Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Case for the Only Child, by Susan Newman, PhD

The Case for the Only ChildFinished 6-19-11, rating 3.5/5, parenting, 244 pages, pub. 2011

I’m an only child and so is my husband.  In all likelihood, Gage will be too.  I wrote a post on the decision to have an only child a few months back (here) and I was surprised by how many of you were mothers of onlies too!  And you all seemed to be in favor of it.  No one who had one said they wished they’d had more.  While the decision ultimately belongs to Jason and me, it was still nice to know there were so many of you out there.

If you are leaning toward having an only child or just looking for validation of your choice to have only one, then this is the book for you.  Dr. Newman interviewed 100 people who were only children or the parents of onlies for this book (although over the years she has interviewed and studied countless others).  This book points out the statistics that show the growing only child trend and the many reasons why this choice is a good one.  Children cost a lot of money and women are waiting longer to have children, sometimes making getting pregnant and the pregnancy difficult.  There are misconceptions that are put to rest, that you experience the same happiness rush with every child, that siblings are the answer, and that the stereotypes of onlies are true.  In my earlier post I told you that in my experience the negative stereotypes of children are wrong and this book validates that.

If you are looking for an ‘essential guide’ like the subtitle says I think you may be disappointed.  While there are study and poll results (I liked knowing that having a boy or only boys reduces your chance for divorce) most of the information included is anecdotal.  The actual advise on raising only children appeared on pages 219 &220.  Good tips, but I was hoping for more.

Like I said if you are thinking about it or have a friend thinking about parenting an only child and you or they need positive reinforcement you should pick up this book.  It will probably aid in the decision process and alleviate guilt.

Famous Bookish Singletons- E.M Forster, Iris Murdoch, John Updike, Danielle Steel

I received this book from the publisher for this tour.  Check out the other stops on the tour to see what they thought.

Susan Newman, P.h.D.’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

June 8th:  Chaotic Compendiums
June 9th:  Life in Review
June 13th:  Redheaded Book Child
June 16th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
June 20th:  Life is Short. Read Fast
June 21st:  I’m Booking It
June 27th:  Helen’s Book Blog
June 28th:  Girls Gone Reading
July 5th:  Overstuffed
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June 20, 2011 - Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books

16 Comments »

  1. I think it would be impossible to write an essential guide to raising only children. Each child and each set of parents is different. I think parents of only children, just like all parents, muddle through the best they can. I’ve read those statistics about boys and marriages too and in some ways, I think it’s kind of sad.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree that a guide would be difficult to write, but that’s what my expectation was. Jason & I talked about the boys and divorce thing and agreed that it hasn’t been our experience.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. I am not an only child nor were my parents, but I have friends who are so. I think there are a lot of myths about the only children, almost all of which are inaccurate.

    Comment by Misha | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • I would agree that almost all of them are.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. I think it’s an interesting premise to write a whole book about having an only. How many people set out to have an only? I guess some, but we didn’t. It just happened that way. And I’m one of the mothers who has been satisfied with my one child – a daughter. Not sure about that whole only sons and divorce. Maybe because daughters have more what? Drama? Expenses? Fights with their moms?

    I think each family is unique and children don’t fall into molds or “birth order” generalities. But, it’s interesting to talk about. Thanks for sharing, Stacy!

    Comment by Kay | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • I think girls do come with more drama and probably expenses (although it seems things boys want are more big ticket items so maybe it evens out?). My parents only had me and are still together. Jason’s parents only had him and aren’t, so not sure I put much stock in it, but it was interesting to think about.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. I picked up a book the first few months with Gabe about having an only child…I haven’t read it yet and I can’t remember the name….grrr. Anyway, this looks like a good read and I’ll definitely be getting this one! Thanks for the awesome review.

    Comment by Heather | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • I think you’ll feel better after reading it. Why don’t I send it your way?

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. As a mother of an “only,” I think I’d be very interested in reading this book to help dispel the guilt I sometimes feel about having him be an “only.”

    Comment by Jenners | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • No guilt. He’ll be just fine. But read the book when you need reinforcement.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. Two was certainly enough for me…but as my youngest marches closer to graduation my heart is a little sad that the house will be quiet :(

    Comment by Staci | June 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Aww. Don’t worry he’ll probably move back in at some point! I moved home after college for 6 months.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. This sounds like a book for those deciding to have an only child rather than a how to guide for raising an only child, especially if it only had a few pages on that subject. It sounds like there should be a follow up guide on raising an only child:) I have an only child, a boy that is 12 and we are comfortable with that choice at this point in our lives. He has had a lot of health issues that allowed us to devote our energies to as it would have been challenging with more than one child. I wouldn’t think that the sex of the only child makes a difference in divorce rates although it may depend on expectations, It seems that there would be many factors. There are higher divorce rates with couples who have children with special needs due to the stress levels and that makes sense, sadly.

    Comment by redladysreadingroom | June 24, 2011 | Reply

  8. I would be interested in reading this book. I grew up with a sibling so feel guilty that little monkey may be an only child, like I am denying him something. Even though every only child I have ever known is wonderful and happy with amazing relationships with their parents. Might have to look into more books about “onlies”.

    Thanks for the review.

    Comment by caspette | June 25, 2011 | Reply

  9. My mom is also an only child. I’m definitely interested in reading this book. :)

    Comment by Alice Teh | June 26, 2011 | Reply

  10. I too am the parent of an only, but that wasn’t the original plan. I do enjoy having only one child though – I think my son and I have a very different relationship than we’d have if he had siblings.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this book in spite of the flaws you found. Thanks for being on the tour!

    Comment by Heather J. @ TLC | July 1, 2011 | Reply


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