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Do Kids Make Parents Happy?

Do Kids Make Parents Happy?

The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution links to a story in Newsweek about the happiness (or lack thereof) felt by parents in response to their children. Supposedly, it doesn’t look so good! Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychology professor, “concludes that marital satisfaction decreases dramatically after the birth of the first child—and increases only when the last child has left home.”
Children have long been linked to happiness and fulfillment, but ever since modern-day practices have allowed adults to choose whether they want them, the purpose of and satisfaction involved in child rearing are questioned. As harsh as it sounds, the Newsweek writer says that pre-industrial America required children for work and home purposes, but nowadays parents are lucky if kids will do an hour of chores per week.
Other studies have found that parents have “lower levels of emotional well-being” and their emotions tend toward the negative.

Tell us what you think about children contributing to your emotional level. If you are a parent, do you agree that children stop you from being happier?  [The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution]

Posted: 8/4/08

I love your point old gold that you need to give happiness to get it. Though I think there's something to the point that there's such pressure here to have the kid accessory that people don't realize they're raising acutal PEOPLE. People forget that those babies grow up!! And so I think the bubble gets burst a bit, and that's where "unhappiness" comes from. But I agree with you—we need to look at happiness a bit different, and look at having kids a bit differently. Maybe then our expectations won't be overinflated and we can all appreciate each other a bit more.

  • By LMAYO9
  • on 8/15/08 10:43 AM EST

I propose "A Study of Studies or A Contemporary American Institution, Who pays for it, who profits from it?" Eegads!
Children are the future. Shouldn't we be teaching children that happiness is an inside job? Abe Lincoln believed that "...people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be."
Hey boys and girls, try this; give someone a BIG smile and see if they don't smile right back. Then say to your parents, "Knock-knock" Who's there? "Love." Love who? "Love YOU! Pass it on!" and skip away with a light-hearted laugh.
Hey moms and dads, your kids aren't making you happy, after all you've done for them? Try this; imagine living in China, the earthquake region, and... wait a second, I apologize for my sarcasm. For fifty years marketing departments have very effectively been telling us that happiness is something we need to get, not give, and we spend so much time working to get it that there's not much time left to spend with kids, learning from them how to be happy, just pretending.
I don't know, but I sure don't think that any "study" is gonna help us out of this pickle.
What do you think?

  • By oldgold
  • on 8/4/08 11:48 PM EST

I'm no analyst or parent, but I don't agree with this.

I think there are other factors of life, other than children, that make parents unhappy. A misbehaved child is just the tip of the iceberg.