Book description via Goodreads.com:
What’s really wrong with having one child? Is one enough for you? For your partner? What constitutes a complete, happy family? Will your only child be lonely, spoiled, bossy, selfish? Read this book and find out.
Despite the personal distress and pressure to have a second baby, the number of women having an only child has more than doubled in the last two decades. What most people don’t realize is that one-child families outnumber families with two children and have for more than two decades. In major metropolitan areas like New York, 30 percent of families have a singleton. Throughout the country people are following suit. And it’s no wonder why:
- The worrisome biological clock (secondary infertility; older mothers)
- Downtrodden job markets
- How mothers working affects everyone in the family
- Finances and housing and costs of education
These are only the few things that parents today (and parents to be) contend with when deciding to start a family and determining whether or not to stop after one. The time is right for a book that addresses the emerging type of nuclear family, one that consists of a solo child.
I have an only child. I’ve long since accepted this as fine for our family. I never worried about most of the things the author gives as concerns. Most of the reasons she discusses for having an only child weren’t really part of out decision making either, although I have thought of some as advantages after the fact.
Beyond that, my biggest disappointment is that Susan Newman only refers to the research fleetingly, with much more space being taken up by anecdotes from people she’s interviewed and commenters on her blog. I appreciated these, but really was looking for a more scholarly work– one that described the studies and spent a paragraph (rather than a single sentence) on the results.
But it wasn’t at all a bad book, just not the one I was looking for. If you are debating whether to have a second child, whether for personal, professional or logistical reasons, this book might help you make up your mind. If circumstances have determined you will only have one child, even if that wasn’t your choice, this may put your mind at ease. If you have an only child, and people are telling you your child will be spoiled, lonely, and generally unhappy, this book will address your concerns.
For me? I didn’t take into account my career or family finances in making the choice– I left a successful career to become a stay at home mom to my one, and I know we would have made another child work financially. I always saw my daughter’s imaginary friends as signs of an active imagination, not loneliness to be cured by a sibling. Instead of seeing her as spoiled, I saw her as happy to share since resources were plentiful. My daughter decided early on she didn’t want to have siblings, just to borrow them sometimes, and even now she delights in the company of older and younger children.
For you? I wish you happiness, whatever your family looks like. Consider this book as a potential resource in getting to that point.
I read The Case for the Only Child for a TLC Book Tour. Thank you to TLC and to the Publisher for the opportunity to review this book. For more by/about the author, visit her website at www.susannewmanphd.com and her Singletons blog for Psychology Today.
For other opinions on the book, check out the other tour stops:
- Wednesday, June 8th: Chaotic Compendiums
- Thursday, June 9th: Life in Review
- Monday, June 13th: Redheaded Book Child
- Thursday, June 16th: Patricia’s Wisdom
- Monday, June 20th: Life is Short. Read Fast
- Monday, June 27th: Helen’s Book Blog
- Tuesday, June 28th: Girls Gone Reading
- Thursday, June 30th: Stacy’s Books
- Tuesday, July 5th: Overstuffed