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Author Topic: What's so great about having children?  (Read 4398 times)

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Offline CmdrRenegadeTopic starter

What's so great about having children?
« on: June 05, 2011, 12:15:37 PM »
I put this topic here because people tend to have very strong reactions when it comes to this kind of topic.  So let me get this out there. 

I've been struggling with this issue for awhile now.  I'm not even slightly interested in having children.  However, I know that at least 80% of the eligible women out there are going to want a baby eventually.  I'm not a big fan of the child-centric culture we live in.  George Carlin called it "child worship".  Others have called it "kindergarchy" and "the cult of the child". 

This may be a product of my upbringing, but my parents never made my siblings or I the absolute centers of everything in their lives.  I was  taught that if I wanted (not needed) something than it was my burden to get.  It gave me a sense of self-reliance and independence that I don't see a whole lot in other people no matter what their age.  It's different nowadays though.  If I go over to visit a friend for any reason (play D&D, have a meal, general bullshit, etc.), the child will inevitably appear and monopolize any and all attention.  The child is usually not sick, in pain, or otherwise in a situation where he/she truly needs parental attention.  He/she just WANTS attention now and will wind up getting it in spades, regardless of whether the kid was to stay with grandma, was supposed to be in bed, etc.  If I ever get annoyed by this fact, I'm called a 'child-hater', 'not good with children',etc. 

To be fair, they may have a point.  I have never felt a great urge to nurture.  Also, the moment children start crying, whining, throwing tantrums, yelling, screaming, etc. as they're inclined to do just makes me want to leave.  And when they're your own, you have to spend tons of money on them, drive them to their countless activities and attend every single one, and suffer through all the problems they can potentially inflict (drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, juvenile criminal behavior, etc.).  And if the child is becoming too much, you can't send them off the grandparents or aunts and uncles for a month holiday like in the past.  Distance has changed the equation.  In addition, in our nation that worships the individual, people will say 'you chose to have the child, you have to deal with its bullshit'.  The dark side of individualism here is that while nobody has a right to inflict their problems on you, they have no obligation to help you solve yours either. 

One of many reasons I had held off on dating was because of the assumption that every woman I get into a serious relationship will want to marry and have children.  And in America at least, this is mostly true.  Between natural growth and societal conditioning, the vast majority of straight women are going to want children.  This is placing me at an odd crossroads. 

So I ask you, members of E.  Make the case to me.  Parents and non-parents alike, please chime in.  Do you agree with me? Disagree? Why? Maybe if the culture, my family, and my general circumstances were different, I'd be more open to the idea.  But I only know how I feel right now.  And right now, children look like too much work for me to put my life on hold for a minimum of two decades. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 04:11:20 PM by CmdrRenegade »

Offline Malefique

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 01:57:28 PM »
I'm a parent, of two totally unplanned children (food poisoning, the doctor said the vomiting was - hah!).  My children do take up a lot of my time and I do have responsibility for them, since I chose to carry on and bring them into the world.  The burden is on me to make sure they have my care and some attention.  And it can be a problem, especially during holidays when they have more time at home and want more of my time.  But in general we have an accord; they get their quality time with me before eight p.m., and after 8 pm they stay in their own dens upstairs (even my 18 year old) while I do my own thing downstairs.  They see me if there really is an emergency, like massive bleeding or an eyeball falling out,  and apart from that we have a goodnight contact at eleven.  Sometimes I choose to invite them to share a film or something with me, and it's their choice to refuse if they like.  But when I'm gaming or having friends over, they give me my space.  They cost me money, yes they do, and I have to ferry them to their pastimes; but I take my mother out for coffees and days out now she's old, and I chipped in to the household bills once I was working and  before I moved out, and I expect the same deal with my own kids.  It's also my burden to try and deal as you say, with drug addictions, crime and the like.  But if you face those responsibilities right through and teach your kids that the world involves give and take, and that actions have consequences - and don't just coddle the little pets till they turn into the kind of monstrous spoiled parasites that we see messing up the place, like Paris Hilton - the problems should be fewer.  I think it isn't the parenthood that's the problem, it's how you deal with it.  A lot of people do seem to think that you have to idolise them and subjugate your whole life to the child, but that isn't sensible parenting.  You don't have to batter a kid to have a good understanding with them and to have a life that gives you all some personal space.  And the rewards can be very, very worthwhile.  I have had so much fun from my spawn, so many laughs and memories to store up; and they have educated me as much as I have educated them.    But parenthood isn't for everyone.  If kids irritate you as much as you say, probably best you look for a girl who prefers kitties - there are some, you know!   

Offline Harley

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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 02:14:03 PM »
I'm one of those women, in America mind you, that doesn't want children.   Even if I am getting to the age where I should honestly decide if I want a child, I still feel that I'd just rather not.   

As the only daughter in my family, I am pressured by my mother to try to have a baby when I eventually settle down.  It's hard because I am my mom's only daughter.   I guess it is suppose to be something special when your own daughter gives birth to another living being that passes on your bloodline.  At least, that is what I try to imagine. 

I'm in a position in my life right now where I cannot take of another human being, let alone a child.   I can hardly take care of myself.   

There is also that fear that if I do find that special guy that I would want to have a baby with that...  He'll leave me in the end.  Divorces seem to happen all the time and they seem to be common place.   It makes me lose faith in having a RL relationship with anyone.   If I were to have a baby with a guy and he leaves me anytime afterwards, whether it is shortly after the birth or even 18 years or so down the line, I would be devastated.  Half of the beauty of having that child would be gone, and I would be left with a bad memory of what could of been.   Not to mention that it'd probably be a heartache to have to organize visitations and all, and having to see your ex just so they can see your child that they helped create.   That is, if they still want anything to do with the child. 

Not only do I also find the crying, the screaming, the attention-wanting, and other child annoyances to be...  Well, annoying, but I think they'd honestly drive me crazy.   

These are all assumptions of how I would most likely feel if I were to become pregnant and have a baby.   I hope they help a bit, at least.

Personally, I'd rather have a kitten to take care of than another human.  I'm just sad I guess. 

Offline Caeli

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 02:26:20 PM »
Personally, I'd rather have a kitten to take care of than another human.  I'm just sad I guess. 

You shouldn't put yourself down like that. There are plenty of reasons not to have (or want to have) a child - wanting to put my own desires, dreams, ambitions, or life goals first (rather than having to take care of my child for the next twenty years) would be mine. Obviously, you have your reasons for not wanting a child - there's nothing wrong with that.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a pet and loving your pet(s). I know plenty of people who are not in a position in their life to take care of a child or who don't want kids, who have a pet for companionship and to have someone to come home to.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 02:28:07 PM by Caeli »

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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 03:00:43 PM »
There are probably more women than you think that are 'child-free', and still interested in a committed relationship.  Many of them don't speak up because of reasons like Zilzilii put out there.  I know that if you haven't had a child and ask your Gyn about tubal ligation or other permanent cessation of child-bearing potential, they try to pressure you out of it (unless there's a medical reason like cancer). 

As for the 'what's so great' aspect (since you asked ;D ):

- Surprise hugs.
- 'I love you, Daddy.'
- Watching the eyes light up when they finally grasp a new skill/idea
- Happy laughter, for no reason at all.
- 'I made this for you!'
- Christmas morning.
- Excuses to act like a kid yourself.

Offline Shjade

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 03:46:28 PM »
As for the 'what's so great' aspect (since you asked ;D ):

- Surprise hugs.
- 'I love you, Daddy.'
- Watching the eyes light up when they finally grasp a new skill/idea
- Happy laughter, for no reason at all.
- 'I made this for you!'
- Christmas morning.
- Excuses to act like a kid yourself.
Psst. You forgot "Slave labor!" =D

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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2011, 04:03:02 PM »
Shhh!   ;D

Offline Noelle

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2011, 04:21:40 PM »
There have been a few recent studies in the last few months that have come out saying that many parents overestimate the good parts of having a child to vindicate their own decision, but objectively speaking, the cons are on the heavy side. However, this is probably a good thing -- y'know, perpetuating our species and all, and many people put a lot more weight into emotional returns rather than looking at it monetarily. Humans are irrational, but that's okay.

Anyway, I'm in the same camp as you are. I am still young and I know I can always change my mind, but I have no desire to have a kid of my own at this point in time. I have nurturing tendencies, but they are largely limited to fully-grown adults that I care for on a human level. The thought of having something completely dependent on me to sustain their life itself is terrifying and it's not something you can undo (legally...I mean, there is still murder, I guess). Having kids limits the choices you have in your life and I have a lot of ambitions I want to fulfill that a child would effectively stomp out. That's the nice thing about being an overpopulated AND advanced species, though -- we are at a point of divergence where sex can be enjoyed as recreation, freeing us from the burden of having unwanted children. The roles of women in society are changing, we are gaining more control over our biology, and having kids is no longer a necessary part of the bigger plan.

I get a lot of flack for this from coworkers and family who often give me the condescending assumption that I'll probably change my mind or "have an accident" (uh, nope, I am a pro-choice kinda lady!), and they also give me the stint that I must be bad with kids or hate them. I don't hate kids. I have had a blast playing with children in my family at reunions and I am excited to be an aunt soon. I like kids when I can give them back when I grow tired of them and I am okay with that. The world will continue on just fine without my biological contribution to the population.

Offline ReanimateMagnus

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2011, 06:55:25 PM »
Well first off it keeps the wife busy so that I can get on here or play video games. Is that bad? Yeah I know I can be a douche.

Offline Anjasa

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2011, 08:02:11 PM »
Yea, I'm another woman that doesn't want children.

I don't say much simply because when I do, I get the reaction of "Oh, you'll change your mind" or they just stare at me in disgust as if I told them I just killed someone. But then, the people I work with would love nothing more than to share their miseries with me ;)

I haven't wanted children for well over half my life now.

And to be honest, I get a little disgusted when people tell me to 'wait 'til the hormones kick in!'

We spend so much time telling 16 year old boys not to listen to their hormones, then insist 30 year old women let their hormones dictate the next 20 years of their life. I don't get it.

Offline CmdrRenegadeTopic starter

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2011, 08:08:34 PM »
@Malefique: It sounds to me like you set some solid ground rules with them and they've conformed to them.  I don't mean to sound like a bitter old man, but I've just dealt with too many juvenile tyrants and the parents who 'love' (read:spoil or ignore them) them to the discomfort and chagrin of everyone else.  I just don't mind calling a spade a spade even if it disturbs the peace.  That being said I love cats and animals in general.  I could totally do that.  Cats just need some dry food, clean water, and a clean box.  They may not need that last one so much if they go outside. 

@Zilzilii: Your situation sound remarkably like mine.  I'm still at a point where I can barely take care of myself let alone a helpless mini human.  Don't take it to mean that I think women who don't want children don't exist.  Men who don't want children are pretty uncommon too.  Like Caeli said though, don't put yourself down over it.  I don't know the circumstances of your life but the best I can say is that unexpected difficulties will always happen.  I've been struggling to get a good job to allow me to be self sufficient for awhile.  I may finally be getting there but it's been difficult thus far.  I hope that helps. 

@Oniya: I'm sure there are more women who would be happy to just live life with a partner and be content with that.  I know there are women who have gone along with the marriage-family routine because it was expected of them.  However, these women, just like me, are worried about scaring off their men by being upfront about it and being promptly dropped.  I think both genders have this problem and may feel they have to do the child-rearing thing and consider it the price of not being alone.  I think it's really sad that we can't be more honest, not just with each other but with ourselves too. 

That being said, I've been an uncle for a long time and saw many of those happy moments. 

@Shjade: LOL

@Noelle: That also sounds like my way of thinking too.  By the way, being an aunt/uncle is awesome.  Enjoy it.

@ReanimateMagnus: LOL

@Anjasa: That's because teenagers having babies inconveniences their parents.  I don't condone what the "abstinence-only" sex education advocates do, but I do understand it.  Truth be told, I think the First World could do with less people.  I think overpopulation is a problem, not because of actual space, but because of lifestyles and resource drains. 


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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2011, 08:26:01 PM »
I'm sure there are more women who would be happy to just live life with a partner and be content with that.  I know there are women who have gone along with the marriage-family routine because it was expected of them.  However, these women, just like me, are worried about scaring off their men by being upfront about it and being promptly dropped.  I think both genders have this problem and may feel they have to do the child-rearing thing and consider it the price of not being alone.  I think it's really sad that we can't be more honest, not just with each other but with ourselves too. 

That being said, I've been an uncle for a long time and saw many of those happy moments. 

I think, especially with some of the modern dating sites, that the fact that people may not want children is becoming a bit more acceptable.  When I was first engaged to Mr. Oniya, a very wise woman said that we should be sure to discuss three things - whether or not we were going to have kids was one of them.  There was a touch of pressure from his side of the family, but it was only a touch - there was some question about whether or not he was even able to have kids.  My side of the family had already provided a fair number of grandchildren for my mother to dote on (and criticize my siblings over).

I'm not the type of person to try to convince someone to have a kid that they don't want - in fact, I have pointed out certain things in support of someone who made a decision not to try to have kids.  (Family medical history can be a really important factor, sometimes.)  I would suggest that wanting to be child-free is not a reason to avoid dating, though.  Just be up-front with the women you get involved with that if you want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, you'll put shoes on the cat.  =D

Offline ReanimateMagnus

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2011, 08:35:58 PM »
@ReanimateMagnus: LOL

Glad someone has a sense of humor :D

Offline Serephino

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2011, 09:06:58 PM »
I agree a lot with what Malefique said.  You don't have to spoil and dote on a child.  If I ever become a parent, I certainly won't.  Sure, you have to care them, but you don't have to worship them.

I can understand not wanting kids though.  I myself have been on the fence for a while.  Obviously, I would have to adopt or something, which would be even more of a drain.  Honestly, I think I'm still a little too self-centered to be a parent though.  I like having time to myself, and having freedom to do what I want when I want.  I've been going crazy trying to take care of 2 kittens the past 2 weeks.  For now, they are my babies.

I see it as a good thing when people don't give in to the pressure to pro-create.  It's not fair to the kid to have one when you're not ready.  Like I said, I'm still too self-centered, so not likely to make a good parent at this point in time.  I also know what it feels like to be unwanted and resented.

Visiting a little on what Zil said, my father didn't leave, but he died, leaving my mom a single parent.  I was 10, so wasn't completely helpless.  But still, I threw a wrench into her single social life, and she made no attempt to hide her feelings about it.  She couldn't go out without making sure I had a babysitter.  My mother gave into the pressure from my father wanting to have another kid. 

Offline Malefique

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2011, 04:42:20 AM »
@zilzilli  It isn't sad to love kitties - I love kitties, and I admit there have been days when I wished I had stuck with them.  On the other hand, when cleaning up the mess left by my aging kitty Elli (who died of heart failure at the age of 18) because her poor eyesight and loss of sense of smell made her mistake the hall floor for the litterbox again, sometimes I wished I'd stuck with kids.  As regards being left by the man involved: my mother was widowed when I was two, and she managed to hold down a job and a social life as well as raising myself and my 4 year old brother.  Though she likes to go out with me, she is a happy and independent woman despite losing her husband.  As for me, I'm a single mother - I threw my kids' father out because he was a total arse, not to put too fine a point on it, and we're doing fine without him though I have had to find babysitters when I want to go out.  Don't let that part of it scare you. 
@ReanimateMagnus - what makes you think she's with the kids while you do this?  Could be she's left them with their own consoles or if younger, playpenned, while she chats up the guys on facebook, lol.

Offline Alliance

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2011, 04:50:09 AM »
I'm of the same boat. I don't want children. My thing is I just don't know what to do with them. A friend once brought her baby over and asked me to watch him while she went to the restroom. Honestly, all I did was stare at him while he kicked his little legs around. What was I suppose to do? Touch it? I just stared at it, until she came back. In which she tells me, don't be afraid and to hold him. The issue is I don't want to hold him. I don't want to carry him.

The screaming of a child or anything that is animal sets me off tenfold. In my bad ear it sounds like a thousand bees vibrating my ear drum. And I think I'd literally commit murder. I can't and don't want children. I just couldn't. I think my own anger would ignite before I could handle it. We use to have a puppy. And I know a puppy isn't a good measure for a baby. But there were times where I literally wanted to shoot myself in the head. Because it wouldn't stop crying, begging, whining.

Trust me, I don't act upon these moments of lucid insanity. But at the same time, I just couldn't handle a baby.

That and I don't want to be unfair by having kids. Children require time and require attention. Attention I won't be able to give them. If I do become a writer, I'd have deadlines. The things I want in my life. I don't want to sacrifice them. I don't want to give them up. I rather put my own goals and dreams up, over having a kid. What's worse is becoming successful with kids. Because you end working more than spending time with them. And I do think in the end they resent you a little.

My lifestyle isn't fit for kids.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2011, 06:41:15 AM »
I would like to say first off that having kids is a personal choice and as a teacher and parent if you do not want them please do not have them. That being said I have 3 adult children now. Yes they are expensive and when they are young needy. They are also well worth it. One of my kids is an Autistic son with a twin sister that was Valedictorian of her class. No doubt in my mind that the son helped make the sister what she is today. My oldest son was average and a lot of fun.

Part of paranting is bringing them up to be independent and individuals which they are to the extent they can be. It is also part of parenting to keep them out of trouble and discipline them early when they start to show signs of delinquency. Now its nice to sit back and watch them be the people that they have become.

When children seem to run the household it is not the fault of the children but that of the parents. Part of being a parent as being a teacher is to understand you are not there to be their friends first you are there to be their parent. Do not let the inmates run the asylum.


Online Lilias

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2011, 06:52:16 AM »
We are hardwired to want to procreate, in order to ensure the continuing survival of our species. Genetic makeup doesn't keep up with social changes. That's all. Until that changes, the people who don't want children will be a minority.

Child-raising has been growing more difficult in modern times because we increasingly lack the support network smaller communities used to have. Before the nuclear family became the norm, a child had instantly up to six people (grandparents and godparents) ready to step in and share in the burden of care.

The First World is very much in need of more children, if it is to maintain its lifestyle. Retirement age won't be much fun without younger people to work and pay taxes for our pensions, and contrary to the genetic bit, such conditions do change within a couple of generations. It's the Third World that is in desperate need to curb its population growth. In Mali, the average is six children per woman. I'm pretty sure those women don't want to risk their lives again and again through pregnancy and labour, and then suffer the loss of perhaps one out of two or three babies, any more than I would.

I have one child, born when I was 36. By that time, the pattern of my life was more or less established, and the recession has killed many more of my personal projects than my son has. Raising him isn't easy, and won't get any easier as he grows, but I don't regret having him, not even at the darkest moments. Must be that hardwiring again. :-)

Making up one's own mind about reproducing - or not - is a great earned right. As long as we remember that changing our mind is an equally valid right.

Offline Anjasa

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2011, 07:58:37 AM »
@Anjasa: That's because teenagers having babies inconveniences their parents.  I don't condone what the "abstinence-only" sex education advocates do, but I do understand it.  Truth be told, I think the First World could do with less people.  I think overpopulation is a problem, not because of actual space, but because of lifestyles and resource drains.

Well, encouraging 16 year olds not to have children and to have safe sex works a lot better than telling them not to give in to their hormones. I just think it's hypocritical acting as though 30 year old women shouldn't have a choice to listen to their hormones, honestly. It's treated as though it's offensive to not give in when your body 'wants to have a baby'.

Offline Martee

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2011, 12:57:40 PM »
I didn't want kids - swore I would never have them. From the first vestiges of puberty to the end of my twenties, the idea of birthing a human and then having to care for it forever was the worst nightmare I could imagine. I hated children. My first husband had to break the news to his mother years before we were even engaged that I would never give her grandkids.

Then I met my current husband, and he too knew how I felt about kids. He's fairly older than I am and just never had children of his own, even though a family was always what he wanted. So, it changed my mind. Now we have two little ones, and I don't regret it. They are wonderful, and I have learned more about love from them than I have from anyone else on the planet.

They drive me crazy.
They turn my hair grey.
I wish, all the time, that I could be by myself more often.
I get called 'mean' on a daily basis. I am. I am a mean mommy, with rules and repercussions. I wear that badge proudly.
My kids are awesome and amazing and flawed. They're not perfect, I don't expect them to be.

Don't have kids if you don't want them. You'll know it if and when you do.

Offline Sho

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2011, 05:49:55 PM »
In terms of why someone would want to have kids (I happen to want them myself, just not yet):

They can become a reflection of who you are; you can teach them your good points and hopefully help them avoid your pitfalls. Have you ever worked on a really, really hard project and then been unbelievably proud when it turned out well? It's sortof like that feeling; it is with my nieces, at least. It's amazing to see them wake up, happy and joyful, or to see how genuinely pleased they are to see you. It's wonderful to know that you have someone who will love and support you (if you, in turn, love and support them) when you grow feeble.

From an economic standpoint, there is a good chance that if raised well (and if it is something you and your child decide upon) they will help support you in your old age. Kids also make great conversation partners - the older they get, the more they learn, and you can show them your favourite things (though it does sting a bit when my nieces have no idea who the Spice Girls are...).

It really comes down to wanting to have them. If you just don't want them...you might not end up wanting them, ever. You may not want the responsibilities that come with them.

Then again, for the people who do want them, they can be the most rewarding experience in the whole world. In many ways, it's like being given a chance to raise yourself the way you wish you'd been raised, as well as a reflection of your partner (given that you're with them/love them). It's a combination of the best of you and the person you love, and can only be grown with huge amounts of effort on both of your parts - but the result can be amazing.

So, generally, that's why I'd like to have kids, but there are plenty of women out there that just don't feel that way; and that's fine.

Offline Malefique

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2011, 06:10:46 AM »
Today I ran up against one of the real down sides to having kids - my youngest brought back a virus from school yesterday, so she's off sick and I'm starting to feel ill, damn it all.  They bring you back stuff they've made, cards and misshapen lumps of clay they call 'ornaments' and strangely collapsing cookies, which is lovely though sometimes disconcerting; but they also bring you back diseases and occasionally parasitic infestations.   ::)

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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2011, 08:39:07 AM »
Today I ran up against one of the real down sides to having kids - my youngest brought back a virus from school yesterday, so she's off sick and I'm starting to feel ill, damn it all.  They bring you back stuff they've made, cards and misshapen lumps of clay they call 'ornaments' and strangely collapsing cookies, which is lovely though sometimes disconcerting; but they also bring you back diseases and occasionally parasitic infestations.   ::)

Been there, done that.  :D  I refer to it as 'kinder-plague', whatever the organism in question.  Luckily, I didn't fall into my sister's trap of feeling the need to sanitize everything, so the little Oni has a more robust immune system than my nephew did when he entered school.

Offline Fabric

Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2011, 08:54:39 AM »
you can live vicariously through them... 

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Re: What's so great about having children?
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2011, 09:23:43 AM »
That's actually something I have issues with.  In my mind, a child should be encouraged to grow in their own direction, whatever they're suited for.  I see these soccer-parents wanting their little ones to excel in sports because Mom or Dad didn't manage to excel in sports - but the kid wants to join band, or be an artist, or whatever.  I'm not even going to touch 'child beauty pageants'.  Share in their accomplishments, by all means, but let those be the child's accomplishments for themselves.