child culture.” The birth rate in the U.S.nhas declined dramatically since the laten50’s, while the number of deliberatelyn”childfree” couples has skyrocketed.nCalifornians have more cars than children,nMr. Packard explains, because “carsnpromise freedom and mobility; youngnchildren don’t.”nFor Californians, as well as residentsnof other states, the means of producingnchildren, sex, still ranks somewherenabove cars as a means of achieving selfgratification.nBut thanks to contraceptives,ncoupling need create no lastingnentanglements. And if an “accident” occurs,na little shot of saline solution willnquickly make the undesired POC (“productnof conception”) ready for suitablenswaddling in a garbage can behind thennearest abortion mill. Both in numbersnand technique, oiir society has so farnout-heroded Herod that the Judeannmonarch’s crude slaughter of a fewnhundred unwanted babies in one smallnlocale seems almost negligible comparednto the current extermination of hundredsnof thousands of the unborn.nAmong those babies who survivenuntil birth, almost one-sixth are nowillegitimate,nusually born to teenagenmothers with neither the resources nornthe education to provide for their offspring.nBecause, as Mr. Packard notes,n”there has been a decrease in the stigmanattached to having an illegitimate child,”n16inChronicles of Culturenfew of these child-parents now elect tongive their babies up for adoption into intactnfamilies. Despite all the feministncant about “the strength of female-headednfamilies,” children born into these circumstancesnlabor under formidablenhandicaps. Not only do mothers com-nin awarding custody, but the whole processnis often reminiscent of a badly donenmagic act in which the magician sawsnhis stagebox in half only to leave a bleedingnportion of his assistant in each half.nFrom the turn of the century until recently,ncourts routinely gave mothersn”… nowiiere does Mr. Packard prove his thesis that our contemporary pattern of childrearingnproduces anxious and lonely children who are poorly prepared for adulthood.”nNew York Times Book Reviewnmand substantially less earning powernthan do fathers, but studies presented bynMr. Packard prove that regardless ofneconomic advantages, the absence of anfather often causes profound emotional,npsychological, and social difficulties fornthe child.nU nfortunately, many of the childrennborn to wedded couples will not benraised by those couples. Not only has thendivorce rate more than doubled sinceni960, but the divorce rate among couplesnwith children has more than tripled.nParents don’t stay together “for the sakenof the children” anymore. Because thenautonomous self now recognizes no sakenbut its own, rationalization comes easy.n”The kids will be happier when I’mnhappy.” Excepting the cases of an abusivenparent, studies do not bear out thisnline of thought. Children are usuallynmuch happier growing up in an unhappynmarriage, many researchers have found,nthan in experiencing a divorce. Youngnchildren are typically tormented by guiltnand insecurity, while older children fantasizenfor years about Dad and Mom gettingnback together. According to a surveyncited by Mr. Packard, one year after thenevent even most parents suspect thatnthe divorce “might have been a mistake”nand that perhaps they “should have triednharder.”nFor many parents, though, divorce isnnow acceptable as an easy way out ofnunpleasant conflicts. In some circles, it isneven hailed as a courageous act of selfassertion.nThe consequent split-parentingnis generally painful for the children,nhowever. The courts try to be equitablennncustody of the children on the assumptionnthat they are better nurturers thannfathers. In the post-Friedan world ofnfeminist mothers, things are different.nMr. Packard reports an alarming upswingnin mothers who simply desert theirnfamilies in pursuit of less constrictednhorizons. Others, like Susan Meyer andnJoan Lakin, voluntarily surrender custodynof their children upon divorce.nThe authors of Who Will Take thenChildren? claim they have compilednwhat actually amounts to a rather disjointedncollection of statements by divorcednwomen whose children live withntheir fathers in order to smash the popularn”stereotypes” of such women as coldnand unfeeling. Actually, it would be hardnto imagine a work which more fuUy confirmsnstereotypes: first comes boredomnwith upper-middle-class life; then involvementnwith a feminist consciousnessraisingngroup; then campaigning for liberalizednabortion; yoga and transcendentalnmeditation follow; finally, the decisionnto part with burdensome childrennand a “conservative” husband. Of course,nthese women do profess love and concernnfor their children and offer somenappropriately posed “anguish” overnchoosing to let them go. Nonetheless,nit’s quite apparent that their primarynconcern is not the happiness of thosenchildren, who become merely an “issue”nto be “dealt with” on the way to the satisfactionnand fulfillment of following “mynown needs and desires.”nIn passing, Ms. Meyers and Ms. Lakinnconcede that the “ideal” home for childrennhas both a mother and a father, butnthey are not much concerned with pre-n