“So, Are You Saying Children Should Work?”
The conclusion tackles an important and controversial question rooted in our normative and privileged notions of childhood life: Should children work to help support the family? In answering this question, the conclusion shows how the social construction of childhood defined as a period of freedom and play has been cemented in the minds of people for almost a century. Even the families interviewed for this book struggled to see their family work arrangement as “normal” and fully acceptable to others. This chapter returns to the initial queries about childhood, family work relations, intergenerational family dynamics, and ethnic entrepreneurship and asks more questions for future research, keeping as a core analysis the role of children as economic contributors in the family beyond the street vending occupation. Kids at Work, in a way, also tells the story of many more first-generation college students of diverse racial backgrounds who did not have “normal” childhoods because they too had to work to help the family.
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