Thursday, July 21, 2011

Perfect Parenting?

Times published an interesting article: Working moms vs. stay-at-home: what's better for kids?. "Are working moms somehow lacking as parents compared to stay-at-home mothers? According to a new demographic analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the answer is a reassuring no. The study found that working doesn't lower the quality of parenting overall — or even worsen the load of parental stress."

But the study also found out having a considerable length of maternity leave matters.

I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I feel that I could be a better mom by being at home, having more time to spend with the family and caring for the home. But we cannot afford it and I was back into the workforce since my son was 9 months old. But that desire to be a stay-at-home mom stayed with me, and only until recently had I begun to accept reality.

This also reminded me of the illustration the pastor used in his sermon this past Sunday. I googled it and discovered that he actually sourced it from the book Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Levitt is described on its jacket as a "rogue economist (who) explores the hidden side of everything".

Levitt generated a list of factors that correlated strongly with good school test scores and this is what he found mattered and what did not about parenting.

Matters: The child has highly educated parents.
(Ok, I consider myself that)
Doesn't: The child's family is intact.
(We are intact)

Matters: The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.
(Medium, I'd say)
Doesn't: The child's parents recently moved into a better neighbourhood.
(Ours is okay)

Matters: The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of her first child's birth.
(Yup, I was)
Doesn't: The child's mother didn't work between birth and kindergarten.
(Oh, I did)

Matters: The child had low birth weight.
(Oh no, he was heavy alright)
Doesn't: The child attended Head Start.
(What's that?)

Matters: The child's parents speak English at home.
(English is our first language, doesn't matter that we are Chinese)
Doesn't: The child's parents regularly take them to museums.
(Er, nope)

Matters: The child is adopted.
(No, he's not)
Doesn't: The child is regularly spanked.
(Used to!)

Matters: The child's parents are involved in the PTA.
(No PTAs in the schools he attended, and I'd most probably won't be much involved if there were)
Doesn't: The child frequently watches television.
(Moderately, he's ALWAYS at the computer, does that count?)

Matters: The child has many books in their home.
(Yup, loads!!! haha)
Doesn't: The child's parents read to them nearly every day.
(Used to and frequently too. When he was a baby, I even read my books and The Economist aloud! Now, I read the Bible to him every other day)

His test results? Not so good, some quite bad. But I'm not giving up hope that he'll do better.


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