Monday, September 22, 2014

The Hot Topic of Spanking Part 2

I feel like I'll get some heat for what I'm about to write. But then again when haven't I?! So I just need to learn to thicken my skin a bit in the internet world I suppose. Today I'm writing about that all too touchy subject.... spanking. Also, the original post was bit long so I've divided it into two different parts. Read part one, about discipline versus punishment and the Biblical view of spanking here-

I don't want to spank. I really do not. I have popped, and I'm sure my flesh will falter again in the future and I will pop again, but I am working really hard not to. I want to parent out of love like Jesus, I want a daughter who is confident and strong in who she is and who her Savior is and obeys and learns out of love and respect, not fear of punishment. Parenting is not easy, neither is discipline. Does it not makes sense that to be thorough and work it would take effort?

I see SO many people talk about our generation and how if people spanked more people wouldn't be like this. I'm sorry but that's a very close-minded and uneducated statement. Statistics show many if not most parents in America still use physical punishment, and haven't stopped. Our generation is the way it is because of a lack of parenting and effort, not a lack of physical punishment. Many other factors go into why our nation's youth are the way the are. There's also these things called free will and rebellion and different personalities. All tied in with the way our parents raise us or discipline us and personal experiences and choices that lead people to be who they are or act they way they do. There's also the aspect of what spanking can do to the developing brain. And that's science my friends. (Here's some links from Psychology Today on that subject: How Spanking Harms The BrainSpanking: It's Bad For All KidsDiscipline Tips Instead Of Spanking, & How Hitting Doesn't HelpSpanking Makes Kids More Aggresive)

What I am learning in being a parent is not only do I need to be a teacher and guide to my children about life and proper behavior but I too have to grow and learn and be willing to have my heart worked on. Be open to new information, be willing to admit when I've done wrong and learn from my mistakes and do the best I can to grow beautiful lives into wise, loved, confident, functioning, healthy adults. And ultimately lead by example.

There are many tools for gentle (non-physical) discipline and I will be listing a few resources to read and gather information from! We so far use redirection and explaining and natural consequences and will continue with different tools as needed. Below I am sharing a few images, resources, and quotes from parents about what they chose for their children instead of physical punishment and why.

"Parenting is first and foremost a relationship, and the most influential relationship in my children's lives. This doesn't mean I'm trying to be their friend, but more importantly, trying to know, guide, and love them as only a mother can. There is no checklist, no formula, no manual. There is this relationship, and the consistent, God-centric principles it's built upon that inform my parenting choices. That's enough. It's not easy, but it is necessary and sufficient." -Eron

"We don't spank because we don't have to. We teach respect in our home. Our children respect us, and we respect them. We felt that teaching them to respect us would be more useful in the real world then teaching them to use physical force to get what you want. We use time outs and use privileges as leverage.. but that rarely is necessary.." -Beth

"I try and understand development, their ability to reason& process the situation, then respond at their level accepting my job is to show them through redirection, encouragement, and mentoring over's a journey. Spanking just teaches them fear, it belittles their right to autonomy over their body, and doesn't encourage learning." -Patricia

"We have 5 children and only one has ever tempted me to spank him. I know though that it is my loss of control that makes me feel that way and that hurting him isn't going to help the "problem" nor is it setting the example I wish to teach my children. I have found that taking my child out or away from what's triggering the issue, getting to eye leval with him and talking very softly ( this makes him work to hear me) he will indeed listen. I try to be honest with my kids about how I am feeling too. It's a Amazing how compassionate they can be when they are able to see that we struggle too. Deep breaths and hugs go a long way too. With being Christians I think the kids NIV children's bibles are great. I love how if they are struggling with something specific you can look it up and it will tell you the scripture that relates. This really helps children link their day to day life with the Bible." - Danielle

"I think it's our job as parents to teach coping skills and how to appropriately deal with feelings. Spanking is a result of parents' feelings (angry, frustration, disappointment, etc) and physical violence is not an acceptable response. Children need to learn appropriate skills to deal with their emotions and learn by example and gentle guiding. I personally think all physical violence is wrong and children should not learn that whoever is stronger is right. And hitting a child is just mean. - Krista

"Hands are for holding, not scolding! We like to hug it out! I always tell the kids, hands are for hugs or high-fives, not hitting." - Lori

I too have just 1 of 4 that has ever tempted me and it's usually because he hit which would just reinforce his negative actions. In our world, any act of violence on a human is assault other than our own children so I don't see why assaulting a child is acceptable." - Krista H.

"There are so many reasons why we choose not to spank. As a Christian, the most basic reason being that we are charged to love God, and love others. I know many pro-spanking parents who say they spank their kids BECAUSE they love them, but I just cannot see anyone feeling loved by receiving some sort of physical punishment. When we study love languages, we see that the way you show love to a person only matters if that's also the way they receive love. Is hitting, spanking, slapping, etc. a love language? Absolutely not." -Michele

"We don't spank because we don't believe in "negative reinforcement" as discipline. I don't want my child to brace herself or run when I approach her to discipline her because she's "bracing" herself for some sort of negative feeling. I want a bad behavior to stop because she understands-not because I'm instilling fear or bad feelings. Also, as adults when we sin does Jesus strike us down? No, we learn a lesson and we grow as a person. I want ------ to grow with every lesson she learns and I don't feel like there's any place for growing when you're using physical force to make a child learn a lesson. Right now, we LOVE using a "calm down jar"! It takes her away from whatever bad behavior she was doing and let's her calm down and focus and listen to me when I'm talking to her. That little glittery jar has changed our house!" -Kathryn

"I stopped spanking the day I went to give my oldest a hug and he shrank back because he thought I was going to hit him. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about that day. I was never a huge spanker to begin with, but apparently a few times is enough to create a negative reaction in a child. I give warnings/strikes; 3 strikes and he loses his electronics. I redirect, I give choices, I give time away to calm down, I have my oldest go outside and take a lap or 2 around the yard to get out some of his negative energy, I take time away to calm down, and during that time I try to pray myself calm. I try to start my day with prayer for God's strength and patience because I don't have near enough of my own, and when I start getting frustrated I try to pray my way through that, too." -Julie

"We approach behavior as communication and try to respond in-kind. If a child is acting out, either against us, a sibling, or anyone else, they're sending out a message and it takes a trained ear to hear what's being said. We do address all physical aggression with "time-out" to calm down and think about how we made someone else feel. When time-out ends we talk with the child about what they can do to make the situation better. We also focus on praising behaviors we WANT to see from our children: cooperation, helping, words of encouragement, sharing, taking turns, manners, following directions, etc. By rewarding the good with attention we are more apt to see those behaviors repeated than if we were punishing the bad with discipline, especially through physical/corporal punishments." -Alexandra

"When a parent strikes a child, that child's perception of the world changes forever, their perception of themselves and their value changes in that instant going forward and their definition of unconditional love as demonstrated by that parent includes violence and aggression.. I prefer redirect, contemplate, restate, retry." -Barbara

"One of my biggest points is that we are told to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs). Training a plant is not (typically) something that involves hurting it. The biggest hurt might be to pull off a little sucker or a shoot when it is still a TINY shoot-- mild correction/redirection. It is a gentle guidance. The point in time that we end up having to hurt a plant is when we have failed to train it correctly in the first place. I am more and more convicted that the point in time when I feel there is need to punish my child for something is the point in time when the lack of training in an area has come to the forefront. Lack of training my children means they "need" punishment. But then is that my fault or theirs? Maybe I should punish me for not training them before punishing them for doing exactly what I have allowed them to be trained to do?" -Melissa

"There is not 1 example in the Bible of a parent hitting their child. When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son... that man had every "legal" right to beat or even have his son stoned, but instead he was gracious and loving. There was no mention of any harshness." -Amy 

And in regards to those who like to argue that while the "rod" was used for comforting and guiding but shepherds also used it to break the sheep's legs if they wandered off:

 "As far as breaking the legs of sheep... a shepherd would have never done such a thing! The majority of sheep in biblical times were used as sacrifice, and an imperfect sacrifice was unacceptable. He would be losing money, and ruining his business by doing something like that." -Amy

"As a "shepherdess"--Well...we raised sheep on our farm.....that whole breaking the leg and then carrying the sheep might have been something a not very bright shepherd might have done--but not the normal." -Mera

"There is no shepherd ANYWHERE who would purposely ruin a sheep if it was a wanderer. They are far too valuable for food and clothing. Plus breaking their animals legs is doing anything but building trust with them. Sheep naturally follow their LOVING shepherd. No need to damage the animal." -Melissa

This is one of my favorite blogs on the topic of spanking: by Sarah Bessey. Here's what she says about spanking:
 My motivation is to parent my children the way that I believe God parents me. To me, this mean unconditional love, drawing near to me, seeking transformation not adherence to a law. I want to be a path for them to follow, instead of an obstacle to overcome.
When I think about how God parents me, how Jesus loves me, it’s not behaviour modification focused (just getting me to Behave Right). It’s about my heart. For instance, do I want to be a nicer person by sheer force of will? Or do I want to truly be a more loving person? Why would I want less for my tinies?
Do I want quaking instant obedience? Marionettes of fear? Or do I want the hearts of my children knit to mine, obedience born out of love and understanding, a connection of joy and gentleness, self-control, kindness, wholeness and love? (I wrote here about how we practice “time-in” instead of “time-out.“)

The short list of why I don’t spank

  1. Personally, I believe it’s morally wrong to strike a child. Also, it isn’t Biblical.
  2. Hitting teaches hitting as a solution.
  3. It creates an adversarial relationship between parents and children – Us vs. Them.
  4. It can easily lead to abuse.
  5. It doesn’t work over the long term.
  6. It promotes anger or gives place to anger in both the parent and the child.
  7. It doesn’t teach inner discipline.
  8. It creates a behavioural response out of fear instead of love.
Here are some more resources on the topic:

I know many people who spank. In saying all of this I am not aiming to offend those who choose to. I am not even saying you must stop and do as I do or believe as I believe. I am simply sharing my thoughts and Biblical belief in a hope to spread awareness of what the Bible does say about it and that this may help someone who hits because they think they need to but don't want to.

It goes without saying that most parents do what they do for their children because they want to raise them right and do right by them. So with all I've said I am not suggesting parents who spank their kids are bad parents. I will say I personally don't think its right for me or my children and would urge you to look at alternatives. Especially if you were abused or have abusive tendencies. Crossing the line is a very gray area and people can easily go overboard.

Is spanking of God, or is it a doctrine of man? Look at the fruits guys. The fruits of the spirit go with us in parenting and our children. I feel it's of man. The fruits of the spirit are the result of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control." Parenting without spanking takes a LOT of patience, kindness and gentleness, I can attest to that!

The most important thing we can do as parents is be willing to see our mistakes and grow from them, and be willing to look at other perspectives before assuming our way is the right way, yes? For me, that led me to this path and various other paths on my straight and narrow that so many disagree with. But I know in my heart of hearts that this is what is right in my parenting relationships.

The Hot Topic of Spanking

I feel like I'll get some heat for what I'm about to write. But then again when haven't I?! So I just need to learn to thicken my skin a bit in the internet world I suppose. Today I'm writing about that all too touchy subject.... spanking. Also, the original post was bit long so I've divided it into two different parts. Find part two here -

Man this subject is overwhelming. I am not even entirely sure where to start but I'll just write as thoughts pop into my mind so please bear with me. Spanking has been in the news a lot lately. Sports stars beating their wives and coming under fire and sports stars beating their kids and being stood up for. Its conflicting and makes no sense to me.

There is a LOT of conflicting info out there about spanking. Even more so for Christians. For the most part, we're taught to spank. Spanking is good, it's discipline, and kids turn out awful without it. "I was spanked as a kid and I turned out fine!" Can I tell you a secret? I was very rarely spanked as kid, I only remember a handful of times.

 I had a few face slaps, was pinned up against a door with my tongue pulled out into someone's hand once, but other than that, not a lot of physical discipline that I can remember (unless I blocked it out). I was however verbally and emotionally abused (I started cutting at 8), a personal Cinderella,  and pretty much locked in the house until I was kicked out over haha, get this, cat litter and Harry Potter DVDs.  And I turned out "fine." Doesn't mean that behavior is okay, nor does it mean my children deserve to be treated that way (no way in hell). Many people are in car accidents and come out fine, doesn't mean we shouldn't use safety in cars or car seats, am I right? People have been sexually abused and turned out "fine" but it's still not okay, so let's refrain from that term.

The big term Christians use is "spare the rod spoil the child." But did you know that term is not from the Bible? Spanking is not Biblically mandated. There is a verse talking about "he who spares the rod hates his son" but you need to read the rest of the verse, the context, AND the original Hebrew or Greek (depending on the book of the Bible) translation. There are many translations of the Bible but what it comes to is the definite meaning of the Hebrew word. Hebrew is a beautiful language with different words and meanings for the same things.

This link here translates beautifully the original Hebrew, and I'll share some of the post below but I encourage you to read the rest of the post to garner an understand of the Hebrew context of the verses. 
"Let’s look at the words translated ‘discipline’ and ‘punish’ and ‘rod’ and others:
The word muwcar is translated ‘discipline’ and means, literally, ‘verbal instruction and teaching.’ In Hebrew culture muwcar was vernacular for ‘let us reason with one another’ implying a mutual discussion for learning purposes. And towkechah is translated ‘reprove’ or ‘rebuke’ but also means ‘reason with, convince, prove, persuade.’ Neither of these words means to physically punish in any way, shape, or form.
The word nakah is translated ‘punish’ in most English translations of the Bible, though its literal translation is ‘beat’ as in “The sun beat down on his head,” implying a constant presence; or ‘hit’ as when beating back an enemy or punishing a slave or criminal; or ‘smite or smitten’ which can mean ‘hit or trigger the conscience’ or ‘be favorably impressed, enticed, or entranced’ as in, “He was smitten with the idea of a new bicycle.”
The word shebet is translated ‘rod’ and means, literally, ‘shepherd’s crook’ and, in Hebrew culture, was a means not only of guiding and protecting sheep, but also a symbol of leadership. The markings on the head of the shebet often identified the head of a family or tribe, letting everyone know who to go to for guidance and protection. The shebet, then, denotes wisdom, leadership, and protection.
The word muwth is translated ‘die’ and has several meanings related to death including ‘to follow a path of destruction.’
The word ‘ivveleth is translated ‘foolishness’ but also means ‘inexperience, naivety, silliness.’
And, finally, the Hebrew word sane is translated ‘hate’ and yet means ‘does not love’ or ‘does not choose or show a preference for.’
When we read the five ‘rod’ verses with the literal translations of the words above, the meanings become more clear.
So Proverbs 13:24 reads:
“He who spares his rod wisdom, leadership, protection hates does not love, does not choose or show a preference for his son, but he who loves him disciplines offers verbal instruction and teaching to him promptly.”
Proverbs 22:15 reads:
“Foolishness Naivety, silliness, inexperience is bound up in the heart of a child young man; the rod of correction wisdom, leadership, protection will drive it far from him.”
Proverbs 29:15 reads:
The rod Wisdom, leadership, protection and rebuke reasoning with, convincing, proving, persuading give wisdom, but a child young man left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
And, the last two ‘rod’ verses, found in Proverbs 23:12-26 read:
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline verbal instruction and teaching, reasoning together from a child young man; if you punish guide, trigger his conscience, favorably impress, entice/entrance them with the rod wisdom, leadership, protection, they will not die follow a path of destruction.
Punish Guide, trigger his conscience, favorably impress, entice/entrance them with the rod wisdom, leadership, protection and save them from death following a path of destruction. ....The father of a righteouschild young man has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful.
Such a beautiful image of a father tenderly and diligently sharing his wisdom with his son, isn’t it? Clearly, applying these scriptures to small children is not in line with a literal interpretation. It actually makes more sense to apply them to the disciples, which is exactly what Jesus does with his twelve ‘sons.’
Beyond translations and interpretations, though, and of far greater import, what seems to get lost in the spanking debate is that Jesus brought grace and mercy as his methods and message for a reason. The purpose of the law in the Old Testament was to highlight the need for a Savior because humans simply cannot live perfectly.
Jesus came to fulfill the outward requirements of the law that highlighted man’s sins and replace them with an inner heart change. He demonstrated in many ways that the law (outer governance and control through fear of punishment) was no longer to be a rigid yoke with its heavy burden of cleansing and rituals and sacrifices and punishments, but instead was to be a kingdom of the heart, of mercy not sacrifice, because the sacrifice was Himself.

We accept that Jesus brought a new and better way, a way of the heart, “Not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3b), but don’t seem to want to acknowledge that better way with our children. We accept God’s grace and forgiveness for ourselves, but often don’t share those gifts with, and model them for, our children. But we are our children’s first taste of God. Is it any wonder people have such a hard time understanding grace and mercy and unconditional love when they may not have been taught those things by their earthly parents and don’t exercise them with their own children?
Through Jesus’ sacrifice, he tore open the veil dividing man from God and brought a new kingdom, a kingdom of inner governance through the Holy Spirit whose fruit is “peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Nowhere does Jesus say to follow him except when it comes to our children. He doesn’t say to offer grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone except our children. The Bible doesn’t tell us to show the fruit of the Spirit to everyone except our children.
If you truly believe that those five verses have been interpreted correctly and that “spare the rod, spoil the child” (Note: There is no verse in the Bible that says ”spare the rod, spoil the child.” That phrase is actually from a satirical poem called Hudibras by Samuel Butler first published in 1662.) refers to an actual physical rod (instead of a symbol of guidance and loving correction…i.e. discipleship) and that the word used for ‘child’ refers to a toddler or small child instead of the actual linguistic translation meaning ‘young man,’ then so be it.
But do you really believe that Jesus’ New Covenant is for everyone except children? That grace, mercy, unconditional love, and forgiveness are for adults only?
The disciples made that mistake, and Jesus said to them,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)"  
(Just to clarify since this opinion has be brought to my attention, the above verses with the Hebrew definition defined are not changing scripture or rewriting the word of God. It is simply showing the Hebrew definition of the correct word used in the context of the verse to show the proper meaning of the verse when we have knowledge of the Hebrew used. Not rewriting the verse, showing the definition.)

That says a lot, doesn't it? Here is my personal view. My daughter will be two soon. And I have popped her hands a few times. But when I hit her hands for hitting me it dawned on me how idiotic that was. YOU cannot hit sweet child. But I can hit you and it's okay. I cannot hit your daddy, I cannot hit my friends or any other adults, but it's perfectly fine to hit you. Even though you cannot hit anyone
. Does that make sense? It doesn't to me. It isn't logical. It is a quick fix punishment. Real discipline takes time. It is teaching and guiding and natural consequences. Hitting teaches nothing.

Now comes in discipline vs. punishment. What are disciples? 
  1. a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.
    "the disciples of Jesus"

Did Jesus hit his disciples when they did something He didn't like or approve of? Did He hit them to prove a point or punish a behavior? No. He did not. He taught. He guided. He had grace.

Spanking doesn't teach behavior. It teaches fear, aggression, mistrust of parents, and even worse that hitting people is okay if you love them.

I read somewhere that you should never hit or spank out of anger or emotion. But that's the only time I have ever reacted to hit; I'm angry she spilled that or broke this or did that (whether she's a toddler and can actually understand certain situations or not). That, to me, means I shouldn't hit at all. Who calmly and patiently hits?? If you can, kudos. But personally I could not just explain to my child I was going to hurt them and then do it, it would break my heart. The whole "this hurts me more than it hurts you" thing? Just don't then. Disciplining can be hard and time consuming and rough, but if it hurts you to physically hurt your kids maybe it's your heart or spirit saying not to at all.

Then there are all the other complications if you do spank. At what age is it acceptable to start or stop? Where on the body is okay versus where isn't? And then why is it okay to hit a child but not a teenager or adult? It's just plain confusing and way too much to think about.

When I saw the pain, and the fear, and the confusion in my daughter's eyes that confirmed in my heart that I shouldn't be doing that. The mistrust. She doesn't understand that, I cannot explain to her why I did that. She just knows mommy hit her hand.

I saw a mom somewhere share how she's been spanking long before her child was a year old and that broke my heart. That baby doesn't understand consequences, they cannot grasp that yet. I guess I don't understand hitting a child who cannot understand what is going on or why they're being hit? What does a 9 month old do to warrant a spanking?!
"Punishments teach children to do what an adult wants from a selfish desire to avoid getting punished. Even if it "works" it gets in the way of internal discipline because it is focused on an outward behavior. It breeds resentment, deception, and poor self-worth. True discipline encourages kids to do the right things simply because it is right. It models mutual respect, unselfishness, self-control, and empathy. Children are motivated by love for others as well as themselves, and learn to develop healthy relationships and good boundaries. It is worth the time and effort."
I will be continuing the rest of this piece in a second part, which you can read here -

Please know I am casting no judgement on parents who do or have spanked. I go into that more in part two.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Parents VS. Non-parents

I read an interesting article this morning. It shared the statistics and facts about people with children versus people without. Ideas such as "non-parents get more sleep" and "non-parents have more exciting social lives" were proven to be statistically correct. The title of this article is "Hands down, people without kids have better lives - except for this one major thing."

It made great points that are all too true. Non-parents are generally more healthy, get more sleep, have more financial and career freedom, and better social lives than parents. On the other side, parents worry more and suffer from higher stress levels. One would think this means non-parents are happier than parents. But statistics show that while parents are more stressed and have less freedoms we are, in fact, more often happier in life than those without children.

Being a parent is hard. I won't sugar coat that. I think any young woman who just wants to get pregnant cause she wants a cute baby needs a wake up call. Pregnancy is hard. Birth is hard. Parenting is much harder.

Where do I even begin... The sleep deprivation? The financial stress? Giving up your own desires and wants because the money/time needs to be put to better use? How about the severe lack of social life? There's also that awkward stage where you're a married parent and no one else around you understands the dynamics of married life let alone being a parent. Things I  can't even put into words (probably because I'm so tired) but that parents just universally know.

Why can't you just come out to the bar last minute? Oh. Babysitters need to be found last minute. Or people come over or get out and your toddler is tired and cranky. Your childless friends make remarks and roll their eyes or sigh in exasperation. (Can I say how how many times I've heard comments and wanted to punch a wall?! You know what we need instead of remarks? Encouragement.)

The looks you get in the grocery store when a tantrum comes on from the toddler who can't get her words out and is trying to communicate. (And god forbid, the comments. Thankfully haven't had those yet but I've heard the stories.)

The managing a household, and bills, and chores, while sustaining another human's life and needs constantly. The whining at the end of the day when you are so. Touched. Out. You want a break and can't get one. Wait, maybe I'm just talking about moms here.... *wink*

There's also families like me. One car families where the mom is stuck at home and looses her mind not being able to get out of the house or run errands or go to play dates or make it to birthday parties or church or do anything. But why can't you just come?!

And then there is the constant judgement from people who parent differently or lead different lifestyles. I could go on and on!

But then......

Then there's the smiles. Oh man those chubby cheeked smiles and toothy grins! The little voice that burps and then says "esscuuse bee!" and puts her shoes away so happily when mommy asks. There's the perfect sleeping cherub face that you hold at night. The toys and adventures and giggles and gibberish and independence and milestones. And the excitement! Oh so much excitement all the time. The joy is indescribable. For all that parenthood is a hard road, it is the most enthralling, amazing, and fulfilling path I've been on yet.

Your husband coming home from work while you're making dinner and your daughter's eager screams when she realizes daddy's finally home. Walking into the frozen yogurt shop and selecting fro-yo and toppings and sharing them with a messy faced delighted toddler. Bathtime and teethbrushing and bedtime stories. And man the cuddles! I feel like there aren't enough words to describe the experiences and joy I've felt since becoming a mom.

The days are long, the nights are long, and it's lonely sometimes. Comparably, I could see why it would seem non-parents have better lives. By society's standards they probably do. But what I have is richer in experience, in joy, in learning. You won't learn lessons like the ones marriage and parenthood teach you. And its a constant non-stop education haha. It's A Wonderful Life!

As the writer of the above article so perfectly wrote:
"Despite all of the negatives in their lives—the stress, the unhealthy lifestyle, the meager social life, the financial challenges, the pop culture oblivion, and the longing for younger days—parents still find themselves happier. We can’t prove exactly what drives these numbers. I have good friends who are physically unable to have kids, which no doubt affects their happiness. Some people choose not to have kids because of other hardships in their lives. And, surely, lots of unhappy parents only say they’re happy because they think they’re supposed to.  
But maybe joy indeed doesn’t just have to come from extrinsic things and fabulous social lives—it can come from the adventure of raising a family, from teaching and nurturing others, from sacrifice, and from unconditional love."