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Do children make you happy?

Presumably those who plan to have children believe the huge sacrifice to their time and energy will make them happy. However, some argue that this belief is an illusion.

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Experts In Media

Sarah Wildman    Journalist
Mostly Agree
I was never the type that fully imagined life with kids. And yet the moment mine arrived I realized I'd never known love like this before -- passionate, bowled-over, take-your-breath-away love that scares the heck out of me pretty much daily. ... Having a kid is a little like being an expat in the world -- the highs are that much higher, the lows that much lower, the intensity like nothing else. Joy and pain; tears and laughter; everything that much sharper than it was before.
12 Jul 2010    Source

Experts In Entertainment

Jessica Alba    Actress, Celebrity, Beauty Icon
There was nothing else but my career before. I was completely defined by it. Now I have my family, which is more fulfilling. I’ve always wanted a big family.
08 Aug 2010    Source

Experts In Media

Kate Kellaway    Journalist
We should try and lift the happiness pressure as parents. Happiness does not come when it is called. The best times – the happiest – I have ever had with my children are, almost always, the least planned. I remember a particularly wretched trip to the London Aquarium that was supposed to be special and an ordinary bathtime that was mysteriously joyful. But, in the end, parenting is not about happiness, it is about love – not the same thing at all.
11 Jul 2010    Source

Experts In Psychology

Daniel Gilbert    Psychology Professor
The more children you have, the less likely you are to say you are satisfied with your life.
23 Aug 2007    Source

Erika Lawrence    Psychology Professor
In sum, parenthood hastens marital decline—even among relatively satisfied couples who select themselves into this transition—but planning status and prepregnancy marital satisfaction generally protect marriages from these declines.
22 Feb 2008    Source

Experts In Media

Jennifer Senior    Journalist
From the perspective of the species, it’s perfectly unmysterious why people have children. From the perspective of the individual, however, it’s more of a mystery than one might think. Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so. This finding is surprisingly consistent, showing up across a range of disciplines.
04 Jul 2010    Source

Time Magazine    Popular Magazine
Researchers have known for some time that parents with minors who live at home report feeling calm significantly less often than than people who don't live with young children. Parents are also angrier and more depressed than nonparents — and each additional child makes them even angrier. Couples who choose not to have kids also have better, more satisfying marriages than couples who have kids.
04 Mar 2011    Source

Experts In Christianity

Albert Mohler    President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
...the Bible doesn’t seem overly concerned with human happiness. One reason for this is surely that happiness is just too passing as a perception... In a fallen world, the wrong things will make us happy or unhappy. Add to this the fact that we seem to be largely incompetent at making ourselves happy, or even at knowing what will make us happy. ... We must ... understand family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness.
08 Jul 2010    Source


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0 Points      2Cent      23 Jan 2012      General Comment
Perhaps it does for women, but not for men.

"Moms report getting more happiness from their children whereas fathers ranked kids no higher than their career.

Women in relationships got a happiness boost after having children. Men only seemed to derive well-being from the relationship."

Source is here.

0 Points      kwhipke1      19 Mar 2011      Editorial Comment
A better way to phrase this might be "do children, on average, make you happier"

1 Point      Glenn F      02 Nov 2010      Stance on Question: Neutral
Sometimes yes, they do. Sometimes no, they don't.

Happiness is often the result of focused attention on something difficult, but achievable. In this way, children might lead to happiness, as they fit the bill. But I wouldn't ever agree that by default children lead to happiness. For many, it's just the opposite. The answer to this question all depends on the context of parties involved.

Expert in the psychology of "flow" (related to the human perception of "happiness" or "creativity"), Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a solid reference resource. http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j21/csiksz.asp

1 Point      Tina Peters      14 Sep 2010      General Comment
I think that whether or not children can "contribute to your happiness" can be influenced by the circumstances concerning how one came to be a parent. Parenthood was deliberately forced on me when I was only 16 yrs. old. He was an already married man who was around five years my senior.

For remaining unwed after the birth of my daughter, I attempted to parent her while still under my own mother's roof. We were poor people..that has not changed. Even so, my child was taken care of there as if she'd been a sibling of mine. In fact, my parenting was all but completely usurped by my, now deceased, mother and a, also deceased, older sister who lived in the household at the time.

The married man had started me to drinking liquor prior to his taking control of my body. So, by the time I was 19, I qualified as a full blown alcoholic.....though my claiming the disease was still a few years away. I didn't realize it at the time, but my significance as a family member had been overshadowed by the birth of my beautiful child. She was the angel in our midst and I was, it seemed, now just some presence they only tolerated.

When I moved out of my mother's house, I left my child there because I felt it was the best place for her. For, not only was I drinking, but I had begun to live an alternative lifestyle. As I watched the 8 yr. old standing there with tears running down her face, asking me where I was going, I had no answer for her. I only said that I could no longer live there; that her grandmother didn't want me there.

My daughter is 39 yrs. old now and, though I had no other children, I am grateful I had her. Yet, in spite of this being the case with me, there have not been very many occasions during these last 39 yrs. where I really felt that we connected as mother and daughter. The reason for this, I believe, is that, for my mother and sister's interference and my leaving her there in that house to be raised by them, we never really bonded. Nevertheless, when she's not exercising her genetically flawed temperament, I feel content with our relationship.

As a grandmother, I have experienced much happiness! My grandchildrens' births were estatic moments for me and I endeavored to be the best grandma that anyone could possibly want. But now, with one being 22 yrs. old and the other turning 14 today, they seem to have little use for me anymore. So I just attend my church services on Sunday and be the sober God fearing christian woman that I have been for many years now. And when they have use for me, I am there for them, nonetheless.

So.....do children make you happy? Well, it depends on who you ask and where they're coming from. However, from a spiritual standpoint, I perceive them to be the greatest blessing God can bestow on anyone...whatever their circumstances. The problem is, in far too many situations they are not receiving the protection and sound minded guidance they deserve. And, for this, both they and all of society suffers in various occurrences.

0 Points      Tina Peters      14 Sep 2010      General Comment
My story can be read, in detail, in "The Barbed Wire Fence," a published book by Tina Peters