Having kids is fun, but it can also be one heck of a ride. There are many aspects to parenting, and when your children are young, most of those aspects are hard. Parenting is not easy, however having children can be an incredibly fulfilling experience that can make your heart feel full. Well, according to a new study cited in CNN, having kids makes people happier...once they've moved out.
The study cited by CNN was conducted by Christoph Becker and researchers from Heidelberg University in Germany. Their study was looking at well-being in older folks, and surveyed approximately 55 thousand people over 50 years old from 16 European countries to collect their data. What they found was that parents were generally happier than the non-parents that were surveyed in this group. However, this was only true if their children did not live with them any longer. These positive effects were seen in cases where the children had already "flew the nest".
After finding this result when the data was collected, it was hypothesized that perhaps as parents got older they had less of the common stressors that afflict parents of younger kids. What they were left with was the familial bond, which provided them with social support as they aged. Parents are less likely to be lonely, as they have children to provide social and emotional support. Basically, they are left with the feel-good, positive aspects of having a loving family, but without the common stressors of raising a young family and having them live in your home. One of the more interesting things that this study found was that this effect of being happier was not seen in cases where the adult children still lived with the parents.
Apparently, there has been other research conducted in the past that shows different, for example there was a study that found that childless couples were ultimately happier. However, in this particular study, the findings supported that older parents were happier than non-parents... provided that their kids had already left home.