I was reading an article some time ago about the average level of happiness that parents feel as their children age. After completing some study which included oodles and gobs of parents, they came up with a chart that looked something like this:
The purpose of the article was to prove that parents should not only expect to become more and more miserable as their children age, but that they should recognize such misery as normal, and therefore not worry too much about it when it happens.
It also delved heavily into the drastic increase in happiness that parents finally feel once their children leave home after high school. Their message: hang in there. You’ll be happy once they’re finally gone.
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Nowhere did this particular article (and I’m hating that I haven’t been able to find it again) talk about the fact that the situation can be turned-around or changed. The author didn’t mention that each person’s happiness is ultimately up to them. They neglected to represent the fact that in their study, there were parents who were happy, no matter the age of their children.
It only focused on the big side of the numbers. And to that I say… horse manure.
While I believe that our graphs will never remain fully and steadily peaked at perfectly happy (for anybody), I don’t buy for a second that happiness as a child grows older is near impossible. I understand that as a child ages, new and different challenges and stresses will present themselves. I understand that more time is sometimes required, more money, and more effort. I understand that with teenagers, every parent is going to want to throw their hands in the air in desperation.
But come on… to dismiss the idea that our happiness is out of our own hands no matter what our circumstance? Like I said… I’m not buying what’s being sold.
Sorry, just felt like ranting about something today.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I’d love your thoughts. Do you believe the graph to be true? If so, why? If not, why?