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  1. #1
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    Safer to raise kids in suburbs vs. closer to perceived "vices", crime, etc.

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    All subjective opinions and of course, location is less important, compared to parenting styles, cultivating strong, confident kids that become self-motivated to learn, how kids develop interests and friends that don't bring them down into spiral of boredom and acting out in ways that hurt themselves or others.

    I'm always intrigued why people think suburbs are "safer". A young woman in her early 30's is house hunting to buy with her newly wed hubby. My partner argues heavily that small towns and suburbs can also breed boredom in kids and if unoccupied they getting into trouble. He was raised in a small town, north of Toronto and saw that type of stuff.

    I myself was raised in the downtown core in a historic residential neighbourhood or the parlance nowadays is "inner city". I know a number of other families didn't fall down into criminal behaviour or didn't have problems in school just because they were raised in the "inner city".

    We were the poorest and big family on the street. But we also had bank manager, college professor, police officer, head of a university, etc. live on our street. A factory worker with 7 children.
    My parents didn't know about the socio-economic characteristics of our neighbourhood. They just bought a cheap house they could afford. It was dilapidated = cheap price.

    In retrospect, we were incredibly blessed to live in this inner city neighbourhood. I think it helped us realize that some wealthy neighbours had their own "problems". ie. one of the girls from a wealthy family, got accidentally pregnant when she was 18 yrs. old. That was a shocker to us at that time because she was an A+ high scoring student.

    Of course, then reaching into my final year of high school..to learn of more accidental early pregnancies among the occasional academically high scoring and also outgoing teens at my age. It was just so foreign to myself and other female friends were like me....bookish, liked boys, but...
    Last edited by shootingstar; 12-18-2015 at 05:30 PM.
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    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  2. #2
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    Shooting Star, none of this has anything to do with where you live, today. There are more concerns about safety in the inner city, based on what I have heard from parents who live there (a number of my classmates when I returned to school lived in Boston, with teens). If there is violence around your home, it can have a great effect on your kids' mental health. But whether or not kids get pregnant, smoke weed, or are otherwise in trouble has nothing to do with it. I grew up in a close in suburb ("streetcar suburb"), with a suburban feel, but only 6 miles from downtown Boston. My house was less than a mile from the city line of Boston, but you would have never known it. We had all the usual teen issues, just like the suburban town my kids grew up in, which is much more isolated, almost rural, compared to my hometown. Why were you surprised that straight A students got pregnant? Smart kids have sex! One would like to think that a smart kid would use birth control, but after 30+ years of working with teens, I can tell you that doesn't happen all of the time.
    And today, the kind of neighborhood you grew up in doesn't exist anywhere around where I live. Neighborhoods are segregated by income/SES, more than racial identity. A poor family could not afford to buy even a dilapidated home where the college professors and police chief live.
    My son lives in a different close in suburb with his wife. It has a much more city-like feel. Around here, towns are very stratified by class, so some places have more professionals and other places are more blue collar suburbs. It's always been like this here, but now, it's worse than when I grew up. It will be interesting to see what my son does when his child nears school age. They have a home, a nice home, but on a busy street, in a blue collar suburb. It's a more up and coming place. I would not send my kids to school in the place he lives, because they are not so great. Maybe average, at best. He could afford to move to a town with better schools if he sold his home, so I can't predict. Both he and his wife, who grew up in the city, are city type people. But, it really did not work for her. The schools in Boston are only OK if you are in advanced classes in elementary school (she was) and get into one of the 3 exam schools. She missed getting in by one point on the entrance exam, went to the local middle school in grade 7, where she got called "white girl," and felt generally threatened. Because her parents weren't capable of helping her, she got herself into a Friends school for grade 8 and then a prep school that is arts based for HS. She got a scholarship and had to arrange for and pay for transportation on the commuter rail, out to the school. So while it is not like that where my son lives, I hope she learned soething from her experience. They can't afford private school at 30K a year.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    We had all the usual teen issues, just like the suburban town my kids grew up in, which is much more isolated, almost rural, compared to my hometown. Why were you surprised that straight A students got pregnant? Smart kids have sex! One would like to think that a smart kid would use birth control, but after 30+ years of working with teens, I can tell you that doesn't happen all of the time.
    And today, the kind of neighborhood you grew up in doesn't exist anywhere around where I live. Neighborhoods are segregated by income/SES, more than racial identity. A poor family could not afford to buy even a dilapidated home where the college professors and police chief live.
    My son lives in a different close in suburb with his wife. It has a much more city-like feel. Around here, towns are very stratified by class, so some places have more professionals and other places are more blue collar suburbs. It's always been like this here, but now, it's worse than when I grew up. It will be interesting to see what my son does when his child nears school age. They have a home, a nice home, but on a busy street, in a blue collar suburb. It's a more up and coming place. I would not send my kids to school in the place he lives, because they are not so great. Maybe average, at best. He could afford to move to a town with better schools if he sold his home, so I can't predict. Both he and his wife, who grew up in the city, are city type people. But, it really did not work for her. The schools in Boston are only OK if you are in advanced classes in elementary school (she was) and get into one of the 3 exam schools. She missed getting in by one point on the entrance exam, went to the local middle school in grade 7, where she got called "white girl," and felt generally threatened. Because her parents weren't capable of helping her, she got herself into a Friends school for grade 8 and then a prep school that is arts based for HS. She got a scholarship and had to arrange for and pay for transportation on the commuter rail, out to the school. So while it is not like that where my son lives, I hope she learned soething from her experience. They can't afford private school at 30K a year.
    At the time I was growing up, maybe I was more "protected" in terms of my circle of school friends. Growing up in a smaller city (pop. of 50,000 at the time) with 2 universities. It probably was incredibly naÔve of me at that time, when I was 17-19 yr. old that even the smartest girls at my age, could get pregnant. And probably slightly snotty naÔve to believe, "smart" meant taking birth control precaution... But most likely my teenager response at that time, would have been no different than other girls who had a similar background as myself. We're looking back , and commenting as adults, experienced in life.

    Nowadays, yes, it's just less chance of mixed income neighbourhood given the higher housing prices in 1 neighbourhood.

    I guess race and schoolchildren experiences vary..... I went to the county's oldest high school (inner city that actually a lot of students wanted to/some did transfer from other areas, because school was lst to go on semester system and some good teachers at the upper level grade courses) of 2,000 students. There were 25 students of Asian descent, about same number for blacks and East Indians. Usually others were your siblings.

    What was interesting were some of the girls who transferred from all-girl Catholic school into our final HS year. The ones who did, were not only very good academically, but also just seemed more "mature", confident and articulate, than some of us similar academically strong and well-rounded students. So all-girls' school for some girls, helped them.

    I really had to move to Toronto....I had learn to get lost among locals with Asian faces. It was important ..for myself...to self-identify by my strengths and skills. And I could "grow" better in every sense of the word. My personal long term interests at that stage in life 20's -30's were more strongly aligned and found in very large, metropolitan cities where people were freer to be creative, to speak out on social justice matters. I think this too, some people might feel intimidated/overwhelmed because it might look unsettling/disruptive to them. So a smaller town or suburban area might be better...
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    My partner spent a huge chunk of his elementary school, HS and university commuting 10-50 km. one way by bus from a rural area. For latter it was into downtown Toronto. His opinion of car-driven lifestyle is heavily influenced by this.. His children were raised in downtown Toronto in reasonably "safe" neighbourhoods, places where residents cared for their homes ..yes, they went to good schools and some good close friends. Yes, they did take subway and transit on their own to high school and to live with each parent located within the 10 km. radius after the divorce. The children tended to hang around with friends who also took transit but most of all, it was important they each felt comfortable, trust to tell a parent if they were bullied, etc.

    Mixed racial neighbourhoods can make a difference, especially in large metropolitan cities if there are some reasonable neighbours from different backgrounds. I think it's important especially in big cities...to tone down the temperature of racial division.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 12-19-2015 at 09:16 AM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  4. #4
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    I think it's important, too, but it doesn't happen here, unless you really make an effort. The town my kids grew up in here has a about a 25% Asian (mostly Chinese and Indian) population. It is a very significant minority. At the time they graduated HS, there was a lot more diversity in terms of ethnicity and religion than when we moved there. It was good.
    My DIL had some unique experiences as a kid, because of where she lived, but I don't think she wants her child taking the city bus to school in 2nd grade, like she did. And this was in the late 80s.
    As for me, we had thought about moving to the city where I grew up, to have a more urban feel. Then we started cycling. That pretty much nixed that plan! And now, I get agitated with all of the people, traffic, etc. I like being close enough that we go there whenever we want, but I always feel a sense of relief when we get to a certain point on the drive home. And it has nothing to do with safety, because I feel the same agitation in the ritziest neighborhoods in Boston. Just too many people.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I think it's important, too, but it doesn't happen here, unless you really make an effort. The town my kids grew up in here has a about a 25% Asian (mostly Chinese and Indian) population. It is a very significant minority. At the time they graduated HS, there was a lot more diversity in terms of ethnicity and religion than when we moved there. It was good.
    My DIL had some unique experiences as a kid, because of where she lived, but I don't think she wants her child taking the city bus to school in 2nd grade, like she did. And this was in the late 80s.
    As for me, we had thought about moving to the city where I grew up, to have a more urban feel. Then we started cycling. That pretty much nixed that plan! And now, I get agitated with all of the people, traffic, etc. I like being close enough that we go there whenever we want, but I always feel a sense of relief when we get to a certain point on the drive home. And it has nothing to do with safety, because I feel the same agitation in the ritziest neighborhoods in Boston. Just too many people.
    It does require some careful thought and initial (natural, cannot be too fake-forced) effort to choose and live harmoniously in mixed racial/ethnic neighbourhood in a big city. For those of us, who already do, we might take it for granted.

    My sister who is no longer alive, when they moved in 1 suburban Toronto neighbourhood she found the neighbours cold, upper class Jewish and had a hard time sparking any conversation. This actually compounded her depression and isolation. She was the one who is married to her white hubby with now 2 biracial adult children.

    So seriously, Crankin, they sold that house within 5 months and bought into a different neighbourhood probably less than 3 km. away, that was more racially and ethnically mixed. (Asian descent, East Indian, black and white) I hate to say this, but my gut feel tells me, it was probably better for herself at the time and her children in terms of neighbourhood integration.

    In the world of biracial children (and I feel this because there are 4 children from 2 sisters), it is in my opinion, where all possible for biracial children the broadest exposure early in life onward of knowing both sides of their extended family face to face often, develop natural comfort level of navigating among different zones, worlds....because it IS part of their family legacy and self-identity. I have read too many stories, for others, it was too late in life for because certain family members died.

    I'm glad these children knew my father ... ever since they were babies before my father died last year.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 12-19-2015 at 01:33 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  6. #6
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    Oh, I believe you, Shooting Star. If you are that unhappy in your home, then move. I hated the place we lived for the first 6 years after moving back here, but it was where we could afford to buy. It actually exposed my kids to different kinds of people, in terms of income, and that part was good. But, I felt isolated. I've never been much on socializing with neighbors, so I just made my social life elsewhere.
    All the research I've read about bi-racial children talks about what you said. Same thing for mixed religious households. I hope my younger son exposes his future kids to Judaism... I worry about that. He was the most religious in our family, growing up, and now he just does what his wife wants. She is not religious, but this time of year makes me glad I don't live near them. On the other hand, they are totally accepting people, with friends from all cultures. My other son and wife will raise their kids Jewish; she grew up sort of nothing/Protestant, with one Jewish grandparent. When she was a kid, she actually lived in a Jewish commune with her parents, because their house burned down and this was the only place that would take them in. So, she's totally comfortable with it.
    Compared to most of the kids mine grew up with, my sons are way more down to earth and non-entitled, and we worked hard to make it happen, even when we lived in places where that was not the norm and we had the money to do otherwise.
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