Working parents are particularly healthy


Working parents are particularly healthy
17.02.2014

According to a study, parents between the mid-20s and early 40s are no more stressed than children of the same age. At this age, the so-called "rush hour of life", many have to cope with the multiple burdens of careers, children and old-age provision. Therefore, it was fortunately found that parents of this age group are particularly healthy.

A positive message According to the current health report of the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), parents between the mid-20s and early 40s do not feel more stressed than children of the same age. At this age it is important for many people to find a life partner, have a career, have children or build a house. As Hans Bertram, sociologist at the Humboldt University in Berlin, thinks that young people in Germany would have much less time today for this traditional marathon of the first half of life than before. In this context, Bertram speaks of the “rush hour of life”, in which far more decisions for life span between 20 and 40 than there were 20 or 30 years ago. He was therefore pleasantly surprised by the DAK study. "There are significantly fewer overwhelmed young parents than expected," said Bertram. "That is a positive message."

Fear of being overwhelmed According to the health report, parents would not feel any worse than childless people despite “rush hour” stress. And although fathers and mothers are under pressure due to the multiple burden, this does not affect sick leave. The group between the ages of 25 and 39 is particularly healthy. Parents would have the same chronic stress levels as working people without children. "Even mothers who work full-time have no higher stress levels than mothers who work part-time or are not employed," writes the DAK. This is hopeful, because the fear of being overwhelmed in many couples continues to postpone the desire to have children. Around 3,000 Germans between the ages of 25 and 40 were interviewed in December for the study.

Lowest birth rate in Europe If you take a look at the circumstances of today's “internship generation”, there is a lot to be said for Bertram's rush hour thesis. Nowadays, many often only start a job with good and regulated income at the end of 20. Up to the 1970s, this usually happened from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. This shift is also reflected in the German birth statistics. Until the 1970s (in the GDR until 1989) women usually had their first child from the beginning to the end of 20. Today, they are on average 29 years old. In order to sit firmly in the saddle professionally before a baby break, academics often wait even longer. However, it is not uncommon for it to be too late or it is only enough for one child. As a result, Germany has the lowest birth rate of all 28 EU countries.

Balancing career and child When it comes to baby, the DAK representative survey initially shows a positive trend for population statistics, because many childless young people in their mid-20s would assume that they would find a career and child under one roof. Men are more optimistic than women. Almost two thirds of the men believed that this dream would come true, with their partners it was only about half. Another quarter of young women are even more skeptical and fear they will not be able to do this. Parental benefits or other family policies have so far been unable to change this. Young women would want to have children, but didn't dare.

From the age of 30, the right partner for a baby is often missing. A large study by the Berlin Science Center for Social Research from 2012 also came to similar results regarding this anxious mood. At the time, about half of the women and men surveyed said that family compatibility was acceptable and my job didn't do anything positive. And almost a third saw the situation even more negatively than in 2009. According to the new study, the main reason to wait with children is initially the desire to continue working. This shifts significantly from 30, because then the right partner for a baby is missing. All childless people agree that a stable partnership is a prerequisite for being a parent. However, more than three quarters would have said that they also counted on a good and safe income.

West German 1950s family model According to an analysis of the "rush hour" survey, the DAK board chief Herbert Rebscher lacks above all a parent-friendly working environment, which offers, for example, company kindergartens, emergency care and better career opportunities for mothers. According to the study, around half of the women indicated that they would continue their career without a child. This feeling was not so strong in men. Above all, this is due to the fact that many young people still lived a family model similar to that of West Germany in the 1950s. The father works full time and the woman earns extra.

Studying after the parents' phase from the age of 40 "We have to organize career patterns so that children don't thwart them," says Bertram. For example, those who already become parents during their studies have their offspring at school at the first stages of their careers and thus have fewer organizational problems. The sociologist goes one step further and believes that it must become more normal to study only after the parents' phase from the age of 40. "Then there is still enough time to pursue a career," said Bertram. (sb)

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