“Children’s declining economic value may have been a contributing cause of parents’ increasing exaggeration of children’s emotional value,” the researchers wrote.
In the study, 80 parents were asked to read through some information on the financial costs of raising children (including facts such as a child costing $190,000 from birth to age 18), and then asked how emotionally satisfying having children was. As a control, another set of parents were given the same reading material, but were also given information about how grown kids help support their parents. They were then asked how they felt about various issues related to parenting.
The parents who read only about the costs of parenting were more likely to say that they received more emotional satisfaction from parenting, wanted to spend more time with their kids and had more fun when spending time with them compared with the control group.