to town to tell them that their kid is being loud and obnoxious!

Unfortunately the flip side to this is that some rural people 'protect' their children so much that, when they go to college or leave home to go to the 'big city' to find work, they are often overwhelmed by the sudden and emotional choices proffered to them - good and bad - and unless they are very self-confident and very centered, they can get swept up in all sorts of things.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:18 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,582,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
I realize my own biases probably come through in making this comparison, but it's an honest question to those parents who specifically wanted to raise their children in a small town. Why did you feel that the trade-off was worth it?
Yes your biases do show, but you ask a legitimate question.

In my life I have lived in the cities of Detroit, MI and Dallas, TX; as well as tiny towns like McBain, MI and Lucas, MI as well as Washburn, ME. Plus I have lived miles outside of towns that number their people in the low hundreds (if you want to be generous that is.) I've also lived in towns between these extremes.

I moved my own family to a town of 1200 for some of the reasons you listed, plus many more you didn't. I like the fact that my boys can walk downtown if they want and I don't have to be worried about gangs and such. I like the fact that if they are looking at the knife display at the local hardware store, the clerk will call the house and ask if they come to the counter and want to buy one, should they sell them it (answer was yes by the way.)

I like the support all the kids get from the entire community. If there is a middle school play being put on, you better get there early or you will have to stand because all the seats are filled. A football game is filled with supporters, even if they haven't had a kid or Grandkid in the school for 30 years. A grade school concert with nothing more than a few songs and some recorders for instruments will fill the gym to overflowing. Not because it is the only thing going on, but because the community really feels they need to show support for the schools and the kids who go there.

More activities in a larger city? Not really. We have the same school programs 90% of the public schools across the Country have, as well as community events. Sports of every type you can think of both at the school level and at the town level. Since moving here my boys have seen a limited tour of Egyptian artifacts that only stopped in a few Cities in the US, snow ski, water ski, learned how to ride a horse, been to music camps that attract kids from all over the World, been to symphonies, visited several art galleries and sculpture parks and seen, touched, and admired art work by Picasso, Matisse, Calder, etc.... The 13 year old can sit and discuss Art and Music with you, or go out and shoot guns (pistol, revolver, shotgun, or rifle) with you. He can drive out through the woods roads and take you to some of the top trout fishing spots in the Country, or disassemble and reassemble your computer. He can take you through a marsh area and tell you what birds and animals you hear or see are; or walk through an art gallery and and not only tell you what he likes, but why, and talk composition and use of light. The 11 year old can discuss stem cell research and argue both sides of that debate, as well as make farting sounds with his hands while laughing his head off. He can ride a skateboard at a skate park, or design one on a computer using CAD programs.

Not everything is located in our little town, but all that and more is less than 90 minutes away. We have family passes to zoos, museums, art galleries, and planetariums; and we use them on a regular basis. Are they missing anything by living in a small town? No, they are actually more well rounded for living in a small town while still having access to a larger city and all it can provide, without having to deal with the problems you get in larger cities. The schools are GREAT here and the kids actually like going... they like Summer Break better though . They get to grow up in a place that they don't have to worry about what part of town they are in, what color clothes they have on, what brand of clothes/shoes they have. Their job is to have fun and be kids. They can, and will, be able to deal with ANY environment they find themselves in later in life. From rural to urban, redneck to blue-blood; they will be able to identify with those around them and adjust to anywhere life takes them because they will have already had experience with those situations.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:43 PM
 
Location: A rich man is not one who has the most, but one who needs the least
25 posts, read 162,551 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bydand View Post
Yes your biases do show, but you ask a legitimate question.

In my life I have lived in the cities of Detroit, MI and Dallas, TX; as well as tiny towns like McBain, MI and Lucas, MI as well as Washburn, ME. Plus I have lived miles outside of towns that number their people in the low hundreds (if you want to be generous that is.) I've also lived in towns between these extremes.

I moved my own family to a town of 1200 for some of the reasons you listed, plus many more you didn't. I like the fact that my boys can walk downtown if they want and I don't have to be worried about gangs and such. I like the fact that if they are looking at the knife display at the local hardware store, the clerk will call the house and ask if they come to the counter and want to buy one, should they sell them it (answer was yes by the way.)

I like the support all the kids get from the entire community. If there is a middle school play being put on, you better get there early or you will have to stand because all the seats are filled. A football game is filled with supporters, even if they haven't had a kid or Grandkid in the school for 30 years. A grade school concert with nothing more than a few songs and some recorders for instruments will fill the gym to overflowing. Not because it is the only thing going on, but because the community really feels they need to show support for the schools and the kids who go there.

More activities in a larger city? Not really. We have the same school programs 90% of the public schools across the Country have, as well as community events. Sports of every type you can think of both at the school level and at the town level. Since moving here my boys have seen a limited tour of Egyptian artifacts that only stopped in a few Cities in the US, snow ski, water ski, learned how to ride a horse, been to music camps that attract kids from all over the World, been to symphonies, visited several art galleries and sculpture parks and seen, touched, and admired art work by Picasso, Matisse, Calder, etc.... The 13 year old can sit and discuss Art and Music with you, or go out and shoot guns (pistol, revolver, shotgun, or rifle) with you. He can drive out through the woods roads and take you to some of the top trout fishing spots in the Country, or disassemble and reassemble your computer. He can take you through a marsh area and tell you what birds and animals you hear or see are; or walk through an art gallery and and not only tell you what he likes, but why, and talk composition and use of light. The 11 year old can discuss stem cell research and argue both sides of that debate, as well as make farting sounds with his hands while laughing his head off. He can ride a skateboard at a skate park, or design one on a computer using CAD programs.

Not everything is located in our little town, but all that and more is less than 90 minutes away. We have family passes to zoos, museums, art galleries, and planetariums; and we use them on a regular basis. Are they missing anything by living in a small town? No, they are actually more well rounded for living in a small town while still having access to a larger city and all it can provide, without having to deal with the problems you get in larger cities. The schools are GREAT here and the kids actually like going... they like Summer Break better though . They get to grow up in a place that they don't have to worry about what part of town they are in, what color clothes they have on, what brand of clothes/shoes they have. Their job is to have fun and be kids. They can, and will, be able to deal with ANY environment they find themselves in later in life. From rural to urban, redneck to blue-blood; they will be able to identify with those around them and adjust to anywhere life takes them because they will have already had experience with those situations.
This is heart warming and most reassuring. My DH and I will be moving from NJ to a very small town in KY (Pop 1900) in the very near future ....I couldn't see us raising our kids (3.5 and 1.5 yrs old) in a better environment.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
Pros of rural area:
-less pollution
-less crime
-possibly better schools on average, depending upon the rural area in question
1) - maybe. Poulltion is a grey area.
2) - Again, maybe. Crime happens everywhere.
3) - Once again, maybe. Education is different between people and location.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ktaadin View Post
Pros of urban area:
-much wider network of potential friends to socialize with
-wider array of activities available to try
-more and more varied jobs for teens
-greater diversity in the community
-better "high end" schools if the kid can get in
1) Myth. Regardless of population. People can be social butterflies or closed in anywhere. And there's this old saying: You can have either too many acquaintances or a few close friends. Hence it's irrelevant to this discussion.

2) There are plenty of activities in both environments. However, both require your participation...desire and willing.

3) There are jobs anywhere. It all depends on economy and location - not the type of setting.

4) Ugh, that word? Diversity? Are you talking about race? If so, really? Why do people want it? Lemme tell ya something. It doesn't matter a damn whether if your teen was raised in a 95% white community or 50%. That does not contribute in raising a teen. Period. So quit it with that crap.

5) Private/charter schools do exist in smaller communities. No bearing. It's the location, not the size.
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