Want more kids? Stop uber-parenting

Bryan Caplan wants a fourth child.

(Courtesy of Perseus Books)

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being A Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think,”(Basic Books April 2011) by the George Mason University economics professor has triggered a conversation not just about having more kids, but also about how to raise the ones we already have.

Called the anti-Tiger mom by many in the press, his data-heavy argument is that nurture counts for very little in child-rearing. Our generation should relax our standards for ourselves and our children. Instead, kick back and enjoy parenting more and, this is the book-selling line: Have more children.

It’s an alluring argument, if not necessarily persuasive.

Caplan understands he may have trouble turning the tide away from the uber-parent-to-two. “That I’m going to change a generation of parents is unrealistic,” he said. “People are stubborn.”

In fact, his own wife is skeptical about having a fourth child. “I don’t think she’s there yet,” he said.

Something tells me she might have written a different book. Maybe one that dealt with the unpleasantness of pregnancy, the exhaustion of caring for a newborn, the struggle of a working parent (as both Caplan and his wife are), the difficulty of discipline and, perhaps, the stress on a marriage. Bryan laughed when I asked him about her take. She was “supportive” he said, but then cut me off from further inquiry. “She’s very private, that’s how I’d describe her.”

Caplan plans to speak about the book at the Cato Institute on May 25th.

So how about you? Are you contemplating another child? Would it be an easier call if you thought parenting could be less stressful?