How children experience childhood by gender, social class and enthicity and religion.

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  • Different experiences of childhood in the UK
    • SOCIAL CLASS
      • Childhood changes dramatically between classes. Upper class children are more likely to spend their younger years in boarding schools or private education
        • Whereas middle class children are more likely from a young age to aim for a university education and proffessional career.
        • Nelson (2010) found a new type of parenting in the USA, especially in the upper middle classes known as 'Helicopter parents' who dictate every aspect of their children's life from who their friends are, where they hang out and what schools they go to.
          • Nelson (2010) believes this is stifiling and and unhelpful. Nelson believes this type of parenting is stifiling and produces spoilt adults.
      • Both middle and upper class children experience a large amount of cultural capital, from visiting galleries, museums, specific clubs and having well educated families.
        • This puts working class children at a disadvantage as they don't experience this at a young age due to lack of funds or knowledge.
          • Lareau found that working class parents were more interest in letting their children experience 'natural growth'. Working class parents believe as long as they provide love, safety and food their children will grow up the way they need to.
      • Poverty greatly affects the achievement of working class children compared to their counterparts in the middle and upper classes.  By the age of 7 children in poverty have already greatly fallen behind children from higher classes.
    • GENDER
      • Feminist thinker Sharpe (1976), Oakley(1985) and Fine (2010) show that boys and girls are socialised into different sets of behaviours based apon societal and cultural expectations.
        • This socialisation ranges from the types of bedroom decoration to clothes to social activities.
        • Feminist thinkers believe this difference in socialisation is mainly designed to encourage and ingrain the feminine skills and attitudes needed to become a mother and home maker.
      • McRobbie (2000) suggests that a girl's childhood may be different to a boy's because parents see them as needing more protection from the outside world than boys.
        • This can explain why once girls have reached adolescence they are more likely to stay in their homes than boys.
      • Boys experience of childhood involves toning down their emotionality and familial intimacy according to Chapman
        • This is apparently a requirement for boys to then be able to have the skills they need to become the 'bread-winner'
        • Boys are seen to need less proctection from external threats.
          • This means that boys spend much of their time outside socialising with their peers.
        • Families with limited funds are more likely to spend money on extra ciricular lessons on their sons rather than their daughters. -McHale (2003)
    • ETHNICITY/ RELIGION
      • Muslim, Hindu and Shik children feel more of an obligation and sense of duty to their parents then white children. This most likely due to the fact that it is a key part of their cultures to respect and care for their elders.
        • Ghumann (2003) argues that there is a generational gap between asian parents and children but whatever disputes happen about dating, fashion and marriage are usually sorted through comprimise.
      • Religion can greatly effect the lives of white children too. Children whose families belong christian or 'born again' bapist families spend nearly all sundays at church.
        • Jehovah's Witness children don't celebrate their birthdays or christmas as their religion forbids it.
      • Racism has large consequences for children
        • According to Chahal and Julienne (1999) children whose parents have experienced racist abuse are more likely to not allow their children to roam around their neighbourhood as they fear their safety.
      • Asain girls aren't allowed out as much as their brothers as they are seen by their parents as being more susceptable to racist or sexist abuse.
  • Poverty also increases the chances of being ill, if a child is consistently out of school they miss out on key lessons which then stunts their progression.

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