Social Class, Childhood Experiences and Family Structure
Circumstances in which people are born affect their personality and the way they interact with society. Their privilege or lack thereof carries throughout their lifetime and determines how they shape their futures; however, the influences of their parents also contribute to the successes of the children. This essay aims to explore the experiences of women and families that Kathryn Edin, Maria Kefalas, and Annette Lareau interviewed in their books and the challenges faced by them while raising their children in a challenging environment, reflecting the social class, childhood experiences, and family structure.
Edin and Kefalas interviewed Mahkiya, Deena, Dominique, and Jen, all of whom faced unfavorable circumstances in search of a long-term partner and raising children as single mothers. These mothers despite the challenges left their comfort zones for the sake of providing a better future for their children, reclaiming not only their own lives but also providing their children with a better one. All of these women explained that their maternal instinct drove them to make them and their children’s lives better. Three years after the initial interview, the mothers were well on their way to achieving the life they wanted to give their children (Edin & Kefalas, 2011).
Lareau interviewed families of different races and classes, she drew upon the conclusion that regardless of race parents of the upper, middle, and lower class try to do the best for their children. High society parents do not have to worry about financial resources, but the middle and lower class parents have to bring out the best in their children despite the limited resources and lack of financial security. She noted that the power of limited resources and finances can shape a child into a strong individual in the coming years (Lareau, 2011).
Both books illustrate the struggles of low-income families and single mothers, their effort to provide their children with a better life, and at the same time trying to shield them from the harsh realities of society. These parents strive to prevent their children from falling into the same lives they had and hope that their efforts will make their children’s lives better.
EDIN, K., & KEFALAS, M. (2011). Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage (3rd ed.). University of California Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnmxt
Lareau, A. (2011). Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, With an Update a Decade Later (2nd ed.).