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moderated by Phil Bartle, PhD

Web Discussions

Contributions will be added to the top of this collection as I receive them

From: "Silke R
Subject: Who should pay to raise children?

I agree with you (and not just out of self-interest), but just a few 'devil's advocate' challenges:

── Not sure it falls onto parents to pay all the costs since the government does pay our play groups (for kids age 0-6, at least in Ontario), libraries, playgrounds, kindergarten (all 2 1/2 hours of it, or all day in Quebec or for those lucky enough to have one parent born or educated in French), primary & secondary school, some of post-sec and most health-care, o yes and the famous $ 100 Harper money instead of day-care ;(

── On commodification - if children are an investment in production and old age security, is that not also commodified? Except that the child's (future or current) labour is the commodity instead of the service of caring for the child?

── "more fear of harm to children" yes, and a b&(^&$%^ law that states you can't leave them unsupervised until they are 12 years old - I walked 2 km to school and spent all afternoon outside unsupervised when I was 6 - and the day they turn 13 they can baby-sit other people's kids! To be fair though, not sure that free roaming produces moral training and fewer crimes, it certainly produces a lot of bullying.

── One should think that the increased use of outside agents (day-care, organized sports and rec) creates an increase in moral training (albeit a decrease in independent thinking). My theory is that this is where the quality comes in - in Ontario, you can spend $ 700-800/ month for home based day-care and may or may not be lucky to have quality care (and likely you will never know), or you can spend twice that (literally) for a centre based day-care where you know they have quality care from trained professionals (not in my school district though), or you can stay home, which is probably better than a lousy day-care but not as good as a good day-care because the kids still get parked in front of the TV (DVD in our house, at least we pick the program) when Mum has work to do (since they can't roam outside). And so you get a class system of day-care - for example where I once worked, all the program officers and above had their kids in centre based care (or private schools, starting with pre-school at age 2 1/2) and the research officers and below in home based care.

── Not sure the use of outside services increases the cost of child raising since the cost of not using them is one person's salary and people will usually not spend more than one person's salary on day care since there is then no point in working. So maybe the issue is more an increase of opportunity cost because (some) women now have the possibility of working in reasonably well paying jobs and that increases the (opportunity) cost of child raising. Also I suspect prices in the market in general have adjusted to a level based on the two income family as the norm, because it's now hard to raise a family on one average income and somehow for some reason it didn't use to be.

── I think the state should bear more of the cost of child rearing, but that would mean more reliance on outside agents and more regimented/ uniform/ not-independent-thinking child rearing. For example, the priority measure in Ontario pre Harper would have been to have more day cares associated with kindergartens where the kids go to a (physically close) day-care centre after kindergarten and have educational activities there (at an affordable rate). Some kindergartens have that now but they are in low income districts, and of course rich people have their kids in private schools which provide all day kindergarten for $ 1400 /month.

So much for my rambling,

Date: Wed, 09 Feb
From: "adam l"

Hey Dr. Phil,
I had a question to add for the possible blog that started on, "Eggs reproduce by making a chicken." I was wondering that if society took on more responsibility of aiding those students who do need financial help, will this decrease the amount of pay that is distributed within the school and administration costs? If there is more financial help, and it becomes more frequent, will this lead to a rising tuition? Also, do you think that society should help pay for students education, even if their intentions are to obtain a career which doesn't neccesarily help society, but mainly the needs of the individual?


Date: Mon, 07 Feb
From: Ryan H

To suggest that it's societies' responsibility to support all children is a slippery slope, which we are already sliding down.

The increased social disorder and deterioration of society is in large part do to a lack of values being instilled in our children.  Honesty and hard-work are the two most important values you can teach a child, but by "spoon feeding" families, children have no appreciation for working hard; therefore, society slides further down the slope because of the increased laziness and irresponsibility of the people.

Obviously, there needs to be some assistance giving to children and their families, but that assistance should be as minimal as possible.  People need to take responsibility for their actions and stop relying on society to take care of them.

I realize my conservative view on this issue is likely in the minority within the class, but thank you for taking the time to read and consider my opinion.


From: Phil B
Sent: Sunday, February 06
Subject: socialization poultry and fees

Just because I cannot see a relationship does not mean it is not there.

I use the chicken egg egg chicken process to illustrate that, from the individual viewpoint, socialization is how an individual becomes human, but the same process is also how society and culture are reproduced.  I argue that too much attention is paid to the individual, which rightly belongs in psychology, whereas in sociology we should pay more attention to how culture and society are reproduced.

The raising of children costs us resources, not only money but time, energy, management decisions and responsibility.  Too often some decision makers, usually on the right end of the spectrum, treat it as a consumer process, and think that those who have children should pay all the expenses. I argue that the process helps society to reproduce and society as a whole should pay some of the costs, and that means higher state payments by those who choose not to have children because they do not undergo their responsibility to the society of bearing costs of feeding, clothing and sheltering children.  This is why I argue that the state should pay most though not all of school and university fees.

I think that if some students respond to this then we can create a new blog about it.

At 06:37 AM 02/06/
adam l wrote:

Hey Dr. Phil,
I was just practicing some of the exam questions, and had some issues I had to sort out with my mind. Is the psychological view of "eggs producing chickens", when people who don't have children, don't want to pay for the education of other people in society?


Date: Sun,  4 Sep
From Susan W

For many years now, "violence in video games" has been argued as being the stimulant for a number of violent offences. To be honest, I thought that was ridiculous the first time I heard it. Of course, I've played video games all my life and never once been tempted to recreate anything I experienced in a game.

However, recently I've been giving new consideration to what sort of effects TV in general is having on our world. I was in a chat room for the reality TV show Big Brother 6 this week, and I was happy to see a number of people supporting the same contestants I was. But further into the conversation, I was becoming more and more sickened by the opinions my fellow viewers were holding. Aside from name calling that I wouldn't dare to repeat, as these are words I've never even uttered myself! Some of the things that upset me the most were along the lines of: "I hope they air it when the Friendship" (a nickname for a particular group of contestants) "finally sees how much we hate them. I can't wait to see the look on their faces." What sort of society have we come to where IN MASSES we are hoping to see other people suffer.

Now.. I enjoy this show. I'm sure it falls under the same sort of allure as gossip or tabloids has (in other words nothing very morally substantial). I can't explain it. But I know that I take it for what it is--cheap entertainment. What troubles me, however, is what sort of impact shows like this will have on our children. Look at the world around us and all the corruption in it. And here we're promoting all these reality TV programs that encourage contestants to backstab, lie, cheat, steal, and basically do WHATEVER THEY HAVE TO.. for MONEY! We're rewarding this??

Again, I can take it for what it is, and not try to emulate it. But children are being brought up in this world? What happened to friendly cartoons? Disney movies without all the adult humour that we *assume* is going over our kids' heads? What happened to the Cosby show?? I loved that show. :)  And each show coupled good writing and humour with a LESSON. A real lesson. Like don't steal.. or don't cheat at pinocle. ;)

Anyway, there's a hundred more examples I'm sure, but it gave me a fright really. With all the corruption there already is in the world, what are we setting ourselves up for? I realize now I'm going to be one of those over-zealous parents that won't let my kids watch what they want without me giving it a once over, or surf the net without me there. And I'll encourage them to do things that don't involve technology, like skip!? or play marbles? haha. They'll hate me. But hopefully they'll appreciate it too someday. I dunno. I hope that some of the values we SHOULD be teaching our kids will start to come back to the media. We can start to overturn some of the mistakes we're making as a world on whole, but not until we start setting the RIGHT examples.


Date: Thu, 30 Sep
From: "lena V"

I've switched schools five times in my school career.  The most difficult and biggest change was from an all-girl's private school where we had to wear uniforms, to a public school.  The classes were larger, the teachers were less formal, and everybody got to wear whatever they wanted.  I had to learn how to behave in class and change my perceptions of my new world.

Everybody was more easygoing, but it was hard to make friends.  How very paradoxal!  I changed my personality in some ways and thus altered how I interacted and thought.  Public school really opened my eyes as to what the real world was like, and I was able to cope with bigger problems once I toughened up.  I perpetuated culture by telling my friends what it was really like in an all-girl's private school.  They learned first-hand, and were not blinded by the garbled trash that normally portrays private schools.

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