Does Having Children Really Make You Happy?

Does Having Children Really Make You Happy?

Parents and grandparents alike often extol the joys of parenthood yet a look at the current frontline of stressed-out and run-down parents with young children paints a different story. So what’s the real deal on parenthood?

There has been a consistent discrepancy between research findings and our cultural beliefs. Research consistently has shown that parental unhappiness increases with each child you have yet there is a cultural belief that children bring you happiness

Is parenthood really the road to a rewarding and fulfilling state of bliss resulting from nurturing the development of a young soul to its full potential? Or are the joys of parenthood a Pollyanna, idealistic myth designed to ensure that younger couples successfully propogate the human species?

A recent study published in the March 2011 issue of the Population and Development Review journal finally provides clarity on the debate…Are the joys of parenthood fact or fiction?…

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany surveyed 200,000 men and women from 86 different countries to find the answer…

They found that –

Parents under the age of 30 became less happy with the birth of each child.

Parents aged 30-39 stayed as happy as childless couples provided they had four or less children.

From age 40+, parents with one to three children are happier than couples without children.

At age 50+ mothers and fathers are happier than childless couples regardless of the number of children that they have.

The results stayed the same even when taking into account income levels and partnership status.

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