TIME Parenting

Do Fathers Love Their Children Less Than Mothers Do?

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Moms report getting more happiness from their children whereas fathers ranked kids no higher than their career.

Women in relationships got a happiness boost after having children. Men only seemed to derive well-being from the relationship.

For example, a 1997 Pew Survey found that “ninty-three percent of mothers think their children are a source of happiness all or most of the time. Eighty-six percent of mothers of children under age eighteen say their relationship to their children is crucial to their personal happiness (10 on a 10-point scale).” On the other hand, for men, children often rank no higher than career as a source of happiness.

And:

…Additionally, Kohler, Behrman and Skytthe identify a substantial and significant male-female difference in the effect of children on well-being—after controlling for the effect of a current partnership. “Females derive happiness gains from children even after controlling for current partnership status. The happiness of males, however, depends primarily on partnership status; once current partnership is controlled, men’s happiness does not vary systematically with fertility.”

Source: “The New Battle of the Sexes: Understanding the Reversal of the Happiness Gender Gap” from Ave Maria University, Department of Economics, Working Papers, number 1004.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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