The day a child comes into a parent’s life has always been considered one of the happiest days in a parent’s life, but a recent study asserts that parenthood it not all it’s cracked up to be. Based on biological and anthropological research conducted by both Princeton University and Stonybrook University, parenthood has become more depressing and less happy in modern times. Why?
Reportedly, the modern world requires so much attention to work and so little attention to family that the average parent spends most of their time providing for their child than interacting with them. Modern parenting is also the precursor for a practically non-existing social life, which based on other information can make a person even more depressed. Recently, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher made a statement to CBS News on the relationship between parenthood and social loneliness.
“You get some presents from various friends, and then they just leave you alone because they figure you’re too tired and too busy.”
So with tons of baby clothes toys and monitoring electronics that no one thought to give you batteries for, it’s just the mother, father, and the child. However, based on the study, the stress and depression related to parenthood intensifies when this ideal family dynamic is no longer the case. Specifically, the study found that divorced parents are less happy parents. Fisher explains this in more detail.
“People simply assume that when you are getting a divorce — they’re piling in to help you, they pile in to help you when you’ve lost your job, they really pile in to help you when you’ve lost your partner. But they don’t pile in when you’ve had a child. They figure you’re happy.”
Not only does divorce contribute to increased loneliness in parents and, as a result, decreased happiness, but unemployment reportedly also negatively affects the experience of parenthood. As the study found, those who had a rough time as a first-time parent were less likely to consider bringing another child into the world. Here’s how the researchers came to these conclusions.
German researchers Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskylä examined over 2,000 first-time parents to track their happiness patterns. During the study, it was found that 73 percent of the first-time parents had a decreased level of happiness while only 27 percent reported back with no change in happiness or an increase in happiness. In the study group of first-time parents, 58 percent of them took an average of nine years to have a second child.
This new study on parenthood as it relates to happiness in adults is published in Demography. The study concludes that the happiness level of parent declines once their child is born.
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