Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You're Doing it Wrong: The Parenting Part of the Work/Life Equation

There has been a flurry of focus on the overwhelming nature of work/life balance.  E.g., Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the TimeI Refuse to Be Busy. The second shift of housework, the reification of an organic Betty Crocker, and male norms of ideal workers all combine to stress and fundamentally impair a happy and mindful life.  Something's got to give.  Opt-out? Out source ? Or maybe we can just ease up on the uber-parenting.  

So suggests this article in the Atlantic Don't Help Your Kids with Their Homework.  Some key take-aways of "essentially useless parenting interventions" based on the sociological research:

  • Helping kids with homework.  Especially from middle school on, it can actually hurt them
  • Meeting with teachers and principals
  • Observing a kid’s class
  • Volunteering at schools
  • Bake sales  
  • Helping a teenager choose high-school courses
  • Disciplinary measures such as punishing kids for getting bad grades or instituting strict rules about when and how homework gets done.

The things that do seem to matter? 

  •  Reading to your child when they are young
  •  Talking to your teen about college options
  • Getting your child placed with a good teacher
  • Surrounding kids with colleged-educated adults with interesting careers
  • Encouraging kids to ask critical questions and advocate for themselves

Work/life | Permalink


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