America's Kidz Got Complexez

Anthropologists at the University of California Los Angeles are one step closer to unlocking the not-so-secrets of one of America's least invisible groups, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Ten years ago, researchers from UCLA's Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) spent a week hanging around the homes of 32 middle class American families, recording an insane amount of video of average citizens "living their lives" and "doing them." Anthropologists have spent the decade since then trapped in what must feel like the most boring Bravo marathon ever, reviewing that footage.

Here's what they've found: American kids have just got that "wow" factor that makes them eminently, irrefutably more watchable than their international peers.

Or, anyway, they've got helicopter parents and serious dependency issues:

"[Lead Anthropologist Dr. Elinor Ochs ] noticed that American children seemed relatively helpless compared with those in other cultures she and colleagues had observed."

Whereas, in other parts of the world, kids "were expected to contribute substantially to the community," by, say, scaling tall trees to harvest food or hauling their weight in firewood, American children's contributions seemed to extend no further than just being their beautiful incompetent selves.

"...The U.S. videos showed Los Angeles parents focusing more on the children, using simplified talk with them, doing most of the housework and intervening quickly when the kids had trouble completing a task."

Luckily, it's not all bad news. The footage revealed that asking children to perform a task almost inevitably led to heated negotiations between parents and their offspring, practice which will serve America's children well during their future participation in strategy-based reality television competitions.

To be eligible for observation, families had to own their homes and consist of two parents and two or three children, at least one of whom was between the ages of 7 and 12 years old. About a third of the families had at least one nonwhite member (holla if you heard me). Two families were headed by same sex couples.

To close, here's a great line that makes the middle class sound really sexy:

"In about 75% of the families, the mothers came home first and began to 'gyrate' through the house, bouncing between the kids and their homework, groceries, dinner and laundry..."

Get it, MILFs.

[Image via Shutterstock]