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Parenting Styles Among the Working Class


It is a well-known fact that parenting styles differ from culture to culture across the globe, however parenting styles can also differ from class to class. Parents from the working class tend to bring their children up in a far more relaxed way than parents from the middle class. Socialist and author, Annette Lareau, calls this natural growth parenting.


The social science uses the term the working class to define the social group of people who work in lower paid jobs. In the class system they are a step up from the poor and those who live on benefits but also one step below the middle class whose society is made up of highly educated and skilled professionals.

The working class family often consist of two parents who both earn a living. With both parents who work, it can be difficult to find much time for families to spend time with each other. This lack of family interaction means that children are often left to bring themselves up.


The basis of natural growth parenting is a belief where children should be allowed to grow up without too much interference from the parents. This allows children to find who they are supposed to be and are not pushed into things that they do not wish to do. Examples of natural growth parenting includes:

  • Children playing outside for long periods of time with neighbours

  • Discipline is given by way of order instead of discussion

  • Children play for long periods of time on technology such as tablets and mobiles

  • Children watch television alone or with extended family for long periods of time

  • Play becomes more important than education

      This ideal model of parenting may seem ideal for the children but it does have its drawbacks. Issues that a lack of discipline can create include:

      • Children with behavioural problems

      • Lack of bed time creates no time for parents to be together

      • Lack of respect toward those in authority

      • Lack of interest in education or career


      Although natural growth parenting does have its drawbacks, it is important to emphasise that this is not always the case and many children who are brought up in this way do go on to lead fulfilling lives of their own choosing. Yes there are benefits and drawbacks to this style of parenting and it is not for every working class family.

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