General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Why do new parents feel the need to move to the suburbs when they have children?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7887points) September 23rd, 2010

What’s wrong with raising their kids in the city?
What can they really do in the ‘burbs that they can’t do in a city?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The kids can play on a grassy lawn. There are other kids in the neighborhoods to play with.

They don’t see as everyday sights the homeless, needles, etc. on the streets.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There is nothing wrong with rasing kids in the city. I think some people are under the impression that it’s safer or better in the suburbs – perhaps they have an image of what parenting should be like and what the suburbs have to offer. And they have assumptions about the city like @marinelife above shows – we’re not stepping over the homeless and needles with AIDS on a daily basis, whatsover (aside from the fact that it’s good for children to see homeless people rather than never knowing about how bad poverty is for people). There are positives and negatives to each situation. I stand behind my choice to raise kids in Brooklyn, NY because of how much they will learn about the world here – they will not and should not avoid diversity, hardships, difference and conflict. This is the place where the world wants to be, why would I, in my right mind, take my kids away from here? I never wanted to raise sheltered kids who leave for college to end up dumbfounded about what life for some people is really like ‘out there’. It is harder to remain unaware of your privilege when you live in NYC and that’s exactly what I need my kids to experience.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s easier for the parents to have sex if their kids sleep on the other side of the house or a different floor. But seriously, it can be easier for young children to be able to just run outside and play in the backyard, or ride their bicycle down the bike path in the neighborhood, or walk to school, maybe for better schools, or the neighborhood pool. Of course in some cities some of this can be in an apartment complex and just as convenient if not more. It really depends on the particular city and the particular suburb.

MissAusten's avatar

I talked to a couple of moms who used to live in NYC, but moved here (CT) after their children were born. Both of them felt the parenting atmosphere in the city was far too competitive and placed too much value on how much money parents could shell out for their child’s clothing, education, and entertainment. They said the pressure and cost of schooling, in particular, was a major factor in their decision to move. I don’t know what parts of the city each of them lived in, but in both cases the couples found they could afford for one parent to stay home with the children if they moved out of the city and provide them with an excellent public education.

I’m sure there were probably other factors in their decision, but those were the things that came up in our conversation. I think the reasons would vary from family to family and from city to city. Personally, I like living in the suburbs (or even a rural area) just because I prefer that atmosphere. Cities are great to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live in one with or without children.

YoBob's avatar

There is nothing wrong with raising kids in the city. The “burbs” do, however, generally sport yards and neighborhood parks to play in as well as neighbors who are also likely to have 2.3 kids and share the same values as you do.

john65pennington's avatar

Maybe, for a better form of childhood life than the parents had? i think everyone hates a concrete backyard.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington I don’t think the kid knows the difference. My first 9 years I grew up playing mostly on a concrete playground at the building where I lived, and I didn’t really know any other way. We had a large playground not far away with baseball fields, a running track, slides, merry-go-rounds, see-saws. We could walk to the “village” and get a slice of pizza or buy some candy.

Lightlyseared's avatar

As mentioned just recently on another thread living in a city can be expensive. You live inthe ‘burbs your money goes further and you get a bigger place with more rooms etc. It can be the difference between the kids sharing a bedroom and having their own space.

wilma's avatar

There are advantages and disadvantages to every place you might choose to live and raise children.
It depends on your priorities, your financial situation and what you feel comfortable with. I have never lived in a city or a suburb. I have visited both and they both have good things to offer. They also both can have their own set of problems. (This can vary depending on where it is.) I can say that if I had to choose between the two places to raise my children, I would choose the suburbs.

perspicacious's avatar

The suburbs often have a lower rate of crime, less traffic, better schools, and are cleaner.

zenvelo's avatar

In my case living in a suburb instead of San Francisco was based on schools. Our local schools are among the best in the state; we have overwhelmingly passed every local school funding initiative over the last 25 years. (On top of that I like the weather better.)

The funny thing about “safety” is I see a lot more overprotective parents in the ‘burbs. A lot of the moms freak out over their kid riding a bike to another neighborhood or walking from school to home or to the shopping center.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@zenvelo Yeah, we call ‘em ‘helicopter parents’ ‘cause they’re always hovering.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I like raising my kids in the burbs because we have a huge fenced backyard they can run out to, pretty much anytime they’d like. We also have a nice, secluded neighborhood and I feel perfectly comfortable letting my oldest daughter ride her bike around the neighborhood. I wouldn’t feel the same in the city.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I grew up in a city (SF) and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was awesome, made all the more so by the fact that my parents trusted me to be responsible, so I had loads and loads of freedom. I admit, though, it could be scary at times when I was younger. I have a bunch of scary experiences I could tell… oh, like the guy down the street handcuffing me to his railing when I was 9 because my friend and I were throwing those snappy popper things down on the ground in front of his house, or being chased down the block by a raving lunatic homeless guy, or being harassed heading back to my friend’s house in a very sketchy neighborhood. When I was 8 or 9, there was a very famous kidnapping of a young boy not that much older than me, which happened at a bus stop on a busy street about 4 blocks from our house.

So, obviously, some real fears here, which I imagine is ridiculously scary to over-protective parents. There is something to be said about being a kid in a safe place, getting to run around, to play outside, having yards to play in, a tighter sense of community where neighbors are more likely to keep an eye on what the kids are doing. I imagine that kind of freedom could be really fun, as well as being a great kind of childhood.

My sister lives in a village of about 1500 people and I’ve always said that even though it’s super boring and I could never live there, what an amazing place for kids to grow up! It’s super safe, everyone in the village knows each kid and who they belong to, everyone keeps an eye out and if the kid is being bad, it gets back to the parents. The kids in summer time run around and play until midnight, with little to no adult supervision. It took a while for me to get used to, but it’s pretty awesome if you think about it.

wilma's avatar

@MissAnthrope That is where and how I grew up and my children as well.

Haleth's avatar

I like @Simone_De_Beauvoir‘s reasons for raising kids in the city. I don’t have any children, but that’s basically how I’d like to raise my own kids someday. I grew up in the suburbs. Everyone in my cohort couldn’t wait to get out of there and experience real life.

On the other hand, here in DC the biggest drawback to raising kids in the city is definitely the schools. Most of the public schools here have major issues, and there’s a lottery system to enter the best ones (which might be across town from where you live, unless you’re rich.) There are also charter schools, but getting into one can be competitive and the parents need to take on a much more active role. Or there are expensive private schools. Basically, none of the choices for school in the city are really easy. It seems like just figuring out the schools would turn anyone into a hover-parent. There are also no public school buses here. Kids get credits to take public transit. So if you’re the overprotective type, that’s another drawback.

The suburbs have some of the best public schools in the country, and living there isn’t exactly affordable either, but it’s cheaper.

YARNLADY's avatar

I suppose it depends on what you are used to. I spent most of my childhood in suburbs, and that’s what I like. For someone who grew up in the city and liked it, that is what they would choose.

casheroo's avatar

Number one reason: School districts!
Philly school are awful, and dangerous. I would never want to live in the city with children, but I do love going there and to all the museums and restaurants.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I went to high school in the ‘burbs, and they had to come to my city for almost anything really fun that didn’t involve surreptitious drinking, drugs and sex.

If you know where to live in a city, the parks are great playgrounds and there’s so many places to go that will accommodate kids in the part of the city I live in.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I raised my children in the city. They grew up playing on sidewalks, city parks, front porches, small backyards. They learned to ride the city bus at an early age, use the public library, had jobs as teens that they could walk to, and knew all of the neighbors by name. They learned how to cross the street and watch for traffic, and how to be both friendly and cautious with strangers. They played tennis and field hockey, and participated in theater programs.

john65pennington's avatar

Jleslie. i think you are correct. maybe its not the grass, maybe its just the child in all of us to accept things as they are and to make the best of it. good answer.

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