Adolescence isn’t really real.

Robert Epstein, author of The Case Against Adolescence in an interview in Psychology Today:

I believe that young people should have more options—the option to work, marry, own property, sign contracts, start businesses, make decisions about health care and abortions, live on their own—every right, privilege, or responsibility an adult has. […] competent young people deserve the chance to compete where it counts, and many will surprise us.

There is so much that I want to quote from the interview, I’ll just stick with that.  Go read the interview and the book. I’m just happy to have someone else confirm what I’ve suspected for a long time: teenagers exhibit behavior problems because we isolate and infantilize them.  Stop treating mature people like small children and they’ll become productive citizens. Oh, and ditch the current factory-based educational system which only serves to provide outmoded skills while keeping potentially productive members of society in lockdown for no good reason.

Two Incomes but no Trap?

dvfmama recently took a part time job working the third shift in a group home for the elderly and mentally ill.  She claims it isn’t that hard and she gets to nap on the job, so I’m not too worried. But I’m sure that she is only going to be working temporarily.  A few months ago I found this interview with the author of The Two-Income Trap in Mother Jones:

More and more families today are sending both parents into the workforce — it’s become the norm, it’s what we now expect. The overwhelming majority of us do it because we think it will make our families more secure. But that’s not how things have worked out. By the end of this decade, one in seven families with children will go bankrupt. Having a child is now the single best predictor of bankruptcy, and this holds true even for families with two incomes.

Most poignant for me was this prodding point from the MJ interviewer:

In the past, it seems like a stay-at-home mom could act as an insurance policy for the family if the dad was laid off or whatnot. But today two-income families have nothing to fall back on in the event of a disaster.

I remember when I first tried to prop up her self-esteem a bit when she was feeling low because she wasn’t working.  “You’re our backup plan!” I told her.  Little did I know she would have a chance to use it against me. Tonight, I gave in to my reddit addiction and found this story on the two income trap, with a detailed explanation of the tax problems involved when you have two incomes in addition to the other, more mundane, problems like increased daycare expenses.  Money quote: When you throw two kids in the mix, … you would get to keep $8,000 a year of a $40k wage. (Of note, Teri Newton, the author of the bit, writes that it is her husband who stays at home with the kids.)

Return of Return of the Parents

In Return of the Parents, I wondered if “we could be witnessing the beginnings of a long term shift back towards larger families.” Both and said they didn’t think so. Now, I skimmed a few academic papers in my reply and put a couple a way to read more thoroughly and Attitudes and Low Fertility (PDF) should interest you guys especially. Even would be interested in some of what it says.

While Barber & Axinn acknowledge that changes in attitudes towards childbearing have contributed to the fertility decline in the U.S. in recent decades, they perceive changes in attitudes less unidirectional. Future trends may see a reversal of ideational change to more traditional value orientations (see also Lesthaeghe & Moors, 1995) as well as movements that discourage behaviors, such a premarital sexual activity, that are frequently seen as defining features of “modern” demographic behavior (e.g., Bearman & Brückner, 2002 [PDF]).

That is, don’t assume that society’s attitudes about childbearing can’t or won’t change.