Children Bring Happiness
Do children bring happiness? Go to any school at drop off time, and you will see an even split. There are the parents that look put together, dropping off their perfectly dressed children and blowing kisses. And then you have the parents that look like they haven’t slept in a week pushing their child out of the car. It leaves us guessing which side we are going to be on. What age and circumstances should we wait for?
No Kids at All
The New York Times did a study on why adults are putting off having kids till later or choosing to have none. The current generation is having fewer children than the previous generations. They surveyed men and women between the ages of twenty and forty-five. The top reason why they did not have children at 36% was that they wanted more leisure time. At 34%, the next highest was that they hadn’t found a partner. Child care cost came in third. It is surprising to see time as the top reason. Child care and finding a partner are more legitimate concerns.
One or Two
Large families used to be the norm. Not anymore. According to adults today, there are many reasons to limit the number of children. The top concern for twenty to forty-five year old’s today is the cost of childcare. It isn’t feasible if you have many children. It would be cheaper nor to work, which may not be a possibility. Others want to have time to spend one on one with each child. That can be hard to do when you are outnumbered. Finances are another big concern.
With couples waiting later in life to have children, the age they are empty nesters is delayed. The Institute of Family Studies has done years of research on the happiness of those with children. They found that adults between the ages of fifty and seventy that are empty nesters are 5-6% happier than those still with children at home. They also found that happiness increased with the number of children they had up to four. Those with five or more were less happy. The magic number for children seems to stop at four. That must be the perfect number.
Being happy with our children is one thing. In some circumstances, there is another relationship that we need to worry about. Our relationship with our significant other. How do children affect happiness there? The study done by The Insititute of Family Studies showed that men and women between the ages of fifty and seventy felt the same. Those that had no children were 1-6% happier with their partner than the empty nesters who had children. Those that still had children in the home are at that age reported being 3-8% less satisfied with their relationship.
There are many concerns to be had. The past generations have shown us that children can make us happy, but we may want to have them when we are young.