Friday, July 22, 2011

How Many Kids Should You Have? That's Nobody's Business.

Several weeks ago I wrote a column about Bryan Caplan's book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, in which he not only encouraged people to think more long-term when they decide how many children they want to have (like looking at it from your future sixtysomething self's perspective), but suggested that we modern day parents are making child-rearing more complicated than it really needs to be with all our hovering, overprotecting and overscheduling (which is a notion I can entirely get behind).

Then I received an e-mail from psychologist Susan Newman, author of the new book, The Case for the Only Child. So I proceeded to read her book too. It's a guide for parents who are considering being a one-child family and provides them with ammunition and statistics with which to fight off those who judge them and make negative assertions about their decision and how their only child might turn out. The result is this latest column examining Newman's assertions.

As for which situation is preferable, having lots of kids or simply one, that all depends on you, your partner, your lifestyle, your finances and your personality, and also if you can have -- physically or via adoption -- any more. My bottom line: How many kids you decide to have (or can have) is an intensely personal decision and no one can make it but you. Everyone else -- including the buddinskis who criticized the Beckhams by saying that the birth of their fourth child makes them bad, selfish role models because they're contributing to and promoting overpopulation, AS WELL AS the ones who pressure parents with one kid to have more -- should just butt the heck out.

Image credit: Amazon.

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