I was honored to be asked to review an interesting new parenting book for the Washington Independent Review of Books.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood is written by Jennifer Senior, a contributing editor at New York Magazine. Unlike traditional parenting tomes that focus on how parents affect children’s development, this book turns the equation upside down and explores how children change the adults in the family.
Insights I found most remarkable:
- Most adults should not expect elation in the day-to-day manual labor of parentin,g or satisfaction comparable to that you may find at work or in other pursuits. And this has nothing to do with how much you love your children or value parenting.
- Parenting brings initial stresses to marriage, but ultimate deepening of our relationships.
- The author likens the current trend for middle class parents to enroll children in multiple activities to an “arms race,” a vague stockpiling of skills that parents hope — but have no proof — will ensure their children adult triumphs, prosperity, and happiness.
- Parents’ reactions to their children’s natural detachment and parents’ discomfort with their unfamiliar new role are the main root of conflicts between parents and adolescents, not “hormones” or teens being universally unruly themselves.
Amazon affiliate link used. Book received from WIRoB for review, no compensation received for writing the review for this non-profit organization or social media promotion. All opinions are my own.