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Have Children


Techniques Happiness > Have Children

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If you are in a stable, loving relationship, have children. Then ensure you take time to be with them through their lives. Do this right from the beginning, talking with them even before they seem to be able to understand you. Then play with them as children. Read to them. Listen to them. Help them learn the lessons of life.

And as they grow, marvel at the things they do and learn. Be sad and happy with them, letting them remind you of the joys of childhood. Be glad that you are there to help them, even in the tough times. Also be patient and bite your tongue when they frustrate you.  And keep on loving them, no matter what happens. And eventually let them go, so they will willingly come back to visit you.


Having children is a one-way trip that is expensive and, at time, heart-wrenching. Yet there can be many wonderful joys that outweigh the sad and frustrating times. Yet Nelson et al (2013) found that parents reported relatively higher levels of happiness, positive emotion, and meaning in life than people who did not have children. They also noted that this was particularly true for fathers.

Your children also help to give meaning for your life. We live on through our children and they give us a sense of immortality as our genes propagate onwards. They also give us purpose as they grow and we help them to learn and develop. Even after they leave us, we follow their lives with interest and may add the delight of being a grandparent (all the fun with far less direct responsibility).

To help you be prepared for all this, it can be very helpful to read books on parenting, child development and psychology. Learn wherever you can about the complexities of how young people grow. You have your experience, but this is just one person, and your children will not be wholly like you. Indeed, at times they may seem like strangers. Yet what we are often not told, is that if we keep loving them, in adulthood they can be great friends too.

See also


Nelson, S.K., Kushlev, K., English, T., Dunn, E.W. and Lyubormirsky, S. (2013). In Defense of Parenthood: Children Are Associated With More Joy Than Misery, Psychological Science, 24, 1, 3-10


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