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Friday, June 26, 2020

Pandemic Parenting Was Already Relentless. Then Came Summer. - The New York Times

Pandemic Parenting Was Already Relentless. Then Came Summer. - The New York Times

Pandemic Parenting Was Already Relentless. Then Came Summer.
A survey shows that parents feel increasing pressure to make up for children’s lost educational and enrichment time.

American parents spend more time and money on their children than ever — and that was before the pandemic. Now, with remote school ending for the summer and a far-from-normal fall expected, parenting is becoming only more demanding.

It’s not just that children need more supervision, with their usual activities closed. Unlike previous generations of parents, today’s feel pressured to use time with their children for active engagement and continual teaching. Now that pressure is compounded by fears about missing months of education, and about widening gaps between children whose parents can provide significant at-home enrichment and those whose parents cannot.

Three-quarters of parents of children under 12, and 64 percent of parents of teenagers, said it was more important to do parent-led educational activities with their children this summer than in previous summers, found a new survey by Morning Consult for The New York Times. Sixty-four percent of parents of children under 12 said they felt pressure to do this, an increase from 58 percent earlier in the pandemic. Just 17 percent said they did not feel this pressure.
These days, Madeleine Senger, 13, sets her alarm for 6:30 a.m. and begins the day reading, then practicing piano. Some days she has virtual classes from her home in Denver — online camps, book club and cooking class, in addition to online tutors for math, Spanish, piano and writing. Her parents hired a Spanish tutor based in Guatemala as well as several teachers from her school to do individual or small-group classes. Madeleine also joined a start-up children’s newspaper, the Corona Courier.

“We want her to be happy and at the same time learn and avoid the summer slump, and the slump from the end of last year and what we expect in the coming year,” said Madeleine’s father, Joel Senger, a school librarian.
Madeleine already excels at school, said her mother, Alexis Senger, a consultant and lecturer on higher education budgeting policy. But, she said: “We want to prepare her and keep her active and engaged. College is going to be the only way to survive in this future where none of us know what will exist.”

Social scientists call this intensive parenting. They have found it has become the expectation of most parents, across race and class divides (although richer parents are more able to carry it out). Unlike helicopter parenting, which was more about keeping children physically safe, intensive parenting is about enriching them with one-on-one attention and extracurricular activities.

Intensive parenting grew in part from discoveries about how much children’s early experiences shape their outcomes. It’s also fueled by financial anxiety, with more pressure to get a degree from a good college and land on the right side of the economic divide amid rising inequality — a competition the economists Valerie and Garey Ramey termed “the rug rat race.” CONTINUE READING: Pandemic Parenting Was Already Relentless. Then Came Summer. - The New York Times