Parenting Poll of the Week – Kids And Happiness

I read an interesting article that suggests parents are less likely to report being happy than the childless.

In Daniel Gilbert’s 2006 book “Stumbling on Happiness,” the Harvard professor of psychology looks at several studies and concludes that marital satisfaction decreases dramatically after the birth of the first child?and increases only when the last child has left home.

No group of parents?married, single, step or even empty nest?reported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It’s such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they’re not

I’m not sure how to take these results. I suppose it’s up to the individual. Certainly, anyone who wants to have kids but can’t for whatever reason, won’t be very happy.

I can also see how people with kids are subjected to stresses – money, time, sleep – that the childless are not. If stress level is the measure of happiness, then kids aren’t going to help that measure.

To borrow from William Jefferson Clinton, it depends on what the meaning of the word happy is.


4 thoughts on “Parenting Poll of the Week – Kids And Happiness”

  1. To my mind people tend to substitute the terms. Life of a family couple “before the birth of the first child and after when the last child has left home” is EASIER, not happier… While they are trying hard to bring up their child, they are usually too busy and tired to realize they are happy…

    But I know many women who feel very unhappy because they desperately want to have children and don’t have them for some reason…

  2. Can I say MOST of the time??? I guess the times that I am stressed can make it hard to be 100% happy. BUT…I love them and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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