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Freakonomics: Chapter 5

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Lindsey Welchel

on 26 January 2015

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Transcript of Freakonomics: Chapter 5

What makes a perfect parent?
The conventional wisdom of parenting changes every second.
Parents should not to listen to all "parenting experts," for most of them contradict each other and make false claims to get the attention.
Fear is a "major component of... parenting" (Levitt & Dubner 149).
... but most parents are scared of the wrong things because of fear-driven conventional wisdom.
Fear "best thrives in present tense" (Levitt & Dubner 151).
The generations just keep getting more and more impatient. That is why experts rely on short-term answers, even if they are not always true. If we want answers now, we will get answers now.
Bad parenting matters greatly.
There is a link between crime and abortion; crime and unwanted children; and crime and children who faced neglect or abuse.
Most of us are "terrible risk assessors" (Levitt & Dubner 150).
Peter Sandman came to the conclusion in 2004 that people tend to freak out more about risks that are out of their control (mad cow disease) than risks that are not out of their control (the spread of germs in a household).
This is the control principle.
Freakonomics: Chapter 5
Parents are most susceptible to fall into these experts' traps.
For instance, a parent is more likely to be worried about a gun instead of a swimming pool; however, pools kill twice as many children. It's the fear factor.
Risk = Hazard + Outrage
But what determines a "good" parent?
Well genes alone make up "50% of a child's personality and abilities" (Levitt & Dubner 154).
In 1998, Judith Rich Harris argued that peers influenced children more than parents... so how much can parents really matter?
But, don't parents choose their child's peers by stressing over the right school, location, and neighborhood?
School performance can be measured by data, and since education is the core for children formation, the data gives us interesting correlations.
School choice barely matters in determining whether your child will succeed or not.
Using regression analysis, the data found that if you set a control on the child's parents' income, education, and mother's age, the black-white test gap would be virtually eradicated.
this means that black people underperform on tests not because they are black, but because of the factors associated with being black.
Girls usually test higher than boys.
Asians usually test higher than whites.
According to the data, "it isn't so much a matter of what you do as a parent; it's who you are" (Levitt & Dubner 178).
All the extra stuff, like taking your children to museums or daycare or not working, does not matter in the end. It's who you reflect that matters the most.
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