You can be forgiven for thinking that having children is rather joyless. There's the expense, the sleep deprivation, the worry about everything, not to mention the lack of free time.
But a new study has revealed that children make married people happier.
It's easy to feel children are hard work and the more you have the harder everything is. Right? Not for me it isn't; my five entail lots of work but even more happiness.
I'm not alone. The more children married couples have the happier they are. But there's a catch.
And that catch is children only apparently make married parents happier, according to a study by Dr Luis Angeles from the University of Glasgow. Children had little or no positive effect on the happiness of unmarried parents.
The increased happiness was found in married people of all ages, and particularly married women. Negative experiences were reported by people who were separated, living as a couple or single.
Dr Angeles believes children make married parents happier because they arrive at a time when the adults are ready for parenthood.
"This time can come at very different moments for different individuals but a likely signal of its approach may well be the act of marriage," he states.
These findings, published in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies, go against other reports that found having children did not increase happiness. This study was also different because it took into account the role of individual characteristics, gender, age, income and education.
Previous rather bleak outlooks have been attributed to the fact that raising children is hard work for seemingly few rewards.
"Surely children involve a lot of work and it is likely that the typical every day experience with your children is rather negative. But when asked about the most important things in their lives most people would place their children near or even at the top of their list," states Dr Angeles.
It is heartwarming to read something positive for a change about raising children. But I can think of lots of friends who are parents, not married and very happy.
What do you think -- do you agree with this study? Do you think children only make married couples happier?
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