By W. Goldberg

Men's organic clocks will not be ticking loudly, yet what in regards to the social clock? Are there merits to being in-step with social norms for the timing of parenthood? In a transparent and obtainable variety, this booklet examines the benefits and downsides of early, on-time, and not on time first fatherhood. The e-book incorporates a foreword by way of Ross D. Parke.

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The norms and customs that dictate the desirable timing of educational, occupational, and familial events are affected by prevailing economic and social conditions (Parke, 1995). Tough economic times affect the nature and timing of work and educational decisions, often inversely such that young people are more likely to pursue education when job markets are tight (Forest, Moen, & Dempster-McClain, 1995). Economic conditions, particularly extremes such as economic depression, alter patterns of family interaction (Elder, 1974, 1984).

How is actually being a father different from how men thought 18 The Social Clock and the Timing of Fatherhood fatherhood would be? Men in this study shared thoughts about their love for the baby, the joy of watching the baby grow, the magic of the baby’s smile and discovery of the world. They also expressed their frustrations and anxieties about being fathers, wishing they had more time with the baby or felt more competent in their new role. On a questionnaire titled “Changes in Routine,” new fathers indicated how much they experienced distress due to changes in their routines since the baby was born.

Conception, rooted as it is in human biology, was rendered more susceptible to influence by psychological dispositions once it could be controlled by contraception and terminated by abortion. How do these psychological factors operate on childbearing? From one theoretical perspective (Miller, 1994) that draws on a theory of reasoned action, motives for wanting children and attitudes toward children and parenthood become transformed into decisions and intentions about childbearing, which then lead to behaviors that promote fertility.

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