Upper-Middle Class Parents Clash Over Parenting Advice

Parents worry "if your child has special needs, the teacher will spend five minutes less with my child," says Schwartz. It's this type of post that turned her off to the Web site. "Viewing another child as an impediment is an extreme of a high-achieving mindset that doesn't fit in with myself," Schwartz adds.

Money is hot topic on the Web site, leading to some of the forums most explosive discussions.

"If you're not attracted to your wealthy spouse…how do you make your marriage bearable?" An anonymous poster was looking for a way to stay in love with a guy that had a similar financial background but whom she was not attracted to. That question stemmed from a previous discussion where a poster admitted the attraction to her "fat" and "bald" husband was his $12 million bank account.

Most of our society is based around money, from advertising to the news, says social psychologist Susan Newman. "We see these images of people who are earning vast amounts of money or have vast amounts of money, so it looks so appealing and what so many people aspire to," says Newman.

"People are trying to develop and build their image. It's a guideline for image-making and D.C. is a very image-based town."

Is an income-based marriage healthy for children?

"You want children to see warmth and love and affection because you're your childrens role models. If it's a marriage of convenience, children are very perceptive and no matter how you dress it up, they're going to see through it as they get a little bit older," says Newman.

"We need to step back and let children be what they want to be and guide them instead of setting this goal of wealth and where you live and how you act as the standard."

The hundreds of thousands of posts isn't all elitism. "I see a lot of value in the board, and I just felt like pointing out the things that are bizarre and my opinion doesn't take away from the value," Schwartz says.

The community often responds to garish or excessive posts with sensible responses or open ridicule.

There's posts on how to wean, domestic adoptions, joint custody, and adopting a child that's the product of rape. The Web site delves deep into complicated and tough parenting issues without always igniting flame wars. And, then there are common problems that bridge all income brackets together like breastfeeding, post-partum depression, and education.

A recent poster sought an intellectual-like community after discovering superficiality in discussions. "…DC people I meet have degrees beyond a BA/BS level, but what do I talk about with these people? Their new SUV, what hotels they stayed in when they went to the South of France, Valentine's gift (jewelry preferred), chick lit, price of school uniforms, baseball games, stuff they have inherited from wealthy relatives, who they sat next to when they last ate out… I long for a good intellectual conversation – I haven't found many in DC despite all these degrees."

Lower-income parents in the District of Columbia don't have a huge presence on the Web site. "A more working-class person isn't going to be a stay at home mom and at work she's not going to have a computer at her desk," says Steele. "She's going to be a cashier. That means the working class only has time at night."

As of now, "they don't really make an impact on our site," he says.

However, it's a group that Steele would love to have to add diversity of thought and location to the forum.

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