CHILD RAISING

 

Marianne Hardwick was timid and unadventurous, her vitality consumed by physical activity and longing, her intelligence by indecisiveness, but this had less to do with the innate characteristics of the weaker sex (as her father, Creighton Montgomery, called it) than with the enfeebling circumstances of her upbringing.

 

Creighton Montgomery had enough money to mould his daughters according to his misconceptions: girls were not meant to fend for themselves, so he protected them from life. This meant that Marianne Montgomery grew up without making any vital choices for herself.

Prevented from acquiring the habits of freedom and strength of character which grow from decision-making, very rich girls whose parents protect them in such a crippling fashion are the last representatives of Victorian
womanhood.

Though they may have the boldest manners and most up-to-date ideas, they share their great-grandmothers’ humble dependence.

Most parents these days have to rely on their force of personality and whatever love and respect they can inspire to exert any influence over their children at all, but there is still an awful lot of parental
authority that big money can buy.

Multi-millionaires have more of everything than ordinary mortals, including more parent power, and their sons and daughters have about as much opportunity to develop
according to their own inclinations as they would have had in the age of absolute monarchy.

The great divide between the generations (so much taken for granted that no one remarks on it any longer) is the plight of the lower and middle classes, whose children begin to drift away as soon as they
are old enough to go to school.

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The parents cannot control the school, and have even less say as to what company and ideas the child will be exposed to; nor can they isolate him from the public mood, the spirit of the age.

It is an often-heard complaint of the middle-class mother, for instance, that she must let her children watch television for hours on end every day if she is to steal any time for herself.

The rich have no such problems; they can keep their offspring busy from morning to night without being near them for a minute more than they choose to  be, and can exercise almost total control over their environment.

As for schooling, they can hand-pick tutors with sound views to come to the children, who may never leave the grounds their parents own, in town, in the country, by the sea, unless for an exceptionally secure boarding school or a well-chaperoned trip abroad.

It would have been easier for little Marianne Montgomery to go to Cairo than to the
nearest newsstand.

Mark the best choice.

1. Line 36, ‘sound views’ refers to ideas which are .
a) universally acceptable c) healthy
b) favoured by the parents d) loud
2. Marianne was .
a) unmarried b) physically active c) decisive d) unprotected
3. Creighton Montgomery .
a) was able to make the right judgments for Marianne’s life
b) had great admiration for the opposite sex
c) lived very close to his daughter all her life
d) controlled Marianne’s life by means of his money
4. Most women who lived in Queen Victoria’s time .
a) had strong will-power c) were dependent on the men in their lives
b) were very shy among people d) had up-to-date ideas
5. The children of lower and middle class parents .
a) have strictly controlled education
b) are isolated from the spirit of the age
c) become independent at an early age
d) have little to say about the company and ideas they are exposed to
6. Which of the following statements is true?
a) Money is as important a factor as love and respect in all children’s accepting
parental authority.
b) Multi-millionaires are unfortunate people because their children don’t respect
them.
c) Rich fathers resemble absolute monarchs.
d) The generation gap is greater between rich parents and their children.
7. Which of the following statements best sums up the main idea of the passage?
a) Creighton Montgomery was especially devoted to his daughter.
b) The rich can control their children’s lives without being near them.
c) Marianne Montgomery-Hardwick lived a very protected life.
d) Ver^ rich girls are usually Victorian and old-fashioned.

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