Does being a parent make you happy?
The decision to have children is a very individual and personal question. The research is inconclusive as to whether having children will make you feel happier on average than those without kids. Some studies show parents being happier overall than non-parents, but other research supports the opposite. Some even suggest that there is no difference at all.
So what is the takeaway?
It seems like the answer is, “It Depends.”
The following factors suggest that you may be less happy:
- Your age: younger parents (18 to 25) are generally less happy
- Your kids’ age: same goes if your kids are younger
Who’s more likely to feel happier, satisfied or have meaning in their life?
- Fathers, married couples with children, and empty nesters
Other factors that influence parental happiness include age and stage in life, financial well-being, marital status, personality and temperament (of the parents and the kids), and whether the children still live at home. Parents as a whole generally report having more meaning in their lives.
So It Depends. Parents will describe raising kids as both a scary rollercoaster ride as well as a source of personal joy. Children can bring unimaginable happiness to our lives and conversely spark our greatest fears and sorrow. This is what parents sign up for. But at the end of the day an overwhelming ninety-four percent of parents say that having kids is worth it in the end!
Jeff Ross, MA RCC
Jeff is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and sees clients in Vancouver (Yaletown) and North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He supports individuals with such issues as depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, grief and bereavement, career and educational issues as well as growth and development. In addition he also does couples counselling / marriage counselling.
If you have a comment or question about this post or any other, please feel free to join the discussion or send him a private and confidential email. Let us know what Resonates with you!