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Child Rearing in Different Social Classes

The focus on the question is how parents raise their children in comparison with different social classes. Also their different levels of happiness.

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Let's take a closer look at some of the research related to your topic, to help get you started on this interesting assignment. I also provided an article excerpt for further consideration at the end of this response.


1. The focus on the question is how parents raise their children in comparison with different social classes - also their different levels of happiness.

Although there is no consensus of social classes in America or if thye exist, one way to look at social class is as follows:

"A stratified society is one marked by inequality, by differences among people that are regarded as being higher or is logically possible for a society to be stratified in a continuous gradation between high and low without any sharp reality...there is only a limited number of types of occupations... People in similar positions...grow similar in their thinking and lifestyle...they form a pattern, and this pattern creates social class " (Gilbert, 1998, The American Class Structure, New York: Wadsworth Publishing).

People from different social strata and ethnic backgrounds face different kinds of problems and embrace different cultural values which impacts how they approach child rearing. Compared to middle class parents, working class and economically disadvantaged and working class parents tend to (1) stress obedience and respect for authority, (2) more restrictive and authoritative, using more power-assertion discipline, (3) reason with their children less frequently, and (4) show how warmth and affection (McLloyd, 1998, as cited in Shaffler, However, some middle class are highly restrictive, power assertive and aloof in their approach to child rearing (Kelley, et al, 1992m as cited in Shaffler, On average it seems that lower social economic parents are somewhat more critical, more punitive, and more intolerant of disobedience than parents from middle and upper socioeconomic strata (Shaffler,

Thus, research suggests that social class is related to parenting styles which impacts dimensions of a child's development, such as a child's education expectations and success. For example, Chunhua (2007) found that to the living environments and social class of parents is related to the overall goals and purposes of education. According to a survey conducted in China's Urumqi and Changchun about parents' awareness of educating their children, for example, Changchun points out that families with different social backgrounds parent their children with different expectations for their children's education. Moreover, it suggests that parents' social status is related to their children's education expectations. If parents rear their children in a way as not to promote education as important, children pick up on that; therefore, Chunhua (2007) concluded that parents' social status influences their children's education, and their positions in social class are related to education. (

Along a similar line, Hoffman and Youngblade (2000) found that in a cohort of middles class mothers, homemakers were more likely to have authoritarian orientation to parenting, whereas in the working middleclass, there was no relationship between employment, mood and authoritarian or permissive parenting. Specifically, the authors examined "the relationships linking mothers' employment, emotional well-being, and parenting style were examined, with attention to social-class differences in a sample of 365 mothers of third- and fourth-grade children in an industrialized Midwestern city. In the working class, full-time homemakers obtained higher depressive mood scores than employed mothers, and depressive mood mediated their higher scores on permissive parenting and partially mediated their higher scores on authoritarian parenting. The employment/depression relationship was not moderated by marital status, fathers' help, number of children, or presence of a preschooler. It was mediated by locus of control but not by financial concerns or loneliness. In the middle class, employment was not related to mood, authoritative or permissive parenting, but homemakers indicated more authoritarian parenting orientations. The middle-class employment/depression relationship was moderated by number and age of children: fewer children and no preschooler were associated with higher depression for homemakers and lower depression for employed mothers. The effect of depressed mood on parenting orientations was moderated by education and parental commitment, but only in the middle class" (

As mentioned above, regardless of race, upper-, middle- and lower-class families parent their children differently. Native American often use laissez-faire parenting style that some critics argue borderlines on neglectful. However, many suggest that his opinion reflects Eurocentrism. Traditionally, Native American people have emphasized personal autonomy and individual choice, even for children. Historically, Native Americans, even before the European arrived, successfully used "light discipline and persuasion, ridicule or shaming as opposed to corporate punishment. According to John (1998), "Native Americans respect their children enough to allow them to work things out in their own manner" (p. 400, as cited in Lamanna & Riedmann, 2009, However, in today's society this may no longer apply or be effective, as elders and families are no longer close knit as they were in the past. However, Native Americans at every social class level are resistant to the recommended egalitarian parenting style by American Psychologists (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2009,

Social class and race interact in terms of parenting style. Asian American are often middle to upper-class and are known to be authoritarian, border lining on hostile, which is, however, linked to children's academic success. In fact, Hispanics have been described as more authoritarian than white Americans, as well, but like African Americans, this may also reflect Eurocentrism (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2009,
Who is happier?

Research suggests that differences in child rearing are linked to economic factors, referred to the economic distress hypothesis. Economic hardship has been shown to create psychological distress leading to non-nurturing/uninvolved parenting styles and poor parent outcomes. Economic hardship leads to depression, and martial conflict of ...

Solution Summary

Discusses how parents raise their children in comparison with different social classes, as well as their different levels of happiness. An excerpt is also provided, which expands on this response. References are provided.