A few months ago my three children and I moved from a not-so-great suburb of Detroit to a more affluent part of the city. I was thrilled by the idea of them attending a school in at top-notched district that also seemed to have a close-knit and more liberal-leaning community. Up until a few days ago everything was going as smooth as a skein of fair trade silk. Now that the ripples of a new move and a new school have dissipated, that “new community smell” is starting to get a little rank.
The four of us have become accustomed to the standard of living I can provide for them on my single income. What I wasn’t prepared for, and the boys ESPECIALLY weren’t expecting, was the backlash from their new peers. Granted they are all in elementary school and children of those ages can be cruel without intending to be, but I’m lost as how to explain/respond to the question, “Mom, why do the kids at school call me poor?”
How does one go about explaining classism to children that up until this point had no idea that we were indeed part of the lower echelon of this new community? Breaking complex subject matter into child-sized pieces has always been something I have prided myself on. My fear is that by having to vocalize our situation I will be bursting the little bubble they have been living in. I knew it was bound to happen sometime, but I was not expecting it to come about like this.
Have any of you offbeat beauties had to deal with a similar situation, and how do you think it effected your child’s outlook on themselves and their peers, if it effected it at all? — Stephanie
We’ve talked about abstractly explaining privilege to kids before, but most of that discussion was about privilege and race — which really aren’t the factors here. Parents in similar positions: how have you explained this to your kids?