Young parents 'are unhappy with more children'

The more children younger parents have, the unhappier they tend to be, new research has found.

Investigators at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock and the University of Pennsylvania discovered the satisfaction of mothers and fathers under the age of 30 decreases with the number of offspring they have.

Published in the journal Population and Development Review, the study found that the opposite happens for mums and dads over the age of 40, as they appear to grow in happiness with the more children they bear.

Findings in the study were gathered from a survey of over 200,000 men and women in 86 countries between 1981 and 2005.

Mikko Myrskyla, an author of the report and a demographer at MPIDR, said: "Seeing the age trend of happiness independent of sex, income, partnership status and even fertility rates shows that one has to explain it from the perspective of the stage of [a] parent's life."

Chartered Neuropsychologist Dr Carol Valinejad said: "One way of understanding the happiness formula of parenting is: if the needs of parents are met, then they are more likely to meet their children's needs."

"Younger parents are more likely to be at a stage in life where they have a number of unmet needs, such as their desired occupation, getting on the property ladder, etc."

"This may cause them to view children as getting in the way of either achieving their goals or slowing down the process."

"Older parents, on the other hand, are more likely to have achieved these things, so have more time to be child centred and thus enjoy their children."