Many Parents Will Say Kids Make Them Happier. They’re Probably Lying. by A. Swanson
- Ask the vast majority of American parents, and they will tell you that having kids has made them happier.
- The problem with this claim, as common as it is, is that (Link): research suggests it just isn’t true. People who have kids in the United States and in many countries around the world report being less happy than people who don’t have kids. Being a parent gives people a sense of purpose and meaning, as well as lifelong social connections. But for some reason, it doesn’t appear to bring American parents more happiness.
- Now, new research has shed light on why this might be.
- …The key to their findings is that not every country experiences a “parenting happiness gap” like the United States does. On average, an American parent reports being 12 percent unhappier than a non-parent in America – the biggest gap in the 22 countries the researchers looked at, followed distantly by Ireland. In 12 other countries, non-parents also described themselves as happier than parents.
- ..The researchers examined the differences among these countries to figure out what might be causing the happiness gap. They conclude that U.S. policies – or, more accurately, the lack of them – are likely to be the fundamental cause, by increasing the cost and the amount of stress and anxiety that parents feel.