New York Times Explains Why Parents Are Spending More Time and Money on Their Kids Now Than Ever Before
Over the past two generations, the amount of time and money parents put toward their children has skyrocketed. Now a New York Times report is explaining why.
Though many may dismiss the growth of parental presence and assistance as another indicator of coddled young people, the trend is more in response to increasingly uncertain futures and growing labor competition in an age where children only have a 50% chance of earning more money than their parents.
Oh, baby! The arrival of a newborn has a dramatic impact on the mother’s hormones—no surprise—as a rush of biochemical reactions occurs to improve attachment and attentiveness. Oxytocin, a hormone that increases the amount of love and protectiveness new mothers feel towards their offspring, has been called the “love drug” because it helps new mothers bond with their babies.
"Maternal oxytocin levels—the system responsible for maternal-infant bonding across all mammalian species—dramatically increase during pregnancy and the postpartum [period] and the more mother is involved in childcare, the greater the increase in oxytocin," said brain researcher Ruth Feldman.
This is a tale of two children.
Their brain scans came to the attention of Professor Bruce Perry, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital. The difference between the two scans tells a horrifying story. One looks small and, for lack of a better word, desiccated. The other looks like the brain scan of an adult, in miniature.
Parents, think twice before posting that cute photo of your child on the potty, in the bathtub or throwing a tantrum. They could sue you someday. Or, they could involve the authorities. In France, stringent new privacy laws mean parents could face fines of up to $50,000 and a year in prison for publishing intimate photos of their children on social media without permission.
The government has long promoted two-parent households as the ideal. Promoting marriage was part of President Clinton’s 1996 welfare overhaul. It was part of President George W. Bush’s Healthy Marriage Initiative. President Obama has a Healthy Marriage & Responsible Fatherhood policy.
Independent organizations, like the Brookings Institute, have also touted the importance of marriage. In a study published last December, a group of scholars from both sides of the political spectrum tied the rise in single-family households to rises in inequality and poverty, declaring that “Marriage matters.” “Marital commitment remains the principal foundation upon which most Americans can build a stable and secure family.”