Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Till children do us part

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Stephanie Coontz has a great op-ed in the New York Times today highlighting recent research on the effect of children on marital satisfaction.

For some time now, the common knowledge was that children detract from happiness among married couples. But Philip and Carolyn Cowan at UC-Berkeley have found that there’s a little more to the story.

It seems that this negative effect of children on marital quality does not occur across the board.

If parents are on the same page about having a child and how they want their relationship to be after the child is born, they are more likely to maintain a happy marriage.

Cowan & Cowan also find that marital quality tends to decrease after the birth of a child if the couple shifts into having more traditional gender roles.

Further, couples with children are happier when they spend some time focusing on their own relationship rather than devoting their entire lives to their children.

It sounds to me like the bottom line is to communicate and to not forget about your own or your partner’s needs. There’s nothing selfish about spending some time on your own well-being – especially when the Cowans’ work shows us that children are better off academically and socially when they have happy parents.

And, I think the point ab0ut not moving into traditional gender roles where mom is responsible for all child-related tasks is really important. I mean, sure ,this can work for some families. But everyone has to be on board with it. Neither mom nor dad should have to put their own dreams on hold to stay home with baby.

This reminds me of this website on equally shared parenting. Check it out.


Written by Lisa

February 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

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