In recent decades, many countries, including United State Of America, are on the verge of a demographic crisis. In other words, families have become less likely to have children than before. This is largely due to the economic situation in states, but even more so – to social phenomena and trends.
What happens immediately after birth
Of course, it is difficult to be unhappy when you just leave the hospital with a sweetly snoring bundle in your hands. In the first year of life of the first-born, parents are definitely happy. This is especially true for couples of mature age, who decided to acquire offspring after 34 years.
But things are not so simple with young families: couples who have become parents between the ages of 18–22 often become dissatisfied with life even before the baby is born. And they can be understood. Firstly, such young parents, as a rule, still do not have time to mentally and financially prepare for caring for children, and the idea of tremendous responsibility for a new life excites and scares them. Secondly, young mothers are more prone to postpartum depression – apathy and anxiety, which have been haunting a woman for months.
The first months of parenthood are the most debilitating and are associated, in particular, with acute lack of sleep. But at the same time, the joy of the very fact of the birth of the child overlaps the negative aspects.
Basically, mothers begin to feel miserable later, when the child grows up. This may be due to the fact that chores about children turn into an endless routine, and each new stage of their life – going to kindergarten, entering school, adolescence – brings new problems.
“It’s not easy for me. Since the birth of the child, I study and work, a lot of things at home. Now my daughter is five and a half, it has become harder. A bunch of mugs in the evenings, to put to bed is a problem … Previously, somehow, in her one-year-old, it was easier: he cuts around the apartment while I read something … Now I really want personal time, but I don’t have time ” .
The more children, the better.
If the birth of children inevitably leads to a decline in the level of happiness in the future, it is logical to assume that the more children in a family, the more grief the heart of parents harbors. And no! Statistics show that parents with many children are as (or almost as) happy as childless people.
This may be due to the fact that parents with many children are more involved in raising siblings and are more attached to their family, which ultimately increases their satisfaction with life. And many more women admit that they have fewer children than they would like. This mainly applies to mothers with few children, since couples without children often do not seek to have offspring. Perhaps this is the most logical explanation for the fact that parents in large families are happier than in small ones.
Fathers and Sons
The foregoing was mainly about maternal happiness. And for good reason: if the level of happiness of the average mother for many years remained constant relative to the level of happiness of her childless peers, then the attitude of fathers to parenthood changed over time.
Half a century ago, men with children were less satisfied with their lives than husbands without children and, moreover, unhappier than their own wives. But over time, the level of happiness of fathers increased, and now they are almost 2 times happier than childless men.
This is not surprising. Now, fathers, as a rule, are much more likely to see their own offspring, and their role in education has long gone beyond punitive practices, as was the case in the middle of the last century. Modern dads are much more involved in raising children, which makes them happier than fathers of the past.
The empty nest
Children grow up, and the time comes to live an independent life. Parents are not always ready to let go of their child, and in the house after the departure of the child it becomes empty and quiet. Nevertheless, couples whose children left their homeland feel a little happier than parents living with minor children.
The departure of matured children from the parental home also has a good effect on the relationship of the spouses.
Are parents so happy?
After all these statistics, it may seem that the matter is very bad. But this is not so. Firstly, happiness is a subjective concept. Researchers can only ask respondents if they are happy and compare the number of positive and negative answers in groups of people who have children or not. This means that a single family with a child may be happier than one particular childless family.
So whether to give birth to children or not is up to you and your partner. In the end, every family has its own path to happiness.
Do you think children bring happiness? And what can help parents feel comfortable in that capacity?
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