Does having children make you happy? The commonly held view is that children bring joy to your life. Anyone who is a parent knows that any joy and rewards received are mixed with the sweat and tears of parenthood. Research shows that parents are less likely to report that they are very happy compared to their childless peers. They also report less marital satisfaction and are more likely to be depressed. To add a sting to the wound, one study found that older parents whose children had left home reported the same level of happiness or less than childless couples. Based on this research I should never have had a child but I certainly have no regrets. I guess that is the thing about having children-most people don’t regret having them but they may regret not having them. The problem with these studies is that they focused on how happy people reported themselves to be at a single moment in time. When people were asked in a different study how rewarding parenting is they responded in a very different way. People were much more likely to rate childcare as’ pleasurable’ when this word was placed alongside the word ‘rewarding’.
- Do Children Make Us Happy? (psychologicalscience.org)
- Reassessing Happiness Research: Are New Parents Really That Miserable? (herstoriesproject.com)
- Parent Confessions (pinkcanuck.wordpress.com)