Should You Raise Your Kids In The City Or The Suburbs?

August 1, 2018  |  
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I’m reaching that time in life when a lot of my friends are talking about moving to the suburbs. Most of them want to do this either because they are planning on having children, or they already have children and don’t find the city to be the most appropriate place for their little brood. I also have some parent friends who already made the leap, gave up their two-bedroom apartment lease, and made the move to the quiet, green, hilly neighborhoods of the “burbs.” They’re happy, and they wouldn’t necessarily take the decision back, but there were some elements of family life in the suburbs that weren’t quite what they expected. Or, rather, they didn’t entirely realize what they were giving up about city life that could actually be good for kids. Should you raise your kids in the city or the suburbs? Here are things to consider.

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The suburbs are safe

The suburbs are certainly safer. There are lower incidents of crime. You can feel safe letting your children walk home and play outside at night. You don’t feel that you need to constantly shield your child from all sorts of characters on busy sidewalks.

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The city teaches them safety

One issue with the suburbs is that, children are so sheltered that parents can forget to teach them about danger. Just because your child probably won’t encounter danger in the suburbs, doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in teaching them how to recognize hazardous situations and suspicious behavior. The city naturally teaches them that.

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The suburbs have fewer hazardous destinations

In the city, there are tons of places for your kid to get into trouble. There are clubs that accept fake IDs, there are warehouses where illicit behavior happens, and more. You really don’t need to worry about your kids finding places like that in the suburbs.

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The city has more culture

Of course, when you lose the more dangerous destinations of the city, you also lose the culture. In the suburbs, you may not find bars that don’t card but you also won’t find museums, art exhibits, and other enriching cultural experiences.

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You can know their friends more in the suburbs

There aren’t that many people per capita in the suburbs so you can easily get to know all of your kid’s friends quickly. There simply won’t be that many people for your child to meet, so you’ll know with whom she runs around.

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The city exposes them to diversity

When there are less people, there is also less diversity. In the city, your child will be exposed to and become comfortable with individuals of all sorts of backgrounds and heritages, which is great for her.

 

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The suburbs have good schools

The suburbs have, undeniably, good schools. Your kids will probably get more specialized attention and one-on-one time with her teachers. And, she’ll probably spend her days in a rather pretty environment.

Teacher with group of students (5-10) reading a book

The city has woke schools

The city may have more crowded schools but its schools may also be a bit more, well, with the times. It might be more in touch with up-to-date events and cultural trends, and work to teach children about these.

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The suburbs have space

The suburbs certainly do have space. Your children can each have their own room, and a big yard to play in. You won’t feel cramped. You may have a huge living room, an office, a guest room, and a front and back yard.

Gettyimages.com/On a hot day in the suburbs, Mom sprays garden hose while kids playfully run through it.

The city teaches them to appreciate space

The city, however, teaches kids to appreciate space. It’s easy for suburb kids to quickly believe that that standard of living is “normal” and not appreciate how difficult it actually is to come by.

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The suburbs has other families

If you want to meet other adults with kids and develop a network of families, you can easily find that in the suburbs. The ‘burbs attract families, so you’ll certainly find other people going through the same phase of life you’re in.

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The suburbs only really has families

You may be limited to mostly parent friends in the suburbs. You may lose that interesting melting pot of friends you had in the city—from the single friends to the women who chose careers over family.

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There is less temptation in the suburbs

In the city, it’s easy for your child to pass by all sorts of temptation on a short walk home from school. Drugs, sex, crime—these are never too far away in a busy city.

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But boredom is never a good thing

While in the suburbs your kid may not encounter crime and temptation often, he may actively seek it out because he’s so bored. Boredom is never good for children, but it’s easy for kids to feel restless in the suburbs.

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You’ll need to adjust your parenting

Ultimately, you can make either the suburbs or the city work—you’ll just need to adjust your parenting accordingly. If you do move to the suburbs, make sure to actively seek out cultural experiences, and to make sure your kids don’t become too sheltered.

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