Happiness and…children?

Happiness and…children?

As a father, I've often said that having children was one of the hardest things I've ever done BUT also one of the best things I've ever done. 

Personally, there's no doubt it's impacted on my happiness and pleasure in some ways, but there's also no doubt that it's provided immeasurable and at times indefinable satisfaction and pride in other ways. 

Which is why I find this topic so interesting and this article (by Adele Horin for the SMH), quite thought provoking…

MOST couples assume having children will make them happier. But time and again researchers find parents are no happier than childless couples. More often children seem to bring unhappiness.

Whether measuring life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, mental health or happiness levels, parents often rate worse than non-parents. New research shows it does not have to be that way. The secret to parental happiness lies in a spirit of generosity towards one's partner, according to a study from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, called When Baby Makes Three.

How often partners express affection for each other, their willingness to forgive each other's faults, the small acts of service, such as making a cup of tea or giving a back rub, appear crucial in sustaining a couple through the shoals of parenthood.

You can read the full and original article HERE but please note, especially, the following paragraphs…

Husbands and wives both ''benefit when they embrace an ethic of marital generosity that puts the welfare of their spouse first," write the researchers Elizabeth Marquardt and W. Bradford Wilcox in the Atlantic magazine. Those couples that scored highest on the generosity scale and made a regular effort to serve their spouse in small ways were more likely to report being "very happy".

Other elements, such as good sex, shared housework and religious faith and commitment, also seemed to boost chances of successfully combining marriage and parenting, according to the report. But making the effort to be affectionate and generous to each other was a crucial ingredient.

So, what do you think? 

All you parents out there, what are the best and worst aspects of having children? What brings happiness and unhappiness? Share your thoughts HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page.