Morning Ed: Children {2018.04.19.Th}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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39 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    Ch5: You can also see this as return to historical norms. The idea that parents should spend a lot of quality time with their children really only started when fewer people could afford servants to do the raising for them. Mary Poppins was really accurate when it depicted the Banks kids as only having brief interactions with their parents before bed. Children used to not even dine with their parents. When 19th century British people toured the United States, they were horrified that kids ate with adults and spoke at the table.

    Ch6: I am really unsure why anybody would think this is a moral or good ideal. Apparently a disturbing number of parents think that shamming their kids in front of a large audience is great fun though.Report

  2. Maribou says:

    When (rich) 19th century British people toured the United States, they were horrified that kids ate with adults and spoke at the table.


    (Seriously, a large part of the reason they thought it was horrifying was because it was so low-class, to their way of thinking. Lower-class and lower-middle-class Britons at the same time period reveled in family time, when they could eke it out, and mothers in those classes generally spent ALL their time with their kids – if they weren’t forced to work and leave the older kids in charge – because they didn’t have servants. The upper-middle-classes we see portrayed in films like Mary Poppins are the ones who get the attention, historically as well as culturally, but they were a minority among all the people in Britain at the time.)Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

      Even though I could afford a live in Nanny and all that, I like my kid. He’s funny and fun to be around. I want to spend time with him.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        Oh yeah. I didn’t mean to imply it was a hardship on the lower classes to spend time with their children – hence my comment about reveling – merely pointing out that there was no way they were doing the same thing the upper-classes were doing at that time. If anything it seems to have been a source of misery for the children of the upper-middle and upper classes, as well as many of their parents. (As depicted ably by Mary Poppins, whose source books were written at the start of the Edwardian period when that fashion was changing.)

        I’m very glad parents in the US spend more time with their kids, I think it’s good for parents and kids. Heck, one of my premarital stipulations was “I’m fine with not having kids, but I need to have kids in my life in some context.” As it turns out, we have more pseudo-nephews, pseudo-nieces, and even some real nephews and nieces, than you could shake a stick at :).Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

          Where I think the “spending more time with kids” trending becomes harmful is when it is achieved and/or encourages shaming of parents who can’t/don’t/won’t.

          I just returned from a trip to a small town in Tuscany where I got to visit their really innovative early childhood schools. Among the many things that stood out were the low staffing of the classrooms. Ratios were generally in the 10:1 range, even for infants. Compare that to NY where infants are at 2:1 and you don’t even approach 10:1 until PreK age.

          And it’s not because they undervalue their kids… teachers their are highly regarded and highly compensated.

          Rather, they eschew the very American notion that children are precious but fragile cherubs in need of constant supervision and protection. They recognize the competency of children and their ability to exist and demonstrate agency when in an environment that invites and supports that.

          Much of what we call “parent/child” time in the US would be better described as supervisory than actually engaging meaningfully with the kid.

          Plus kids need time free of adults.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

            I don’t let Bug have as much freedom as I did at his age, but when I was 5, I lived on a farm, and as long as I stayed away from the lone highway our house was on, I was pretty safe. Also, I always had a dog with me.

            Still, I try to give him as much freedom to roam as I can, and I’m working on getting him to remember to safely cross streets. Most times, I’m happy to just let him do his thing while keeping half an eye on him.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              When home, I’ve taken much more to a, “I’ll know if someone’s dead otherwise you’re kids and you’ll probably figure it out.” They’re 5 and 3 but as an educator I have a pretty carefully crafted environment.

              I have to stay somewhat strict on going outdoors alone because we have a shared driveway (3 family home) with a blind curve and our entrance is in the back; neighbor could be pulling in unexpectedly. Plus we live on a busy-ish street (double yellow a block off the main drags).

              In a year or two I hope to rectify both with a move. But they get a ton more lattitude then most kids, as it sounds yours does as well.Report

          • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

            @kazzy For sure. Some of this is probably just different assumptions / expectations about what “more” means. I didn’t grow up with 2:1 infant care ratios (most of my daycare ladies had like 6-8 kids of different ages), here in CO they don’t have 2:1 infant care ratios

            some “very American notions” are far less prevalent between Missouri and the Great Divide (or for that matter, in large swaths of the PNW) than they are in CA or NY.

            So I don’t have the full context when I think about “Americans” unless someone reminds me that the West is kinda weird.

            But as someone who was basically ignored by her own parents much of the time (which sucked even though it sucked less than many of the ways in which they paid attention to me when they did), I see families I know doing stuff like working split shifts for a few years while the kids are little (ages 2-5ish, usually) so that one or the other parent can be with them, and it seems valuable and worthwhile.

            Doesn’t mean a parent who can’t be around much is automatically or even likely to be a worse parent than one who sits around all day but doesn’t really engage with their kids, of course. There’s a wide range of “perfectly fine”.

            FWIW I see you as someone who spends “a lot of time with the kids” as maribou time scales go.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

              I think “overparenting” and the pressures to do so are pretty distributed across the states. It seems the stories of parents being arrested for letting 11-year-olds play unattended in the yard are everywhere. But I’m sure there is a range. And I venture to guess helicoptering has many local flavors.

              If I wasn’t fearful of being arrested, I’d have no worries going out in the neighborhood while the boys slept. But… I’m afraid of being arrested if somehow someone found out.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy I swear to god it’s different here.

                I perhaps shouldn’t overgeneralize this particular issue to the whole Mountain West, but I’ve lived in Colorado for 20 years now and it … just isn’t like that here. People occasionally get arrested but it’s for stuff like “left 2 year old in freezing car alone for 7 hours overnight” or “left small kids alone in house that was “riddled with feces”” (can you tell I just google searched to see if I was forgetting stuff?). To the best of my knowledge we just really don’t do the whole “oh no, kids were in a park alone for 5 minutes, someone called CPS,” thing.

                I’d be willing to bet hard cash (20 bucks is my allowed to bet limit though) that it is not the case in Wyoming either.

                True story, we had 3 kids ages 9, 7 and 3 coming to the library at my college on their own for weeks. Like, for hours a day. Eventually they started to get rowdy and bug people, at which point somebody hunted down their mom and had the “we aren’t actually free childcare” discussion, but it took weeks for us to get around to that, and we started with the mom, not the cops. If they hadn’t started to act like … well, typical rowdy little kids which isn’t really what library patrons at a college library in the summer are looking for, atmosphere wise, we wouldn’t have. (I thought they were fine, but it wasn’t really up to me.) Teachers’ kids as young as 4 or 5 come in to my building on their own from time to time, and come in with an older sibling a lot. (Usually on a book-returning errand from their parents who are elsewhere on campus.) Middle school kids from the community come in on their own regularly (we do warn their parents when they sign up for a card that we’re not going to censor or even pay attention to what they read/check out).

                No one I know in this city freaks out about leaving their kids outside running around with other kids for hours on end, or running over to the store and leaving their seven year old alone in the house for five minutes…. it’s just not a thing here.

                I realize much of the rest of the country is very different.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                Given that I’m currently on Zillow looking at apartments, maybe I should change the zip code.

                To be clear, I didn’t mean to discount your experience. I trust that it is different there and that the norm where I am isn’t a universal norm. I just don’t think this is unique to NY/Cali but rather a broader trend across the board that is impacted by both different starting points in different areas and different degrees of movement.

                I think it is also the case that most of us — even in the loonier spots — are at low risk of actually being arrested for any of this but that ANY risk of arrest in this particular area has a real chilling effect on all behavior. So even if I knew that the “KIDS ARRESTED FOR SWINGING UNATTENDED!” stories are newsworthy in part because they are the exception, it gives me enough pause because even the slightest risk of arrest (for me personally) almost assuredly means losing my kids and my career.

                So there is probably a bit of a perception/reality thing going on as well.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                That makes sense. (And dude, Colorado is pretty chill and we have some pretty solid schools, public, private, and charter, so if you want some info about that, just email me. Though you probably have as good of sources as I do.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                Which part of CO are you in? I visited a school in Boulder that is renowned… but it also makes working there a real headache in some ways.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy Colorado Springs. (aka the southern half)Report

              • jason in reply to Maribou says:

                CO is 46th in teacher pay. It’s a cool state but ed isn’t great here; it’s not horrible either, but still.Report

              • Maribou in reply to jason says:

                @jason This surprised me enough that I looked it up, and I admit my first response was HOLY CRAP PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS IN NY MAKE 80 GRAND A YEAR??? (I reckon there are cost of living differences.)

                By point of comparison, I make about 3/8ths that much, or about 3/4 what the average CO public school teacher makes, working full-time in a job that required a bachelor’s degree that I’ve held for 10 years with regular raises – last year my raise was more than 5 percent, and one year it was about 11. Not saying teachers don’t earn it – they certainly work longer hours than I do, far more overtime – but I was still reminded that “does this job pay enough?” is certainly relative.

                Speaking of which, I think teachers in Co Springs make a fair amount more than the state average, which also surprised me.
                “The median annual Public School Teacher salary in Colorado Springs, CO is $55,369, as of March 29, 2018, with a range usually between $48,335-$63,923 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.”

                I would guesstimate that at one of the several fancy-and-rigorous private/charter schools in town, or even the upper-end publics, someone with Kazzy’s experience could push upward of the public school median quite a lot.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                FWIW, both my sister-in-law and her husband are public-school educators in Colorado Springs, so I’m not just looking at random numbers, but also my sense of things over the last 20 years of family-meal conversations.Report

              • fillyjonk in reply to Maribou says:

                Or they’re factoring in administrator salaries. Numbers in education as to what a person makes are gamed ALL THE TIME.

                According to the AAUP numbers, I “should” be making $70K a year. I don’t. I am sure it’s because there are a few folks in CompSci and the B-school here who are paid a lot more because they’re allegedly in “hard to hire people to teach” specialties.Report

              • Maribou in reply to fillyjonk says:

                @fillyjonk Possibly, but those are the numbers from (which gives a different figure for administrators), rather than an educational “statistics” site. If there’s distortion involved, it’s probably due to people being paid more for coaching – but there really aren’t enough super-competitive teams for that to substantially put a dent in things (I don’t think.)

                The public school and public charter school teachers I know are paid in that range.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                My last year in the classroom had me earning $77K. That’s at a high-end ongoing nursery school. I’d probably make more in a high-end private ongoing school. And likely a bit more in the public system (though my particular job doesn’t really exist in the public system).

                I pay $2600/month in rent and another $350ish/month for the luxury of commuting 2 hours round trip. I have a very affordable child care option that costs about $1200/month per child (right now Mayo goes to my school for almost free).

                I’d be curious how all those numbers compare to CO. What would I earn? What would it cost to live in a nice suburb of Denver and commute to the downtown? What would childcare cost?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                Way less rent and less of a commute that costs less money. Though Denver isn’t where I’d settle if I were just picking a place – neither is Co Springs for that matter – I’m still confident about those things. You could *buy* a house (even someplace like Arvada, ie a suburb that *feels* like it’s still Denver) and pay approximately half to 2/3rds that much on a mortgage. – on zillow, look up 80002 to see what I mean … – not sure what rental options are like.

                I think childcare would be approximately the same, especially if you had a similar option of the kid going to your school.

                Pay in Denver, I think, is highly variable depending on the school and how much they want you there. I wish I had a better idea of what pay scales actually are outside of the Springs. I can ask around though – I’ll try to see what people know this week and report back (probs through email).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                Oh, you don’t have to go through all that. For about a billion reasons, a move to CO isn’t in the cards for me now (despite me loving both trips I made out there). I was just curious what the “total package” looks like.

                A friend of my recently listed her house in the Pittsburgh suburbs for rent. She shared it on Facebook. I was gobsmacked how cheap it was. It was a reminder how what’s “affordable” around here is still astronomical for most of the country. Which also means what seems astronomical about pay for certain jobs out here is actually anything but.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy for sure. I mean, if rent 2 hours away is 2600 a month, that basically cuts out the pay differential right there.

                I live 20 minutes walk (five minutes drive) from my work, Jay lives 30 minutes drive from his, and our mortgage on a 1500 sq ft house is less than a grand a month.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to jason says:

                The “Colorado Paradox” is a real thing in education. We’re only so-so at getting our kids through high school and college. But we’re hell on wheels when it comes to attracting young college grads from out of state and retaining them after they’re here. Colorado’s always very near the top of lists on “educated workforce”.

                Standard joke about Aspen and Vail: If you’re eating dinner at an up-scale restaurant, chances are good that your server has a better degree than you do :^)Report

              • jason in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Yes, we’re something like 48th for per student higher ed funding. It sucks. Saying “We’re better than Alabama” doesn’t really help.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        My mom once said that when I was born, my dad said, “If you want to go back to work in a few months, we could get a nanny” and her response was “Why would I have a kid if I didn’t want to spend time with it?”

        Fortunately, my parents were in a position where one of them could stay home until my brother and I were in high school,. and my mom wanted to do that.

        I dunno. I don’t have kids but I think I’d go mad if I were at home with a kid all day and no adults to talk to.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to fillyjonk says:

          What I’d like to do is hire a work nanny so I could stay home all day and just do some work relating things at night when the day is done. Its not that I hate my job, just that I get bored talking software and finances all day and sometimes just want to watch cartoons and ride bikes.

          Strangely frowned upon in my circles.Report

          • fillyjonk in reply to Marchmaine says:

            I wish I could hire someone to do my grading and ESPECIALLY talk with /soothe/ calm down/ tell-to-put-on-their-Big-Person-pants to my students, but I don’t think I could find someone willing to do that for what I can afford.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to fillyjonk says:

              I thought work nannies in higher ed were called Adjuncts?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine Nah, they don’t hire adjuncts to help existing teachers, they hire them to fill lines that should be filled by fulltime teachers. Which means more work (more advising, more governance, etc) spread among fewer fulltime folks, not less.

                At big R1 schools they hire graduate teaching assistants to do, among other things, grading/student soothing, but fillyjonk doesn’t have such luxuries. (I went to an R1 equivalent in Canada and I barely met some of my profs** in 1st-2nd year classes, whereas I had a healthy student-teacher ongoing relationship with the graddies.)

                **I mean, I saw them 2-3 times a week in class in most cases (there was at least one class where i never went to class but attended all the tutorials), but I was one of hundreds of students they were lecturing to, so I don’t count that as meeting. The upper-level classes were totally different, no more than 30-50 students per section, sometimes less, and the profs actually wanted to know you and teach you stuff.Report

              • fillyjonk in reply to Maribou says:

                Exactly this.

                Honestly, what I would want would be closer to a teaching assistant, but we haven’t budget for that. And it is generally frowned upon here to arms-length your students’ needs.

                At its best, interaction with the students is great and wonderful and fulfilling – I love seeing the “light” go on when I help someone and they finally get some tough concept – but oh my bob do I get tired of playing Mother Confessor/armchair therapist. (For anything really dire I do direct them to the campus counselor – I am not literally committing malpractice by counseling with out a license. But I do get tired of hearing about job woes, boyfriend/girlfriend woes, car woes, etc.)Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

      Your right. I should have added the class provision. Upper class and upper class parents contracted out raising children. Lower middle class and working class parents raised them.Report

  3. Pinky says:

    Without commenting on the ethics of it, it seems reasonable to assume that some future colonization experiments would involve launching a great number of sperm and eggs, along with an automated gestation lab, to another planet.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Kind of related but also tangential to the links. The actor Harry Anderson died this week and so did an old wrestler named Bruno Sammartino.

    I saw a lot of people on social media that were my age wax huge amounts of nostalgia over both. They discussed their favorite jokes and scenes from Night Court. Also lots of WWE love.

    I remember watching Night Court as kid but I have no strong associated memories. It was just a show on TV. I also remember trying to get into wrestling but never really being able to. My attempts were more along the lines of “Well other ten year old boys like wrestling so I should try.” Eventually I stopped.

    But I keep on hearing that Wrestling are “Soap Operas for Men” and I think that is rather silly. I’m a man and I don’t like wrestling or soap operas very much.

    I find it interesting that so many people have these intense memories and strengths for their childhood entertainments and it burns into them like pure fire. And I have nothing of the sort.

    One of the things I wonder about on having kids is if I will have ur-typical boys and not know how to raise them because I am such an ur-typical guy that gay guys can sometimes code me as gay.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Bruno Sammartino. Longest-reining world champ *EVER*. He reigned from 1963-1971 and then again from 1973-1977. (Well, male world champ. Moolah reigned longer but she’s been unpersoned.)

      If you’re curious as to what Bruno could do if he was working with The Superstar Billy Graham, please enjoy this match.

      Wrestling has changed a lot in the last 40 years… sigh.Report

  5. Aaron David says:

    CH5 – The droogs smile.Report

  6. j r says:

    Ch9: That Macleans’ article is doing for educated, upper-middle class women what beer and pickup truck commercial do for middle class men.Report