"He deals with the children."
Translation:Él se ocupa de los niños.
"He occupies himself with the children" is more literal, I think. Ocuparse is a reflexive verb (see the "se") and the children are not reall the direct object. Kind of like "I wash myself with soap." Soap is not a direct object, but "with soap" is an adverbial prepositional phrase, if I remember right. ;)
I don't think the voice part of DUOLINGO is good for more than prompting me to say the phrase. I have gotten stuff correct when i use english, nonsense or even silence. I have been counted wrong at times when I carefully pronounce a pharse i am familiar with. I think it would take much more computer power to correctly judge our pronunciation let alone grammer. This part of DUOLINGO is good for giving a prompt to voice the phrase and to see their translation, only that. I do all my lessons on Samsung Galaxy S6. Perhaps it is different on a computer using headphones and microphone bud?
Once again, I am completely thrown by the hover hints. Obviously, I am beginning to rely too heavily on them. :) This time, hovering showed that "deals with" equated to "trata." Since the hint was for both words together, I assumed that particular verb included the idea of "with." But Duolingo says I need to use "trata con." Bah, humbug!
Okay, sorry. It's just idiomatic. In Spanish, the object of ‘ocuparse’ is always expressed with ‘de’, never ‘con’. It might help to focus on the meaning “take care of”.
When ‘con’ is used with “ocuparse”, it's always in an instrumental meaning, translatable as “with”, as in ‘Él se ocupa de los niños con amabilidad.’ = “He takes care of the children with kindness.”
The use of ‘se’ has nothing to do with the animacy of the object. It's a third-person object clitic pronoun, used in three main ways: (1) as a reflexive direct-object pronoun, meaning “itself|himself|herself|themselves”, as in the given sentence ‘Él se ocupa…’, literally “He occupies himself…”; (2) as an impersonal passive, as in ‘Se usa como…’ = “It is used as…” (literally “It uses itself as…”); and (3) as a dissimilating form substituting for an indirect-object pronoun ‘lo|la|los|las’, meaning “it|him|her|them”, before a third-person direct-object clitic pronoun ‘le|les’, in order to avoid having two [l] sounds in a row, as in ‘Se la escribo [una carta] [a María].’ = “I'm writing it [the letter] to her [María].” instead of *‘Le la escribo.’.