MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many people have brothers or sisters, but did you ever wonder if you had the right number? Would there have been less fighting if you had one, instead of the other? In other words, what’s the right recipe for a happy family?
A new survey asked the question and although the answers are very interesting — even surprising — one expert said there’s an even more important ingredient for family happiness.
Spend some time at the Edinborough indoor playground in Edina and you’ll see plenty of kids. And plenty of parents — even grandparents — to ask about a British survey that tried to identify the least stressful combination of children.
“Well, I would think the least stressful would be opposite sex and two,” said a grandmother.
“I think boys are easier,” said a mother.
“I think girls together would be the least stressful,” said another.
And that’s what the survey says — two girls rank first for true bliss.
The survey looked at 12 different combinations of siblings and the two girl combination being less stressful surprised parent coach surprised Lori Jo Kemper.
“Just that they have bigger mood swings and whinier moments, in general. And they’re a little more high maintenance,” said Kemper.
More than 2,000 parents ranked their own families and their own happiness. The two girl families scored highest for things like “easy to reason with,” “helped around the house,” and “liked each other.”
“I would have lost money on that one,” said Kemper. “I would have said it would have been two boys.”
In fact, two boys ranked third on the list:
1. Two girls
2. One boy and one girl
3. Two boys
4. Three girls
5. Three boys
6. Four boys
7. Two girls and one boy
8. Two boys and one girl
9. Three boys and one girl
10. Three girls and one boy
11. Two boys and two girls
12. Four girls
One trend is very clear: Larger families put themselves on the stressful end of the spectrum.
“It’s all of those responsibilities,” said Kemper. “Getting them to and from, feeding them, it just exponentially becomes more on the parents’ plate, so there is more stress.”
Actually, all parents face their own sets of stresses and challenges, no matter how many children they have. Still, Kemper said the key to a low-stress family is low-stress parenting.
“If I had to isolate anything, it’s not gender, it’s anger that makes things more difficult,” she said.
And when it comes to kids, there are no magic potions.
“There isn’t a guarantee,” said Kemper. “But it’s more on being grateful for what you have and making the most of what you have at home. And I think most parents do.”
The study didn’t look at families with one child or more than four. But Kemper is so intrigued by the findings, she’s thinking about polling her clients.