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Why your kids are "economically worthless"

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 11:58 PM
  • 92 Replies
2 moms liked this

Remember when children were an economic asset?

No, you probably don’t, because that was back in the 1800s, when kids labored on farms and in factories and kicked in a few pennies to help cover the family expenses. “The more [children] you had, the better off you were,” Jennifer Senior, author of the new book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, explains in the video above. Since most kids produced a positive financial return for their parents, there was a natural incentive to have more.

The financial implications of having kids have completely changed, needless to say. The average middle-class family these days will spend about $295,000 to raise a typical kid, one reason the average mother now gives birth to just two children, down from three in the 1970s and more before that. With fewer kids, parents tend to dote on them more. Children, Senior writes, have become “economically worthless but emotionally priceless.”

Most parents are okay with that, since child labor is now illegal, after all, and a lot of parents have bigger ambitions for their kids than field worker or factory sweeper. Yet something else is wrong. “The moment children stopped working for adults,” Senior writes, “everybody became confused about who was in charge.”

Now, if you’re a parent, you might earnestly believe that you’re in charge of your kids, instead of the other way around. But if Senior is right, odds are, something about parenting makes you unhappy. It could be the lack of freedom or the unrelenting demands most kids make. If you’re a working parent, you might feel you’re constantly juggling work and parenting duties and never doing either particularly well. “Our kids’ jobs now are homework, and going to soccer practice and violin lessons,” Senior tells me. “That becomes our work.”

To make parenting a bit easier, Senior urges parents to ease up on all the extracurricular activities, especially the ones kids themselves aren’t enthused about.

There’s nothing wrong with kids doing chores either – without earning pay or a weekly allowance. “If you’re paying $295,000 to raise them,” Senior argues, “the least they can do is take out the trash.”

And if you feel guilty about leaving your kids while you go to work—don’t. “I hear this all the time, especially from mothers,” Senior says. “They feel this compensatory impulse, and they don’t need to feel that.” If you need convincing, remind yourself that you’re the one out earning a living, not your kids. They have it pretty good.

by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 11:58 PM
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Replies (1-10):
elevator_chaos
by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:06 AM
1 mom liked this

My kids are expected to be a part of the village that is our family and pull their weight.

butterflymama21
by Bronze Member on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:08 AM
I agree
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:09 AM

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

elevator_chaos
by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:14 AM

 That's $16,388 a year. Surely an average American could spend that on their child. You have to feed them, give them shelter, buy them cloathing, extra-curricular activites, school costs, medical expenses the list goes on and on and on.

Quoting Anonymous:

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:18 AM
1 mom liked this

 LOL, i don't even make that much a year. Hell I barely make $10,000. I do not consider giving them shelter as an expense to raise a child. I would have to provide shelter for myself whether I had him or not. As for clothing, I think in  almost 8 years I have spent maybe $300 on clothing. He doesn't need expensive clothing. Kids are only expensive if you make them expensive.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

 That's $16,388 a year. Surely an average American could spend that on their child. You have to feed them, give them shelter, buy them cloathing, extra-curricular activites, school costs, medical expenses the list goes on and on and on.

Quoting Anonymous:

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

 

 

elevator_chaos
by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM
1 mom liked this

1. Housing costs go up when you have to get a bigger place.

2. Medical insurance, food, etc. is not optional. You can't make them less expensive.

3. You are living well below the poverty line, so you wouldn't be considered middle class. They said the average middle class family.

Quoting Anonymous:

 LOL, i don't even make that much a year. Hell I barely make $10,000. I do not consider giving them shelter as an expense to raise a child. I would have to provide shelter for myself whether I had him or not. As for clothing, I think in  almost 8 years I have spent maybe $300 on clothing. He doesn't need expensive clothing. Kids are only expensive if you make them expensive.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

 That's $16,388 a year. Surely an average American could spend that on their child. You have to feed them, give them shelter, buy them cloathing, extra-curricular activites, school costs, medical expenses the list goes on and on and on.

Quoting Anonymous:

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

 

 

 

Charlie557
by Silver Member on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM

That book just came in at our local library. Now I guess I have some incentive to read it.  

LovlyRita
by Meter Maid on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:21 AM
The third time the kids let the dogs in with their muddy paws it became their responsibility to sweep and mop the floors. The dogs paws are getting wiped and my floors are clean. All is well!
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:27 AM

 1. I actually downsized after I had my son. I moved from a 1780 sq ft house to a 5th wheel that I own. I owned it before I had my child.

2. Yes you can. I don't need to go out and buy expensive food. I buy enough meat off of my family and pay an 1/8 of the cost. I also raise my own veggies and some fruits. I don't carry insurance on my son, his dad does.

3. My sister is the average middle class family, she sure hasn't spent $16,800 on each of her children per year. She has 2 children.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

1. Housing costs go up when you have to get a bigger place.

2. Medical insurance, food, etc. is not optional. You can't make them less expensive.

3. You are living well below the poverty line, so you wouldn't be considered middle class. They said the average middle class family.

Quoting Anonymous:

 LOL, i don't even make that much a year. Hell I barely make $10,000. I do not consider giving them shelter as an expense to raise a child. I would have to provide shelter for myself whether I had him or not. As for clothing, I think in  almost 8 years I have spent maybe $300 on clothing. He doesn't need expensive clothing. Kids are only expensive if you make them expensive.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

 That's $16,388 a year. Surely an average American could spend that on their child. You have to feed them, give them shelter, buy them cloathing, extra-curricular activites, school costs, medical expenses the list goes on and on and on.

Quoting Anonymous:

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

 

 

 

 

elevator_chaos
by on Mar. 5, 2014 at 12:31 AM

 This is all circumstantial.

The average middle class family spends that amount. End of story.

1. For the record, I live in tornado alley and couldn't raise three kids in a 5th wheel trailer.

2. Not everyone has family that raise meat or land to grown on.

3. Good for your sister, she doesn't fall into that statistic. Also, what do you consider middle class and what is the cost of living where you live?

Quoting Anonymous:

 1. I actually downsized after I had my son. I moved from a 1780 sq ft house to a 5th wheel that I own. I owned it before I had my child.

2. Yes you can. I don't need to go out and buy expensive food. I buy enough meat off of my family and pay an 1/8 of the cost. I also raise my own veggies and some fruits. I don't carry insurance on my son, his dad does.

3. My sister is the average middle class family, she sure hasn't spent $16,800 on each of her children per year. She has 2 children.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

1. Housing costs go up when you have to get a bigger place.

2. Medical insurance, food, etc. is not optional. You can't make them less expensive.

3. You are living well below the poverty line, so you wouldn't be considered middle class. They said the average middle class family.

Quoting Anonymous:

 LOL, i don't even make that much a year. Hell I barely make $10,000. I do not consider giving them shelter as an expense to raise a child. I would have to provide shelter for myself whether I had him or not. As for clothing, I think in  almost 8 years I have spent maybe $300 on clothing. He doesn't need expensive clothing. Kids are only expensive if you make them expensive.

Quoting elevator_chaos:

 That's $16,388 a year. Surely an average American could spend that on their child. You have to feed them, give them shelter, buy them cloathing, extra-curricular activites, school costs, medical expenses the list goes on and on and on.

Quoting Anonymous:

$295,000,Holy shit what in the hell are they spending that money on? I have a pretty typical kid and it sure in hell isn't costing me that much to raise him, lol I highly doubt I will even make that much in 18 years.

 

 

 

 

 

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