Maybe you kid yourself, but I don’t

“New research” argues that the emotional benefit to raising children is a myth at best, an exaggeration.  Via Live Science:

Are the long nights and financial burdens of parenting really worth the emotional benefits? New research is saying no: When confronted with the real economic costs of having children, most parents will exaggerate their happiness to validate their choice to have children.

“Many people believe that to be truly fulfilled in life, it is necessary to experience the joys of parenthood. Children are considered an essential source of happiness, satisfaction, and pride,”  Richard Eibach and Steven Mock of the University of Waterloo, wrote of their study in the March 2 issue of the journal Psychological Science. “However, the idea that parenthood involves substantial emotional rewards appears to be something of a myth.”

But, times are changing. Since the 1920s, the economic value of having children has been dropping fast. Children can no longer work on farms or bring home paychecks, and they demand more financial support than ever before, the researchers say.

As children’s economic value has plummeted, their perceived emotional value has skyrocketed, becoming, “the economically worthless but emotionally priceless child,” as Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer wrote in her book, “Pricing the Priceless Child” (Princeton University Press, 1994).

Validate my choice to have children. Listen, bub, I don’t know how you conducted your research, but I will tell you this as a mother who only recently–after three years–started sleeping through the night: I don’t need to exaggerate my happiness to validate my choice to have a kid. I look at innocence snoring softly in her bed and pray for more while cursing that I’m too old to have a basketball team.

Exit question: what kind of society celebrates not renewing itself? Pundette asks.

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11 Responses

  1. […] Pinata Talks Back 4 March 2011 nooneofanyimport Leave a comment Go to comments PJMom found one of those little anti-breeding articles that so quickly gets under the skin of people like […]

  2. What an idiotic study. I don’t believe it for a second. The overwhelming majority of parents I know woouldn’t change having ther children. Who did this guy interview to get these results, a bunch of Liberal atheists? I can tell you that now that i’ve been a parent for six months, I LOVE every second of it, even the difficult moments.

    • Congratulations on baby, Manny! It’s a wildly fun ride. And just wait: even better than first smiles and coos, first “I love you, too” and “I missed you.”

      • Oh thank you. My wife and I adopted a one year old boy from Kazakhstan. He’s eighteen months old now and currently sitting on my lap as I type this with one hand…lol. So at the grand old age of 49, I’m a father!

      • Oh, Manny, how awesome! (And I know all about that one-handed typing! Lol)

  3. “Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it.”

    But the fact that all of life subscribes to reproduction doesn’t make it good enough for some people.

    Sour grapes, perhaps?

  4. So sad. But not surprising. The same logic (attempting to measure human value by looking at money and inconvenience) leads to euthanasia. It does make you wonder who they interviewed and what they asked. Let’s get a group of scientists who are parents themselves to copy the study and see what conclusion they come up with.

  5. New research shows that “most parents will exaggerate their happiness to validate their choice to have children.”

    ha ha ha ha ha ha. Usually I stay away from insults, but what a bunch of idiots. How about doing research that’s, you know, helpful?

    Rather than pointless crap meant to, what, insult people like you and me? Cuz we can’t possibly be happy to give up ambitious careers and a “real life” in exchange for this diaper and kleenex littered prison, right?

    The moral and spiritual emptiness implied in those few sentences you quoted is quite breathtaking.

    • I realized a while back that the sneers go hand in hand with staying at home. One comment this week: “well, at least you can put her in preschool soon.” The speaker was pregnant. She already had her daycare lined up. Um, no thanks. I’d like to raise my own kid, thankyouverymuch.

  6. To answer your question, a dying one that celebrates the cause of it’s demise. One that has despaired and substituted an odd sense of perfection without accomplishment –clean ordered house without having done the work, play without community, life without skinned knees or any intruding sense, thought or feeling of otherness or even the knowledge of others one does not actively seek, and relationships dependent upon mutual self satisfaction.

    • You’re spot-on. (Besides, who wants a sterile house, life, or home? It might be clean, but half of life’s lessons come in cleaning up the mess.)

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