Brooks, David (2011-03-08). The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (pp. 104-106). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Annette Lareau, of the University of Pennsylvania, is the leading scholar of the different cultural norms that prevail at different levels of American society. She and her research assistants have spent over two decades sitting on living-room floors and riding around in the backseats of cars, observing how families work. Lareau has found that educated-class families and lower-class families do not have parenting styles that are on different ends of the same continuum. Instead, they have completely different theories and models about how to raise their kids. Educated-class kids like Harold are raised in an atmosphere of what Lareau calls “concerted cultivation.” This involves enrolling the kids in large numbers of adult-supervised activities and driving them from place to place. Parents are deeply involved in all aspects of their children’s lives. They make concerted efforts to provide a constant stream of learning experiences. The pace is exhausting. Fights about homework are normal. But the children raised in this way know how to navigate the world of organized institutions. They know how to talk casually with adults, how to perform before large audiences, how to look people in the eye and make a good impression. They sometimes even know how to connect actions to consequences. When Lareau showed lower-class parents the schedule one of her educated-class families stuck to, the lower-class parents were horrified by the pace and the “stress. They figured the educated-class kids must be incredibly sad. Lower-class child-rearing, Lareau found, is different. In these homes, there tends to be a much starker boundary between the adult world and the children’s world. Parents tend to think that the cares of adulthood will come soon enough and that children should be left alone to organize their own playtime. When a girl Lareau was watching asked her mother to help her build a dollhouse out of boxes, the mother said no, “casually and without guilt”—because playtime was deemed inconsequential, a child’s sphere and not an adult’s. Lareau found that lower-class children seemed more relaxed and vibrant. They had more contact with their extended families. Because their parents couldn’t drive them from one activity to another, their leisure time was less organized. They could run outside and play with whatever group of kids they found hanging around the neighborhood. They were more likely to play with kids of all ages. They were less likely to complain about being bored. They even asked their mom’s permission before getting food out of the refrigerator. “Whining, which was pervasive in middle-class homes, was rare in working-class and poor ones,” Lareau wrote. ”