In other words, whether or not children go hand in hand with happiness depends on many factors, including our age, marital status, income and social support, as well as whether our children live with us and have difficult temperaments. Whether we ourselves were securely attached to our own parents is even a factor.
Thats the crux of it, to me. In other words, the article didn't really say anything other than its hard to be poor, single, have difficult or unhealthy kids, have little or no family support, have an unsupportive partner, to be very young or very old parents, to have no friends or community, etc. Duh.
I think kids can make certain circumstances worse or harder to deal with but that would be more dealing with the normal stress of raising a child on top of the stress of certain events.
My mom had me when she was 20, a 9th grade drop out and she divorced within a year. Hardly a good start but with strong family support, she went back to school and became a teacher. She was never in a position to have more kids and it would have been a shame if she never got to be a mom because she is great at it.
I agree with those that have said that it's not really news. There are times when it's "misery" I guess but I don't like to use misery because it's never been THAT bad to me. A few weeks ago we went for about 3 weeks with wacky sleep times coupled with both of us working full time jobs it's hard. We were tired but that stuff happens.
Both of my children can be "difficult" in different ways. The oldest can melt down and tantrum because she has a hard time with her emotions and expressions. The youngest one is full of drama and sass.
But overall, for about 95% of my life I am happy. I wanted them and worked so hard to get them. They are not responsible for my happiness but they are one of my largest sources of happiness.
I am pretty sure that it is all in how you look at things. I really like to focus on all the awesome stuff that my kids bring into my life and not dwell in the moments that are hard. But I do have to say that having a teenager is really slowing down the number of wonderful moments. Took her jeans shopping today and I can see how some may think kids make a parent miserable.
Stacie, in my experience the age of parents are exactly opposite in correlation to happiness then your experience. All of the parents I know that started having kids later have a harder time finding the happiness in parenting. I have always thought it was that they had lived in a certain pattern for so longs and kids really change that. I had a student this year who had parents in their late 40s (he was 4) and they both shared that they loved parenting him, but really did miss the spontaneity and the ability to do whatever they wanted.
I hate it when people generalize like that based on their very limited experience. So annoying. The stats are clear at least as far as young marriage and divorce is concerned- certainly that would be one indicator of happiness. That said I think that both Stacey's and Lisa's generalizations are the sort which raise hackles- for good reason.
I think its just as wrong to say "getting married and having children young will make you happier" as it is to say "getting married and having children young will make you unhappier"
Its the causation vs. correlation thing.
I find it way more likely for people to feel unhappy trying to raise kids if:
a)They find themselves in the situation somewhat accidentally
b)They are highly naive and immature
c)They are finanically unstable
d)People arround you are unsupportive of your choices
And there are probably others.
Now i do think all of those things are probably more likely in the younger crowd.
However, if you are young and none of those things are accurate, well then *poof* i think age has little to do with it and your liklihood of being unhappy magically dwindles away and is more level with older people.
Causation vs. Correlation...its not really about some magical cutoff age.
I totally miss the spontaneity factor! And totally did when I was in my 20s too.
I mean really...we are making issues here where they don't exist. Missing spontaneity and getting to do whatever you want to is totally natural at any age.
I totally agree that your support system makes a big difference to your happiness with kids. Mainly because I dont really have one nearby, and a lot of my 'miserable' moments with the kids stem from that. For me it is the moments when I feel trapped with them, cant go to book club cause DH is working, cant go on a date with my husband, etc. I guess finances also play into that, cause we cant afford to just get a babysitter whenever we want to, but have to save up for special occasions.
Anyways, that sounds like I dont like my kids, but it is only moments when I feel this way. Generally they make me happy, and when they climb on my lap and snuggle in, tell me they love me, when the baby gives me kiss after kiss all over my face, they run to me when I walk in the door my heart feels like it is going to explode it is so full of love for them. So I would say that in general they have improved my life and made me happier, and I think I would have less unhappy moments if we had better support around us.