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Parenthood is like being a heroin addict?

  1. Jun 16, 2006 #1

    BobG

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    Daniel Gilbert does an article on fatherhood in anticipation of Father's Day in Time Magazine (Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?).

    He makes an interesting comparison between parenthood and being addicted to heroin.

    Parenthood generally makes people more unhappy most of the time. It's just that day to day parenting only makes you a little more unhappy, while the few good experiences make a person really, really happy - kind of like how being a heroin addict is generally an unhappy experience, but the pleasurable rush of heroin makes an addict forget about his general level of unhappiness.

    A few extreme pleasures or miseries stick in a person's mind a lot better than a dull low-level unhappiness.

    People are generally willing to pay dearly for things that bring happiness. Sometimes, that instinct gets reversed and people believe paying dear prices makes a thing more pleasurable.

    And, most of all, just like the pursuit of more heroin tends to eliminate all other interests of the heroin addict, parenting is so time consuming that the saying "My children are my greatest joy" becomes self-fulfilling. Of course it's their only joy - parents don't have time to pursue any other joys!

    By the way, I don't personally agree with Gilbert. My kids bring me more joy than anything else I've ever experienced in life. But then again, I've never tried heroin yet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
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  3. Jun 16, 2006 #2

    wolram

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    Daniel Gilbert, is a head case i would love to have more kids, but i can not find a nanny :grumpy:
     
  4. Jun 16, 2006 #3

    Moonbear

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    Gilbert sounds like some young pup without kids who is just at that age where he's resenting that he can no longer call up his friends at a moment's notice to do something crazy because they're all married with kids. I think it's a normal reaction for single people to look at everyone married with kids around you and wonder what's the point when they never seem to have any time to go out and have fun anymore. But, it's just that their idea of fun has changed, and yours hasn't. Once the kids are past the clingy toddler stage, can be left with a babysitter once in a while, and don't require packing 3 changes of clothes, 10 diapers, and who knows what else for an hour long visit to grandma's, parents start getting out more again.

    If he's older than that, or does have kids, then he needs to get some professional help to get a grip on life.
     
  5. Jun 16, 2006 #4

    BobG

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    He's a professor of psychology at Harvard. However, as an author, he does have a monetary motivation to be provocative and witty. Gilbert's "Stumbling on Happiness"
     
  6. Jun 16, 2006 #5
    I don't know about the comparison to heroin addiction, but it's true that children can become the center of their parent's lives.

    That's probably a good thing on the whole since neglected children tend to end up badly. I know alot of teens whose parents show little interest in them and the kids are into everything people shouldn't be into, especially drugs.
     
  7. Jun 16, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have mixed feeling about all of this. Suffice it to say that not everyone should be a parent.
     
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