Does having kids make you happy?
The great happiness debate: Parents vs. their childfree counterparts.
The debate between those with and without children is a subject known to evoke strong emotions. For many couples, having kids fulfills a deep desire, while others deliberately opt out of parenthood and some are simply unable.
Whether you're for, against or undecided on the topic, does having a kid make you happy?
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Kenneth Benjamin, founder and chief happiness officer of Happiness International, LLC, defines happiness as when your life fulfills your needs. By that definition, the right question is "Do I need to have kids?" says Benjamin.
He explains that answering that question is something that changes during your lifetime based on personality, life experiences and circumstances.
For new mother Jessica Shein, parenthood has had a positive impact on life.
“While our son wasn't necessarily planned, he has made our family better and enhanced our relationship as husband and wife,” shared Shein. “I have no regrets. Our boy has made us better, stronger individuals.”
Having a child gave Crystal Gettings a brand new perspective and set of priorities.
“I do not think that having children alone makes anyone happy; it can create added stress and other factors to life that were not currently present, especially if you are not complete with your mate,” says Gettings. “However, having my son changed my life completely. I realized that in order to be a better mom and person overall, that I needed to find my purpose, passion in life.”
Still, others suggest that having kids does not make people happy.
“Many studies show that overall life satisfaction decreases after a person has children,” says Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker. “However, the few moments of pure joy parents receive when their children are ‘extra cute’ seems to be what makes parents go on to have more children.”
Even so, Morin finds that those moments don't seem to outweigh the tough parenting times enough to "even it out."
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“For the longest time I wished that my husband and I had some deep reason for not wanting kids,” writes Jessica on DINK (Double Income No Kids), an online community for couples that haven't had kids yet or aren't having them. She’s not alone. Nearly one in five American women now ends her childbearing years without having a child, compared with one in 10 in the 1970s, according to U.S. Census data.
Jessica continues on, “But the truth is that we like sleeping in, drinking tons of wine and beer, taking impromptu naps in the middle of the day, spending our money on ourselves, and not feeling like we have to sneak a quickie in the laundry room (OK, unless it is purely for the fun of it).”
What do you think? Does having a kid make you happy?
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Photo: Do kids make you happy? / Albert Mollon/Getty Images
I love my Son. Times were very hard when he was young. He's Asperger's Syndrome.
I tried to work, but babysitters came hard. Either they were not experienced enough to deal with his "tantrums" or they followed every book. Either way, I lost. But- I tried. Being a single Mother with a "Special Needs" child wasn't easy, but I made the best of it, and that child has grown into a fine young man, soon to graduate college. I must have done something right! I don't regret being a Mom. EVER! He changed my life and makes me a better person.
I'm in that stage of parenthood right where I am relying on coffee to replace sleep. I love being a mom. While i love it doesn't mean its for everyone. Given the complexities of parenthood I understand if people say it's not for them. Trust me there are days I wish I could get an extra hour of sleep in. But that being said there is no explanation for the feeling you have when you bond with your children. I can't explain to anyone who doesn't have kids yet.
As world population continues to grow more people will have fewer and fewer children. You already see this happening more and more in places like western Europe, Brazil, Japan and the U.S.. Is it selfish not to overburden future generations with more people, certainly not.
Lastly, I sincerely wish more people would choose to adopt children in need of good parents versus having more of their own children.
Yes! My wife and I were happy before and now we are HAPPY! Such an amazing time in our lives! From the 9 week ultra sound, hearing his heart beat and seeing him move around.
To take the responsibility to bring another life into the world and raise a child is something we didn't think we would have the opportunity for. Definitely worth every second!
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