A recent study by the Brookings Institute showed that rich parents are more likely to have better parenting skills than poor parents. The article posted in The Economist, and summarized in this blog, argues that although rich parents may not spend as much time with their children, the children have access to better parenting because the parents are able to afford after-school programs and better schools.
Personally, I call bull! The idea that good parenting is only based on your ability to slap your child into 20 after-school activities and send them to private schools is insane. Do children with wealthier parents have better access to educational opportunities? For sure. But that doesn’t reflect on the parent’s ability to parent their children.
Money makes it much easier to spend extra time with children. Families with lower incomes are more likely to have both parents working outside of the home and often one or both parents have to take on multiple jobs just to pay the bills. But, it’s hard to logically argue that this makes them worse parents.
One valid point the study made was that wealthier parents are able to afford more quality-time experiences, like museums etc. That being said, if you aren’t a member of the wealthy class, you can still spend quality time with your children.
Whether you are trying to balance work with a home life or you have the opportunity to stay home with your kids, there are a few things you can to better your parenting style, and give your little ones the confidence and skills they need to be successful:
As a work-at-home mom, this is tricky for me. I feel guilty because I can’t spend as much time with my kids when I have a dozen deadlines looming, dinner to cook and laundry to fold. But, one of my goals is to set aside at least 30 minutes to an hour a day of quality time. This means no phone, no computer, and no work distractions. Sometimes we design clothes for their Barbie, play games, head to the zoo or play restaurant in their bedroom. Believe it or not, your little ones can survive without your constant attention (well… after they’ve reached a certain age), instead focus more on really making the time you do have count.
Eat together :
Another way to squeeze in some more quality family time is to try and eat at least one meal a day together. Dinner is a great way to unwind from the day and talk about everything that happened at school or at work. Making this a priority even on busy days is a great way to keep in touch when things feel hectic.
Identify your priorities:
Education is important, but private schools are not the only way to ensure your child gets a good education. Make learning a priority by encouraging them to do well in school and take advantage of educational opportunities when you can. Libraries, public schools, community centers and other local organizations often offer low-cost or free events and activities that are both fun and educational. Whether you have money or not, you can be a good parent. Being a good parent isn’t about affording the best clothes or the best schools. It’s about teaching your kids to be good people. Whether good people is educated, kind, confident, rich or spiritual is up to you. As my mom used to say, don’t waste your time trying to keep up with the Joneses. Use what you have to give your child an advantage.
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