7400.362 - Family Life Management
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Instructor: David D. Witt, Ph.D.
Topic 10 - Balancing Work and Family
 
I. The Genesis of Social Classes

A. All complex societies have some system of stratification which unequally ranks people. Social Classes grow out of a Division of Labor within a society: - somebody has to take out the trash - somebody has to repair our television sets - somebody has to approve loans at the bank.So there is a strong correlation between the type of work a person does and the amount of prestige that person enjoys and the amount of wealth a person accumulates

B. The Determinants of Social Class are: Occupation - Education - Income - A few people inherit large sums of money from their families. These folks are few in number, although it is true that the top 1/5th of the population controls over 50% of the nation's wealth - a lot of social power.

1. Occupations - some occupations (careers) carry more prestige than others. Usually higher prestige means higher salaries - but not always:

Similarly - Higher paid occupations generally require more education, though not necessarily in every case. While becoming a physician requires eight additional years of education after high school, becoming an entertainer or union president requires much less. The kind of education we receive also says something about our social class - anybody who could spend four years in college (whether or not they get their way paid) is obviously in a preferred position of higher status.

2. Social Class Consciousness - we are very aware of our standing in the community in terms of social class. While all citizens of the United States are equal in the democratic sense, some are more equal than others. Our Occupation, Education and Income imply a lifestyle, something about family background, special responsi- bilities, and certain privileges that are enjoyed. We use our social status to get us things - we wear status symbols as a means of recognizing membership in our class. Since we all look alike basically under under our clothes - we use cars, opulent surroundings, special and expensive clothing, etc. - to dress according to our class. After all - the rich can smell different from the rest of us if they want to - they spend more time on THEMSELVES - pedicures, pretty feet, skin treatments, time on the golf course, spend less time doing the dirty work of life.

Upper - Middle - Working - Lower Class - The typical middle class child lives in a class subculture where he or she is surrounded by educated, cultivated persons who speak the language relatively correctly, enjoy books, music, travel and gentile parties. At school, the typical middle class child is greeted by a teacher whose dress, spech, and norms of conduct are more or less like his or her own. The environment at school is much like the environment at home: full of books, crayons, drawing paper, various developmentally appropriate toys, maybe a computer.

The typical lower class child lives in a class subculture that is as different from their richer counterparts as iff they were from different planets - he or she is surrounded by uneducated persons, who speak a lanaguage that is special to the social class, who barely read, and are unable to enjoy music (unless it is on the radio) and only travel to the funerals of their kin.

At school, the typical lower class child is greeted by a middle class teacher who may see an unwashed, unfed, unruly child who violates many of the educational system's rules. School is foreign and different from this child's homelife. - The behavior required for praise is unknown to the child - behaving in ways that are consistent with the lower class invokes punishment from the teacher - no support for education at home or in the lower class subculture.

The Relative Size of the Social Classes:

The significance of social class is this:
  • -life opportunities are determined by it
  • -upper class members live longer and are healthier
  • -those with less than 5 years of education are twice as likely to die early.
  • -and experience more days of illness
  • - and are more likely to have premature babies and babies with congenital birth defects.

II. Budgets and the Use of Credit
A family of three or four should not feel safe unless in has at least six months income in savings, plus insurance for all members, and a plan for retirement (when income becomes fixed).

Notice what this list doesn't include:

  • -no payment of student loans
  • -no payment of any bank loans
  • -no car payments
  • -no credit card payments of any kind
  • -no emergency funds for sickness, pregnancy
  • -no coverage for other loss of income
  • -no TAXES which hovers around 11% Federal, 4% state and 3% local in Ohio 18% total.
  • -no movies, video rentals, stereo equipment, commercial recordings, alcohol
  • -no entertainment of any kind
  • -no vacations, presents
  • -no christmas, no birthdays
  • -no birth control devices
  • -no personal grooming
  • -no diapers, baby oils, pediatrician money
  • III. Marriage and Social Class

    The Marriage Gradient - for men, income level is positively related to the probability of gfetting married. Men tend to marry down in social class. The proporiton of married men increases and income level increases. The Marriage Gradient suggests that men marry women who are slightly lower down the social class continnuum (younger, a little poorer, less educated). The pool of eligible mates decreases for women as they get older, richer, and more educated. The pool of eligible mate for men increases as they get older, richer, and more educated. Birth rate and Social Class - there are 94 births per 1000 women in the lower classes compared to 48 births per 1000 women in the middle classes.

  • lower income marrriages have a greater rate of divorce than do higher-income marriages
  • high income means a greater accumulation of riches so a divorce is a risk of losing these riches.
  • higher income marriages connote lives with more comfort - less to fight about - be dissatisfied about
  • Regardless of actual income - living within one's means increases satisfaction in marriage. It is indebtedness that causes marital instability - and the insistance of having more material goods.

    IV. Work and Family

    As we move further and further into a consumer economy, based solely on the purchase and use of goods and services regardless of need or actual benefit, conflict and disagreement about work (time spent away from family) will mount.  Across all families and within any given family, more and more couples will torn between two domains - that of work and that of home and family.

    The dilemma is simply put, work affords us money with which we finance our lives. It also can provide a measure of self-esteem, if we are good at what we do or see it as important.  These are good things. Work also exacts a price on individuals and family members through time spent away from the family we are supporting, through energy taken away from family endeavors, through cognitive efforts spent on work-related concepts instead of the developing individuals in our families. Spend too little time at work and the family suffers - Spend too much time at work and the family suffers. Damned if you do, damned if you don't - so to speak.

    The answer, if there is one, is to work smarter and jealously guard time set aside to family matters. You've heard the phrase, "I'm there for you".  Being "there" means bringing all your faculties to the table when it is time to "be there".  There are many fortunate children who have parents who nurture them every step of the way through life. There are many who don't - a child with two busy parents who find no time to consider the child, such a child might as well be parentless when it comes to family life.

    V. Working Women in the United States

    A. Reasons for the increase in the number of working women who are married, with children at home:
    • 1. double digit inflation - since 1964, the inflation rate has served to decrease the actual value of income by 75%. That means a dollar today buys what a quarter would in 1964. As long as wages and salaries increase with the shrinking buying power of the dollar, things are fine.
    • 2. The Women's movement, working off of the momentum of the other civil rights movements of the 1960's have illuminated the differential treatment of men and women.
    • 3. Geographic mobility of the average family in the U.S. has led to isolation of the nuclear family.
    • 4. No-Fault Divorce - disallows financial support for divorced women in theory.
      5. Fluctuating employment rates - unemployed husban

    Effects of two paycheck families on traditional family life:

  • -working women have less time for child care
  • - their traditional role which causes both a decline in the birth rate increased father involvement in child care Negotiated role interaction
  • -the number and variety of jobs available to women has greatly increased, blurring the sex role distinction.
  • -women feel pressure to fit into both traditional family roles and new occupational ones.
  • -role overload
  • -social stigma and the career wife
  • -personal identity and self-esteem problems
  • -guilt over lack of involvement in child care
  • -social network dilemmas
  • -dilemmas of multiple-role cycling
  • The last of the baby boomers - those born from 1960 to 1964 are the first generation of Americans that will not, as a group, increase their wealth relative to their parents. Inflation, a diamond shaped social class structure, an over administrated economy all share in the cause of this situation.  Families have to learn to budget their resources in order to be successful today.

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