09 March 2011

Parental Happiness Rationalization

Parents Rationalize the Economic Cost of Children by Exaggerating Their Parental Joy:

...Despite their tales of professional sacrifice, financial hardship, and declines in marital satisfaction, many parents continue to insist that their children are an essential source of happiness and fulfillment in their lives. A new study ... suggests that parents create rosy pictures of parental joy as a way to justify the huge investment that kids require.

...In an earlier time, kids actually had economic value; they worked on farms or brought home paychecks, and they didn’t cost that much. Not coincidentally, emotional relationships between parents and children were less affectionate back then. As the value of children has diminished, and the costs have escalated, the belief that parenthood is emotionally rewarding has gained currency. In that sense, the myth of parental joy is a modern psychological phenomenon.


Patty said...

Suppose I can twist this to get the kids to do more chores around the house? :)

Archer said...

"The myth of parental happiness"? What a load of poo. Explain this concept to a parent who has lost a child? I think they will disagree. This post is somewhat of an alien concept to me. It's so cold and scientific about subject matter that is anything but. As I read it, I am assuming that it is written by someone that does not have children or was never really a parent. I has two children myself and believe me when i say that neither one is easy to raise. My youngest, because of his disabilities, will probably live with me the rest of his life and the older one I only hope finds her way. But no matter the difficulty I have in raising them, I can never imagine my life without them and yes, the happiness I feel in raising them. Where does the joy come from in the midst of so much stress, frustration and utter chaos of raising children? I couldn't tell you but I feel it everyday and am grateful for it.

Anonymous said...

Think you might enjoy David Brooks new book, Social Animal, A Story of Love, Character, and Achievement. In part is explains the connections we have with other at a subconscious level.


CityKin said...

^someone just gave that a scathing review!!!


Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed it so far.

In the context of this post, there are a few sections that address this type of "rationalization."

His case for the unconscious emotion as a driver of human behavior, while obvious on some levels, is completely over-looked in terms of public policy.

Plus, I like to see a "conservative" getting away from the utility maximizing, free-market mania.