COUPLES WITH CHILDREN by Virginia & Randy Wolfson DeLuca
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COUPLES WITH CHILDREN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When ""domestic maintenance"" routines aren't panning out, when a mother can't make up her mind about going back to work, when a father feels he has no time to spend at the gym, this simpatico look at the effects of having children will be a comfort and a guide. The authors lead parent-groups in Boston, and the intent here is less to provide answers than to share experiences, offer support, and suggest resources. Yes, being a parent is difficult--and vastly different from 20 or 30 years ago, as the authors document with fascinating quotes from popular magazines of the past. Today, parents feel isolated (Larry ""was prepared for changes, but didn't expect to lose touch with so many friends""); they question their roles (Nancy, staying at home to care for her children, says ""I constantly remind myself of how much I am worth, and that I am working""); they're ambivalent--even negative--about sex (Ellie spends the day giving of herself to her children, so ""at night the last thing I want to do is to share my body again""). The authors introduce the concept of the ""psychological responsibility"" of childrearing--the planning and worrying about what needs to be done--and the ways couples can share it; but they also warn against domestic power struggles with husbands doing ""50% of the work, 100% her way."" Conflicts are to be expected--over dependents and dependency, comparisons of who does ""more,"" childrearing style differences. While DeLuca and Wolfson offer few. concrete suggestions, their reassurances ring true: arguments can serve the purpose of necessary reassessment; as your children grow, it becomes easier to sort out when you can let your own needs come first; many different styles of sharing parenting have to be tried before a couple can find one that works. They do advocate the formation of ""fathering networks"" and the use of both formal and informal support groups (excellent lists of resources are provided). Like the Osofskys' Answers for New Parents (1980), this guide emphasizes the need for each couple to find its own solutions; it goes further, however, in pointing out the impossibility of living out the myths of supermom and superdad--choices and compromises are inevitable, and no one can do everything. Providential for couples working through the changes children bring to their lives.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dembner--dist. by Norton