Whatever happened to working class families?

Robert Putnam’s book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis continues to get attention.  Michael Gerson has a good discussion of its impact, excerpted and linked after the jump.  The problem being documented is that whereas a new traditionalism in middle class families is paying off in stronger marriages, better parenting, and successful young people,  in the working class–white no less than black– families are in a state of collapse, with more and more people refusing to get married at all, single parenting becoming the norm, children being left to fend for themselves, and when they grow up experiencing all kinds of problems.

As Putnam documents, things didn’t used to be that way.  Lower income Americans used to have strong families.  Economic struggle is and always has been a problem, but that doesn’t account completely for the current family collapse and other dysfunctions.  Something cultural is going on.  For one thing, as we’ll be blogging about, church attendance in this demographic which wouldn’t seem to be connected to economic problems, has plummeted.

College educated kids, though exposed to postmodernist ideology and pop culture at its most destructive, seem for the most part to be turning out all right.  But the less well educated, who presumably are not being so exposed to cultural nihilism, are becoming cultural nihilists.  What do you think is going on? [Read more...]

Raising little narcissists

A study purports to show how certain parenting styles can turn children into narcissists.  But it distinguishes between narcissism, which is bad, and “self-esteem,” which is good. [Read more...]

The mom busted for letting her kids walk home

The mother accused of child neglect for letting her children walk home from the park by themselves tells her story. [Read more...]

Letting kids walk home as child neglect

A 10-year old-boy and his 6-year-old sister were walking home from a park in an affluent Maryland suburb.  The police stopped them and are now investigating their parents for child neglect.

The parents are said to be part of the “free-range” parenting movement.  But I walked seven blocks to and from school from the time I was in the first grade, aged six.  And once I could ride a bike, the whole town was my playground.   My parents, who were not part of any movement, certainly weren’t neglecting me!  Are the times that much more dangerous today?  Evidence would suggest not, and yet letting a six-year-old walk to school like that probably seems unthinkable to most parents.  (It’s unthinkable to me, thinking of my grandchildren!) [Read more...]

Confessions of a liberal parent

The Washington Post has a touching and rather humorous piece on the following theme:  “I’m a diehard, bleeding-heart liberal. And it’s ruining my parenting.” [Read more...]

Does having kids make you less happy?

Raising kids is hard, stressful, and exhausting.  A new book goes so far as to say that having kids actually makes people less happy than people without them.  The author does say, however, that having kids gives something different than happiness:  joy.

After the jump, a review of Jennifer Senior’s book,  All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, along with some reflections. [Read more...]