THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AGE AND CHILDLESSNESS AS KEY FACTOR IN FAMILY STABILITY (GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
Background to the Study
Parenthood is central to a meaningful and fulfilling life in a family, and a live of childless people is emptier, less rewarding, and, in old age, lonelier, than the lives of parents (Baumeister, 1991; Blake, 1979). More specifically, people tend to believe that parenthood entails substantial social (companionship, intimacy, support), developmental (maturity and growth), and existential (expansion of self and opportunities to love, be loved, and feel useful and needed) advantages (Hoffman & Manis, 1979; Hoffman, 1987; Rubinstein, 1987). The assumed benefits of children thus are closely linked with core psychological needs for connectedness, engaging activity, meaning, security and control (e.g.,reliable support in old age), and experiencing a positive self-fulfilment of which appears to be major correlates of subjective well-being of parenthood (Angner, 2005; Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Myers, 1999; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Veenhoven, 1975). Because parenthood has a multifaceted impact (structural, social, financial, existential, etc.) on people’s lives, and because the influence can be both positive and negative, the effects of parental status on psychological well-being could vary substantially depending on the well-being aspect under scrutiny and the individual’s. Parents with children in the home may for example experience emotional distress but nevertheless believe that their lives meet their aspirations and are highly meaningful (Veenhoven, 2001).