Having Kids Makes You Happy

True or false?

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Comments (31)

(31) Anonymous, December 25, 2011 1:45 AM

When your old and gray you'll be happy that you had kids.

I believe that having children is VERY HARD, BUT think about when your old and gray living in a nursing home with no one to vist. Even the Torah tells us that having children is a burden, yet when the children get old they take care of their elderly parents and give them naches in the form of granchildren.

(30) , August 13, 2010 5:25 AM

...

Always remember: you were once a child yourself! Come on! of corse we did things that upset our parents, but in the long run, the joy and happiness we give our parents!

(29) Verna Gabel, October 16, 2008 5:20 AM

Teach your children well, treat them with love and patience: and you cannot imagine how they will teach you as well. Yes, I do believe having purposes in your life help. Unfortunately without too much details: I have been sick for the past 7 years and have felt as a schmate, lost capacities of being the old mom , they went back, and my husband has had a very time...... There are times that I feel like fighting and times that I loose all power of the fighting spirit..... But, my children are my treasures of Ali Baba's Cavern..... And, if health would have permitted, I would have had more: for, I know deep in my heart that they will give to the community: as they have already volunteered in many ways in different ways: my daughter went to help the poor in Croatia, and Peru, and Israeli children. My eldest son volunteered in the Israeli army, and the youngest volunteered for Mogen David Adom....... I respect and trust them. And, even though each of them is in another country now. I know that as adults , they will not forget.....

(28) Anonymous, July 21, 2008 7:13 AM

Don't ask!

In Judaism, I don't think asking whether doing something makes us happy is a useful question.

We things because they are the right thing whether they may or may not make one happy, unless just knowing what you're doing is right makes you happy which would be the ideal.

Is being woken up to change or feed or simply stroke a child make you happy?

At the moment, of course not, but in the long run if waking up for that child helps him feel loved, secure and comfortable it will make the parent happy...in the long run....

(27) Ester, July 18, 2008 4:33 PM

To Daniella:

The sages weren't demeaning childless couples when comparing them to the dead. They were only describing their feelings, perhaps in order to arouse our sympathy, and I think they were quite accurate. Throughout history even the poorest of the poor wanted children. Voluntary childlessness is just another symptom of the sick ME generation.

(26) American Sabrah, July 18, 2008 12:49 PM

More Children may bring happiness but it doesn't neccesarily guaruntee happiness.

It would depend on the parents,their situations and circumstances which may vary among people.A parent of nine children can't speak for a parent with just two children. It should be entirely up to the consenting couple to decide how many/little children they wish to have and how they decide to plan out a family.It isn't anyone else outside to determine that. If a woman chooses not to be pregnant every year, who are we to tell her otherwise?Among the feeling of fulfillment comes a burden of stress of childrearing. If you don't want to put yourself through that, then don't have kids.If you'd rather be spending most of your day shopping, going to swanky luncheons or nail salons, then you are not fir to be a parent.Some people confuse going through nine months of pregnanacy and sticking it out for your children to be the same thing.You are not anymore of a parent to your child than your nanny who is practically raising your child.If you lack parental sediments, you are better off having a pet instead.Spend $36,000.00 on pampering yourself than on fastidious raving little brat.

(25) Chaia, July 18, 2008 10:59 AM

Define Happy

We put too much emphasis on giddy fun happiness, and not real meaning happiness. But that is still debatable. One should not have children just to reap the benefits of happiness because in life there are no guarantees. But, there is definitely an aspect, as the first commentator mentioned that being one of the crowd, and feeling accepted because having kids is the things to do, and that sense of belonging brings a feeling of happiness or acceptance as part of a people. Again, one's definition of happiness is different from another, but contentment is also nice, and as the second person mentioned, knowing you have made a change in the world makeup by bringing kids up, or by changing as a by product of that challenge, sure makes life not only interesting, but worth living so we can see the next part of the picture.

(24) Daniela, July 17, 2008 9:21 AM

To Adela -

Your comment is incredibly insensitive to those people who can't have children or can't find a husband due to lack of Jewish men ! I'd like to see you say to someone like this straight to their face that the Torah considers them dead ! How dare you ??! Next time, please choose your words more carefully.

(23) steve, July 17, 2008 7:52 AM

having children is a positive mitzvah from the Torah

pru-re-vu is a commandment from God. It''s very important to reflect on a meaningful life in Alom Ha ze, this world, but what about the reward a person fulfills when he goes to a Alom Ha ba, the Next World. That must count for something, no?

(22) gwendoline lamb, July 16, 2008 10:43 AM

Yes, not happier but fulfilled!

Yes, having children DOES mae you a happuer abd ore fulfilled person..in the knowledge that you are playing your part in preserving the Jewish people...and should this alone should give you NACHAS!!!!!

(21) Alita K., July 16, 2008 2:02 AM

It depends on you, it depends on the kids, it depends on circumstances sometimes...fortunately, it is quite often true, but not always....

(20) suzy, July 15, 2008 11:38 PM

Yes it's very hard to raise kids and there are many challenges. But life is not meant to be a disneyland. The important thing is to do something that's meaningful and fulfulling. From this, the happiness will come.

(19) Sharon, July 15, 2008 10:08 PM

Fulfilled before, more deeply now

Before I had my children I had been richly fulfilled and challenged in my career. I felt emotional attachment to my clients and their struggles. Being a marriage and family therapist was very stimulating and challenging on many different levels at the same time. So I found that on personal levels of emotional and intellectual satisfaction and challenge I was fulfilled. I loved my career in all of the varied incarnations that it took over the years. I remain as passionate about my work to this day, and I've been out of it for almost seven years since the birth of my first child. However, I have never looked back once with regret that I made the choice to stay at home with my child and now children, working p/t to supplement expenses, but not in the career that I so loved. Much of my analytic energies that went into trying to structure complex, layered problems to help couples or families or children to move forward out of their current stuck places, I apply daily to trying to understand my own children and how our dynamics may be helping or hurting at any given time for each child's individual needs. But the love that I have with and for my children (I also gardened avidly, mentored and tutored troubled children, and enjoy close, long-term friendships)... is truly the fullfilment that I sought above all.

Of course not everyone feels this way, but in my case I know that as a mother I am living a personally meaningful and fulfilling (if not always happy!) life and that the rewards and struggles go beyond what they had in the past.

(18) Carmin Rosenthal, July 15, 2008 7:48 PM

Look to Torah

The one thing I'm sure Hashem wants is for us to be happy. In the the Torah the Almighty tells us to have children. If we go about this with a true heart , follow the Torah, teach our children Torah, not only will we be happy, our children will be happy and G-D will be happy..so much happyness is a good thing.

(17) ruth housman, July 15, 2008 3:42 PM

what is happy?

The core of this question is answered in the search for meaning in life. For many, having children does provide deep meaning in that opportunity to love, that obligation to raise, to educate, to watch this "plant" grow, to water it in every way. It should be a "mature" decision and for some we mature into mothering and fathering, a true learning experience. For others, making this commitment is not what they want, and they derive that same meaning from work, from a special passion, perhaps gardening, saving the environment, fostering a child overseas, planting, healing in medicine and therapy, doing that myriad of things we all do that brings us in contact with meaning which I think translates into a relationship with loving. This is why The Little Prince, that book by Exupery has gone around the world in over seventeen translations. It is caring for anything that gives us not only responsibility but gives us back, in myriad, inchoate ways. So yes, of course. I do love children. I also love my dog, the lilies of the field. To love a sunset and to watch the ocean's ebb and flow. It's all about the same essential meaning in life, that search that is ultimately and only about LOVE and that connection with something outside ourselves.

It's wrong to have children if we need love in a desperate way and so many do this for the wrong reasons because finding oneself is not the same as expecting love in return. This can be a trap and there are many women and others expecting this from their children without seeking to fill their own voids first, to understand their pain, and to grasp what it is they are truly seeking, first.

(16) thomas, July 15, 2008 3:29 PM

You have to be crazy to have children

Having children just to make one happy is the craziest thing I have ever heard. My wife and I had gone thru many struggles with just two girls born to us. When my wife was only 25 she had ovarian cancer and the prognosis was she would not live. That was 40 years ago. Today we have three grandchildren.

From the time of my wife's cancer and all the never ending treatments for one that would not live we were burdened with these unhappy times. It was, for a young man as I, very difficult taking care of my wife and children and working full time. I was in a fog most of the time. Our little girls, only 3 and 5 at the time, needed most of our attention along with all the other things needed to be done. There were not a lot of happy moments but I can say that if it were not for those two precious little girls who asked for nothing more than love and some attention I am not sure I could have made it. They were and are the love of our lives and as well as our grandchildren.

You have to be crazy to have children but you are even crazier not having the love and purpose they bring to life.

God bless the children. Amen!

(15) Sharon, July 15, 2008 2:20 PM

these new theories will phase out

The traditional view that says that most people want children and those children contribute to (not make) one's happiness will eventually return. For a while women believed that it was better to hold out for the perfect guy than to "settle." That bad advice has contributed to more than a little unhappiness, but today the tide is turning and according to one of your previous "Something to think about" talks, the trend has changed. So too will people come to understand that raising a family can be one of the most gratifying and fulfilling things that you do in your life. No one reaches complete fulfillment in everything, but having kids for most people, allows one to leave a mark after he/she is gone, greater than any book he'll write or any professional contribution she may make in her lifetime.

(14) Ita, July 15, 2008 1:29 PM

What is the definition of happiness?

If happiness means "I get to do what I want, when I want, the way I want, based on my desires only" then accommodating any other person, but especially your children, will decrease your happiness. If happiness means knowing that you are fulfilling G-d's will, regardless of what you yourself would have chosen, then having children is the greatest opportunity to increase your happiness.

(13) Osnath Rice, July 15, 2008 12:35 PM

Would be happier .

I raised my six children, I would be happier if they would let me have more peace, instead of always (daily) calling and kvetching, I know what some people will say "be happy that they do" or "I wish mine would" grrrrrrr (venting)

(12) chavi, July 15, 2008 12:12 PM

What is happiness?

The term happiness, as it is used loosely, is, I believe, a fleeting feeling of enjoyment and pleasure. It is predicated on receiving/taking, as opposed to giving. Ultimately, it leaves one feeling that there is no purpose, no meaning to ones's existence.

On the other hand, true, lasting happiness is predicated on giving to others. This includes one's family and community. The happiness one derives from giving is meaningful, fullfilling and lasting. It also engenders spiritual growth in the giver.

Speak to any infertile couple. They are in so much pain! What wouldn't they give to be awakened several times a night, each night, to change soiled diapers, wet bedding, vomit, etc.?

It can be difficult, sometimes, to keep things in perspective when one is exhauseted beyond words or overloaded with responsibilities and financial worries.

But in a rational moment we need to reflect on the reality that our children are our continuity and our legacy. They will preserve and pass down our values to their (our) progeny, and will, hopefully, be there for us in our declining years, and beyond (saying kadish, learning mishnayos, establishing g'machs in our memory and to elevate our neshamos, after we are no longer able to do so for ourselves.)

(11) Ester, July 15, 2008 10:32 AM

Does a job make you happy?

Well, if you have the right attitude and try to do the best job you can, you'll get promotions and a better salary and you'll be happy. Of course there are some horrible bosses out there, but most people are workable.
Now if you accept your kids with the right attitude, as a gift fron Hashem to be molded into upright, caring adults and Torah-true Jews, and you put their spiritual needs before their physical ones - meaning disciplining them for breaches of Torah law like honoring parents even if it makes them (and you) uncomfortable for the moment, or scrimping to give them a Torah education and to live in a G-d-fearing community - then you'll "shep nachas" and be happy. Of course there are some obnoxious kids up there waiting to wreck our lives, but they are much more workable than obnoxious adults, because here YOU are the boss. Now of course they have to be taught, at home AND in school (as they constantly do in good orthodox schools), that YOU are the boss because YOU are the parent and G-D SAYS SO, period. And since it's the same G-d YOU listen to, they know you're sincere and they listen to YOU.

(10) Barnaby, July 15, 2008 10:26 AM

NO KIDS !!! is the answer

All the financial problems, housing and jobs would be a lot easier withoiut the strife of children....You threw in other factors that would relate to life rather than happiness...they all a means of you evading the question Yes, kids can cause one to be unhappy and sour a marriage .

(9) Adela Camille, July 15, 2008 10:19 AM

How Is This Even A Question?

The fact that this is even up for debate shows how far we are from King Solomon's wisdom. It is for a reason that the Torah compares the childless to the dead. There are 'few' things in life that give you as much as children, and I'm saying 'few' just to leave a little room for error. Like I like to say: "Children are the difference between an old lady and a Grandma"- and you can quote me on that

(8) Yisroel Pollack, July 15, 2008 9:51 AM

Happiness or Hedonism?

Thank you, Rabbi Salomon. I couldn't have said it any better! I pray that I merit to marry and have children, and that my Jewish brethren all over do the same. It would have to be someone selfish indeed who deliberately sought to keep from producing progeny. Alas, in this day and age, crass pleasure is all too readily mistaken for happiness.

(7) Steve Goldstein, July 14, 2008 10:58 PM

it's all a matter of perspective

I recall hearing a woman Chedva, who was dying of cancer, say how she used to complain about having to take care of unpleasant tasks for her children, but that now she would give anything just to have the opportunity once again to clean up her child's vomit. being a parent is the greatest opportunity of humanity, a chance to give to another unconditionally, just as the Creator gives to us.

(6) Rosen, July 14, 2008 8:20 PM

social status & goal-orientation

Happiness probably depends on one's social status, whether he/she is single, married, divorced, widowed, et al.

What is probably most important in order to fulfill happiness is to be goal-oriented before finding one's bashert and settling down/in with kids.

To some degree, I am happier being independant than being involved in a relationship where I have to correlate activities with another person. I would imagine some or many people who get into a relationship and have children may feel worse off than if they were single. It's all a matter of having enough exploratory time while one is single before one gets married. Under the right circumstances and shared values in a good given time, yes, I relationship and marriage can work out when it comes down to raising children, but one must figure out what his/her legacy and offspring will bring upon to the world.

(5) Beverly Kurtin, July 14, 2008 7:28 PM

Yes and no

Life is strange. My all time favorite musical, "The Fantasticks" sum up having children in a very pragmatic way. In the song, "Plant a Raddish" describes having children to the "T." You just don't know what you're going to get.

Tell a child no, and they'll do exactly what you didn't want the to do and vice-versa.

I've got one son for some reason or another has decided for some reason or another that I'm not worthy of being recognized as being alive and so cut off all communication with me a few years ago. Although I am never going to have the pleasure of watching my grandson grow, my attitude is "he's made his bed, let him lay in it." It is not what I prefer, but such is life.

My other two children I seldom see because of distance. Again, that's okay as they have their lives to live as each of us has their own lives to live.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would. I did my job, cut the strings and have zero regrets.

Does having children make you happy? Only if you have realistic reasons in mind when you have them. I've watched too many of my friends moan and groan their way through life because "my children never call." Don't they have lives without their children? I pity them.

I only want that they should be happy and fulfilled. My oldest son turned 45 today. We talked on the phone, had a nice yack and that was that. Ive not seen him in person in over a decade. But I will be danged if I'm going to moan and groan over their absence.

Happiness is up to each individual to choose for themselves or not. I choose to be happy regardless of anything.

(4) Susan, July 14, 2008 10:33 AM

Children? Happiness? Can they Co-exist?

This is a tough one Rabbi. Having and raising children seems to me to be a purpose in life. My children give me more of a feeling of fufillment rather than happiness. I give myself happiness, and the kids are certainly included in that, but not the sole reason for it.

There are billions of children worldwide. I don't see billions of happy parents, so perhaps you are right Rabbi Salomon, this isn't the whole question.

Some people have children because they want a baby. The same way they want a new home or a new car. Except the child is only a baby for a year. They grow up and the parents no longer have what they originaly wanted. They can trade in a car or buy another house. Not so with a baby when the novelty wears off. Selfish people are unhappy no matter what. So are their children.

G-d knows best of course, but I am beginning to believe that many women shoud never have babies.

Looking in the other direction, to a 40 year old woman who wants children and does not conceive. There you can find a woman who is desparately unhappy. Children in that case might make her happier, but not a guarantee. If she is not happy to begin with a baby usually won't fill that need.

Raising my kids and making a home was the best part of my life for 30 years. I was happy and fulfilled. I was also financially OK and had a husband and hired extra help when I needed it. Being happy was easy.

(3) abrams, david, July 13, 2008 10:18 AM

happiness to 1, may be disaster to another

what makes me happy, is getting up every
mornign, going to Shul, after davening the Daf Yomi. I don't buy lotto tickets, be-
cause I'm afraid that I'll win, and it will ruin my life. Rabbi Solomon, no one
can say it better than you,YOU SAID IT!

(2) Dvirah, July 13, 2008 8:57 AM

Definition of Happiness

It seems to me that if a person is living a meaningful and fulfiling life, that person must feel happy, by definition. The question is, what causes us to feel puposeful and fulfilled? Today's popular replies seem to be mostly selfish - people are happy if they are always having their own way, their every whim and desire. Of course children get interfere with such a program! But does such a program really bring the feeling of meaning and fulfilment we all seek? I believe that there is enough evidence to declare roundly "no!" A proper balance of giving to oneself and giving to others is more likely to result in fulfilment. And here children are very helpful, both as a gift to oneself and as endless opportunities for doing for others. But a proper balance is the key.

(1) Anonymous, July 13, 2008 8:19 AM

depends on how you define happiness

A generation that defines happiness as self-gratification will naturally be less happy when they are no longer the cetner of the world and are required to be more mature and give to another human being rather expecting to have their own selfish needs constantly met.

People who value life and building the next generation will be extactic when they produce that result. All depends on what makes one happy.

 

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