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Parenting an Only Child: A Guide to Diagnosing and Finding Help for Yoru Child's Reading Difficultiesby Susan Newman
Synopses & Reviews
The New Traditional Family
Is it a factor of economic restraints, more complex lives, increased infertility, pure good sense, or something else that is changing the makeup of the family unit?
When you were growing up, you probably knew or knew of a family with four or five, even eight, children. In those days, raising a station wagon-size family neither attracted attention nor caused alarm. But mention a family with five or six children today and someone is certain to groan, "How do they do it?" "Why do they do it?" "There must be a better way." There seems to be.
Never before have there been so many choices in family type or size. Our ever-evolving definition of family is broadening and diversifying to encompass blended families, biracial families, homosexual-parent families, and single-parent families. Even though family policy and laws are slow in catching up to current lifestyles, different choices are widely accepted, especially those revolving around single, or gay and lesbian parenting and adoption. Families are getting smaller and the only-child option is becoming increasingly popular.
The preference for smaller families is evident. In 1972, 56 percent of those asked in a large national opinion study thought that three or more children were ideal; in a similar study done in 1998 that percentage had dropped to 39.1 Although both men and women may still state a preference for two or three children, the number of women who have one child mounts steadily.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1972 there were between 8 and 9 million only children. By 1985 the number had grown to 13 million, and by the beginning of the new millennium it approached the 16 million mark, confirming psychologist Sandra Scarr's claim in the mid-eighties that "many serious parents . . . are planning to invest their best efforts in one or at the most two children."2
Those who study demographics agree that the one-child household is the fastest-growing family unit. It surprises many people to learn that one-child families outnumber families with two children and have for more than a decade. "Fertility rates in many places are dropping rapidly, especially in the richest countries, where, to put it simply, any two people are not producing two more people."3 There are a number of explanations for this trend. People marry later, leaving them fewer childbearing years and a greater chance of facing infertility or secondary infertility; more and more people opt to have and raise a child as single parents and one is realistically all they can handle; one out of almost every two marriages ends in divorce, often before a second child is considered or born, and predictions are that divorce rates will not change much in the foreseeable future.
But probably one of the greatest influences on the changing family is the influx of women into the workforce. Over 77 percent of women with children work, many with young children. By 1998, 67 percent of parents both held jobs outside the home.4
Beyond the stresses of working, many feel a second child is more of a financial strain than they can, or want to, undertake.
Long gone is what we once called the typical or "average" family that was made up of two children, a father who worked, and a mother who stayed home to raise her children. Today, that family as we knew it, of Ozzie and Harr
Thoroughly revised and expanded, this informative parenting handbook looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the single-child family, examines the myths of single-child parenting, and offers tips on raising an only child. Reprint.
Looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the single-child family, and offers tips on raising an "only."
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
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