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The After-School Lives of Children: Alone and with Others while Parents Work.


reviewed by David Bensman 2001

coverTitle: The After-School Lives of Children: Alone and with Others while Parents Work.
Author(s): Deborah Belle
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Mahwah, NJ
ISBN: 0805823255, Pages: 197, Year: 1999
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"Latchkey kids" is a profoundly ideological concept, calling up images of lonely children growing up without nurturance, affection, and supervision. According to the "family values" discourse to which this concept is central, latchkey kids will grow up to be emotionally undeveloped, culturally impoverished, socially unskilled and disaffected, and educationally marked for failure. Blame is easily assigned – it’s America’s spiritual decay, the decline of "family values" that has produced broken families, single parents, adults who don’t understand and value the role of parenting and instead narcissistically pursue their own careers, and finally inadequate mothers who abandon hearth and home in the unnatural pursuit of material wealth and personal self-aggrandizement. This discourse has grown so strong in the backlash against the feminism of the 1960’s and 1970’s that nearly everyone accepts at least some of its premises. Millions of working moms torture themselves with guilt when they return home exhausted from their paid jobs to begin their second shift. Thousands of parents send their children to inadequate after-school programs... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 1, 2001, p. 18-20
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10565, Date Accessed: 12/15/2017 1:03:48 PM

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About the Author
  • David Bensman
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    David Bensman is a Professor at Rutgers University. He studies American labor history, education reform, and the impact of global economic integration on working people. He is the author of Central Park East and Its Graduates: Learning by Heart (Teachers College Press, 2000), Rusted Dreams: Hard Times in a Steel Community (McGraw-Hill, 1987) and Practice of Solidarity: American Hat Finishers in the Nineteenth Century (University of Illinois Press, 1985).
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