Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

by Bryan Caplan

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We've needlessly turned parenting into an unpleasant chore. Parents invest more time and money in their kids than ever, but the shocking lesson of twin and adoption research is that upbringing is much less important than genetics in the long run. These revelations have surprising implications for how we parent and how we spend time with our kids. The big lesson: Mold your kids less and enjoy your life more. Your kids will still turn out fine.

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is a book of practical big ideas. How can parents be happier? What can they change--and what do they need to just accept? Which of their worries can parents safely forget? Above all, what is the right number of kids for you to have? You'll never see kids or parenthood the same way again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465023417
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/12/2011
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 652,079
File size: 461 KB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Bryan Caplan is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University and blogger at EconLog, one of the Wall Street Journal's Top 25 Economics Blogs. He lives in Oakton, Virginia, with his wife and their three children.

Table of Contents

acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 You Count Too: A Commonsense Guide to Happier Parenting 13

Chapter 2 The Case Against Guilt: A Parent's Guide to Behavioral Genetics 37

Chapter 3 Behavioral Genetics: Can It Be True-and What Does It Mean? 75

Chapter 4 What About the Children? Kids Today Are Safer Than Ever 93

Chapter 5 Enlightened Family Planning: How Many Kids Do You Want When You're Sixty? 109

Chapter 6 Your Kids Are Good for You-But Are They Good for the World? 123

Chapter 7 Selfish Guidelines for Want-to-Be Grandparents 137

Chapter 8 Life-Giving Science: What It Means for You 147

Chapter 9 Be Fruitful and Multiply: Four Chats on Kids, Parenting, Happiness, and Self-interest 163

Conclusion 179

notes 185

index 217

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Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caplan begins his book with a great underlying premise: modern parents invest far too much time and mental anguish in their children, and these investments benefit neither the child nor the parent. He quotes the book Free-range Kids frequently (a book I enjoyed and even follow the precepts of). He also puts forth the argument that we underestimate the value of nature over nurture (take that, John Watson). However, from these statements, he tries to draw out the conclusion that we should have more children, and he butchers statistics, economics, biology, psychology, and sociology to prove it. he takes minor statistical differences in a study to lend support to his theory, then turns around and dismisses similar results from the same study on the same page ( I.e., see pp 15-6). He also underestimates a number of the costs of raising children, depending mostly on his own anecdotes for support. He also falls into a common trap: he takes extreme anecdotes and from these draws a conclusion about society as a whole (I.e. Over scheduling children by enrolling them in too many activities may be an issue with his peer group, but I'm yet to see evidence of this as a national or universal trend). I currently have three children, the same number as the author and his wife. Presumably, I am the target audience for this book. Ive been considering the costs and benefits of adding to our family. But the author far undervalues the upfront cost of having children, especially on the mother (I will use economics terms because it fits with the book). He strongly presents that in the long term, the cost of a child is smaller than the benefit of having many children, and that more children is essentially just as hard to handle as one. This can only be said by someone who has never been pregnant, given birth, and breastfed. It can be said by the parent who has not had to agonize over the decisions about work vs staying home. I think it is probably safe to say that the emotional costs of more children are outweighed by the emotional benefits, but overall costs are only less for a father. It is far more costly for a mother, even one who is not a worrying micromanager. Another problem I have with this book is the very limited audience this book is true for: middle to upper class parents in the first world. If this book was followed universally, I hate to think about the environmental and economic impacts. I give the author credit for spreading the idea that parenting does not have to be an arduous task and that, if parenting is a chore, it's possible you're doing it wrong. I think many parents (moms especially) need to be given permission to take it easy. But there is a huge leap that I think the author failed to make between taking it easy while enjoying parenting to having larger families.
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