“Several observations support the claim
are widely considered a vital
mode of fulfilment and happiness … as they enhance well-being
by fostering greater
marital happiness”(Hansen 2001, p. 31).
Moreover, “parents associate having children
with great rewards,
in terms of
companionship and support,
love and happiness, and a strong reason
for having children
is the fear
of loneliness and depression
in old age”(Friedman
et al. 1994 in Hansen 2001, p. 32).
The countless anthropological and sociological studies on the feminine condition in the Arab world have shown that every woman belonging to the traditional cultural sphere in her life has only one great dream: to become a mother. This phenomenon is explained if we take into account that motherhood in the Arab context is synonymous with identity, social security, but also with protection and, even if minimally, with access to the political sphere. For the first years of life, roughly up to 7 years, the child is fully immersed in the maternal sphere, an environment where, however, the child and the mother have all the support from the members of the their extended family. In most Arab families, in fact, ” parents maintain very close contacts with their own parents, brothers and sisters. For this reason, Arab children grow up experiencing constant interaction with older relatives”.(Nydell 2012, p. 66). “This contributes to the passing on of social values from one generation to another, as the influence of the older relatives is continually present. In this context, the child shape his own identity through rituals, customs and practices and contributes to passing of social values from one generation to another, as the influence of older relatives is continually present” (Nydell 2012, p. 66). Moreover, the child soon discovers the benefits of being with others and wants to associate with others to satisfy essentially selfish needs. In this perspective, he, from an early age learns that in order to belong to a group, he must also be ready to sacrifice himself to place the interests of everyone above his self-interest. It is statistically proved that the time spent with parents and relatives has a net of positive effect on the baby’s psyche and it is statistically considered as one of the main contributor to his happiness. This effect is quantitatively greater than that of the time spent with friends and others. Moreover, during adolescence, parents play a key role in “helping their kids to shape their attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, and most importantly all those personality characteristics that will contribute to their happiness in the future life” ( Mahon & Yarcheski 2002, p. 319).