In her new book "All Joy and No Fun," Jennifer Senior explores how children reshape their parents' lives — for better and worse.

Why you should listen

Jennifer Senior is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, where she writes profiles and cover stories about politics, social science and mental health. In a groundbreaking 2010 story for the magazine, called "All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting," she examined the social science around modern parenting, looking at happiness research from Dan Gilbert, Danny Kahneman and others, as well as anthropological research (she was an anthro major) around how families behave. Her conclusion: Hey, parents, it's okay not to feel blissfully happy all the time.

She expanded the piece into a book that dives deeper into the research and paradoxes of modern American parenting styles -- including parents' sometimes inflated expectations of constant awesomeness, meaningfulness and bliss. As she says, "I think of this book as a series of mini-ethnographies -- portraits of how American families live now."

 

What others say

“'All Joy and No Fun' captures the complex texture of parents' lives, the joys and the sorrows, highs and lows, with remarkable insight, intelligence, sensitivity, and subtlety.” — Alison Gopnik

Jennifer Senior’s TED talks

Jennifer Senior on the TED Blog

Live from TED2014

The crisis of modern parenting: Jennifer Senior at TED2014

March 21, 2014

Why do so many people today experience parenthood like a kind of crisis? That’s the question Jennifer Senior sets out to answer on the final day of TED2014. The parenting section of Barnes & Noble is packed with books for eco-friendly kids, gluten-free kids, science-minded kids. For Senior, those shelves don’t seem helpful — they […]

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Live from TED2014

Unstress: Speakers in Session 11 at TED2014

March 21, 2014

We live most of our lives wired and wound up, rarely pausing to relax or unplug from the daily grind. Our speakers in this session discuss the consequences of our ever-hectic lives, and remind us of the qualities we sometimes forget to foster. They include an author discussing why modern parenthood is out of whack, […]

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