A poll in the UK of over 2000 families with various arrangements of children under the age of 16 (not families with only children, but we already know they’re the happiest). Their provocative conclusion? Two girls make for the happiest families. Apparently two girls play relatively well together, make less noise and are generally nicer to be around.
Keep moving in that direction, however, and things take a turn. Parents of four girls reported the most strife. Big families of girls fight a lot and require more space and an extra car. I found it interesting to read all of this–the family combination I grew up with (two boys, two girls) ranks second to last in terms of happiness whereas the family combination I have now (one boy, one girl) ranks second to best– but I’m taking it all with several grains of salt.
Happiness research is always a bit tricky. Keep in mind that what the researchers were looking at here focuses on the hassles/pleasures of parenting young kids, not the actual happiness of the kids/siblings and their– and the parents’–eventual satisfaction with life. The fact that two girls under the age 16 make parents happy gives rise to an eyebrow. (I think it was at about age 16 when my accommodating good nature gave way to a door-slamming attitude that lasted for several long parental pain-inflicting years.) In any event, here’s the breakdown via The Telegraph:
‘BEST’ TO ‘WORST’ COMBINATIONS OF CHILDREN:
2.One boy and one girl
7.Two girls and one boy
8.Two boys and one girl
9.Three boys and one girl
10.Three girls and one boy
11.Two boys and two girls
Also of note via The Telegraph:
“Parents with four children also admitted neglecting one or more of their children on occasion, and find it harder to share their attention equally amongst everyone” Fair enough.
“Eighty six per cent of parents with one of each gender said they would honestly say their children were friends.” Aw.
“The report found one of each gender can also be reasoned with easily, making it easy for mums and dads to quickly sort out problems.” Huh? Not in my house!
“The only downside of having a boy and a girl was a lack of shared interest as they grow up.” I don’t know, this really depends.
Faye Mingo, a spokeswoman for the UK parenting website www.bounty.com advises all families: ”Making sure quality time is spent with all children, reminding them how lucky they are to have siblings and creating family rituals such as eating and playing together can all help everyone to get the most out of family life together.” I’m all for family meals but I’m highly suspicious of the “reminding them how lucky they are” tactic. Especially since this poll suggests that half the time that’s not the case at all!
Does any of this ring true to you? What are you hoping for in a family?
Here’s a bit more fodder for family planning anxiety:
BENEFITS OF HAVING TWO GIRLS:
2.Help around the house
3.Very few fights and arguments
4.Quite easy to reason with
5.Play together nicely
6.Rarely ignore each other
7.They confide in you
8.Very well behaved
9.Rarely try to wind each other up
10.Really like each other
NEGATIVES OF HAVING FOUR GIRLS:
1.Fight and argue all the time
2.Difficult to reason with
3.Ignore and dislike each other
4.Bedtime routine is a nightmare
5.Create a lot of noise around the house
6.Rarely confide in you
7.Hard to deal with when ill
8.Takes ages getting ready for school
9.Had to buy a bigger house and car
10.Hard to cope with on a daily basis
Related links on Babble:
• Are We Ready for a Baby? 11 signs you’re primed for parenthood