Responding to the fear that America will continue to follow in the footsteps of Europe and begin to have less and less children, economist Bryan Caplan makes the argument in An Economist's Guide to Happier Parenting that an extra child on average is beneficial, not harmful to a society. To encourage people to do so, he made a list of four things you can do to make parenting a more enjoyable experience.
1. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't plan three activities every Saturday, and wind up exploding at your kids' behavior in the middle of the third. It's far better for them and you to do one thing together that you can all enjoy, then let them watch t.v. Seriously.The main observation about parental unhappiness is this: The last 10% of parenting hours causes half of all the parental unhappiness. First two hours with your kids: a joy. Second two hours: pretty good. Hours 5-8: Tolerable. Hours nine and ten: Pain. Remaining hours: Anguish. There are few better illustrations of the law of diminishing marginal utility.
2. If you can afford a nanny, get a nanny. If you can't afford a nanny yet, consider waiting to have kids until you can. If you're the typical person who isn't sure if he or she wants kids, you're well-educated and have good income potential. So if you can't afford a nanny yet, you'll be able to soon enough.
3. Don't let American prejudice against live-in nannies influence you: Live-in nannies mean you can sleep in, stay out, and get a break when you need one. Your best bet is to get a mature woman to bond with your kids when they're infants, and keep her happy. A little respect goes a long way.
4. Read Judith Harris' The Nurture Assumption. Don't worry about "moulding" your child for life; you couldn't do it if you tried. Realize, instead, that the purpose of discipline is:
a. To keep your kid in one piece.
b. To make your life easier - you count too!
c. To force your kid to sacrifice very short-run gains (playing ten more minutes) for short-run gains (not being cranky later today)