Raising children has become a major stressor for many parents. Senior speaks to some reasons for this. Many of us live in a kind of twilight world, where we are not children, yet not fully adult until the end of graduate school. But as early as the preschool years the parents are stressed about their children’s future. Senior says that we don’t have to be perfect to be good parents.

Discussion Answers:

  1. The first book about raising children to be really successful was __________?

    “Baby and Child Care” by Benjamin Spock.

  2. Now there are so many books on this subject, that Senior calls them “a candy colored monument to our collective panic.” What does she mean?

    There are parenting books such as raising a science-minded child, a financially savvy child, or an eco-friendly child. Senior wonders, “why is it that raising our children is associated with so much anguish and so much confusion” since parenting is “the one thing we as human beings have done for millennia.

  3. Senior cites Killingworth’s study that shows that interacting with your children produces no more happiness than interacting with strangers. Does this seem intuitively true or false to you?

    Senior believes that it is the parenting, not the child that is the problem.

  4. Kids were considered economic assets until fairly recently. Outline this change in social roles.
    •      Kids used to be considered economic assets
      •      Kids used to help out by working on the farm
      •      Parents provided food, clothing, shelter, and moral instruction to their kids, and in return kids provided income
    •      During the progressive era there was end to child labor
      •      Kids stopped working, and became “economically worthless but emotionally priceless”
      •      Instead of kids working for parents, parents worked for them
        •      Extracurricular activities for kids- parents have to drive them
        •      Homework for kids– parents have to check it
  5. We try to prepare our children for every possible kind of future, since we cannot know what the real future will be. Why would this be harder on a parent’s health than raising a child in 1900 be?

    Parents teach their kids chess thinking they may need analytical skills, and sign them up for sports in case they need collaborative skills. We try and teach them to be financially savvy, science minded, eco-friendly, and gluten free. Parents become panicked because they assume that if they don’t try everything, they are failing as parents.

  6. Here ultimate conclusion is that we should aim at producing productive and moral children which is both mire realistic and more achievable than producing happy ones. Agree or disagree and explain why.

See Full Ted Talk: For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar

For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar


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