Do Children Make Us Happy?

Most parents believe that their "bundle of joy" makes their life happy (I certainly do) but is it true that having kids make you happy?

According to the latest research, those parents may actually be - gasp - wrong:

The most recent comprehensive study on the emotional state of those with kids shows us that the term "bundle of joy" may not be the most accurate way to describe our offspring. "Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers," says Florida State University's Robin Simon, a sociology professor who's conducted several recent parenting studies, the most thorough of which came out in 2005 and looked at data gathered from 13,000 Americans by the National Survey of Families and Households. "In fact, no group of parents—married, single, step or even empty nest—reported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It's such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they're not."

Here's an interesting article by Lorraine Ali for NEWSWEEK: Link

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I'm now 42 and have never wanted children and decided long ago not to have any. I've not regretted my decision, and have a fabulous life of which my friends with children are very jealous. I have enough money to travel once a year, time to read a book all day if I so desire, a loving partner with whom I can spend quality time, a quiet, clean home that I love, numerous hobbies and interests, I get regular exercise and can do whatever I want, when I want. Am I happy without kids? You bet your ass I am!
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my best friend got married at 19 and popped out her first kid at 21, and she just had her second kid a week ago (she's 22). every time i talk to her she says "you need to get married and have babies so our kids can play together" and every time i say "no no.. i'm good." and then go on to explain that i'm more than happy WITHOUT children right now. she's also in severe debt because of these children... definitely not something i want at the age of 22. not that i don't think children wouldn't enrich my life at some point, i just have too many personal goals i want to accomplish before i tie myself down to the harbor.

miss c had it COMPLETELY right. nothing in life MAKES you happy (or sad or anxious or nervous or mad). YOU are the ONLY PERSON that MAKES you feel/do/say anything, and it is up to you to interpret it as good/bad. raising children doesn't MAKE you unhappy.. you make yourself unhappy because things aren't going as you expected. but it's ignorant to expect ANYTHING when raising children because every child is different and you can't expect to push them out, raise them, and shove them out the door without some complications.

i'm waiting to have children. i want to adopt one day, and maybe even avoid the whole mutilated vagina thing that comes with child-bearing. my boyfriend and i always promise each other we're never having kids, but we both know we have a soft spot and would make terrific parents. we're just enjoying the ability to come and go as we please, and drink and carry-on through all hours of the night. i'm sure the novelty will wear off and we'll need to set a new pace, but it won't be for another decade. plus, i want to wait until after 2012 for a couple different reasons..
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Happy is not the word for what I feel about my kids. It is more of a deep joy. And there is the whole sense of wonder watching them grow up, enjoying them as they change and develop into their own person.

Maybe I would have been happier without them, but I don't think so. I think most parents probably feel about the same, if they have put much time and effort into their child's development.

To each their own, but they have helped make me who I am today as well, and I'm very grateful for having them.
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:) Oops - missing link - BTW, hubby & I don't have kids (our paternal/maternal instincts just aren't very strong). But just from the way our folks show express their love and appreciation for us (; ingrates that we are), I can see first-hand how kids can be a source of pride & joy in the long-term for parents.
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