I’m currently reading Bryan Caplan’s Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. The book is a pro-natalist argument for why you should have more kids for your own benefit. I’m not reviewing it now, maybe next week when I finish it, but I came across something I’d like to highlight.
After thoroughly dismantling the nurture assumption in Chapter 2, he concludes that how your kids turn out has almost nothing to do with your parenting and is heavily dependent on the genes your pass to your children. In Chapter 3, he then talks of the implications of this, where he wrote this:
The most effective way to get the kind of kids you want is to pick a spouse who has the traits you want your kids to have. Genes have the largest effect on almost everything on the Parental Wish List. The right spouse is like a genie who grants wishes you are powerless to achieve through your own efforts.
Often when choosing spouses young men look for love, sexiness, compatibility, and/or motherhood qualities; all things of how a women would relate to her husband and children.
What is often overlooked is that your wife’s genes will have a heavy impact on the type of child you will have.
Even good advice given on the matter of choosing a wife can neglect this matter. Dalrock has a good post on choosing your wife, as does Athol, but both focus on the potential wife’s qualities and the way she relates to others, not on the genes she will pass down to your children.
Now, if you choose a beautiful women, she likely has a base level of healthiness, and most are naturally inclined to screen out unhealthy (ie. fat, ugly, or sickly) women from being bearers of their children, but think about other traits, personality traits.
Is she stupid or slow? Your kid will probably turn out less intelligent. Is she irresponsible or ditzy? Your kid may be more likely to be less responsible. Is she prone to emotionalism or anger? Your children will likely be as well. Is she generally unhappy? Lazy? Immature? Disloyal?
On the other hand, if she’s a responsible, intelligent, self-disciplined women, your mutual children are far more likely to have those traits.
Also, look at traits that may not be as cut and dried. Do you want your children to be devout or traditional? Family oriented? Success oriented? Artsy? Liberal? Etc.
Choose a wife that is and increase your chances they will be, not because of parenting methods, but simply because the genes she will meld with yours will be more likely to cause your children to be predisposed to those attitudes.
Anyway, something to think about for budding young patriarchs.
In the same section, he then goes onto to say:
Another implication: The macho, irresponsible “bad boy” is an even worse deal for women than he’s reputed to be. Not only will he be emotionally and financially AWOL; the children he fathers will probably give a great deal of grief to any mother who struggles to raise them right.
So for women, when trying to convince the irresponsible but charming alpha to settle down (or simply having sex with him, accidents happen), think about your future children. Not only will he likely be a bad father, but even if you can convince him to stick around and take of your kid, do you really want to raise an asshole?
Your child’s alpha genes may potentially have some benefits, but your son of an alpha will be much more likely to break your heart. I’ve seen the emotional turmoil an irresponsible alpha can wreak upon his mother, do you really want that?
Think long term.