Sunday, May 21, 2006

Worldwide, the result are the same - children make you unhappy

Danish collection of happiness studies confirms U.S. studies.

Sociologist Ruut Veenhoven from the Erasmus University . . . launched the "World Database of Happiness" on the Internet. The portal is an ongoing register of current research findings in the field, accessible by all and full of open secrets.
. . .
Statistics show that happiness booms right after marriage. Although that marital bliss will ebb out eventually, satisfaction levels never hit the depths that singles will see -- unless children enter the picture, that is.

Contrary to popular belief, the pitter-patter of little feet does not bring joy to our lives. Children actually make happiness statistics drop to oblivion, never to return to their previous levels again.

Veenhoven's analysis is sober: "Children have a constant negative effect on human happiness and the quality of marriage." . . . When the stress of parenting and job begins to wane, those in their 50s and 60s will start to enjoy their lives again.
Sounds familiar.

Unlike the studies showing that working mothers are healthiest and thinnest, the fact that these studies are recent make them relevant. Those were done at a time when childlessness was likely caused by infertility, causing statisticians to repeat the mantra "correlation does not imply causation." In other words, they may share a common source - health problems that cause fertility problems may also cause the other low health indicators in those studies.

On the other hand, many of these happiness studies were done at a time when having children is a choice - as is, often, childlessness. If children are depressing the hell out of those who wanted them, just think what they would do to our lives?

1 comment:

Vinny C said...

This isn't really surprising. Children change your lives dramatically, in ways people aren't ready for. Money becomes more of an issue (there's less of it), constant worry, less free time, no "personal space", a huge change in the way husbands and wives see themselves and each other. I suspect that especially for the younger parents, there's a sense of fantasy vs. reality, too.