Sociology of the Family: Questions

Q1. The meaning of parenthood, ideas about what a good parenting is, and conditions in which people think parenthood is appropriate, often varies substantially, depending on the social conditions and structures in which people find themselves. In our case, parents in Dreby’s Divided by Borders and Hochschild’s Love and Gold see their parental obligation towards their children as providing them with care in a way that they entrust them to others, while they support such care financially. Basically, providing everyday comfort that their children require at present and in the future forms a part of their parenthood decisions. Such parents are thus prompted to put up with long hours of job in foreign countries, while entrusting parenthood care of their children to others.

For instance, Paula, a Mexican immigrant to the United States left for New Jersey in search of work, while entrusting the care of her child, Cindy, to her cousin in Mexico. Vicky Diaz, a mother of five, left Philippines to migrate to the United States to work as nanny for a wealthy Beverly Hills family. From these examples, what comes out clearly is that these parents see the good or bad parenthood being determined by both the economic and social constructs. In both cases, parents migrated to the United States in order to get better paid jobs, as compared to the domestically available ones. They believe that enhancing economic and social structure is essential for child’s care and that it denotes good parenting.

In most cases, parents and children are divided by borders and tied up to each other with expectations that parents will gain wealth at the foreign countries. Hay in the chapter six of his book notes that whenever this is fulfilled, children normally feel that they have made a worth sacrifice. Additionally, technological advances have enabled migrants such as Paula and Vicky to maintain more dense social and economic ties both at home and in the host countries. By this, they have not only sent money back home for their children’s care, but also could associate with them interactively of which they tend to enhance their transitional family ties.

On the other hand, Lareau and Hays in their articles, Unequal Childhoods and Mommy Wars respectively bring another aspect of parenting, as depicted by parents practicing concerted cultivation and natural growth. According to Lareau, in her book Unequal childhoods: class, race, and family life. Berkeley, parents see their obligations towards their children as that of effectively cultivating their talents in a concerted fashion. They make sure that they dominate the lives of their children in order to instill sense of entitlement among them. This is informed by the feeling that the virtue is important for institutional setting. Parents, especially female parents, are therefore depicted as central caregivers who should help in the child’s development, as they initiate strong bond with respective children.

Social and economic structures are also influencers in Lareau and Hays parenthood and parenting obligations. Parents see social construction between adults and children as essential. However, the modes have differed; parents from poor families tend to use directives in telling their children what to do, rather than enticing them with reasoning. Middle-class parents, on the other hand, associate good parenting with eliciting children’s feelings, opinions and thoughts. This social acceptance reflects on the cultural ambivalence that both working class and poor families base the logic of child rearing at home. Middle-class parents depict economic gains as essential for the concerted development of their children. Therefore, they engage in jobs that would give them enough money to enable them accomplish the natural growth of their children through organized leisure activities, which, according to them, are aspects of good parenting. This has seen various moms spending most of their time doing ideological work in making sense to their own social and cultural position that is essential for childrearing.

Q2. Parenthood currently affects men’s and women’s careers differently. Simon notes that while motherhood is associated with lower earnings and less prestigious careers, fatherhood is vice versa. This difference has widely been contributed by the social and cultural context in which parenthood is depicted. Contemporary, women have continued to depict men as still socialized in believing that their primary family obligation is to be breadwinners, while that of women is to be caregivers. Through this career choice has been used in undoing the societal expectations that depict a woman as a mother and a man as a worker.

As projected in lecturer’s readings, fatherhood has ever been associated with being the sole family provider, as well as having authority in public and private spheres. Therefore, fathers are normally not expected to do both housework and childcare, but rather engage in career that has adequate economic gain in order to enable them to uplift their families economically. Men, especially college students who come from families where their fathers have well-paying jobs that adequately carter for their needs, indulge into career that would enable them to be sole economic providers as soon as they establish their own families. For example, Gerson in his book The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America reports thathaving been brought up by a father who was working hard and had moved up in status to the position of an administrator in a hospital, “Jason wanted to be a doctor, for economic base”.

Even though women in the past have professionalized their career based on the ideology of intensive mothering, they have increasingly exhibited this notion. As discussed on lecturer’s readings, women have ever since believed that motherhood accurately demands standards-based and knowledge-based occupation, which is not paying enough, but rather is like a kind of identification with ones’ work. In this aspect, women normally pursue courses in fields that put monetary gain ahead of the ideals of profession. Such professions like those of teaching and medicine among others. However, their professionalism tends not to overlap the earlier generational professionalism of homemaking.

In the past, women engaged in career that required fewer jobs and less pay because they were considered as individuals who had domestic role with superior moral character that requires protection from men. These cultural obligatory roles of men and women have continued to form the basis of their careers, as seen by men being sole breadwinners as is associated with fatherhood that requires higher earnings and prestigious careers. Additionally, it created separate spheres for both men and women by emphasizing men’s solemnly authority as essential economic providers.

It has been argued that those women who reach high levels within their professions are more likely not to have the kind of a family they would like to have. That is why, they are likely to be single or childless or even have fewer children than they wanted. However, this situation is likely to change in the future. Women who are in their professions will be married and have the family as they would like. That is they won’t be either single or childless. By this it means that there will be a change in society or culture as parenthood or parental leave is more likely to be viewed as a public issue rather than being a private one. As outlined by the lecturer, the time demands of professional careers are increasing, however, hourly workers are working fewer hours than they would like to. This is due to the fact that employers through their executive management have established the need to redefine the long hour’s work ethics and culture in order to squeeze more time out of workers in order for them to attend to their families. Women should therefore seek the flexible schedule that would encourage their upward mobility, especially in parenthood.

Hochschild notes that while in the past, the notion of gender-specific work and parenting role were attributed to cultural standings, this has changed drastically. Contemporary and in future, parenting roles have become biologically determined of which has been inherently flexible. This means that women have continued to use technology against the cultural norms in assisting their reproduction or surrogacy. As discussed by the lecture, reproductive technology has enabled men in donating sperm to women of which ahs enabled them to have kids. However, the cost of surrogate pregnancy or sperm amount up to $80, 000 in U.S. Therefore, these highly professionalized women, while they have been able to sustain that cost, has enabled them biologically to have their own children disregarding age and marriage status.

Q3. A) In The Time Bind, Hochschild argues that “work has become home, and home has become work,” which creates a “time bind” for contemporary working parents. It means that working has become more comfortable for many parents because they feel rewarded and do not have to face the “second-shift,” face children who bothers and stress them to finish housework. In so doing, many parents have been pushed into seeking and indulging in extra work in order to escape such tensions created at home. In response to these, a number of strategies have been used by parents in managing their time binds.

One of such strategies is quality time. Hochschild in his book The Time Bind notes that the premise for which “quality time” is developed is the notion that time, which parents devote to the relationship, can somehow be separated from the ordinary time. Meaning that scheduling intense period of togetherness between parents and their respective children can effectively compensate for the overall time that was lost, thereby making no loss of quality in relationship. Such parents, for instance, would transfer the cult of efficiency into the home by getting the same results in one intensely focused hour with their children instead of nine hours a day.

Secondly, Hochschild notes that parents have used outsourcing as another strategy in managing time binds. Parents have usually outsourced their domestic work and care-giving needs, especially on basic household functions to others. This is intended to create more time for association between parents and children. However, this is a type of cultural capital that tends to flow from high-commodifying parents to their respective children. By giving out some household work to others, children are not able to understand the importance of such activities and their importance in the formation of good socialization skills. Additionally, the parents have multi-tasked or are engaged in different face-paced jobs that enable them to get enough time for their children. This has seen more administrative and clerical workers agitating for more time off in order to be with their families.

Q3.B) The time diary studies, as discussed in the class, present a change in ways of spending time, which is structurally related to parenting. Through the National time diary studies, today’s parents tend to spend more time taking care of their children, unlike they did in 1975. It is because of this that the contemporary parents are seen as having less time in housework, sleep, volunteering, leisure without kids along, and more significantly, socializing with friends. Instead, they take such time to associate with their children. For instance, mothers have been reported as tending to make their children their top priority with fathers doing more domestic work at home, whether both are working or not.

However, time diary studies seem to complement the Hochschild’s consequences of the time bind. Hochschild believes that time bind contributes to a consequence referred to as the “third shift”. This means that time bind affects the emotional work that is effectively required to repair any damage, which had been caused by a time-pressed family life. These studies contradict this aspect by noting the contemporary parents as normally feeling a time crunch. However, it is through this that the contemporary parents create emotional problems for themselves, since it creates in them emotional downsizing, which makes them avoid confronting the reality, thereby minimizing their ideas towards child care. Through this, they have had to do with less time together, less understanding, less support, and less attention at home.

In conclusion, family can have a good social setting and standing if good parenting is present. While viewing work as essential for family upkeep, parents should also take into consideration the need to effectively and individually take care of their children. As a matter of fact, child’s care based on parenthood largely constitutes to his or her future career and family obligations.

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