Yes Kids Make You Happy But Not Until They Move Out

Having children will make you happier, according to a new study, but not until they've grown up and moved out.

It might be a tough pill to swallow, particularly for those about to welcome a child into the world.

A team of researchers from Germany's Heidelberg University asked 55,000 people aged 50 and over living in 16 European countries about their mental health and well-being.

"We find that children are positively correlated with well-being and lack of depressive symptoms," the authors of the study wrote. "However, our analyses show that this overall positive association occurs when children have left home".

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It found that children who still live at home have a negative effect on well-being.

Reduced sleep, time and money were noted as the reason parents with dependent children were less happy than those free of responsibility.

The tables turned when these children became independent because often they provide "social enrichment" to their parents minus the day-to-day stress of looking after them.

This social support is associated with greater happiness and can also provide a buffer against stressful events, the report suggests.

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The ability to provide care and financial support is also a factor.

“Hence, children’s role as caregivers, financial support or simply as social contact might outweigh negative aspects of parenthood,” researcher Christopher Becker said.

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It's not the first time the mental health of parents has been examined. Previous research on the subject has been mixed.

One study, published in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that when factors such as income, health, education and religion were factored in, there was very little difference in life satisfaction between parents and those without children.