Men don’t much care for kids, especially those between 5 and 15, according to a British study that came out last week, as quoted by the BBC.
The study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research suggests non-working mothers are more satisfied with life once their children start school.
For men, the presence of children brings no increase in life satisfaction.
Ouch. There it is. Kids bring no joy to men, and women aren’t all that thrilled about having them either, said the study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research, which found:
In other words, parents are only truly happy when the kids aren’t around. Surely, the areyoukiddingme-o-meter must be moving slightly here.
Those of us with kids might be inclined to view this strictly in evaluating ourselves and our children. Then we remember that we are someone’s child. And we never brought happiness to our parents. Really?
The study asked the participants two questions about their job satisfaction, and one about their life satisfaction, comparing the two in order to determine the difference.
Studies reveal that most married couples start out happy and then become progressively less satisfied over the course of their lives, becoming especially disconsolate when their children are in diapers and in adolescence, and returning to their initial levels of happiness only after their children have had the decency to grow up and go away. When the popular press invented a malady called “empty-nest syndrome,” it failed to mention that its primary symptom is a marked increase in smiling.
Leave it to the cheery Scots to put the exclamation point on this. “Parenting puts an end to domestic bliss,” one headline said.
These assessments, it should be pointed out, are coming not from psychologists, but from economists. A social scientist would approach the issue by asking people how happy they are. Economists will not. Why? Slate looked at that question last week in an article, “The not-so-dismal science.”
… although you choose your spouse but not your parents, people seem to enjoy spending time with their parents more than they enjoy spending time with their spouses. Maybe Oedipus had the right idea after all.
On the other hand, married people claim to be happier than single people do. What explains the discrepancy? The difference rests on an unexpected distinction: How satisfied you are with your life is not at all the same thing as how you feel while you are living it.
Right. Of course. Just because you might feel happy, it doesn’t mean that you are happy. Economists.
Given a shot at it, psychologists seem to approach the question differently, as the BBC told us in a series last year called, The Happiness Formula.
First, family and friends are crucial – the wider and deeper the relationships with those around you the better.
It is even suggested that friendship can ward off germs. Our brains control many of the mechanisms in our bodies which are responsible for disease.
Just as stress can trigger ill health, it is thought that friendship and happiness can have a protective effect.
According to happiness research, friendship has a much bigger effect on average on happiness than a typical person’s income itself.
The series concluded that, “Scientists clearly do not have all the answers. There is as yet no simple and comprehensive formula for happiness.”
One survey, then, is as good — or not — as the next. So, then, are you happy?
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