Complete Without Kids

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Four Misconceptions About Childfree Women

Four misconceptions about childfree women Read More

I'll never understand the selfish label

I've done a fair amount of volunteering. I like to improve my community and I also like the social aspect of it. I've learned that if I want something done the easiest way to achieve it is to join an organization and spearhead the initiative. A few years back a group of us were busy with a project and we took an informal poll and realized that not one member of our group was married, everybody who was working on the community project was single and didn't have children. Yet, the childless and single are the ones that get labeled selfish.

Since then, much research has been done to confirm what we already knew. Those without children or are unmarried are much more likely to care for friends and neighbors, much more likely to volunteer their time and socialize. These incorrect damaging stereotypes need to be abolished.

Choices

I agree with all you said. I think people who choose to be childless should be applauded because I believe they did actually make a choice (unless they had cancer or some medical reason). I honestly believe that most people just go along with the crowd...get married and then have kids without really thinking it through. It is what every one else does, it is what mom and dad did, so I'll just do it. Most of these people are religious and get married and have their kids when they're young, early 20s. As they mature and begin to see the larger world with different choices and "alternative" lifestyles, then and only then do they begin to question their own choices. Did they really make a choice? Some will realize they didn't and will be unhappy about that and wonder about what the other road would've looked like. Some will never wonder and will always believe that they did the "right" thing in life and other people, whatever their choices are, made the wrong choice. God wants us to be fruitful and multiply, after all. These latter people will never question THEIR choices, only the choices of others.

I think the negative assumptions people make about others is always borne out of a little bit of jealousy -- as in "I wonder what my life would be like if I had made a (different) choice" instead of going along with the crowd. They'll always wonder.

the reality

The reality is that of the numerous childless couples that I know all are immature, self absorbed, materialistic and vain. They have not chosen childlessness for carefully considered ethical or philosophical reasons, mostly they don't want to miss happy hour, do laundry and miss those last minute trips to Hedonism
I realize that this is only personal experience and allegorical evidence, but it is the case with every childless couple that I have known, past or present.
I just think that some time around 60 years of age when faced with 20 years of being alone before dying unmourned the extra years of adolescence may seem a bad bargain

WOW

Sounds like you know a lot of losers. Many of my friends are child free, some by choice and others (including myself) due to infertility. We are NOT immature or selfish or any of the things that you used to describe the people you know.

I know people who HAVE children who hire nannies and babysitters so they can go to happy hour or an adults only vacation. How sad it is to see a mother out and about while someone else raises her child..watching it take it's first step, say it's first word.

It's so sad that you have met so many selfish people...although, I tend to think that you are only projecting your opinion of them..not seeing them as they really are.

There are immature, self absorbed, materialistic and vain people who have children, as there are those who are immature, self absorbed, materialistic and vain who don't.

Well, well, well!

Aren't we just a fine beacon of class and erudite civility? If you are so grandly happy with your choice why are you being so testy about it?

I personally find parents far more selfish than non-parents. Case in point is your implication that your children will be at your beck and call for the last 20 years of your life serving you. Anyone can have friends at that age, even childfree, so you are expecting 'duties' from your kids. Is that perhaps a tad selfish? You won't allow your kids to live their own lives but instead are planning to mortgage their future for your own needs?

With all the homeless children in the world why have your own kids and add to the overpopulation when you can just adopt? Oh yeah - it has to be YOUR precious, special genes. Again, selfishness and vanity to the extreme.

Should I mention the burden on the environment, the taxes which non-parents have a far greater burden, resources, etc? Yes, Kawenu, the childfree are the selfsih ones....pffffttt!

Well, you go clean the crap out of your kids diaper, I am gonna hop in the Lexus or Jaguar (can't decide which right now) and go buy some new furniture - the old stuff is a year old and is out of style! Oh wait, the corporate jet leaves for Hedo tonight, nevermind!

Well well said!

So many people have children for selfish reasons - as insurance for their old age, expecting their children to care for them; because everyone else has children and they don't want to be left out; and to fulfill their unsatisfied emotional needs. Of course, not all parents are like this, but many are. The world would be a far better place if people more carefully decided to have children, and only for the right reasons.

Immature Psychological Defenses

I think most of these common myths are merely psychological defenses of some sort, Projection being prominent. I have known a few women who really wish they didn't have kids, so maybe there are more tha won't admit it even to themselves and their mind then twists that around to the inverse for childfree women?

The belief that "Childfree women are less reliable at work than mothers" is great example of projection and is downright laughable. I have been in the work world for many years and this could not be any further from the truth. Many times the single, childless women and men cover for the moms who are trying to have it all.

I was once told that my wife and I were selfish for not having kids. I asked the women to take her top off and jump up and down. She angrily called me a pig. I told her that she was simply being 'selfish.' The people who use this as a general discredit and shaming attack are unhappy that you are not giving up something that benefits them at your cost or are angry you weren't foolish enough to go the way of the crowd and are now free from a life they consider burdensome.

I'm glad ypu set me straight

Nope, there's not a trace of smugness, insulting or name calling here.

I once thought "child free" couples were jerks, but reading lucid, rational, articulate posts like PRM's changed my mind. No, he doesn't show any signs of immaturity or jerkishness at all.

I thought "child free" folks hated kids... but PRM proved how wrong I was. Not a trace of child hatred in any of these comments.

Not a whit.

It's a universal truth that

It's a universal truth that lots of people are jerks. Whether being a jerk is strongly correlated with not having kids is a different question.

And all people who chose to

And all people who chose to birth their own children instead of adopting a child that is already alive is the most selfish - by definition.

If partenting is about raising a child to be a decent adult human being (and not making a carbon copy or producing a physical reminder of our love blah blah blah)

If it's about raising a child, then the obvious choice is to adopt a child who would otherwise NOT be taught how to be a decent human being.

And yet there are thousands of more partners wanting to make THEIR OWN kid instead of getting a "used" one. but the ones opting out of parenthood all together are the ones who being selfish??? that makes sense.....

Not *all* nonparents hate kids, but many do

Take my anecdotal experiences or leave them, but I have found that ideas that children are inferior, less-than-people, and other such age-based bigotry is more common among nonparent adults than parents. At the very least, they seem more willing to express it, through statements like "children are burdens", "children are gross", and even blatantly saying "I hate kids".

Even the term "childfree" itself seems to imply that children are some sort of disease. While I believe that the choice not to have the specific relationship of "parent" with a young human being is an entirely valid one, and I understand the desire to recast the choice in a light that doesn't carry the stigma it sometimes holds, imagine for a moment how you would feel if men making the entirely valid choice to marry other men referred to themselves as the "womanfree" movement. Doesn't that sound a bit misogynistic?

I'm not trying to let parenting adults off the hook here because they definitely also express anti-child attitudes, though most often couched in less blatant language. It's sadly common for parents to totally take for granted that they have the right to control children's life outcomes.

Whether parenting or nonparenting, promoting anti-child attitudes is never acceptable.

I'm selfish, unreliable, &

I'm selfish, unreliable, & hate kids. Did I mention I have commitment issues?

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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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