Far too often, parenting books are about the effects of parents on children. This book shines the spotlight on how children impact their parent's lives. Yes, believe it or not, those tiny people make a disproportionately big mark on their adult caregiver's lives and relationships.
It doesn't offer much advice on how to manage this identity shift and the responsibility, stress and joy that comes with the territory of parenthood. But it does let you know you're not alone—you're in good company— and it does so with a sense of humor and without judgement.
A brutally honest, well researched look at the reality of modern parenthood (not parenting). Comforting and insightful, this book affirms that being a parent is often overwhelming and it's okay to question our loss of self.
I love it when a book approaches a popular subject from another perspective. Senior has addressed the topic of parenting from the view point of how children affect their parents. As a mother of two, much of this book held significance for me and put some science and research behind how and why my life has changed after becoming a parent.
Many parents would rather clean the house and go to Costco than have to play with their kids. Like Louis C.K. says raising kids is boring. So when exactly does it become the greatest thing you've ever done? It is humbling and not for the faint of heart. It will make you a better person or at least not so self-centered. Yet, above all it is pure joy even if sometimes is not fun at all.
I have always tended to use the words "Fun", "Joy," "Happiness[" rather loosely. Thus when I saw this title I was intrigued enough to check the dictionary meanings of Joy and Fun. It was enough to make me want to read the book; and I'm glad I did.
The book covers all aspects of parenting and the effects of children on parents as they progress through childhood and adolescence.
I learned of several important concepts such as "the experiencing self," vs. the "remembering self," and so on. But for me one comment says it all. One mother who was experiencing all kinds of problems with her son said she'd save a voice mail of his for like "forever."
This book's a must read for all parents and everyone contemplating parenthood..
NYPL Staff Pick
Examines undefinable aspects of parenthood by using quanitative and qualitative reserach to measure happiness, the state of "flow" and what role housework really plays in today's family structures.
- Jenny Baum
A good book for a mystified grandmother of 70+ with very young grandchildren (4&6). Explains why a 4 year old is taking ballet, karate, gymnastics and soccer and why the grandchildren never "go out to play."
Helicopter Parents...Tiger Moms...Panda Dads...bookstore shelves groan under the weight of resources explaining the effects of parenting styles on children. But how does having children affect parents? In the fascinating "All Joy and No Fun," Jennifer Senior connects a barrage of scholarship to her own case studies of numerous middle class families in an attempt to answer this complex question.
Senior organizes her chapters loosely by stage of childhood, explaining how each stage impacts parents both physically and emotionally. Infancy leads to sleeplessness, toddlerhood to constant negotiation, middle childhood to overscheduled lives, and the teenage years to inevitable self-reflection. Senior does not offer a how-to manual for parents here; she writes about parent-HOOD not parent-ING and gracefully shows how each generation of children inevitably and irrevocably changes the generation of parents who bore them.
Senior proves her talent as a writer throughout the book, transporting the reader into a family's Brooklyn kitchen on one page then beautifully glossing a complicated academic text on the next. Additionally, Senior does not shy from offering a dissenting opinion on oft-cited studies, making her a wise and cautious guide on the subject. As the mother of a 3.5 year old, my head nodded the whole time I read as I found numerous passages that begged to be shared with friends.
Yes, Senior concludes, life as a parent might not be much "fun." But something else lies in the experience of sharing life with children: meaning, connectedness, legacy and, above all, joy.
TED alumnus Jennifer Senior asks some interesting questions and sites some new research, and since most parents love reading about other people's parenting experiences, this book is worth reading.
"And our kids have way more stuff than you and I had when we were kids. There's plenty for them to do ... and yet all of us feel like we have to be deeply, aggressively interactive and I'm not clear on whether or not kids benefit from that."
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