Family Matters: Do kids make your life happier?

Family Matters: Do kids make your life happier?

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Does having kids make you happier?  Researchers say  it depends.  
We talked about the highs and lows of parenthood with Oklahomans and got their take on the new study's findings.

"I am so much happier with kids," said mom of two, Betty Tubner.
Another mom of two, Kelli Colbert, said, "No, I'm definitely happier now."

Elias Driskill said of his one-year-old son,  "He's my best friend.  I can't imagine living without him."

More happiness and also more unhappiness come along with parenthood.  
New research out of Stony Brook and Princeton Universities looked at millions of Americans and found people with kids aren't much different than people without them when it comes to overall life satisfaction.  

Here's the difference- people with kids have more joys and happiness but also more negative emotions, like anger, worry and stress.   

Colbert said,  "Before you have kids you can just pick up and go and do what you want to do. When you have kids you can't do that.  You have to think about what you're going to do.  Is it kid friendly?  Is it appropriate?"

The negatives aren't just short lived.   Researchers say parents will experience increased sadness and unhappiness throughout their lifetimes.  

"You have to let them have their space," said Tubner.  "Let them grow and spread their wings.  And that can be very very hard."

Researchers say overall happiness might be tied to whether having kids was a deliberate choice.      
A separate study out of the UK found couples who choose not to have kids have happier marriages.  

"I think if you're a person and you absolutely think you never want to be a parent, then don't be a parent," said Colbert.

Parents we spoke with don't deny the hardships that come along with their bundles of joy, but say for them, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

"I had my first child at 21," said Colbert. "And I was not ready at 21, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the entire world."

Driskill said,  "It gave me a reason and a purpose. So many people are lost in this world, wondering what they want it be.  It's right here."

If you have a topic you'd like us to cover in family matters send an email to  wendy@okcfox.com.

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