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Finally: Parenting Book Focused on Parents, Not Kids

Jennifer Senior talks 'paradox of parenting' in new book, 'All Joy and No Fun.'

Jennifer Senior's "All Joy and No Fun" was released last week and offers fresh perspective from both parents and experts.
Jennifer Senior's "All Joy and No Fun" was released last week and offers fresh perspective from both parents and experts.

We’ve heard of Tiger Moms, Helicopter parents and the free-range approach.

As a parent, a large part of the day is comprised of worrying -- mostly about your children. Are they happy? Are they safe? Will they get into a good college and be a decent human being? What's the best way to ensure we're raising successful, well-adjusted kids?

We live in a culture filled with parenting psychology centered on what’s best for our children. While we’re busy analyzing how our choices affect their lives, we often forget to look at parenting from the flip-side perspective: how do children affect the lives of their parents?

In her newly-released book, “All Joy and No Fun,” New York magazine contributing editor Jennifer Senior explores just that.

The book shares parenting insights that are parent-focused -- don’t make your children the center of your universe, why you shouldn’t worry so much about their happiness -- and gives parents permission to be less hard on themselves.

Senior recently sat down to talk with Time magazine and was the topic of Sunday’s New York Times book review. From the best thing moms can learn from watching dads to the truth about adolescence (it’s harder on parents), Senior’s book works to uncover what she calls the “paradox of parenting,” a phrase she tells Time she stole from a friend.

“[It’s] the idea that moment-to-moment happiness might be compromised, but that in the overall scheme of things you are ecstatically happy about this one large, meaningful project you have undertaken.”

At Patch, we’re especially dedicated to content that connects parents. We want to know what you think!

If you’ve read the book (or even if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet) share your thoughts in the comments below, on our boards, or start a Patch blog of your very own.

We hope you’ll use this space to share your own parenting insights, experience and advice. Questions? Email moderation@patch.com.



Louise B. February 03, 2014 at 08:00 PM
Hey, Patch: I just published a book on adult children parenting their elderly parents. How do I get a write-up like this?
gonflo February 03, 2014 at 08:06 PM
This is so cool.... looking forward to reading it
Donna Westbrook February 04, 2014 at 03:21 AM
If you look back in history, children have not been the center of attention, (if they ever really were). If anyone remembers, we had an organization for the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, before we ever had anything for children. It hasn't been that long a time, in the big scheme of things, really that we started putting the focus on children. I had a feeling it wouldn't last that long, not for some people.
Sarah Hamaker February 04, 2014 at 09:47 AM
As a parent coach, I focus on helping parents realize that children are happier when they are NOT the center of the home, that it's in the best interest of the children for them to have their proper place in the family with the parents as the focal point. We as parents are not responsible for our children's happiness, anymore than our spouse is responsible for our happiness. The parent does not produce the child--the child produces the child.
Joanna Schneider February 04, 2014 at 01:33 PM
@Louise B, we would love to help you promote your book! Starting a blog on the site (which takes 5 mins) is a great way to connect directly with readers and share important, interesting content. Feel free to email me directly (joanna@patch.com) with a link or with questions and I can help you distribute more widely.
Joeseph Biff February 05, 2014 at 06:07 AM
What's next? A book on how to wipe your ass?
Caralien Miller Speth February 05, 2014 at 06:52 AM
Finally? Bringing Up Bebe is parent focused.
Joeseph Biff February 05, 2014 at 07:07 AM
A Parent Coach?? P-u-l-e-a-s-e!!! You've got to be kidding.
Joeseph Biff February 05, 2014 at 07:18 AM
Sarah Hamaker. The name sure fits.She's sure making a ham out of the clueless people she's "coaching",while making big bucks for herself. This is all common sense stuff these parents should have acquired from their parents.

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