The parental happiness gap: How do kids affect our happiness? Loving your children and believing they are the greatest thing in the world is not the same ยูฟ่าเบท as having a stress-free experience. Children provide parents with purpose and demand a sacrifice of parental freedom in return. So how do kids affect our happiness? Is there any truth in the statement that parents are only as happy as their unhappiest child?
The parental happiness gap
There is no doubt that kids are great sources of joy and love; at the same time, they are sources of stress, frustration and worry.
Usually, happiness studies find that parents are less happy than their oh-I-really-don’t-know-what-I-will-spend-all-my-weekenddoing-besides-going-to-Starbucks-binge-watching-Westworld-goingfor-drinks-working-on-my-novel-relaxing-and-maybe-going-to-thegym non-parent peers.
This is known as the parental happiness gap, or the parental happiness penalty, and it has prompted headlines like ‘HOW HAVING CHILDREN ROBS PARENTS OF THEIR HAPPINESS’ and ‘YOU ARE LESS HAPPY WHEN YOU HAVE A CHILD, STUDY SAYS’.
3 factors that impact on the dimension of parental happiness
First of all, while children may have a negative impact on one dimension of happiness (such as overall life satisfaction), having them is found to have a positive effect on another dimension of happiness – the eudemonic dimension, which focuses on the sense of purpose or meaning in life.
Second, children have a different impact on the happiness of women and that of men, as women, traditionally, have taken on a greater share of the responsibility and burden of raising kids. According to Luca Stanca, professor and author of “The Geography of Parenthood and Well-being’, the parenting penalty ufabet is 65 per cent higher for women.
Third, kids come in different sizes and ages. While a one-yearold baby who denies you your sleep for months may make you miserable right now, fifty years from now that child may be a source of joy when you’re sitting in a retirement home.
Studies also show that, among widows and widowers, having a child has a positive effect on life satisfaction. Something to bear in mind with all these stories is that ‘Having Kids Makes People Less Happy’ is better clickbait than ‘Studies Show the Effects of Children on Happiness are Mixed, depending on the Dimensions of Happiness Measured and the Complexity of a Dynamic Lifetime Relationship’.
But that still leaves us with the question of why parents with young kids report lower levels of overall life satisfaction than their non-parent peers. Well, what we see is that the happiness gap depends on where we measure it. Parents in the US are 12 per cent less satisfied with their life than their non-parent peers; in Britain, the gap is 8 per cent; in Denmark, it is 3 per cent.
There is a small happiness gap in Sweden and Norway of around 2 per cent – but in Sweden and Norway parents are happier than people without kids.