Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Despite what surveys say, we do enjoy our kids
"I enjoy spending time with my kids."
I'll wager that most of us would agree with that statement. But psychologists have long told us otherwise. When people are asked what they enjoy, they put outdoor activities and watching television far above spending time with their kids. (Sex also comes in around mid-list; we'll save speculation on that for another day. In the meantime, if I ever say I enjoy TV more than sex, shoot me.)
Now a couple of British academics --Matthew White and Paul Dolan -- are telling us what we suspected all along: There was something wrong with those surveys.
In a study published in Psychological Science, they queried people about what they found pleasurable, and got the standard answers, as above. But they also inquired about something else: What do you find meaningful or worthwhile? Work topped the list, and spending time with children wasn't far behind.
I find spending time with my kids rewarding, meaningful, and almost always fun.
I'm not counting time spent with a crying child between, say, midnight and 5 am.