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The Transition to Parenthood

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Featured on Oprah and excerpted in Glamour magazine, this exploration of the positive and negative effects the birth of a child has on a marriage is based on the largest, most comprehensive study of couples entering parenthood ever conducted.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 4th 1995 by Dell
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3.84  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book when I was looking for a book about the emotional journey to motherhood, something similar to Fathering Right from the Start: Straight Talk About Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond, but for women. This book is based on a landmark study conducted by a psychology professor at Penn State who followed 250 couples from pregnancy through year 3 of their first child’s life. While the study was conducted in the 1980s, there are many aspects of Belsky’s findings which are still applicab ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Good framework for discussing new child's effect on a marriage; but the science behind it is missing. This omission is the book's greatest weakness - I expect more explanation and detail on his data and how he derived his conclusions. I cannot simply take his interpretations at face value.

He admits at the beginning that the couples in the "case-studies" are amalgamations of several study families, conflated to illustrated this or that point. Many of the if-then conclusions describing the effect
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading "The Transition to Parenthood." I find it interesting because the question put forth was, does the quality of a couple's marriage affect the child's upbringing? And the researchers answered with a resounding, "Yes!" So, to me, an understanding of how to stay in good relationship with a spouse is important to early childhood development and to educators (like me). Some of the amazing outcomes of this research were: 1) Couples who argue effectively are better off because fo ...more
Apr 29, 2016 added it
Shelves: advanced
This was a fascinating read in many ways. I think as a married person with children I could hardly help but reflect on my own marriage and parenting in reading it (fortunately, my husband concurs with me that our marriage has improved since we had children, rather than declined.)

One question that occurred to me right away was to wonder about the diversity (or lack thereof) of the population Dr. Belsky's study was based on. Although he talks about differences in parents' ages, religious views, an
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-read
I picked up this book out of curiosity. It's a little old, so some of the data may be different if the study was done today, but overall, the themes seemed relevant. The book discusses how new parents react to the first three years after having a baby within the context of marriage. The research was aimed to predict the improvement or decline in a couple's relationship based on six components:Self, Gender Ideology, Emotionality, Conflict Management, Communication, and Expectations. To simplify, ...more
Scott Martin
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A relevant book given that I am about to enter into that transition. The key is that it provides insight into the changes in a marriage that a baby brings. It is far from the idealistic world that all will be great. There are more challenges and tasks. The couples in the story all cope with varying degrees of success. A key is that even as a couple assumes the role of parents, they must all remember that communication in the marriage is important and not to lose sight of that during the transiti ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents to be
Shelves: borrowed, family
Though a bit dry and difficult to follow at times, especially if you are reading this AFTER the baby has arrived and are only getting small chunks of time, I found this book to be amazingly informative and insightful. I saw myself in many different aspects and it made me step back and think about things in a different way more than once. I'd love to be able to reread this book when I have more time to devote to it since I know I would be able to follow the subjects more easily.
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book was really helpful. It gives lots of helpful concepts/paradigms to describe the transition to parenthood, although I would say that it would be more accurately titled, "The Transition in your Marriage as you make the transition to parenthood"! Read it when you are expecting.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new or expecting parents
Attempts to define a few "typical" kinds of marriages prior to children, and the way children's arrival into a family affects those arrangements. A helpful start for me when our baby was young.
Apr 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I read most of this book for a child development class in grad school....thought it was time to review!!
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting. I found myself looking back to our own transition. Technically, my husband are still in that transition since our first is still under 3. So I found it intriguing.
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