General Question

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

What's wrong with not having kids?

Asked by Captain_Fantasy (11447points) March 24th, 2010
54 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

Parents tend to treat childless people like lepers. Why is this?

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syz's avatar

Not a damn thing.

syz (35695points)“Great Answer” (9points)
Trillian's avatar


meagan's avatar

Because apparently its the greatest accomplishment you could experience in your life, having children… even though its basically what we’re made for (but I digress).

I think its more of an accomplishment to NOT have children. Fourteen year old’s are having enough babies for me, thankyou.

mrentropy's avatar

Who else will work your farm? For free?

ucme's avatar

I never have why the fuck would I.To each their own.What’s wrong is having to ask the question in the first place.Shouldn’t have to.Just to clarify,as a parent I see no need to deride those who aren’t.

erichw1504's avatar

Nothing. At least you’re not assisting in the overpopulation of our planet.

fyoz's avatar

We treat others how we feel.

They’re just angry about their own mistakes.

Shae's avatar

I was going to have some kids but the Duggers had them first.

Seek's avatar

Absolutely nothing.

If you have no desire to be a parent, you shouldn’t be one – you probably won’t be very good at it. That’s just logic.

Cite – my mother. She didn’t want to be a parent, and lo and behold – she sucks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I question your assumption. Maybe you know some people like that, but I can’t say that I do. On the other hand, parents of small children tend to associate (pretty naturally) with other parents with their own similarly-aged children. So given the constraints of time they may not associate as much as they otherwise might with “the childless”, but “treat like lepers”? I don’t know about that.

jaytkay's avatar

Most parents I know wrap their lives around their kids’ activities. I have no kids, I don’t feel like a leper, I’m just not hanging out at soccer/band/tennis/swimming/school plays/whatever, we have different interests.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t have kids and don’t care what anyone thinks of it….so there! :)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

People assume we (The Childless) are emotionally immature, selfish, not capable of loving “fully”, sometimes unnatural. There’s nothing wrong with not choosing to breed. The way I look at it, there are plenty out there making up for what I’ve bypassed, good for them. My own partner has given me attitude occasionally making me feel as though he thinks I can’t understand what it’s like to be a parent just because I didn’t pop a child out from my own belly, yeah right. I’ve been a successful step parent which I feel is a testament to my humanity since I have no genetic/instinctual investment.
Bah, breeders.~

jca's avatar

I didn’t have a child until i was 41, in other words, i lived most of my adult life child-less and nobody treated me like a leper. i had friends with kids and friends that have none. i now have a two year old daughter and i still have the same friends. i don’t have as much free time as i used to, and my friends understand. my free time is usually spent doing stuff with the baby, but i do make time to see my friends, go to dinner, even go out by myself to movies sometimes, shop, all kinds of stuff.

i have to say i never met anybody that treated me any differently because i had no children.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (4points)
slick44's avatar

Nothings wrong with not having kids, if thats what you want or should i say dont want. I just think( and this is my opinion) that peope without kids are missing out on somthing special, especially when your older.

Trillian's avatar

I think that most people associate with others who share similar tastes and activities.

wilma's avatar

Is this really a problem? I don’t understand why. If someone doesn’t want to be a parent then they shouldn’t become one. The only time that I can see when it would be a problem is if it’s a couple, and one of the people wants children and the other one doesn’t.
I have heard of people being pressured by family to have children, but the general public making someone feel like a leper? Does that really happen?

squirbel's avatar

This is the question I have before I answer:

Are you single, and friends with married people w/children, who treat you like a leper?

tinyfaery's avatar

I talk about this on fluther sometimes. I wouldn’t say I am treated like a leper, but women sure have a lot to say and a lot of questions when I tell them I do want or have children. It seems that childless women are somehow suspect. Maybe women with no children are a threat to women with children because women without children have more time to devote to a man.

DarkScribe's avatar

I don’t have kids almost every day. In fact I have only ever had kids on five days in my whole life – so I guess that is nothing wrong with not having kids.

(Although on a serious note, if I was starting out now I would not consider having children. Current laws and mores guarantee that you will raise an entitlement terrorist. No effective discipline coupled with kids peer pressure means very little chance of raising a decent kid.)

zophu's avatar

Please, please, please don’t have kids until you have the resources to raise a demigod or something. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have enough people. We’ve got more than enough. We’re drowning in our own filth on a global scale. Let’s cut back, shall we? The value of a child is there because of his or her potential to develop into a great adult. The problem is, with so many people popping out semi-clones of themselves, the chance for anyone developing without being half-suffocated in the crowed is greatly reduced. Let’s figure out how to handle the population we have now before we contribute to growing it anymore. If you can’t find a purpose beyond basic reproduction, you’re not the kind of person who should be raising kids anyway. Find another way to justify your existence.

Now, if you’re pregnant and are planning to keep the baby. Ignore everything I just said. Raise that child to be amazing. Don’t just give it up to popular culture. Make sure he or she has a custom set of values and ideas and the ability to apply them.

We’re at an awkward place now in social evolution. Overpopulation is stressing every support system we have, and yet we are still inclined to reproduced. It’s something that will be addressed with enlightenment and self control. Or by massive death events such as floods, famines, plagues and war involving billions at once. Sooo, let’s go for the first option. It can be done, I think. Isn’t Japan’s population growth pretty low while having the highest life expectancy of any country? I don’t really know, probably shouldn’t spout maybe-facts like that, but whatever. It’s possible regardless.

slick44's avatar

@zophu… that was ruthless

skfinkel's avatar

Of course there is nothing wrong with not having children. It’s even good if you are the kind of person who knows you have no patience or have other problems. Children need families in which they will be adored by mature adults who can handle infants, babies, toddlers, and teens. If a person isn’t up to that, far better not to have the child.

DominicX's avatar

Current laws and mores guarantee that you will raise an entitlement terrorist.

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

There is nothing wrong with not having kids. It’s just one of those things where people think they are experiencing the greatest thing there is, so they want other people to experience it as well. I don’t understand the mentality of condemning people who don’t do what you do. One size does not fit all. We have the capability to reproduce, that doesn’t mean we must.

This is coming from someone who does want kids.

lonelydragon's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with not having children. According to recent studies, childless adults may be happier than parents of young children:

If those research findings are true, then it could be that parents who needle the childless people are unhappy with their decision to become parents, and meeting a happy, childless adult makes them question the choice they made. The drive to conform and to make others conform does not necessarily disappear after high school.

Alternately, the parents who aren’t very friendly to you might not be purposefully ostracizing you. Maybe they just don’t know how to relate to you, because parents and childless adults tend to have different interests.

KhiaKarma's avatar

What I hate is the expectation that you can have kids….we have been trying and all the time are asked about when we are going to have kids of our own. It is a responsibility I would take seriously, and actually agree with some of what @zophu said. It angers me that so many irresponsible people are having kids—We just want one, and will adopt if we can’t have one of our own….but I hate that the expectation is there and impossed on us just because we’re married. Every time I see family (and sometimes friends) I have to fight back all the frustration and just smile, nod, and laugh it off…. Sometimes I do feel like a leper.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

You think childless people are treated like lepers by their parents you should try being a childless lesbian…

Shae's avatar

It’s funny my best friend and I just the other day were trying to think of anyone we knew who had kids that was as happy. We couldn’t come up with anyone.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Sueanne_Tremendous You think childless people are treated like lepers by their parents you should try being a childless lesbian…

No thanks, to become a lesbian of any sort, childed or not, I would have to lose some bits that I am quite attached to.

cockswain's avatar

Having a child in America is bad for the environment, since Americans are the worst consumers on the planet. I’ve got a kid, and she irritates me as often as she makes me proud. They are just people like us, not some super-magical, precious thing like some people try to pretend. No more or less special than you or me. Does that make me an asshole? Damn right it does.

thriftymaid's avatar

Well, nothing. Captain, I’m a parent of grown children and don’t have any negative attitude toward childless couples. When my oldest daughter told me she and her husband were expecting their first baby, the first words out of my mouth were “oh no.” The happiest years of my marriage were prior to children, or PK (prekids) as we call it. I don’t find it hard to understand a couple’s decision to never have a child.

meagan's avatar

Congrats for those of you that can figure out how to use a condom, by the way. haha

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The answers @Seek_Kolinahr and @skfinkel gave are examples of what people like me hear all the time, that we feel we’re somehow unfit or inpatient or whatever and therefore that’s why we don’t breed. It’s not usually the case, you’d be surprised how much thought, reasoning, weighing, consideration, effort and stuff goes into not breeding even when you feel your offspring would be demigods :)

Facade's avatar

Nothing at all. My man and I won’t be having children because we don’t want the things that come along with that responsibility. We like being able to focus solely on each other and have our freedom. Also, I wouldn’t want to subject a child to today’s world.

Seek's avatar

I did not intend my answer to be rude or insulting.

I know that, at no point in my life, do I want to be a garbageman. If for some reason I was forced to pick up trash my whole life, I would be the world’s unhappiest, most unproductive garbageman.

There are people who simply do not like kids, and don’t want to be parents. I’m glad they recognise that, and I fully support their stance. I’m also not saying that all people hwo choose not to procreate hate kids and would be bad parents, but I maintain there is nothing wrong with someone who does feel they wouldn’t be a good parent choosing to remain childless.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr & others
I didn’t point out your comments as personally offensive, just common.

slick44's avatar

IT is a choice we must all make, but it seems everyone is against having children.If you want kids great. If you dont thats great to. But no one should be knocking anyone elses choices. Myself, I dont feel my life would be complete without kids. And im not a perfect parent, but this is not a perfect world. Why cant people just let others make up their own minds without judging.

zophu's avatar

I wanted to add that if you’re already a parent of children, you’ve got to accept the fact that they’re your purpose now. Their survival is your only ticket to immortality. Not because your genes are in them, but because your every influence shapes who they are, and thus what they do in this world. The school will not teach your kid half the things they need to learn—as kids even—and they’ll interfere with a lot of their essential development. Especially during adolescence where they will inevitably miss out on healthy sleep cycles; they’ll be robbed of the time and energy that would be devoted to pondering the world they’re only now beginning to be able to psychologically accept. They’re smothered in the ass-end of popular culture and consumer conditioning. Their values are force-fed into them. It’s disgusting. As a parent, ask yourself, do you spend the majority of your waking life with your child? Do you spend a fifth of your waking life with your child? You’re just putting another brick in a wall, and the foundation is crumbling. Make sure your kids have time to be human, because society will steal that from them as much as possible. I’m exiting my adolescence now, and if I did not make time for myself to ponder this world, I would be just another refrigerator-magnet mixture of various morals and politics like everyone else. Adolescence is the time for discovering your values, and solidifying them as principles. If those principles aren’t there by the time you’re out in the world, you’ll cling to the first bullshit ideology you come across. In the aspect of analyzing values, children are much wiser than adults. They have the critical perspective of angst to guide them through the lies and have chances to find something honestly worth living for. It’s heartbreaking to live in a society that forsakes that wisdom and dooms generation after generation to this foolishness.

and, that’s enough ranting for now. sorry if anything is written too poorly.

truecomedian's avatar

Breeding, there is far too much breeding going on. We really should start a Soylent Green program to curb the population and world hunger.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with not having children – most of my friends don’t have children and I do, yet they don’t feel like lepers. Maybe NYC is different. Though I am learning that people have quite the attitude towards people with children that sound no better than what you were questioning to begin with. Clearly, there are assumptions going in both direction.

Pandora's avatar

I’m all for not having children if you don’t want them. I don’t always think its that clear cut. I’ve known some people who didn’t want children who view those who decide to have children like they are lepers. Sometimes the additude is subtle. I think for the most part it is because your life styles can differ. A person without children may be able to partty longer where as a person with children has to find child care and be back by a certain hour and may have to get up early on a Sunday morning to take someone to little league. It then becomes a matter of time that can seperate them.
I wish more people would really consider what they want before reproducing. Some just keep pumping out kids like they are collecting barbies and they can just shove them on the shelf and live like they are childless.

Shae's avatar

I have actually been told I was selfish for not wanting children.

It always surprises the crap out of me when perfect strangers sometimes think it is acceptable to ask “why don’t you have kids?” That’s personal and none of your damn business.

davidbetterman's avatar

The problem isn’t with not having kids.

The problem is having kids brought up in abusive, unloving households. The problem is having kids but no real ability in raising them.
The problem is having children whom you really don’t want.

OpryLeigh's avatar

The closest I have come to experiencing that “being made to feel like a leper” feeling is a few of my friends have, all of a sudden, started to treat my like a complete idiot after they have had kids. For some reason a couple of people (and it really is only a couple of people, certainly not everyone I know who has dropped a sprog) have had babies and become extreme know-it-alls. I have also heard the saying “you can’t understand until you have kids” in a very patrionising tone, too many times. On the whole most people I know that have kids do not treat me like an idiot for not wanting kids and don’t seem to care either way whether I want kids or not.

meagan's avatar

I’ve got a friend that had a baby when she was 18. There were four men that could be the father. And the entire pregnancy, she would tell me… Meagan, you should have a baby, too!
Some people are just insane.

Pandora's avatar

@Leanne1986 I understand what you are saying. But sometimes that line” you won’t know till you have kids’ can mean one of two things. Your suggestion was idiotic and I wasn’t taking a poll so butt out, or you really won’t know. As a child growing up, I remember a few things my parents did that I thought was out of line. (As all children think when being disapplined) However once I became a parent and went through some similar things, I was able to see it from the other side. I don’t think this makes me all of a sudden all knowing. It just gives me a better perspective. I’ve used this line a few times but only when I thought the person was really being obnoxious and I usually used it on other parents who’s children where out of control but they thought they could give you a lesson on parenting.
Theres a reason the mothers curse exist. You know, the one your mom says when you’ve really pissed her off. “I pray that one day you have a child exactly like yourself”.
She says this because she knows you won’t understand what its like to raise someone like yourself till you have one just like you.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Leanne1986 not everyone I know who has dropped a sprog) have had babies and become extreme know-it-alls.

Hmmm. do I smell the faint aroma of performing seals?

Dropped a sprog sounds very much like alt.childfree rhetoric. There is a difference between not wanting children and actively hating children and their mothers – as many on that group are wont to do.

mattbrowne's avatar

Nothing if you are willing to pay extra for your pension fund and support the immigration of young people.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Pandora I understand what you are saying and, sure, in some situations that line makes sense. My mum said it to me A LOT when I was a teenager and, looking back, it makes sense to me now. The most recent time I heard it used (not towards me but towards a friend of mine) was so irrelevant and that instance is still fresh in my mind. It was very condescending. I did make a point of saying that these people are the exception and not the norm in my opinion.

@DarkScribe I don’t hate kids, I work with them and I certainly don’t hate mothers. I do like the word “sprog” though!

slick44's avatar

The children are our future

DarkScribe's avatar

@Leanne1986 I don’t hate kids, I work with them and I certainly don’t hate mothers. I do like the word “sprog” though!

Fair enough. The word is one that I was familiar with long before I ever came across the nastiness exhibited on alt.childfree – it is a term commonly used in the Navy to describe children. It has now been tainted by alt.childfree.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@DarkScribe That would explain a lot because I come from a military family (mostly Navy, some RAF) and I hear it all the time in the family and amongst certain friends. No one I know means it in a nasty way though.

neverawake's avatar

because they’re losers.

xelpmoc's avatar

Utilitarianism based on happiness would be just one branch, maybe even “hedonism”. I’ve found that the evaluation of happiness involves an increase in balance on a person’s values, or avoiding a decrease and satisfaction of needs. Someone who has dead has no values and no needs and can not experience happiness. They don’t enter into the equation, (but you could argue that the process of murdering them creates an abrupt amount of unhappiness until they finally succumb, but so do a lot of relatively happy activities like childbirth and working a job you hate for monetary reward. Unless you value a state of non-existence, the idea of no longer existing doesn’t make you happy, whether or not you might be incapable of feeling unhappy later.

I think utilitarianism would look more at the utility of the person being dead on survivors. The friends and family that would lose the benefit of a relationship with that person being alive. You could weigh that against the benefit people would have by the loss of that person, (maybe inheritance, insurance payments, or simply having more resources available). Perhaps someone extremely wealthy would be more valuable to society dead than alive, if their wealth was distributed around, (that’s a variation on the killing of a healthy individual to harvest organs). But we could say we should avoid these acts because of the utility of avoiding that rule in case it could later be applied to us personally.

Having a child shares a lot of the same utility. It has been shown that having a child is expensive and the happiness of the parents rarely increases, but the relationship with the child is something of value to the parents, as well as meaning to their own lives, which means a general increase in utility. However, that has to be weighed with whether the child reduces the utility of society by using too many resources and significantly reduces happiness in society in general.

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