Streams

Jennifer Senior and the Paradox of Modern Parenthood

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do children bring unmitigated joy to the lives of their parents? Jennifer Senior is not so sure. She talks about the many ways children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. Senior argues that the roles of today's mothers and fathers are radically different from the way they were 50 years ago. Her book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood uses history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology to dissect old and new aspects of parenting.

Guests:

Jennifer Senior

Comments [16]

oscar from ny

Ughh some of these white "american" parents want to marry their kids..disgusting..no wonder you have ppl likes Norman bates, Dahmer , Ed guin..these are left traumatized by their parents..look at the Mexicans they can have up to 6 kids living in minimum wage no papers etc...

Jan. 28 2014 01:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Did Ms. Senior see Stephanie Coontz's article "Why Gender Equality Stalled" in the NY Times nearly a year ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/opinion/sunday/why-gender-equality-stalled.html?pagewanted%253Dall)? It's about how the system "still favors old stereotypes" in the work opportunities offered to women & men & how that affects who does how much of the childcare in non-same-sex couples & the relationships btwn. parents, & what they tell themselves to cope & how it doesn't really help w/the resentments.

Jan. 28 2014 12:46 PM
lesterine from manhattan

i think i, and my 2 older siblings one of whom passed away at 45 from addiction, were irreparably damaged by my parents' (mostly father's) emotional and physical abandonment. i've come to terms with my mother's best efforts; however, the lasting effects of my father's parenting misdeeds have caused me lifelong struggles and strife which affect every aspect of my well-being today.
people should have some kind of training before bringing innocent lives into the world because of the immense responsibility and risk of damage to them.

Jan. 28 2014 12:43 PM
Giulia Marra from West milford nj

I have a 3,5,9, 12,14,16, and 18 year old and they all love me equally. The teenagers just don't say it in the same way. Love your teenagers and remember you were there; don't take it personally and you'll be rewarded!
Giulia Marra

Jan. 28 2014 12:40 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

We'll have robots soon, which only the rich initially will be able to afford, to help play and take care of and look after the kids. Until it gets to the point when corporations and the state produce and raise them altogether.

Jan. 28 2014 12:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Reproduction and child protection is a natural animal instinct, especially for mammals like us. The brain produces endomorphines to give us great pleasure. It's biological hard wiring. And it takes a long time till it wears off in most animals including humans. It's basically a natural "high."

Jan. 28 2014 12:19 PM
Hugh from Brooklyn

I have an _extremely_ vivid experience of exactly what Jennifer Senior describes regarding Sundays. I'm divorced with kids. I often drop them off at their mother's place late Sunday afternoon, and the effect is instantaneous and intense — an immediate sense of loss, and all the anxieties of the coming work week suddenly seem far closer.

My one observation of wealthy families: Many of the inconveniences and anxieties of childcare are eliminated for the wealthy by virtue of being able to hire help. (And Jennifer Senior just made this point.)

Jan. 28 2014 12:18 PM
Tim from Brooklyn

Parenting is "suffering for all the right reasons."

Jan. 28 2014 12:13 PM
Amanda

Best most heartbreaking thing I have ever read that speaks to this topic.

http://jenniferlawler.com/for-jessica/

Jan. 28 2014 12:12 PM

um, i was 40 when my daughter was born and she is nothing but joy to me. Sure it's hard work and never ending but because i waited until i was ready, i enjoy it. I am a WORKING male and am heavily involved in her daily care. Men are parents too ;) by the way.

Jan. 28 2014 12:12 PM
Lesa from Westchester from In the wilds of Westchester where parents let kids run amok

Parents have to learn not to live the lives of their children. Being a parent is not a popularity contest. So please know that sometimes one needs to "suck it up" and take a hard line. Children will have their own friends, which, in healthy development, should not be their own parents.

Jan. 28 2014 12:11 PM
Lesa from Westchester from In the wilds of Westchester where parents let kids run amok

Parents have to learn not to live the lives of their children. Being a parent is not a popularity contest. So please know that sometimes one needs to "suck it up" and take a hard line. Children will have their own friends, which, in healthy development, should not be their own parents.

Jan. 28 2014 12:10 PM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham,NY

My apologies for posting my earlier comment in the wrong area.

Jan. 28 2014 12:03 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Thankfully, babies will soon be developed in factories and marriage will become a dying relic from the past. It's inevitable. Just a matter of time, maybe a few decades down the road.

Jan. 28 2014 11:51 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham, NY

Would you (could you) ask Mrs. Cash Leventhal if she has given any thought to trying to fill the huge vacuum left by the passing of Peter Seeger? She has the sensitivity and the intelligence to do it, in my very humble opinion.
Thank you.

Jan. 28 2014 10:36 AM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

What does she think of Janet Maslin's comments in her NYT book review (1/27) that she tends to end her chapter's on a sunny note whether it is deserved or not?

Jan. 27 2014 10:32 PM

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