Cornell Researcher Finds Intensive Parenting Style Popular Across Socioeconomic Groups – Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

Multiple extracurricular activities, educational playtime and thoughtful, emotional conversations – all these attributes could describe the typical Cornell student experience, but are actually the definition of the term “intensive parenting.”

According to Cornell researcher Patrick Ishizuka, intensive parenting has become a dominant parenting style across socioeconomic groups.

In his paper “Social Class, Gender, and Contemporary Parenting Standards in the United States,” Ishizuka, Frank H.T. Rhodes postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Population Center,  examined “intensive parenting” norms across social groups. He challenged the notion that the differences in parenting styles across socioeconomic groups arise from differences in cultural norms.

Using survey data from an original experiment with 3,600 parents, Ishizuka found that participants tended to rate time-intensive, heavily-involved parenting scenarios better than “natural growth” scenarios with less parental involvement and supervision.

“The study indicates that intensive parenting is now the dominant cultural model for how to raise children,” Ishizuka told The Sun in an email.

The intensive parenting model demands parents to supervise children’s activities, talk with them about their thoughts and feelings and respond to misbehavior with discussion, not hard rules.

Parents wanting to spend more time guiding their children is not a new phenomenon, according to the study, which said that American parenting norms have been shifting in this direction since at least the 1960s.

In the paper Ishizuka noted that in the past, “academic and popular accounts” pointed to socioeconomic and gender differences in parenting norms as the cause of parenting style differences. For example, some researchers argued poor and working-class parents see less value in directing children’s free time.

Ishizuka’s research challenges that narrative.



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