People believe that having children is the key to happiness and a perfect family life. This image is true for some, but researchers say that in reality, children make parents happiest when they fly the nest - when they leave home. Researchers looked at data from a survey of 55,000 over 50-year-olds in Europe. The respondents were quizzed about their emotional wellbeing. They discovered that most parents were happier with life after their offspring had left home. Researchers say this could be because raising children creates financial worries, stress, tiredness and anxiety.
The lead researcher, Christoph Becker, concluded that a big reason for parents being happiest when their children leave home is the tables are turned and children provide more support to their parents. The parents suffer from less depression and are more positive about life. Regarding the role reversal in providing support, Mr Becker said: "Children's roles as caregivers, providers of financial support or simply as a means of social contact might outweigh the negative aspects of parenthood." He added that healthy family relationships stave off loneliness in ageing parents.