In the past, the major focus of parenting has gone to what makes the child happy and what kind of parenting is best for the them. But the last few years have seen a slight shift in this focus, from solely on the happiness of the children to the happiness of the parents as well. This has brought up a lot of curiosity as to what gives adults’ lives true fulfillment and happiness.
Previously, it has always been thought that having children is what gives people’s lives fulfillment, but recently that has become a topic of debate. The question has become a heavily researched subject, drawing results that conclude there are only small differences between the reported happiness between parents and non parents. These findings raise another question- does true fulfillment derive more from one’s marriage rather than their role as a parent?
Attempts to answer this question are being made by researchers around the world. A study conducted by Princeton found that 40% of married couples reported being “very happy” while only 23% of unmarried parents reported those same feelings. This could lead us to consider that it is our marital status rather than how many children we have that affects how we feel about our lives.
Less debated is the observation that the role fathers and mothers play within the household has begun to shift, resulting in a change in the dynamic between spouses as well. In general, today parents spend on average a lot more time with their children then they ever have before. This change is seen especially with fathers, who spend “triple the amount of time with their children than fathers in 1965”. We should also think about how this shift in parenting has affected our satisfaction in our marriage and overall levels of happiness.
So what does being a parent mean to you? How does it affect the happiness and fulfillment you feel in your life? And how does being a parent play into your happiness as a husband or wife?