Appreciating parenthood

Written By: - Date published: 3:26 pm, July 4th, 2010 - 9 comments
Categories: families, Social issues - Tags:

It’s school holiday time. You may noticed your work colleagues start to look a little glazed as the balance between home and work becomes more acute. You may even ask yourself – why do they do that to themselves at all? Who’d want to be a parent? On top of that, social science comes along and suggests that kids drain their parents’ happiness. Fortunately there’s evidence that good parenting is less work and more fun than people think. The case for having more children is made by Bryan Caplan:

As you weigh your options, don’t forget that the costs of kids are front-loaded, and the benefits are back-loaded. Babies are a lot of work even if you’re easy on yourself. But the older kids get, the more independent they become; eventually, you’ll want them to find time for you. So when weighing whether to have another child, you shouldn’t base your decision on how you feel after a few days—or months—of sleepless nights with a new baby. Focus on the big picture, consider the ideal number of children to have when you’re 30, 40, 60 and 80, and strike a happy medium. Remember: The more kids you have, the more grandkids you can expect. As an old saying goes, “If I had known grandchildren were this much fun I would have had them first.”

Of course, having Ann Tolley as your Minister of Education is a bit offputting….

9 comments on “Appreciating parenthood”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Remember: The more kids you have, the more grandkids you can expect.

    And also remember that having too many is unsustainable.

    • nilats 1.1

      Tell that to the third world & South Auckland. Breeding like rats needs to stop.

      [lprent: Don’t you mean the way that idiot trolls breed? I’m glad you’re getting out of the breeding business! Means less work for me moderating sometime….

      I’d suggest if you want to comment here that you read (and yes I’m making a heroic assumption with that statement I know) the policy. I either modifying troll behaviour or ban them. But I like the prey to be aware of the rules first. ]

      • Ari 1.1.1

        Lack of economic security is a good predictor of large family size. Perhaps we need to think about economic equality a bit more if we want to stop people “breeding like rats”. ><

  2. Bunji 2

    It’s rubbish that children drain your happiness. Nothing makes me happier than my 2 year old. And apparently it only gets better.

    But Draco’s right. In the UK the former head of their government’s Sustainable Development Commission Jonathon Porritt leads the calls for the Optimum Population Trust‘s campaign Stop at Two. If you want to be green, population control is a nasty taboo that really needs to be broken. You can reduce your carbon footprint all you like, but the pitter-patter of little carbon footprints can ruin all your good work. It’s the ultimate in asking people to Think Global, Act Local.

  3. Note the author’s occupation – Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University and blogger at EconLog. His next book, “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” is forthcoming in 2011.

    Economists do tend to be objective and take the helicopter view, which also influences the studies they quote.

    The trend of the thinking reminds me of those chirpy scientists regularly coming up with ideas on how to live to 100 and that many more people will do so. And expect them to put their needs before those of children, because older people know what strings to pull and infants can’t know, and people don’t care about parents’ needs. (Interesting dementia item on Chris Laidlaw Sunday 4/7. I couldn’t listen to it all, getting older is scary, even though alzheimers mainly affects a small? percentage of those over 80.)

  4. Bill 4

    Aw for fucks sake Dancr!

    Doesn’t cross your fucking mind that work and ‘paying the mortgage’ and ‘working to live’ is what fucks up human relationships…kills community and brings the whole child rearing into question?


    Kids fuck up your earning potential: your work life/real life. So jettison the kids thang and get a life.
    Or, alternatively and ‘oh, so thoughtfully leftily’, appreciate the dry wrenching residues that can be squeezed from parenthood/childhood on the side of earning or building ‘a life’.

    What an aspiring middle class fuckless ‘show us the money’ price of humanity way to go.

  5. One thing I sincerely hope we can leave for the next generation (in my case my currently 2.5 year old) is a society that is more balanced towards acknowledging that we work to live, not live to work. In my little whanau we have made some choices about what to not bother with, in terms of possessions, to enable us to get by on one income or a little bit more. We’ve had huge advantages in being able to make those choices though, because due to good fortune we have a low mortgage and other financial advantages. As Bunji says, my child is a constant source of happiness to me. Tiredness too, but that’s not usually his fault, more a product of the broader circumstances of working full time and having other commitments as well as being his mum. Every time that I interact with my son he makes me smile, and I can’t say that for every other person in my life!

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    Well at least someone thought to ask what the children think.

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