Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Children: Joy or Burden?

An interesting story on NPR which casts doubt on the joys of parenthood:

The cliché refers to newborn children as "bundles of joy," but recent research indicates that bundles of anxiety, or even bundles of depression, might be more accurate.

Sociologists are discovering that children may not make parents happier and that childless adults, contrary to popular stereotypes, may often be more contented than people with kids.

Parents "definitely experienced more depression," says Robin Simon, a sociologist at Florida State University who has studied data on parenting.

"Part of our cultural beliefs is that we derive all this joy from kids," says Simon. "It's really hard for people who don't feel this to admit it." Social pressures to view only the positive aspects of child rearing only make the problem worse, she says. "They're afraid to admit it because it runs so counter to our cultural beliefs that children make you happy."

I can't say I'm surprised. As a childless person, I do not find my life lacking. I've no need for children, and frankly it took quite some time to realize other people really want children.

1 comment:

TchoTChoWrangler said...

It was at least 9 weeks before I felt any real love for my kids. UPto that point they were machines which ate, slept and sh*t, with no apparent regard to timetable.

At the 9 week point they started smiling at things I was doing, at which point it became apparent there was a person inside - which made things somewhat easier.

5 years later they are little people, they still cause a certain degree of 'stress', they are also the cause for a great deal of merriment in our house.

On the whole I reckon it balances out all told, neither better, nor worse just different.

Although there are times, especially around 6am on a Sunday morning when I wonder what life would be like without Children.