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The Case for The ONLY Child by Susan Newman, Ph.D.


The Case for the Single Child is definitely a book whose time is now.  This is a crucial topic for people to investigate and work at exploring their own issues about children and their expectations.   This book is an excellent compilation of research, interviews, and conversations with the leaders and those living out these ideas. The times have changed and there is a need to change our thinking.

Then again, there are just mean people out in the world who are there to provoke and make life miserable for others.  It is  hoped that the negative voices about your decisions in this matter are not related to you or live next door. The author offers some good news about the naysayers.

The SINGLE child is becoming the worldwide norm.  China has had decades of only children and the research shows that most of the people in China prefer the only child status.  They are happier if their only is a male, and that is a worldwide phenomenon, but they do not worry about having 2 or 3 children to take care of them as they grow old.  Places like the UK have a 46% rate of parents preferring to only parent 1 child.

The Odyssey generation is waiting longer to get married and many, many women are choosing not to get married at all.  By waiting later, women can build a nest egg and a career and participate in Invitro – fertilization to have their own child or adopt.  A whole new “biological clock” is ticking.  Grandparents are usually so happy to get a grandie that they are not pushing their luck!

In the USA there is tremendous pressure to have 2 children and we have a fascination (maybe like a circus sideshow) with families that have more than 4 children.  We put a great deal of pressure on young parents to have more than 1 child and then we do not support the families with more than one child with health insurance and support systems such as provided in Scandinavian countries at this time.   Still the numbers are climbing for single child families and particularly in families with more education.   With a 1.6 million dollar  price tag  coming onto the horizon for  the cost per child – we had all better take a closer look and do some serious planning and education.

A question to ask: Is my religious institution willing to truly support me in producing more than one child? or Is the earth able to support my producing more than one child?

There is so much competition and pressure between siblings these days and so many ways to be social and have a best friend and peer group that the case for having more than one child is weakening.  Parents need to take care of themselves and not expect that their children will be there for them.

In China, a whole new career for women has developed.  Single daughters are hired to be elder care givers and people like it better because they are trained to listen and do the best for the parents of boys as they age.

I liked how the author took each concept through a step by step approach.  She writes a blog called “SINGLETON” for Psychology Today Magazine.  She was step parent to 4 and is now the parent of a single child.   She also teaches at Rutgers University and has definitely covered many thought – provoking concepts that most of us might not consider in our decision making process.  Thoughtfully researched and presented, the book is an excellent resource and interesting .

I am not going to rate this book because it is a valuable resource and would make a difference to everyone.  I am hoping my children  read this book.  I do not expect to be a grandparent in my lifetime, it would be a lovely gift, but I have lived the realities of the current model of parenting and will let my children make the right choices for themselves.

I do share life with a GRAND PUPPY!

Susan Newman

Susan Newman, is a social psychologist and the author of fifteen nonfiction books about parenting and family issues.  She taught at Rutgers University and is a member of the American Psychological Association.   She can be found at her website.

What do you think about single parenting and parenting a single?  Do you think it is a big decision?  Do you think it is important to consider this topic?

This book review was scheduled by TLC online book tours and I received a copy of this book to read.  If you order a copy of the book from this site via Amazon, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

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18 Responses to “The Case for The ONLY Child by Susan Newman, Ph.D.”

  1. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    This does sound like a wonderful resource. Thank you for such a thoughtful review for the tour.

    patricia Reply:

    Heather you are welcome and it is a good read and resource. I liked that she wrote in a common voice so that her words could reach more people.

    There is so much pressure in people’s lives these days – this book is quite a release valve for helpful decision making.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Yes, it’s a big decision. Of course, some don’t get to decide -it’s forced on them by life circumstances.
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Lucky I’m In Love With My Best FriendMy Profile

  3. patricia Says:

    you are right about the pressures and the tough decisions – This author covers so many of the issues – such as infertility with great skill and she does a lovely job of making a case for people who decided not to have children at all.

    She covers tough life situations with grace

  4. Melody | Deliberate Receiving Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    This sounds like a really valuable book. I think people need to make their own decisions, based on how they feel and what they want, free from societal or religious pressures. Do you want 4 children? Go for it. Want only one? Great. None at all? Wonderful. as you pointed out, there’s not much support for having those kids once they’re here, so the parents are the ones stuck with the decision in the end. And if we cater to what other people think we should do (no matter how good their reasons may sound), where does it end? We can never contort ourselves enough to make “them” happy. So why not just chuck it and do what makes us happy, however many kids that turns out to be… :)

    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..Can I Use the Law of Attraction to Break Up With SomeoneMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I think this is exactly the author’s point – and she does an excellent job mythologizing the old thinking so that anyone who reads this book will figure out exactly what they want and need and make some reality based decisions.

    If you add in private schools K-12 in this country it will cost the parents 1.6 million to get a child to age 18 over the next two years –

    so many young folks just think it will be like it was for them…this book is about making a knowledgeable thoughtful decison

  5. Susan Newman Says:


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reading and review of The Case for the Only Child. You absolutely captured my message(s). You were even kind enough to lead people to my Psychology Today blog, Singletons, which focuses on many aspects of parenting…and yes, with an emphasis on only children.

    With your permission, I may quote a line or two from your review, with credit to Patriciaswisdom.com, of course.

    patricia Reply:

    You certainly have my permission and I thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    I think it is an important subject and I would hope most people would give a thought to the subject and not just follow.
    As a mother of three daughters, I do not think any of them will have children at all, one is sad about that fact the other two are living with the realities of the economy – it has been painful and their education loans outrageous and then the job hunt struggle.

    I think I saw you speak at a conference I went to at Rutger’s quite a few years ago – you were part of a panel discussion – the conference was on ethics ?

    Good luck to you and with your book – I enjoyed it very much

  6. Talon Says:

    A wonderful review, Patricia. As always, I really enjoyed. Some life decisions are huge and so often the really huge ones don’t get half enough thought or consideration. Sounds like a thoughtful book.
    Talon recently posted..Level-headedMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Yes a very thoughtful book and good for those of us who might be thinking about being Grandparents one day – quite eye opening

  7. Todd | Channelingmyself Says:

    Too late, already got 3 :) and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    patricia Reply:

    Not too late! Good book for those who expect to be Grand parents one day – or on assisting children to see that there are more options and we just don’t all need to dive in to traditional patterns and expectations.

    I do not think the old earth will survive if we keep trying to empire build with #s of children we have.
    Thanks for coming by and I appreciate your good comment

  8. susan Says:

    Hi Patricia! Great review and great topic! This is not the time to have big families for oh so many many reasons. I’m glad my daughter is not even considering children at this point and if she does ever, she only wanted one. I’ll forward this to her – thanks!

    Patricia Reply:

    I think this is a good resource book for any one considering parenting or grand parenting. It is not just an assumed decision any more.

    I wish I could get my husband to read it and take the pressure off his daughters – who want to please him…Come on Dad your kiddo just got let go from here Library job… and has huge student loans.
    Patricia recently posted..Happy Birthday IT GirlMy Profile

  9. Sam Juliano Says:

    Yep, Patricia, it seems to all come down to realist vs. idealist. Lucille and I fall into the latter category, and as such we must aslways cope with the demands and challenges we face by parenting five kids, all born in a seven-year span from 1996 through 2003. I have long known that many countries in the world (China most natably) are favoring one child, and the fiscal realities firmly support this position. I’m sure this apparently excellent study deals with facts to support this.

    Anyway, I’m still happy for the route taken.

    Terrific post!
    Sam Juliano recently posted..There’s More Than One of Everything: Makoto Shinkai’s “The Place Promised In Our Early Days”My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    We shared life at home with 3 daughters and 8 exchange students ( teenagers) and growing up my favorite family was the one down the street with 5 daughters and a dozen pets…
    You love you choice and obviously are loving parenting…

    The book is about that more folks need to get an overview and not just assume they will be happiest parenting just like their parents.

    Diversity will create a new earth and society…. we are fascinated by big families!

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