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  •  Not in intelligently organized societies (none)
    only in bureacratically organized societies.  

    This is simply false:

    Up to one person DOES do the raising of the child.  

    That one person is either mom, a surrogate, or no one.  That's what child rearing is. Of course there are more people involved, but this comes down to responsibility.  Who is responsible for that child?

    It is neither the way it is nor the way it has to be.  It is the way we have "chosen" both, directly and indirectly, based upon forms of social organization, policy decisions, ideological beliefs and some rather specific social, economic and political objectives.  There's absolutely nothing natural about having one person "responsible for" any child, as both anthropological and historical investigation reveals. Is is not the way it has to be.  Child rearing is far, far more than who is responsible for the child.  This is a very, very modern manifestation, a manifestation of a risk society, a bureacratic society.  

    Remember too, that there are multiple senses of the concept of responsibility: we can be responsible "for" something/someone (as is most common in our hyperindividualized society), but we can (and should) also be responsible "to" somethings/someones.  We in the US often let that sense of being responsible to each other, previous and next generations, the common good, the public sphere, etc.

    The idea that one individual has to be "responsible for" a child, essentially puts children back into the category of private property rather than mutual humanity, and we have some pretty severe social consequences that arise from parents thinking of their children as property (a vestige of patriarchy that we haven't yet rid ourselves of and which our hyperindividualized and superconsumerist society then tends to exacerbate, not to mention our bureaucratic anti-social systems which eschew social forms of accountability and social safety nets that are always looking for individuals to stick with the bill -- the reason our government is so heavily invested in programs like marriage promotion, despite the appearance of religious influence there).  

    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:13:35 AM PDT

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    •  haha (none)
      You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

      The bottom line is still that ONE person is responsible - actually does - the raising of a child.  Maybe that's not how it should be, but that is how it is.

      Either a parent raises the child, or a day care worker/teacher/babysitter does, or no one does.

      It's a matter of physics: one person is doing one thing at one time.

      If more people are involved I am not saying that's bad, just that the direction comes not from the "other" people, but from the responsible party.

      •  Let me guess that you have no children (none)
        and if you do, have little conceptualization of children, child rearing or anything else.

        The point isn't to pay ANOTHER individual to raise a child, its to pay all of us to raise children. The identity of any individual who raises any individual child is not really relevant to the discussion, but the question is to get out of the individual mind set when it comes to creating, caring for, raising, training, fostering, nuturing, educating the next generations.  It is never an individual act and we make our first mistakes in assuming it is.

        Remember, even our own individuality is socially produced. There's no physics involved in that.

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:26:04 AM PDT

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        •  i do (none)
          I do have children!

          The point isn't to pay ANOTHER individual to raise a child, its to pay all of us to raise children.
          Sorry, but its who is crazy.  The point is do you pay someone else do the child raising, or not.  

          A child requires a person to care for him or her.  That is a fact.  The article and debate is who is the person who should do that.

          You make it sound like it is no such person who cares for that child, but rather, some of type of uber collective.

          It's not.  There is a single person who will do the bulk of child care.  

          The question is who is the best person for that role?  You'd love to make this some anti-religious right wing bullshit debate, but it's not.

          It comes down to responsibility: who is responsible for raising the child - someone else or you.

          From that all things flow.

          •  Honestly (none)
            if this:

            You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

            is what you think the point is, then I feel very sorry for your children.  A personal opinion only.  but remarks like this, don't lead me to have very much respect for anything you might have to say on the subject.

            If that's what you think this comes down to, there's a whole lot you are missing, and not any productive purpose in our continuing a discussion.  

            In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

            by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:52:00 AM PDT

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            •  it does (none)
              Sorry, but you make it seem like some great amorphous blob called society will raise your child.

              It comes down to who is going to spend the majority of time with your child: you or someone else.

              Because thats the decision facing Americans.  

              Everything you have said is rationalization for (1) putting your kid in day care for 10 hrs a day, (2) putting your kid in government schools for 10 hrs a day, thne day care after that, (3) putting your child a distant second after yourself.

              Call it whatever you want.  But that's what it is.  Society will not raise your child.  Or the government.

        •  do YOU have children? (none)
          I do.  And your image of childcare doesn't jibe with any of my experiences in raising a child.  This idea of "getting out of the individual mindset" - what the fuck does THAT mean??  When someone has to get up every two hours to feed a baby, there ain't any collectivization about it.  The individual with the milk or formula, and the means to provide it, becomes extremely important.  Likewise, when you need to go to an important emergency meeting and you need a sitter to watch your kid for a couple of hours.  And so on.

          It sounds to me like you've learned about this stuff in academia along with lots of wonderful buzzy jargon.  That's fine for the classroom but not for real life.

          New Orleans will never die

          by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 11:54:14 AM PDT

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          •  Yes (none)
            I do, and as most people who have been reading this site for a while know, my statements aren't "buzzy academic language" but based on real life experience.  

            I'm a single parent, so you don't need to tell me anything about what parenting is in real life, but I'm talking about more than parenting, but child rearing, which is a collective, social activity even when individuals do it.  The whole point is that the forms it tends to take in our overly individualized and overly commercial (not unrelated developments) for middle and working class folk is not what it has to be (or what it should be).  That's the point, that in the way we both parent and think about parenting we reduce the whole of child rearing, a set of social tasks and processes that are actually collectively arrived at (and could be collectively understood) into a set of individual acts, and then we go about those acts fully expecting them to be individual and placing the responsibility on individuals.  

            The point is, we are far too focused on the individualized and that serves to make things that aren't really individual tasks or responsibilities seem to be that way, "naturally".  And this is coming from some one who has done most of the tasks associated with taking care of children, literally by myself, to a degree that is unusual in mainstream US society.  

            Just to clarify, to equate "parenting" with "child rearing" is one of those language and ideological tricks that serves to make our socially arrived at ways of doing things appear to be natural, at the same time that it hides the alternative ways to understand and do the stuff we are talking about (i.e. raising, educating, nuturing and equipping the next generation [or two/three] for life on the planet and in  society).

            In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

            by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 02:15:52 PM PDT

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            •  you are essentially correct, (none)
              I would venture to wonder what culture you were brought up into.  I think many people responding on this thread only have had exposure to the american culture.  it may be the same with you, but you have an inside understanding of other cultures.

              in the indian culture there is heavy reliance on the "extended family", and oftentimes they will live in different areas in a family compound and different relatives will perform cooking and cleaning tasks, helping with homework, entertain, and put the kids to sleep.  I was born and raised in a very white suburb of this country not so long ago, and I still saw a vestige of that setup.  four families lived in two-flats next door to each other, and no one locked their doors.  the kids would kind of get "assigned" off periodically, during stretches of the day.

              in this country we regard that as a backward family setup, but I think you are seeing some of the advantages here.

              but even if I wasn't indian, I learned about this in grade school social studies growing up.  it seems so removed from life now that no one recognizes that it could ever have existed.

              Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

              by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 06:31:47 PM PDT

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      •  I agree with you that we shouldn't (none)
        throw our kids in day care all the time, and that kids need lots of love and attention from a couple of central caregivers.  BUT I agree also with a gilas girl that our society made up of little isolated family cells makes it much harder to raise kids, and I really am bothered by this:

        You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

        I don't know where you get off jumping to that conclusion, and I am offended on behalf of a gilas girl, whether she has kids or not-- jeez.  Who are you to judge, exactly?

        You'll find us moms are a little sensitive on this issue.

        •  "your" (none)
          "Your" was not intended to be directed at anyone.

          I am me to judge.  I don't care how you raise your family, but don't come bitching to me about your kid later on.  

          I am not advocating "little isolated family cells".  I am advocating parents taking responsibility for their kids.

          If you put your kid in the hands of $10/hr strangers, don't be surprised when you don't like what you get.  You are no longer raising the child, no one is.

          •  How can "you" not be directed at anyone? (none)
            And, to make matters worse, you (yes, I mean you) did it again.  You're missing the valid point that I think a gilas girl is making-- in our culture, we view "day care" as just what you're saying, dumping our child with strangers for money, and so it's not surprising that that is sometimes what it turns out to be (though many day care providers are excellent, etc.).  

            But if we think of child-raising as a more expansive project, and encourage our kids to be nurtured (not just "babysat") by a wider range of people, while still preserving a central role for a primary caregiver or two (I notice you ignored that part of my post), it's beneficial for the kids and parents, both.

            I can tell you, my daughter is very close both to me and to her dad, and is in "day care" about 15 hours/week; she's in general very happy; but, when we have been visiting with extended family, seeing lots of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and she's been getting attention from all different people-- she feels a real loss when she comes home to our little nuclear-family house.  Parents can't be "on" all the time; so it is nice for kids to have back-up playmates.  That is all.  I don't see how that is a evasion of responsibility.

            But the reason I bothered to start this argument is not because I disagreed with you-- I only disagree partially-- but because I thought it was really inappropriate to criticize a stranger's child care decisions.

            Believe me-- I will never come bitching to you about my kid later on!  Why would I?

            •  and how about (none)
              a gilas girl's snotty retort to danheskett that he must not have any kids, nor any "conceptualization" of children or childcare?

              That's a extraordinarily rude and insulting thing to say to someone.

              New Orleans will never die

              by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 11:59:01 AM PDT

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