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Old 09-03-2006, 09:48 AM   #61
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What is a good reason for having children?

I can't really think of one that would rule out the possibility of being a bad parent--having or developing the relevant skills is a separate matter from actually wanting kids.

That was a great post, BonosSaint.
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Old 09-03-2006, 09:53 AM   #62
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Good question, maybe if it's not too personal some people here could talk about why they did-if they feel like discussing that.

People do so for many reasons, I am not one to judge that because I loathe being judged for my personal choices and life circumstances. But I do believe it is selfish or "more selfish" to have kids for a select few reasons that I stated.
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Old 09-03-2006, 07:15 PM   #63
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I'm one of those aging single women who have thought for a long time that I do not want children. I'm perfectly happy stating that my reasons for not wanting children are completely selfish: I do not want my life to change completely. I do realize that I might wake up one day three years from now and think, "oh my goodness, I need to have a baby RIGHT NOW!" Recently, I have noticed my thoughts beginning to change to "Hmmm, maybe someday," so who knows?

I was having this discussion with my favorite aunt a few years ago, and asked her why she wanted to have kids. Her answer was possibly the best I'd heard, and it made perfect sense to me: "Because I wanted to have a family."

While I like that answer, part of me wants to ask, why can't I be a family with my partner? Am I not part of a family because I don't have kids? Maybe my close friends are my family.

But anyway. I like babies and kids, and they seem to like me ... but really enjoy giving them back to their parents when they start fussing.
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Old 09-03-2006, 08:00 PM   #64
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I don't feel having kids or not having kids is a reflection on a person. In some respects, it seems that people have kids because that's what everyone does, go to school, meet someone, get married, have kids, get divorced (well, there's a good chance nowadays), etc.

Of course, like others have already mentioned, the replacement rate in the Western world is not even being maintained which is leading to the "colouring" of once relatively homogeneous societies. Here in Canada, I think the province of Quebec has policies in place to encourage more births too. Canada itself does not. I am not sure if the direct reason is to protect French culture or for economic reasons.

I don't WANT kids, if it happens, it happens. I like my friends' kids, I have a 2 yr old niece, kids love me but I don't feel the urge to have a family. Part of that is that I don't really know what a quality family life is like so I don't have a longing for it. Part of it is probably I don't want the responsibility and changes which come with parenting. Is that selfish on my part? Perhaps, but there is no one suffering due to my decision.
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Old 09-03-2006, 11:52 PM   #65
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Yeah, I don't think it's a reflection on a person one way or the other either...as I said earlier, I'm not sure how much sense it makes to try to impose a moral dimension on these sorts of questions, yet if you're asking for "reasons" much more substantial than "I just do/don't want to, that's all," it's almost a given that a self-aggrandizing dimension is going to creep into the answers at some point. Almost. And all the more so if you're going to get into speculatively attributing reasons to people who have made different choices from yourself.

I was primarily asking the "good reasons" question rhetorically--I could take a stab at it I guess, but Irvine seemed to be mostly interested in hearing from childless people, which is fine; I was just curious about some of the themes that kept coming up in people's answers, and one of them was this idea of not having children for the "wrong" reasons, which made me wonder what people who said this thought the "right" ones might be, and also what the criteria for making that distinction are. It's an appealing idea, that if you could just be sure you're doing it for the "right" reasons, well then you're guaranteed to be a great parent and never feel down in the mouth about it--I'm just not sure it has any basis in reality.

Another thing I was curious about is this idea of not wanting to make someone else suffer--what kind of "suffering" is being referred to here? Are we talking about abuse in the classic sense (physical, sexual, psychological, neglect)? I mean, I certainly wouldn't advise someone to have children if they sincerely believed they would harm them somehow (not that I would ever "advise" someone to have children anyway), but I wonder what sort of relationship between "wrong" reasons to have children and children's "suffering" is being implied here. If it's that people having children because "that's what everyone does" leads to more abuse, then frankly the available data don't back that up, at least not in the US, which has been tracking child abuse longer than any other country: child abuse of all 4 types named above has trended strongly up, not down, in the roughly 35 years since USDHHS started tracking it (NIS 1,2,3 & 4)--physical abuse up 42%, sexual abuse up 83%, etc.--even as fertility rates declined by more than a third, and no one involved in the data collection thinks changes in reporting incidence even come close to accounting for these increases. Furthermore, where abuse committed by parents is concerned (most of it, sadly), there's no correlation to parental age--older parents are no less likely to abuse their children than younger ones. So from a US demographics perspective at least, there really isn't any support for the idea that more freedom to have children for the right(?) reasons, or to wait until later and have fewer, is leading to net benefits for children's welfare--at least not if you're measuring the latter in terms of abuse, classically defined. But perhaps some other kind of "suffering" was meant?

The other thing, I guess more as an observation than a question, is that while I can understand rolling one's eyes at the "I'm a mother" boast the way Dr. Laura or Peter Pan Lady package it, is there something pathetic or shameful in general about offering that as one's primary self-description? I don't think there is, but a lot of women do seem to feel that way--honestly, I'm often reluctant to even ask the simple "So, what do you do?" conversation-starter of women I don't know, because it makes me wince when I get, as I often do, a nervous laugh and an apologetic-sounding "Oh, I'm just a homemaker" as if it's a foregone conclusion that, welp, there goes me any chance of me finding them the least bit interesting. What's to be ashamed of? No, I don't necessarily want to hear their children's entire life stories, but then frankly I don't have great interest in hearing much about the careers of plenty of people I meet either, nor do I expect them to have great interest in hearing about mine; that's not really the point of the question, it's just one of several ways to go about feeling for commonalities to discuss: a mention of Little League might lead to a discussion about baseball; a reference to family camping might lead to a discussion about the best places to hike; a mention of a trip to Disney World might lead to a discussion about consumer culture, Florida vacations or whatever. If you start out assuming that someone whose life is centered on their children and says so couldn't possibly have any thoughts or interests worth your time, then it will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Old 09-03-2006, 11:54 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Good question, maybe if it's not too personal some people here could talk about why they did-if they feel like discussing that.

People do so for many reasons, I am not one to judge that because I loathe being judged for my personal choices and life circumstances. But I do believe it is selfish or "more selfish" to have kids for a select few reasons that I stated.
I don't have kids but since I'm getting married in a few weeks it's obviously something we've discussed.

Personally, I don't expect anyone to explain to me why they don't want kids, so I'd expect the same level of respect and courtesy regarding my own choice to possibly HAVE kids (I'm not directing that at you MrsS, just in general, it was a though that came to mind before reading the quoted post). I don't really know WHY I want to have kids, but I know I don't NOT want to. Does one have to first have a list of reasons, in order to be considered a good candidate for parenting?

It's hard for me to think of reasons why I'd want kids, because kids are just so way out of everthing else's league, if that makes any sense. It's not like considering whether to get a pet or what new car to buy. Even if I did have good reasons, I bet once I had kids I'd read that list and laugh. Right now, the only tangible reason I have is because I want to have a baby, in particular you know a little bubby to hold all day and sleep with at night. But there again, my only experience even remotely close to parenting was watching other people's babies.

I can, however, tell you what factors have had no effect on where I currently stand as far as having kids:

- what parents think
- what friends think (I have some who hate kids and consider having one a cop-out in terms of a professional career and being successful, and I have friends whose sole goal in life is to become a mother)
- the articles in this thread (low birthrates, wtf?!?)
- what society thinks (I guess I didn't realize there was a general attitude about childrearing...)
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Old 09-04-2006, 06:58 AM   #67
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No future without children. It sounds simple and stupid but we should be greatfull for people who wants to sacrefice there money, time and emotions to have children.

Who will pay for our old age pension and clean our diapers when we are old .
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Old 09-04-2006, 09:32 AM   #68
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I waited until age 29 before my son was born. I always wanted to get married and be a mother. I was divorced when our son was 7. I raised my son as a single mother and despite the struggles, I'd do it all over again. My son and I have had our share of ups and downs, but now he is in college and we are becoming very close again. I know one day when I need to be taken care of he will be there for me. Children are our future, but not everyone is cut out to be a parent. And that's ok.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:27 AM   #69
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I think freedom is about making the best choices for you - if what you want to do most is be a mother: Go For It! I want you to do that. Being a mother is a very good (though thankless) job. I have no issues with women saying 'I'm a mother' as their profession. They should be proud of that. And no person who stays home and runs a household and raises children is 'just' a homemaker. Nobody should apologize for that. It's offensive to think that people - women especially - feel they should have to apologize for that.

I personally don't want kids because - knowing myself - there's a 99% chance that they would be hurt. Physically. I like kids, but I have a very limited kind of control on my temper. There's only so much I can take before I start fighting. And small children shouldn't be subjected to that.

I mean, seriously, the one time I babysat my youngest niece (she was still in diapers) my brother was only gone for about an hour or so with his (then girlfriend) and I was ready to either crawl out of my skin or kill that child.

Now, obviously, I didn't do either, but I was sickeningly aware that I had no idea what to do with an eleven month old baby besides stare at her.Gah. It was ghastly.

It pretty much confirmed the fact that I should not be in chanrge of anything under eight for any period of time.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:46 AM   #70
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Without going through this whole thread, all I can say is that there are over 6.3 billion people on the planet. Even areas with low birthrates are still growing in population. We tap more and more critical resources. Poorer nations have diseases running amok causing an abundance of orphans.

Also, I wouldn't call it the "Western" countries that are having less children, rather, I'd say it was the more educated people. By the time a person finishes a B.S. degree, he/she is usually 22 or 23. If one goes for a M.S. or Ph.D. or J.D. or M.D. or any other advanced degree, that person is now in his/her later 20's. Then add in various internships, post-docs, residencies, etc. and a person could easily be 30 or older before his/her career even starts! They will clearly work a few years, and the clock keeps ticking. Finally, they are 33-38 and it's time to have a child. At this age, they have the maturity and the financial means to support a child or two and properly provide. At this age, they have the emotional and intellectual ability to know if their marriage is stable and that it can survive a family.

Contrast this to the far less educated who often spit out kids, usually by different men, to stay on welfare systems. These women often start out early and do little in the way of properly raising a child.

Maybe I sound biased or stereotypical - trouble is, I've seen this MANY times personally. I've seen both the educated decisions and those who just have kids, despite lack of income, lack of security, lack of maturity and lack of stability.

Now, I'm not saying those in the latter group should wait, but really, a child often benefits far more from the former group. But it's because the former group waits, that either they decide not to have children at all, or they will have perhaps one or two at the most.

Therefore, should we reward those who seem to go through marriages as if it's a "weekend getaway", propagating along the way only to never see those children again? Or should we penalize those who carefully determine that they will NOT make good parents, or realize that they are not emotionally, intellectually or financially yet ready to have a child?

I find most people do want to have a child. But given the amount of children I see in adoption agencies and foster homes, I think we all should carefully think before rushing to have a child.
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:58 PM   #71
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I am rather like Adam on that score. Don't like 'em, don't want 'em, keep 'em away from me.
If this is true about Adam, he'd better get into to see a doctor to get himself "snipped" and fast LOL.
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Old 09-05-2006, 09:09 PM   #72
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Originally posted by doctorwho

Contrast this to the far less educated who often spit out kids, usually by different men, to stay on welfare systems. These women often start out early and do little in the way of properly raising a child.

Maybe I sound biased or stereotypical - trouble is, I've seen this MANY times personally. I've seen both the educated decisions and those who just have kids, despite lack of income, lack of security, lack of maturity and lack of stability.
This is frighteningly naive. Wow.
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:50 PM   #73
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Originally posted by Illumination70


If this is true about Adam, he'd better get into to see a doctor to get himself "snipped" and fast LOL.
Depending on how old Suzie is, he may not have to, if he hasn't already. And considering they haven't in the ten years they've been together, that could mean one of three things:

A: They're not doing it. (I don't buy it, but it's entirely possible.)

B: They've got good birth control (woo hoo!)

C: Somebody's infertile.

Hm. Ah wondah.
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:54 PM   #74
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Depending on how old Suzie is, he may not have to, if he hasn't already.
I don't know,, Suzie looks pretty young to me and I've seen women who are 40+ still having babies (if Suzie is over 40).
Then again, if Adam is "snipped" already all I can say is more power to him for taking control of his life if he doesn't want children.
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