Parenthood gets better and better

Joys of parenthood

My wife recently gave birth, and the experience of having three children is not breezy-easy, writes Ed West, as he reflects on a new book about the benefits of larger families.


- The Catholic Herald

But I’ve still got some way to go to catch up with Colin Brazier, who has sired a brood of five daughters and a son, and now has produced this persuasive and informative pamphlet on the benefits of larger families.

The Sky News presenter points out that “dads who are caring for their infants have been found to have more of a calming hormone in their blood if they are fathers with two or more children, compared with men becoming fathers for the first time”. I could certainly do with more of that. Yet even during the darkest moments – with infant, toddler and baby, husband and wife all screaming – parents know that it’s worth it.

Many couples, however, still need to be persuaded; as many as 70 per cent of them feel they cannot afford a second child, and Brazier asks if they are being given reliable information about the costs of parenthood. We’ve all seen those newspaper articles about the expense of raising children, usually citing some absurd figure, even as high as $430,000.

Brazier says these “studies” are far from neutral. They are used to promote insurance or savings products, and the social science of this area “has been more or less colonised by PR execs from the City”, rather than universities or independent think-tanks.

One mother of five on parenting site Mumsnet queried the $430,000 figure: “Finishing schools in Switzerland? Designer buggies? Children are expensive – they do have to eat – but not nearly as expensive as some make out.”

Brazier’s book is not a polemic calling for higher birth rates or warning of the future consequences of low fertility levels, (though he does speculate on the social effects of lots more assertive elder children and fewer middle child compromisers). Rather, it is aimed at helping parents who would like more children but are fearful of the strain. Perhaps they are influenced by their peers or unwilling to once again go through “the parenting emergency”.

Sticking Up For Siblings
by Colin Brazier
Civitas, £8

FULL STORY Parenthood just gets better and better

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