A study of 200,000 parents by German and American researchers has found that parents feel satisfied with their family life – until their fourth child comes along.
Despite the study finding that the joys of parenthood wanes after baby number four arrives, it also found that older parents aged 50 plus are generally happier than their childless friends, regardless of the number of children they have. It’s the younger parents who see their their satisfaction decrease with each extra child they have.
So the notion that children make you happy is partly proved – they do, just later on in life. The hard work of the early stages of parenting can overshadow the positive aspects of being a mum or dad. But when parents get older, they feel happier as they can rely on their children for emotional support.
“The age trend of happiness, taking out factors like sex, income and fertility rates, shows that we need to explain it from the perspective of the stage of of parent’s life,” researcher Mikko Myrskyla said.