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The effects of the parental rat race are myriad. The race to get ahead affects parents as a couple, the man and woman as individuals, and yes, the children. Think of something like the latchkey child phenomenon as an example. This is but one small common element of ambitious parents: children are left at home a lot. Such children have more behavioral problems, and often have more academic difficulties. They tend to smoke more often, drink more often, and experiment with sex. Those are pretty marked effects.
I was the product of having both parents who worked. When I came home from school my mother left for work and I waited for my father to get home.
Although, their salaries helped to provide the basic necessities- food, shelter, clothes, etc., I did miss their attention. I felt as though we were all coming and going.
I would have liked them to be more involved with what I was doing at school rather than work so much. I think their work schedule was difficult for my brother and I to work around.
Also, the stress of everything else effected how we would or would not communicate, creating problems later.
I do not believe that this is always a true statement. If anything, parents sometimes sacrifice so much of their own energy on their children that their marriage is neglected, for example. As a divorced parent of 2 boys, I can vouch for this first-hand. I do believe, however, that parents indeed can get so caught up in their work or other obligations that their children sometimes are put by the wayside when that should not happen. As a single parent, my own work (grading papers, most often, and updating my online courses) often goes neglected for my children, which is a sacrifice that I would make at any time; my children are more important to me than work or anything else in my life. However, there are times that I should return papers quicker than I do because of this.
Oddly enough the latchkey child phenomenon can be construed as a result of parental sacrifice on behalf of that child. They work longer hours, or two jobs to be able to give that child a place to live and food to eat. It can be argued that the if the parent were to work less or only one job, that the stresses of being perpetually on the brink of financial ruin, could have a more or at least an equally negative impact on the child.
It is really hard to place blame on parents who work on behalf of their children when they need the income to provide for their family. However, the high powered career people who shift their children from Nanny to Nanny, and continue to have additional children, never intending to spend any quality time with any of them, yes, in my opinion, they are casualties.
Children who are raised by strangers lose out on the special attention that only a parent can provide. Just think of all the Nanny-Cam cases that occur, people want to work and spy on the people they hire to look after their very young children. I believe that really young children and babies should be cared for by a parent, mother or father.
The parental rat race has become the role model for how children should be raised. The emphasis on over achievement trickles down to children when parents over book them into activities and such for their own good. These activities start as early as infancy in mommy and me classes designed to develop the child at the earliest age possible insuring that they will gain access even to the most competative pre schools.
Since parents believe that children require the best of everything, and these same parents work very hard to provide that best of everything, we often create situations where children are pressured into being involved in activities that are designed to look good on school applications and are not necessarily activities that a child might perform out of sheer enjoyment.
I think it is further indicated that since the parents are so engrossed in the rat race, they see no other way of living and thus feel that they must train their children to participate similiarly so that when they come of age, they to can compete, through hard work to achieve greatness in our society.
The phrase "rat race" is loaded with negative connotations. It implies excessive attention to getting ahead in professional life. Everything in excess is bad and so is rat race. It is bad not only for the children, but also for the parents.
However, some amount of concern for professional advancement by parents is essential and good for parents as well as children. These efforts will determine the financial and social position of the whole family, and these are definitely important. The problem starts only when parents are so busy in their careers that they have no time for their children. In situations like these it is usually not possible to to find substitute of love and care of parents.
Poster # 8 makes a good point about the connotation of the term “rat race”. Many parents who work outside the home do so to provide better lives for their children. If that is the case, then undoubtedly, many of these same parents will ensure that the time the do get to spend with their children is quality time.
I also agree with poster #8. Many times the reason that people are a part of the "rat race" is because they want their children to be able to enjoy certain things like going on family vacations. In order to be able to afford things like this, they need to work hard. Hopefully, parents that do spend a lot of time working are able to balance family equally.
Unfortunately, it is easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget about what's important. Parents do not intend to neglect their children. Usually, they are working for their children. That will always be their excuse. The truth is that most families have to have both parents work, just to pay the bills. The parents are not intentionally racing, but they have to just to survive. Children can't be expected to understand this.
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