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How happy are your children

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We all want our children to be happy – but how much does our own happiness, affect our little ones? As part of a study conducted by The Understanding Society, children aged between 10 and 15 years were asked about how satisfied they were with their lives. It’s not surprising that one of the main findings was that a mother’s happiness is tied-up with that of her children.

Children with mothers who were happy in their own relationships were happier than those with mothers who were unhappy in a partnership. It also indicated that a mother’s well-being and happiness is more important to her offspring than the happiness and well-being of the father. This could possibly be down to he fact that women show their emotions more readily than men.

The findings indicate that the happiest children are those living with two parents, either biological or step, and who don’t have a younger sibling. They also show that the happiest children do not argue with their parents regularly – this obviously is more relevant to older children.

The study also revealed that the happiest children are those who eat at least three evening meals per week with the family.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Maria Iacovou said: “At a time when there is widespread political concern about ‘Broken Britain’, these findings show that family relationships and the happiness of parents are key to the happiness of young people. Contrary to popular belief that children only want to spend time playing video games or watching TV we found that they were most happy when interacting with their parents or siblings.”

Probably the most interesting finding was the fact that children with younger siblings have a lower level of happiness then those without. The effect of this unhappiness is greater if more than one younger sibling lives in the house.

Dr Iacovou commented further that: “Together these findings reveal the complex influences of different family relationships on a child’s happiness.”

Most parents will be concerned with their children’s well-being but there isn’t much that an be done about older siblings being unhappier if they have younger brothers or sisters (unless you are planning on having just one child). However, eating three evening meals a week as a family seems like a good idea once your children are old enough to eat a little later than 5pm!

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