Compared to the 1980s, Parents are spending more time and money raising their kids than their parents did; particularly highly educated and high earning parents despite not spending less time at work. While this is great news for families, the underlying motivations might not be so great. According to the author, the reason for this is that parents are in competition with one another; increasingly obsessed with helping their children win the “race” of life.
It is this increasingly intense competition for spots in top universities that is responsible for the rise in parental time spent with children. We have found ourselves in a “rug-rat race”, in the phrase of economists Garey and Valerie Ramey. From very early in their children’s lives, parents – especially well-educated ones – are coaching their kids to meet the academic challenges to come. Older children are encouraged to take part in activities outside the realm of scholarship: the enriching spheres of athletics, personal interests and community service. The marathon ends with a sprint: a burst of intense preparation for placement tests and demanding university applications and interviews, at the end of which, if all goes right, the young ones are launched into the nurturing confines of a top university, which themselves are a waiting room for an adult life of consequence, a distinguished dotage and an obituary the envy of all the other strivers.
Are we doing all this for our children or our own benefit? That is for every parent to answer for themselves.
Source: 1843 Magazine