"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
0 items in your cart
$0
Blog // Travel
June 23, 2008

How Seven Year-Olds Play?

Overheard last week: “Let’s play 24. I’ll slap you, then ask some questions…” Sure, I played cops and robbers and the like as a kid. But the comment and “game” shows more than a passing familiarity with the TV show 24, which despite it’s relative merits as entertainment for adults, hardly qualifies as good children’s […]

Overheard last week: “Let’s play 24. I’ll slap you, then ask some questions…”

Sure, I played cops and robbers and the like as a kid. But the comment and “game” shows more than a passing familiarity with the TV show 24, which despite it’s relative merits as entertainment for adults, hardly qualifies as good children’s viewing.

Coincidentally (or not, depending on your theology) last week’s Spectator caught my eye with a piece entitled Even middle-class children are suffering from neglect. There’s the usual conservative perturbation that we would expect from a Tory-ish rag (blame the working mums, etc.), but there’s also some very good points about a pattern of middle-class parenting that is frequent, nay, endemic on the ex-pat scene.

“‘We’ve outsourced our children to the former Warsaw pact,’ one newly separated father observes. ‘What amazes me is that my children go to play-dates where the children are looked after by five different nannies from five countries speaking five languages, and their carers are simply waiting for the parents to return from their jobs in finance or the media, and the children are subject to no meaningful discipline or social input at all. The children are safe, but they’re not doing anything.’”

It was eye-opening to read how the situation has unravelled for some in the UK, especially at this time of rising interest rates and flat property prices. Trapped in childcare was a problem when we live there, but from all I hear it is only getting worse. The same is true for some in Hong Kong, up to a point. But if vocation was the only thing driving the high levels of hired childcare, then there would be a lot more parental involvement at other times of the week. There are lots of parents who wish they could spend more time with their kids, but can’t. But, any honest assessment must also say there are more than a few who can’t get away fast enough, exploit the cheap childcare that is available to enable that (“the fabulous ex-pat lifestyle” as overheard in another conversation I can’t quite bring myself to blog) and don’t really have pressing vocational or financial commitments to attend to.

It’s childcare to facilitate Veblen’s leisure lifestyle.

Which brings us back to seven year old kids playing “24.”

[tags] Parenting, Childhood [/tags]

Leave a comment

Enter your and your to join the mailing list.