Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The High Cost of Raising Baby

Pamela Paul is a genius, as far as I’m concerned. Her article in the Washington Post takes on the two most common negative assertions people make today regarding people who have more than two children. Today it is assumed that parents of large broods are either a) irresponsible or b) showing off. Paul demonstrates, quite effectively I’d say, that people making these assertions suffer from flawed assumptions concerning the real needs of children.

Paul is the author of the newly released, Parenting, Inc., which is a look into the ways in which we have allowed ourselves to be deluded about what it takes to raise happy, intelligent, and good children. It’s not about the "stuff" or even the money that it takes to buy the "stuff"—and we all know that on some level. And yet, because there’s probably nothing about which we all have more neuroses or insecurities than our parenting abilities, we’re constantly on the lookout for things to massage that anxiety. Today we tend to fill that need with stuff instead of good sense or the assurances of an older generation. "If I buy the right stroller, my child will develop the proper posture and, therefore, he will grow up happy, healthy and successful!" "If I make my children watch Baby Einstein, they’ll grow up to be intelligent!" So people really think you can’t raise more than two children because it’s so difficult to check off all of these boxes. I think, they’re also jealous of people who don’t really seem to worry about the boxes. It makes them feel better to suggest that parents of more than two children are irresponsible. But when it turns out that kids in large families are turning out fine, then these folks comfort themselves with the thought that such families are rich. Of course, they are. But perhaps they’re not rich in the way their jealous critics suggest.

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