Being a parent makes people happier

Being a parent can serve to make people happier, new research has suggested. To be published in the journal Psychological Science, the study revealed mothers and fathers are more content and draw extra meaning from life than those who do not have children.

Investigators from the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of California, Riverside and Stanford University noted mums and dads are happier when looking after their kids than while performing other daily duties.

They observed the findings lend themselves to new ways of thinking that indicate parenthood carries more positives than negatives and is essentially a fundamental human need.

Professor Elizabeth Dunn from the UBC said the study shows parents are not nearly as miserable as previous research has portrayed them to be, adding: "If you went to a large dinner party, our findings suggest that the parents in the room would be as happy or happier than those guests without children."

Chartered Psychologist Sue Firth adds: “Having children fulfils a strong, nurturing instinct in many of us and enables parents to feel intense and often unconditional love. This is a powerful feeling both in terms of giving it, and receiving it. It enables us to feel important and significant in the life of another person or people.

"Being a parent can have its difficult moments or indeed be overwhelming if you dwell on the responsibility involved but equally, if you are relaxed and allow yourself to have fun with your kids then you can experience very real enjoyment and happiness. You are likely to be showing them what matters in life and there is nothing as wonderful for a child or adult as feeling important and loved.”

My name is Kostadin Kushlev and I am a co-author of the study discussed above. It is very important to note that our study did not actually show that children *make* parents happier but simply that on average parents are happier than nonparents. In other words, our study is correlational in nature and does not speak to causality. The dinner party quote by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn above illustrates the core of our correlational findings very well.

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