Study Says Parents With Two Kids Are The Happiest
A new study suggests that, when it comes to the number of children we have, more isn't always merrier. Which is better for the family: one child, two children or more?
Have you ever wondered about two child family dynamics and if you should have more or less kid?
A recent study followed couples for 18 years after the birth of their children. The study found that parents’ happiness increases in the year before and after the birth of a first child. But it quickly decreases and returns to their “pre-child” level of happiness. Researchers found that the birth of a first and second child briefly increases happiness, but a third does not. The findings were published in the journal Demography and is based on data compiled from Britain and Germany.
“Our results show a temporary and transitory gain in parents’ happiness around the birth of first and second children. The fact that parental happiness increases before these children are born suggests that we are capturing broader issues relating to childbearing. Such as couples forming partnerships and making plans for the future,” says Mikko Myrskylä. Mikko is a professor of demography at LSE and Director of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.
Myrskylä lists several factors that could contribute to the dip in happiness parents feel with the arrival of a third child: The experience of parenthood is less novel and exciting; a larger family puts extra pressure on the parents’ resources; the likelihood of a pregnancy being unplanned may increase with the number of children a woman already has. “This brings its own stresses,” Myrskylä notes.
Kids are expensive. On top of feeding them, clothing them, and keeping them healthy, you haven’t scratched the surface. You also have to consider the cost of daycare, and preschool. And the millions of contraptions necessary to keep them sleeping, entertained, and safe. This doesn’t even take into account all the “extras,” like toys, after school activities, and family outings. Children are like little adorable little bank account vampires. Of course, this is true of any number of children, but surely this is a huge motivator for many parents to stick with just two.
Two children can’t form a pack and they can’t outnumber their parents, which is more than convenient. You all are basically evenly matched and, maybe even better organized, So you’re more likely to prevail at the end of the day. This should thrill you into stopping at two.
Remember those millions upon millions of contraptions I previously mentioned? Yeah, you use most of those for approximately three months. While there’s no denying that these things were completely essential once upon a time, you didn’t need them all that long. So it makes sense to reuse them while they’re still fresh enough to pass off as new. But constant reuse won’t cut it, sorry.
Here’s the thing about the two-child dynamic: there’s a unique closeness because they only have each other. And when times are bad, there’s no risk of recruiting a third, fourth, or fifth sibling to rally to their cause and start choosing sides. When times are bad between two siblings, it’s between the two of them and that’s that. When times are good between two siblings it’s basically the cutest thing.
With this size you have a perfect ‘one-to-one’ ratio. Dr Alan Singer, in his book Creating Your Perfect Family Size, has observed that “in families with two children, one parent tends to gravitate toward one child more than the other, and it’s not predictably one sex or another, but varies from family to family”
This family size is thought to be protective against child psychiatric problems (Taanila et al 1992). This is a great family size for when your kids grow up. Studies show that adult sibling pairs report more positive feelings towards each other than other sibling alternatives; this is particularly so if you have two girls (Spitze and Trent 2006)
Having another baby is a huge change for a young child, and they don’t completely understand it. All they really know is that mommy and daddy are now giving more attention to this new little person. To best help ease the transition. it is best to start preparing your older child well before your delivery.