Monday, March 19, 2012

Notes On US Family Field Guide

I suspect the real main problem is that status-focused people (via) never imagine that a status contest could go any direction except one side winning. It never occurs to them to win by not playing.

"Parents intend to develop their children’s independence, yet raise them to be relatively dependent, even when the kids have the skills to act on their own, she says."
I suspect the same. Unfortunately, the (report of the?) study is instead mainly a paean to the coercion of children.

Note that it doesn't really matter whether the tone was set in the original by Ochs' study or set by Wang's interpretation.

"In those cultures, young children were expected to contribute substantially to the community, says Dr. Ochs."
One word. "Expected."

In a sense, that's a good thing, because it means that children are thought to be capable of contributing, which is not true of our civilization.

Actually, a second word too. "Community."
"Children in Samoa serve food to their elders, waiting patiently in front of them before they eat,"
Ah, I see they mean 'serve' literally, as in 'servant.'
"Another video clip shows a girl around 5 years of age in Peru's Amazon region climbing a tall tree to harvest papaya, and helping haul logs thicker than her leg to stoke a fire."
By 'expected' to 'serve' the 'community' they mean 'forced' to be a 'servant' to their 'parents.' To put the desires of the powerful before the weak. (Verification of power: if children could fight back, what happens? Answer: see the report. Ctrl-f 'ignored')

Of course it's mainly about status, not any physical good. The motive for Ochs is to convince everyone to let her have miniature vassals.

Verification: what do children in hunter tribes get up to? This coercion may have started as a survival necessity in starving farmer tribes, and is now simply a fossil of that power grab.

Double verification:
"Asking children to do a task led to much negotiation, and when parents asked, it sounded often like they were asking a favor, not making a demand, researchers said. "
Yes, this is what freedom is about. Absent a promise or other contract equivalent, you don't get to demand anything. Your options are to embrace liberty or embrace demands.
"Rather, the studied children didn't seem to view it as their routine responsibility to contribute, the researchers say."
That's because it isn't.

Instead, this is also an insult to the intelligence of parents. If the way to train independence were that simple, they would have thought of it. The mistake is more devious. Isn't it true that the helicopter parent is a higher-class phenomenon? Hence also a high-IQ phenomenon?

It's also an auto-insult by Ochs. Can she really not tell the difference between a independence and servitude? A fine specimen of the public school system, if so.
""The kids are oblivious to their parents' perspectives," says Dr. Ochs."
Cry me a river. Your kids aren't about you. Earn their attention...if you can.
"The researchers theorize that stems from a tendency in U.S. society to adapt to and focus on the children, rather than teaching children to focus on others."
We can all agree that researcher theorizing is so much bullshit, yes? Have these self-serving potshots ever turned out to be true?

Moving back to the story they were trying to tell, unfortunately it is one I could mainly have told just from my personal experience. But I'll start with an exception.
"And, Americans tend to encourage children to pay attention to objects more than faces, emphasizing colors and shapes, for instance, over people, says Dr. Ochs. In Samoa, children are expected to be attentive to others from a very young age, and parents stress focusing on facial expressions, says Dr. Ochs."
Such a relief, actual data. Unfortunately the data doesn't properly support their contention. Paying attention to objects is masculine, (ergo feminist) and object-focus is important for high pay and status jobs like programmer and physicist. The parents are doing the correct thing for their children's future, and I very much doubt it is impossible to combine a physicist's mind with common courtesy.
"doing most of the housework and intervening quickly when the kids had trouble completing a task."
I saw this a lot as a kid. Parents would intervene - usually over the kids protests. It seems to be counter-coercion. Having gotten over thinking of children as self-grown domestic workers, the coercion quota goes unfilled and so they have to force the kid to be 'free' of 'work.'
"For instance, one exchange caught on video shows an 8-year-old named Ben sprawled out on a couch near the front door, lifting his white, high-top sneaker to his father, the shoe laced. "Dad, untie my shoe," he pleads. His father says Ben needs to say "please.""
Here I can show how analysis in terms of power is important. Who gets to make demands? Nobody. The flip side of not having any obligation to haul wood is not being able to demand the parents serve the children. (Some exceptions due to the child being a consequence of the parent's actions. Food and such.) Win status games by not playing. The game itself is wrong, not how it plays out.

I'm intimately familiar with this because I did it to my own mother. On purpose, no less - I was consciously looking for how servile she'd get, though note that it was an instinct that gave me the idea. Luckily, I was somehow aware at the time that it wasn't supposed to work this way, and so I rightfully viewed my ill-gotten gains as ill-gotten. (Also luckily my mother didn't do the 'force to be free' thing very often. Just enough that I know what it is.)

For children who don't luck into thinking for themselves? When are they going even to learn how to untie shoes, let alone find out how much better it is on the other side, away from laziness? I only found out because I intentionally went and looked, almost purely out of curiosity.

"Researchers are also examining how U.S. parents view family life and work. Parents tended to describe a "very prescribed way of being together," says Dr. Kremer-Sadlik.

They commonly used terms like "family night," "family movie," or "family breakfast," and it was understood that the activity was meant to be child-focused time and not include others outside the family."
Looks to me like this is a fossil of an ancient Catholic power grab. (Ctrl-f 'arranged') But it is odd, because apparently other researchers didn't see this in Italy. In any case, I aspire to get full notes on hbdchick's post up for tomorrow.

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