THE CHILD AS A WORK OF ART by

THE CHILD AS A WORK OF ART

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Complaining that the art of parenthood is constantly downgraded in this society, Olshaker warns that every couple should think hard about whether to have children and be prepared to approach the job with total involvement and dedication (e.g. no separation longer than two days for the first five years) if the decision is yes. The burden of course is not to be shared equally; fathers should spend more time with their children than many do now but they must earn a living. As for mothers Olshaker cites Harlow's monkeys, other animal studies, the ""large number of passive and dependent children"" observed in Communist nurseries, and his own faith that nature's wisdom supports his recommendation that mothers stay home and provide their infants with that critically important primary relationship. Olshaker acknowledges the widespread ""unrest and dissatisfaction"" among today's housewives, but proposes to alleviate it by simply ""considering"" their contributions to society equal to those of their working husbands and by encouraging middle-aged mothers to return for nurses' training (to help improve a bad hospital situation) when their children are older. His more generalized advice on producing a human art work--we should give kids permission to have angry feelings; we shouldn't overemphasize material success or winning in sports; discipline should be fair, firm and consistent--adds nothing to what has already been frequently said. What comes through most strongly here, in such outbursts as the objection to ""day care being demanded as an inalienable right of each man and woman to have a child and let others care for him while the biological parent does his thing,"" is the querulous tone of a privileged male professional who doesn't like the egalitarian direction in which things are going but can suggest no alternatives except turning back.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1975
Publisher: Reader's Digest--dist. by Dutton