Today's Big Stories

Study claims parenthood worse than being divorced, jobless or widowed

Parenting has been branded by many as one of the most fulfilling human experiences that life has to offer.

Yet, according to a study published in the journal Demography, having a child can have a strong negative impact on a person's happiness.

The effect of a new born child on a person's life in the first year is so traumatic and overwhelming that it is said to be worse than divorce, unemployment or the death of a partner.

(We also recommend: READ THIS if you have trouble putting your child to sleep)

Researchers followed over 2 000 Germans who were childless at the time the study began until at least two years after the birth of their first child.

Respondents were asked to rate their happiness from 0 (completely dissatisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied) in response to the question, "How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?"

The study found that the higher the loss in well-being, the lower the likelihood of having another child.

Presenter Abongile Nzelenzele spoke with psychologist Thabang Tlaka on the challenges that first-time parents face and the taboo of saying negative things about their children.

I wouldn't entirely agree with this study, considering the context of the research. It makes sense in terms of the pressures of the world we live in, but I think it is an exciting time to be a parent and such parents may be a minority.

Thabang Tlaka, psychologist

According to Tlaka, postpartum depression, financial pressures, lifestyle changes and physical transformation could contribute to the negative experience felt by some parents.

Listen to the full conversation from Overnight Live with Abongile Nzelenzele:


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