Adults Pushing Lifestyles On Kids

30 January 2003

[Subscription may be required] Today’s Wall Street Journal also ran a story titled On the Road Again: Parents are Spending More Time Than Ever Behind the Wheel by Sue Shellenbarger. Here’s the drift:

It may not seem surprising that Leonard Sclafani, a Manhattan attorney, recently put in a 15-hour day.

He wasn’t working the entire time, though. For about six of those hours, he was behind the wheel, driving his kids to and from school, a hockey game and softball practice in towns around his Westchester County, N.Y., home and in Connecticut. ”We’re nuts” over all the driving, he says. He and his wife rack up 200 miles a week shuttling their children, 11 and 15, to music, sports, school and social activities.

If it feels like you’re doing more driving to raise your child than parents did even in the recent past—you are. A study by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, Washington, D.C., found mothers, employed or not, drive 20% more than average shuttling their kids around. And new federal data released this month show all American drivers are averaging 11% more time behind the wheel than in 1995.

Twenty of 24 working parents I surveyed say they do far more driving than they’d like. Many are racking up the equivalent of more than two extra workdays a week behind the wheel.

It’s easy to blame parents for excessive travel. Ambitious for their kids, many parents do up the ante by ”promoting” them into more competitive—and more distant—schools, competitions, leagues and clubs. Publicity about crimes against kids leads many parents to forbid even short walks.

Read the rest here.

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