Please give your opinion on this that follows matter, particularly if you are not from the areas mentioned in this discussion, as myself and many others would like to get a wider opinion. I hope no one will be affended by the content of this discussion. I have not stated any of the strong opinons against dummy use that were given during the questionnaires, to limit any offence.
A couple of months ago, I participated in a class project as part of my A-level sociology combined psychology, which looked at the use of children's comfort items and societies view/opinion of them.
My group within the class was allocated the task of looking at the use of dummies/soothers. Other groups within the class looked at other comfort objects like beakers, favourite toy, babies bottle, security blanket etc.
As an whole the class research showed very interesting results, but it was the DUMMY issue that generated most discussion.
It seemed almost everyone (parents and none parents) surveyed had an opinion on dummies being used as comfort items, more so than any other comfort item.
Our group carried out a questionaire for one day in each of the following town/city centres; Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Coventry and Sutton Coldfield (All midlands based).
On average, we surveyed about 100 individuals of all ages and sexes from each location.
When the results from all locations were collated thses were the main findings:
67% of people surveyed thought children with dummies in public looked common.
70% of this 67% were themselves not parents (if this is of any interest).
87% thought children allowed to have dummies beyond the age of three or four years old in public not only looked awful, but also suggested poor parenting.
95% thought dummies/soothers used with babies was perfectly fine, but not with toddlers.
59% thought dummies are used more for the parents convienience rather than the childs.
Of the 59% above with this opinion, 76% claimed they felt dummy use was more commonly seen with single mums, with a few kids in tow where dummies are dished out for a quite life, instead of attention.
47% said they associated dummy use more with lower class than middle and upper class parents.
92% with this opinion above were not themselves parents.
I do not know about you lot reading this, but at the time I found these findings rather shocking, I never knew people were so hung-up with a little piece a plastic and rubber called a dummy, that a child sucks on for comfort!!!!!
With regards to these findings, my group and the rest of the class were particularly interseted in why so many people thought dummies were vile and common, and why they associted them with less financially well off families!
Our group tried to find out if there was any real grounds to support this class divide concerning dummy use.
Our group split up and spent a whole day at three different locations to monitor the freqeuncy of observations for children with dummies.
(I will not disclose the locations used for this monioring, as I do not wish to affend anyone).
At each location we tryed to record the total amount of children with and without dummies (told you they were crude measures). Additional to this we trawled round each location collecting dummies off the floor (the ones you see lying around that get lost by kids).
It seems this crude monitoring kind of supports this opnion about dummy use being higher in lower class society when compared to upper class.
This time the general findings were:
It was observed that there was definately more kids with dummies at the designated lower class location compared to middle and upper class locations.
It was also observed at the lower class location that the ratio of children to parent/caregiver was higher than the other locations.
Children up to the age of 4 or 5 (estimation) were commonly seen with dummies at the designated lower class site, but virtually absent from the other locations used.
The total number of lost dummies found at the end of the day at each location was; lower-class 27, middle-class 9 and upper-class 2.
So after all this, what is my humble opinion on the matter?
Well I myself am not happy about dummies being associated with common families, as I myself had a dummy when I was a child, and today many of my friends and family use dummies with thier children, and I would regard them as being far from common as muck.
Its obvious from this kind of research and general postings on the issue on web-sites like this one, that it is dummy use with older children in public that is frowned upon most, and given that more older children from lower-class families are seen with dummies increases this class divide over dummies.
I myself hate to see children in public over 3 and 4 years old with a dummy, as it does look awful, but I do not think the parents are common or poorer caregivers than parents of dummy-less children.
Unfortunately most things in life get abused and I feel dummies are certainly one them.
Dummies if used correctly are good for both the childs and parents physical and mental well-being, but if abused it can turn into a vulgare and disgusting habit, which most society seems unable to tollerate.
SO WHATS YOUR OPINION?
Is it a social class thing? Snobbery or Common as muck
wondergirl · 11/07/2004 22:26
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