My Father's Day essay for the Wall St. Journal is now up, and I've got EconLog readers to thank. You've been a great sounding board for all the main arguments about family economics I've been stockpiling over the last five years. My favorite part:
Many find behavioral genetics depressing, but it's great news for
parents and potential parents. If you think that your kids' future
rests in your hands, you'll probably make many painful
"investments"--and feel guilty that you didn't do more. Once you realize
that your kids' future largely rests in their own hands, you can give
yourself a guilt-free break.
...In fact, relaxing is better for the whole family. Riding your
kids "for their own good" rarely pays off, and it may hurt how your
children feel about you.
Father's Day is a time to reflect on whether you want to be a parent--or
want to be a parent again. If you simply don't like kids, research has
little to say to you. If however you're interested in kids, but scared
of the sacrifices, research has two big lessons. First, parents'
sacrifice is much smaller than it looks, and childless and single is
far inferior to married with children. Second, parents' sacrifice is
much larger than it has to be... Instead of trying to mold your children into perfect adults,
you can safely kick back, relax and enjoy your journey together--and
seriously consider adding another passenger.