In the article “Will your child be Rich or Poor?” Thomas H. Corley calls attention to the rich and poor habits that parents pass on to their children. His article is based on what statistics have revealed from his 5 year study on the daily habits of wealthy parents.
Researchers have also discovered that white collar parents have distinct ways of parenting their children. By prioritizing organized sports, their children gain a head start on maturity which puts them at an institutional advantage.
In Lareau’s book Unequal Childhoods, she found that upper class parents raised their children by prioritizing organized sports. By engaging in a process called “concerted cultivation” upper-class families cultivated their children through concerted or organized activities to bring out their talents and skills at an early age. In return, their children also gained a sense of self-worth and confidence; they believed that institutions were there to serve and that they were entitled to these types of activities.
In addition, parents were not just interested in making sure their children gained skills related to “soccer” or “baseball”— but were also engaged in a process of learning how to navigate the system.
They learned the importance of:
- Prioritizing activities such as sports, homework, and family life
- Learning the importance of being at practices and games on time
- Preparing for encounters with authority figures like coaches (becoming comfortable speaking to and asking questions)
- Working on teams collaboratively with acquaintances and peers
- Understanding the difference between when to practice and when to perform
- Being responsible for their equipment, balls, uniforms, etc.
- Traveling to games with extensive lists of schedules and itineraries
- Learning the importance of delayed gratification by setting goals that take time to achieve
Furthermore, it was discovered that while parents organized their children’s daily lives around a schedule, parents also had specific ways of speaking to their children. Rather than using directives, the parents used reasoning-based discussions with their children to provide children with a rationale behind their decisions. This allowed for children to gain the language they needed to negotiate and make compromises at an early age.
Through specific psychological methods, such as delayed gratification, children also learned the importance of working towards goals which would ultimately reap greater benefits in their lives, such as white collar positions which require extensive education and training. Hence, from a young age, children begin to learn skills that will be highly desired in white collar positions, such as prioritizing goals, working collaboratively with others, and preparing for encounters with authority figures.
By Amita Roy Shah, Ed.D.