Deconstructing the new trend of choosing a childfree life. Read More
There are so many reasons not to have children but the best reason is that they are a pain-in-the-butt. I have so many friends with kids and they claim to be so happy but the non-verbals say something very differently. I am not talking about the occasional bad moments that we all have with kids, dogs, cars or jobs, but rather a "I am not sure why I did this?" attitude. A few are honest and say "I love skippy and muffy but I wouldn't have kids if I had a chance to do over."
The bad thing about this is that the more intelligent, ambitious, responsible people aren't having many kids yet their opposites are breeding like rabbits. This could be moderated by heavy fees for having more than 2 kids, or voluntarily sterilization in order to receive long term welfare benefits. Or maybe just take all the money from those who say "OMG WE CAN'T DO THAT!" to those 2 ideas.
Amen. It is a crime that we redistribute wealth in this country from responsible people who have no or few children to irresponsible people who have more children than they can afford. It is also environmentally irresponsible for people to be having so many kids.
I agree that we should stop subsidizing children with welfare and huge tax credits. We no longer need to encourage people to breed.
Kids are annoying and very expensive. I prefer my hamster.
I've never wanted children because I realized that I'm not selfless enough to raise one. I also find them to be annoying, and one thing I find more annoying than children are people who try to pressure me into having children, even when I've expressed that I don't care to have children.
Finally- a mention of selfless reasons some of us refuse to have children! Thank you, Psych Today. It is thoughtful articles like this that make me keep reading your magazine.
Cripes what a bunch of downers in here. I can't believe all the negativity towards having children.
What a paradox that only intelligent and responsible people should have children, but yet they are ones smart enough not to do so.
How inconvenient that children are expensive and annoying. If only they could come out of the womb already perfect. Thank goodness *you* were born an angel and your parents never had to deal with this problem.
You're not selfless enough to raise a child? The opposite of selfless is selfish, and it's not a virtue. But kudos to "you" for that "insight", and not wanting to improve yourself.
It would be a tragedy if having a child interfered with *your* career. I'm sure your ancestors, when they were all raising your grandparents and parents, didn't mind that it was difficult because they had "you" and your career as the culmination of their bloodline. The climax of all their labor would be someone such as yourself who didn't see the purpose of continuing their lineage. How rewarding that thought must have been to them.
And yes, lets remove tax credits for having children. No more welfare either. No more taking care of the poor and less educated. Certainly, this is the mark of an intelligent and responsible society. Why care for your neighbor when you could care for "you"rself...
What a bunch of depressing comments. Another article suggests "more sleep" as a positive of being childfree by choice. These must be all the "ambitious" people that the first poster mentions. When did we become so selfish as a culture? When did we decide that "we" are more important than anything that comes before or after us?
I have one son, and I wouldn't trade him for the world. And don't try to tell me that I secretly or unconsciously wish I wouldn't have had him, I certainly wish no such thing.
Thank goodness it isn't "your" responsibility to prolong civilization or populate the planet. That would probably interfere with your career or sleep schedule.
We've reached a point in human history where it is neither advantageous for everyone to have children, nor for nobody to have children. If no-one has children, then the human race is indeed screwed. However, as the population is ever-increasing and the human life span extends, if everyone has children, we will run out of resources and, again, the human race is screwed.
Yes, there needs to be some people having children, but not everyone.
The world is better if those who want children have them, those who don't, do not and the people in the middle think about it carefully. Neither decision is wholly selfless or selfish and neither should be considered compulsory.
No-one is suggesting you secretly don't want you son. If he makes you happy, that is good. However, people differ and some just are not suited to being parents - the result would be unwanted children or wanted children with unhappy, tired, unproductive parents; basically, a net drain on society. We all contribute in different ways. No one path is correct.
The main reason child-free people get so gloomy and defensive is because we are continually bashed for making the unusual decision, which forces a need to justify and explain, even when we really shouldn't have to.
Actually, if you ask parents why they decided to have children, of the ones who actually planned to (around 50%), they will always cite selfish reasons, such as "to bring more meaning to my life","to continue my bloodline", or "to save my relationship", or "because everyone else was having kids", or "I felt pressured by my family/friends". If the motivation to have kids was truly selfless, parents would instead be adopting one of the millions of children in need of care who already exist. We do not have a shortage of people anymore, and we do not need people breeding any more. You are just adding to the world's social problems. And don't give me the line about "what if my child cures cancer?", because if you hadn't have had them, you could do that yourself and contribute far more to society.
Back in those days you didn't need a dual income to afford housing.
I think people should receive lump-sum payments for getting sterilised, instead of for having kids. All it does is encourages the poor to have more children, which compounds social problems.
We aren't in danger of going extinct. Times have changed. We now need to work on halting our population growth so we don't destroy the planet. The truly selfless choice is to adopt, or to at least not increase the burden on our already-stretched resources. We need to fix overpopulation first, because it makes all the other problems smaller.
I love kids. There is a sense of anticipation around nurturing a new life, sharing earned wisdom, and generally fulfilling a role that I felt destined to play.
But the parents I know seem so unhappy. And frankly, judging by their hectic lives and helpless appearance I believe I have a better chance of being a positive influence on their children than they do.
My partner and I discussed the option many times, but our reasons in favor were never very good ones: time was running out, our parents wanted grandchildren, it was the vague next step for our relationship. Our ambivalence became deafening.
I love kids, but I think only adults who have very compelling reasons should make them. And I have yet to hear a very compelling reason.
For me, the decision to remain childfree is a combination of those mentioned in the article as well as personal reasons. I have also found that in contrast to what others would have you believe, having children is not the only way to be generative, or to contribute to the survival and progression of humanity (particularly through the next generation). Without biological children, I can focus my impact elsewhere and help as much, if not more, than I could if I chose to have children.
So glad some people realize that not having children will TRULY benefit your life!
You didn't have kids because you were to self centered and lazy to have kids. But sense you hate kids so much and don't want anyone else to have them doesn't mean you can discourage responsible people from having them.
I never had kids because frankly I don't like them. But I can never say that of course because people take it so personally and think that you're implying THEIR children are awful (though some of them actually are). So I just say they're not my thing and leave it at that. It's only amongst other childfrees that I can truly be honest.
But it is on the rise. I have met quite a few younger men who don't want children and that's never happened before. Just wish they'd been around 20 years ago when I was dating - sadly in my age group 99% of single men have kids!
The heading of my post is what I learned. I am 41 male. For 10 years I have not wanted children. It has still been a process where I felt more like on the fence. In my late twenties I was considering it, i.e. to become a parent. Sometimes I regret not having them back then. I have travelled, can spend whole evenings or weekends on the sofa if I want. No strings attached is a good phrase in this concern. But that backside is that you stand out from "most other people" and often its like you are on a different frequency. The last couple of years I got a bit tired of going against the flow. Too much energy has been spent to keep a low profile. More often I question how fulfilling the no strings attached is really going to be for the next few decades. Lately I also become touched by charming children and their innocence. My point is that even if I chose to not have children for some periods of my life, it does not mean I hate them or look down upon parents. I used to think having children was a very cut line between to do or not do do. But I realized that the latter is not true. Life sometimes just happens to you. Even if I chose no kids earlier I now feel different. But same time it is age issue. Do I really wish to become a parent at the age of 42-43 or even later? Whats the purpose of that?
So my conclusion is that I will probably feel some loss from not experiencing the love of a child or from not being able to play out my full potential when it comes to parenting. But having a child at my age seems almost pointless. Like a desperate move instead of a natural development. I feel the longing but same time have a more realistic view on what becoming a parent would mean. Same time I see that I did not choose to be different, it was just life happening, the same way it does to everybody else, parents or not. The years from age 30-40 moves fast. Suddenly you are just there. It would be crazy to have kids just to jump on the train thats already left the station. I won't feel guilty anymore from my choice or spend time on wishful thinking about how things could be different. Its better to embrace your life, it is what it is.
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Ellen Walker, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the author of Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance.
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