Monday, November 23, 2015

The Science of Happiness: How Does Parenting Relate to Happiness?

10/26/15: What Makes a Happy Parent?

So this article was published to the Greater Good website by Emily Nauman in August of 2014. Go ahead and read it.

Young couple with baby.
Young couple with baby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It looks like the sort answer to the question "Does parenthood make you happy?" is "It depends."  The marginally less-short answer is "It depends on the individual parents and the individual children."

Well. OK.  Let's see if we can be any more specific at all.

Older parents tend to be happier than younger parents. Dads tend to be happier than moms.  Parenting style seems to have an effect, but it's tough to say what it is.  And parents with secure attachment styles before they have kids are better at maintaining their non-kid relationships upon becoming parent.

Chill kids have happier parents, while kids with serious problems can add a lot of stress to their parents' lives.

Age makes a difference.  Parents of welcomed fetuses and brand-new newborns are really happy -- but their happiness plummets soon after, and doesn't pick up until the kid is 5, or 7... or moving out, depending which study you look at.  The happiest parents?  Grandparents.  No pressure, right, Mom and Dad?

Social support makes parents happier.  Employment is a mixed blessing: less financial stress, more time stress. And if you have goals of personal achievement other than having children, children aren't going to feel like as much of an achievement.  Which... makes sense.

Married parents tend to be happier than single parents, and custodial parents tend to be happier than non-custodial parents.

Biological attachment to the children may or may not affect the parent's happiness.

Parents?  How much of this rings true?

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