Having children in the household brings no increase in life satisfaction in men and only makes women happier once the children are at school, according to research into cohabiting and married couples.
A study has suggested that children aged three to fouryears- old have a negative effect on female life satisfaction and for men, children below fiveyears- old “significantly reduce'' life satisfaction.
Even between the ages of five and 15-years-old, children brought no increase or decrease in happiness for men — with children in this age group only seeming to make their mothers happy.
The study group working on the paper was based on data from 3,856 either cohabiting or married couples over the period 1996 to 2003.
Professor Alison Booth, of Essex University, and co-author of the study, said it was her guess that the findings on parental happiness reflected the work involved in having young children.
She said: “My guess is that it is a struggle for them actually to balance all the things that they have to do.
“It will be very interesting in a few years time when the new policies on pre-school child care have filtered through to see how life satisfaction is affected,'' she added.
Women with children are significantly happier if they have a job.