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Why do people want to have kids?

Kandahar

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I have never had any desire to have any kids, and I am completely baffled why almost everyone I meet wants to have them, either now or when they're older. Since I'm sure that some of you folks have kids or want them, maybe you could enlighten me. As I see it, it's a simple cost/benefit analysis:

COSTS:
- The financial costs are obscene. I would estimate at least $300K (in today's dollars) to raise them to age 18, and then more if you're paying for their college.
- The time/effort commitments are huge, especially when the kids are young.
- Having kids takes away your mobility, making you less able to move to a new area, start a new career, drop your significant other if it doesn't work out, or take worthwhile risks like investments/businesses.
- Kids can be emotionally draining, especially in the teenage years.
- It would be devastating if something bad ever happened to them, and painful just to worry about that possibility.
- Studies have shown that children rarely make their parents happier...the net effect of having kids is to make people LESS happy on average.

BENEFITS:
- None that I can think of?
 
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- Studies have shown that children rarely make their parents happier...the net effect of having kids is to make people LESS happy on average.


That's true. I've read those studies.
One of the greatest indicators of whether or not people are happy is whether or not they have kids. People with kids are less happy in general than childless people.

Stress, probably. A mother is only as happy as her least happy child.
 

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I have never had any desire to have any kids, and I am completely baffled why almost everyone I meet wants to have them, either now or when they're older. Since I'm sure that some of you folks have kids or want them, maybe you could enlighten me. As I see it, it's a simple cost/benefit analysis:

I personally don't want kids either. However, I see nothing wrong with other people wanting kids.

COSTS:
- The financial costs are obscene. I would estimate at least $300K (in today's dollars) to raise them to age 18, and then more if you're paying for their college.

This is a more recent development with our society becoming more and more modern and advanced. In ancient times, boys and girls would help their fathers do rural labor or help their mothers with domestic labor.

Nowadays, though, we spend the first 25 years of person's life educating and training them to deal with modern advances. It takes a while to teach people all the life skills they'll need to survive in modern civilization. That's the price for being civilized.

- The time/effort commitments are huge, especially when the kids are young.

Yes, but kids aren't just a commitment - they're also an investment.

Not too long ago, less than a century, while adults were expected to take care of their kids they were also expected to take care of their elderly. An adult could continue to earn a living whereas the elderly became too old to do so. Therefore, for a person to be taken care of in their old age they needed to have children to support them. Those without children had a more difficult time of it.

- Having kids takes away your mobility, making you less able to move to a new area, start a new career, drop your significant other if it doesn't work out, or take worthwhile risks like investments/businesses.

Like I said before, children can be an investment as well. Also, while kids take away mobility, it can also help in settling. Some people want to settle down and have the security of a family. Not everything has to be based around big risks for big rewards.

- Kids can be emotionally draining, especially in the teenage years.

Yeah, but they grow out of that, you know.

- It would be devastating if something bad ever happened to them, and painful just to worry about that possibility.

Any thing in this life has the potential to be painful. That does not in itself make a thing not worth doing.

- Studies have shown that children rarely make their parents happier...the net effect of having kids is to make people LESS happy on average.

I bet studies would show that most of the jobs that need doing make people less happy, but we aren't going to abolish those any time soon.

BENEFITS:
- None that I can think of?

Investment for my future, like I mentioned previously.

Also, you seem to be under the impression that most pregnancies are planned. Quite a number are unplanned as well. An equally valid reason why people give birth to kids is "Because the condom broke."
 

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Like I said before, children can be an investment as well.

Maybe in the old days.
These days, parents can't expect much of a return.
Most parents can expect to be helping their kids out financially, at least periodically, until the kids are into their forties and beyond.
It's more difficult to get on one's feet these days than it was twenty or thirty years ago, when most parents of grown children were getting on their feet.
So I've heard, anyway.

No one can reasonably expect their children to care for them in old age.
 

samsmart

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Maybe in the old days.
These days, parents can't expect much of a return.
Most parents can expect to be helping their kids out financially, at least periodically, until the kids are into their forties and beyond.
It's more difficult to get on one's feet these days than it was twenty or thirty years ago, when most parents of grown children were getting on their feet.
So I've heard, anyway.

No one can reasonably expect their children to care for them in old age.

I agree with you. And I think that we should do something as a society to address this. But, more likely than not, those who could do the most just won't give a ****. As usual.
 

StandUpChuck

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For starters for most, it's likely a biologically driven desire over which they have no control. Physiologically speaking, it's why sexually reproducing creatures strongly desire to have sex, whether you want kids or not, your body does.

Long before I became a mom, I really couldn't see myself having kids. Freedom has always been the life blood of my husband and me, and frankly, I like my house to look good. Kids screw all that up. Because I've kept journals since I was 8, I can recall specifically the moment I started thinking about having kids. Hubby & I had been dating for a while, and I was starting to get the feeling that I may just want to spend the rest of my life with him. I was at the beach one day with my journal, and there was a curly blonde haired little kid playing in the sand next to my blanket. She just looked like something he & I would produce. The strong feelings of want when I saw that kid, kind of surprised me. I wrote it all down.

But logical reasons outweighed want, and we went about our lives enjoying our freedom. Then my father in law died, and over the course of a year, my husband & I went through the property deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. It was a year of studying a long life lived. There were milestones, there was tragedy and there were friends. But most of all, there was someone's life. Someone without whom, I would not have my husband. And suddenly we weren't facing death, we were facing life. All those logical reasons for not having children were usurped by the strong desire to have life continue. We had our son 2 years later.

Had I known the difficulties and expense we were to face, would I have gone ahead with it? Good Heavens, yes. If I do nothing else of importance with my life, I have created a new person. He may change the world one day. Or he may not. He may make some lucky girl very happy, and that's good enough for me. My husband & I will die some day, but a part of us will live on in our son and then his children and their children. You just cannot put a price on that.
 

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For starters for most, it's likely a biologically driven desire over which they have no control. Physiologically speaking, it's why sexually reproducing creatures strongly desire to have sex, whether you want kids or not, your body does.

Long before I became a mom, I really couldn't see myself having kids. Freedom has always been the life blood of my husband and me, and frankly, I like my house to look good. Kids screw all that up. Because I've kept journals since I was 8, I can recall specifically the moment I started thinking about having kids. Hubby & I had been dating for a while, and I was starting to get the feeling that I may just want to spend the rest of my life with him. I was at the beach one day with my journal, and there was a curly blonde haired little kid playing in the sand next to my blanket. She just looked like something he & I would produce. The strong feelings of want when I saw that kid, kind of surprised me. I wrote it all down.

But logical reasons outweighed want, and we went about our lives enjoying our freedom. Then my father in law died, and over the course of a year, my husband & I went through the property deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. It was a year of studying a long life lived. There were milestones, there was tragedy and there were friends. But most of all, there was someone's life. Someone without whom, I would not have my husband. And suddenly we weren't facing death, we were facing life. All those logical reasons for not having children were usurped by the strong desire to have life continue. We had our son 2 years later.

Had I known the difficulties and expense we were to face, would I have gone ahead with it? Good Heavens, yes. If I do nothing else of importance with my life, I have created a new person. He may change the world one day. Or he may not. He may make some lucky girl very happy, and that's good enough for me. My husband & I will die some day, but a part of us will live on in our son and then his children and their children. You just cannot put a price on that.

Good post.
When my husband's father died recently, my husband was with him the entire time, at his bedside.
He was actually holding his hand when he died.
Afterward, my husband- who is childless- mentioned that "nobody will be there to do that for me, when I die".

I tried to cheer him up by saying my kids are his kids, etc... but I know what he meant.
It's true, and it's a sad realization.
It's too late to change it now.
He doesn't really want to change it... but every decision has its upside and downside, and I think until then, my husband had never realized there was any downside to not having biological kids.

Of course, you could have a whole passel of kids and still die alone; my husband's dad had six; only one was with him at the end.
 

hallam

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That's true. I've read those studies.
One of the greatest indicators of whether or not people are happy is whether or not they have kids. People with kids are less happy in general than childless people.

Stress, probably. A mother is only as happy as her least happy child.

I have also read studies showing that raising children can be the most satisfying experience a person can do.
 

1069

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I have also read studies showing that raising children can be the most satisfying experience a person can do.

Once you have kids, you need them in order to be happy (more, you need them to be happy themselves, and thriving, in order to be happy).
It's kind of like smoking: once you're hooked, you can't be happy without cigarettes.
The greatest satisfaction in the world is knowing you have a full carton in the freezer, and your cigarette situation is covered.
But if you're a non-smoker, you don't need cigarettes to be happy.

Same with kids, I'd imagine.
But then again, what would I know? I've been a mom since my mid-teens. I don't remember what it's like not to be one, and I never got to be a childless adult at all.
My own fault, my own choice, but still.
 

Goshin

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For starters for most, it's likely a biologically driven desire over which they have no control. Physiologically speaking, it's why sexually reproducing creatures strongly desire to have sex, whether you want kids or not, your body does.

Long before I became a mom, I really couldn't see myself having kids. Freedom has always been the life blood of my husband and me, and frankly, I like my house to look good. Kids screw all that up. Because I've kept journals since I was 8, I can recall specifically the moment I started thinking about having kids. Hubby & I had been dating for a while, and I was starting to get the feeling that I may just want to spend the rest of my life with him. I was at the beach one day with my journal, and there was a curly blonde haired little kid playing in the sand next to my blanket. She just looked like something he & I would produce. The strong feelings of want when I saw that kid, kind of surprised me. I wrote it all down.

But logical reasons outweighed want, and we went about our lives enjoying our freedom. Then my father in law died, and over the course of a year, my husband & I went through the property deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. It was a year of studying a long life lived. There were milestones, there was tragedy and there were friends. But most of all, there was someone's life. Someone without whom, I would not have my husband. And suddenly we weren't facing death, we were facing life. All those logical reasons for not having children were usurped by the strong desire to have life continue. We had our son 2 years later.

Had I known the difficulties and expense we were to face, would I have gone ahead with it? Good Heavens, yes. If I do nothing else of importance with my life, I have created a new person. He may change the world one day. Or he may not. He may make some lucky girl very happy, and that's good enough for me. My husband & I will die some day, but a part of us will live on in our son and then his children and their children. You just cannot put a price on that.


God bless you for sharing that, ma'am.


I won't go into so much detail. Just suffice it to say, when I was 20 I had little intrest in children. When I got married I wanted to wait several years. When I first learned my wife was pregnant by mischance I wasn't exactly thrilled, but I accepted it. We divorced when he was 2 and I took custody because she was completely unable and unsuited. I made a committment to be the best father I could be and to put everything else 2nd place or lower. To say this required a lot of sacrifice on my part is a huge understatement.

I have never regretted that decision. No, not even now, when he's a teenager.

There is simply nothing like being a parent. I can't explain it to you. You have to experience it to really understand.
 
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The best reason to have children, is to get grandchildren...:2razz:

We have been very lucky, 2 healthy kids who graduated college (on parentships), got married, and THEN made babies. Out of 7 grandchildren, only one has problems, an inoperable brain tumor that so far hasn't affected her too badly. All are smart, funny, and love their grandparents, especially grandma. We have 3 spending the night right now.

It is a lot of fun to watch their personalities develop, play basketball and baseball and soccer, get old enough to think about the opposite gender, etc. That is where we are now, with the oldest at 13, and getting a bit moody.

We are also lucky enough to have retired well and have the money to help them pay for college, as we did with our own 2....

On my wife's parents side, out of 20 grandkids, all but one are doing very well. That one is stubborn, wants to lock horns with life instead of enjoying the ride.
On MY side, the opposite applies, most of them are just scraping by.

Parents are the major influence, but grandparents can play a major role as well.

Out of 6 kids my mother raised, only 3 of the 5 living nearby went to her funeral, and no friends. You reap what you sow. I asked her why she had kids if we were such a burden to her, and she said "because that is what people did in our day". Poor reasoning, for sure...
If you complain constantly about the expense of the first one, don't repeat the mistake.
It doesn't get cheaper by adding more to the family..

However, dying alone is a very sad thing...
 

1069

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The best reason to have children, is to get grandchildren...

Hear, hear!
I always wondered what it would be like to have a daughter: now I'm about to have something even better- a granddaughter.

All the joy, only half the worry (at least, that's how I'm hoping it will be!). :lol:

However, dying alone is a very sad thing...

True dat.
If you're not going to have any kids, best make a lot of friends, so you'll have someone to count on when you need them.

Out of 7 grandchildren, only one has problems, an inoperable brain tumor that so far hasn't affected her too badly.

Oh, I'm glad to hear she's still doing well.
I've wondered about her and hoped she was.
 
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000_2827.jpg


Well, if this isn't ample reason, I don't know what is!
 

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Well, if this isn't ample reason, I don't know what is!

That's a good point. You get to act like a kid again. My husband rides the amusement park rides with our son. I do somersaults and handstands in the lake with him, and we boogeyboard in the ocean. Right now as the leaves turn their autumn colors and shake outside in the cold wind, we go upstairs after dinner, get into our pj's, get comfy in the boy's bed and watch Goosebumps. Lord I love this stuff.

If you had a difficult childhood, you can almost rewrite the script. You can give your children the childhood you never had, and all the while you get to reap those benefits. Sure therapy would actually cost less, but it's not nearly as fun.
 

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Hear, hear!
I always wondered what it would be like to have a daughter: now I'm about to have something even better- a granddaughter.

All the joy, only half the worry (at least, that's how I'm hoping it will be!). :lol:



True dat.
If you're not going to have any kids, best make a lot of friends, so you'll have someone to count on when you need them.



Oh, I'm glad to hear she's still doing well.
I've wondered about her and hoped she was
.

Grandmothers and granddaughters share a special bond that most men will never understand.

Kenzie, the one with the tumor, is a bit unstable on her feet, and her left arm gets the shakes.
Thanks to the Parkinson's, I am also unstable, but to a much lesser degree, and my right arm gets the shakes.

I thought we might have a special bond, but when I offered her my 30 year old Diplomat coupe (when she gets a license 5 years from now), she told me to keep it. It isn't her style, I guess....
 

Kandahar

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Thanks for the comments, everyone. I appreciate your trying to explain it to me...but I guess I just don't get it. None of the things mentioned so far seem like rational reasons to me.
 

Goshin

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Thanks for the comments, everyone. I appreciate your trying to explain it to me...but I guess I just don't get it. None of the things mentioned so far seem like rational reasons to me.



It isn't about rationality.

If you limit your life to the purely rational, you're giving up a LOT.
 

RightinNYC

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Very odd, I was actually thinking about those studies today.

Here are some problems I have:

1) Childless people are, by and large, childless by choice. There are certainly many out there who are unable to have kids and never end up adopting, but I would bet that the majority simply choose not to procreate. Among those who do have kids, I would bet that a much larger percentage ended up having more kids than they anticipated or having kids sooner than they wanted to. That could skew the numbers

2) A couple that is childless and decides that they want to have kids can either crap one out or adopt. A couple that has children and decides it doesn't want kids is pretty much screwed. Having options open creates additional happiness.

3) Most of those studies look at people who have kids that are, well, kid aged. I wonder if that same gap would exist if you looked at 60 or 80 year old couples with and without children.

4) Poor families tend to have more children than rich families, while childless parents tend to be richest of all. I would wager that a large part of the gap can simply be attributed to that wealth disparity. Even when controlling for the fact that having kids tends to make you less wealthy, I think this still cuts against the argument.

As to the benefits of having kids:

1) You get to give them awesome names like Brick or Ghengis or Magnum or Socrates.
2) You get to coach them in sports until they get drafted into the pros and buy you a boat.
3) If you're into sociology, you can run real life tests.
 
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Your Star

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For starters for most, it's likely a biologically driven desire over which they have no control. Physiologically speaking, it's why sexually reproducing creatures strongly desire to have sex, whether you want kids or not, your body does.

Long before I became a mom, I really couldn't see myself having kids. Freedom has always been the life blood of my husband and me, and frankly, I like my house to look good. Kids screw all that up. Because I've kept journals since I was 8, I can recall specifically the moment I started thinking about having kids. Hubby & I had been dating for a while, and I was starting to get the feeling that I may just want to spend the rest of my life with him. I was at the beach one day with my journal, and there was a curly blonde haired little kid playing in the sand next to my blanket. She just looked like something he & I would produce. The strong feelings of want when I saw that kid, kind of surprised me. I wrote it all down.

But logical reasons outweighed want, and we went about our lives enjoying our freedom. Then my father in law died, and over the course of a year, my husband & I went through the property deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. It was a year of studying a long life lived. There were milestones, there was tragedy and there were friends. But most of all, there was someone's life. Someone without whom, I would not have my husband. And suddenly we weren't facing death, we were facing life. All those logical reasons for not having children were usurped by the strong desire to have life continue. We had our son 2 years later.

Had I known the difficulties and expense we were to face, would I have gone ahead with it? Good Heavens, yes. If I do nothing else of importance with my life, I have created a new person. He may change the world one day. Or he may not. He may make some lucky girl very happy, and that's good enough for me. My husband & I will die some day, but a part of us will live on in our son and then his children and their children. You just cannot put a price on that.

Really beautiful post Chuck!

I've always wanted to have kids, but I don't want to have them until I'm ready to have them.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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Well, having kids ain't a cake walk that's for sure, but there are emotional benefits, that are hard to explain.

My first son was unplanned, I was 17 when we found out he was on the way.
It set me back a great deal (finance wise), but I wouldn't change it, he's a great little gentleman and I couldn't ask for more.

My second son was planned, but poorly done, we were still broke when he was born.
Still though definitely worth it, different kid with a different personality.

Both of them love us and we put a lot into making sure they are well adjusted for life.
I have faith that when my wife and I get older, they will be there for us.
I don't think they'll need much from us, after they attain adulthood.
 

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I have never had any desire to have any kids, and I am completely baffled why almost everyone I meet wants to have them, either now or when they're older. Since I'm sure that some of you folks have kids or want them, maybe you could enlighten me. As I see it, it's a simple cost/benefit analysis:

COSTS:
- The financial costs are obscene. I would estimate at least $300K (in today's dollars) to raise them to age 18, and then more if you're paying for their college.
- The time/effort commitments are huge, especially when the kids are young.
- Having kids takes away your mobility, making you less able to move to a new area, start a new career, drop your significant other if it doesn't work out, or take worthwhile risks like investments/businesses.
- Kids can be emotionally draining, especially in the teenage years.
- It would be devastating if something bad ever happened to them, and painful just to worry about that possibility.
- Studies have shown that children rarely make their parents happier...the net effect of having kids is to make people LESS happy on average.

BENEFITS:
- None that I can think of?

This pretty much summarizes the thinking process of the modern mentality. Kids are no longer seen as a life necessity, but rather a burden based on a cost/benefit analysis, especially to people of privilege. People of privilege don't want to risk losing any of it by having a kid, so they postpone it or never do it.

I don't think having a kid is rational at all, but that's not really saying much. Having unprotected sex isn't rational either, but people do it; nor is eating incredibly unhealthy food or smoking; or doing high risk activities because they're fun. In fact, I think, on the whole, humanity is not all that rational.

The only people who have the luxury of rationality are the privileged classes. Everyone else is more or less behaving in an instinctual way.
 

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I rather lose my testicles than have a kid. I wouldnt want to raise a kid in this ****ty world either. To many problems. I want to DO things in this life and I dont want a kid holding me back.

Great Video
 
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spud_meister

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I'd prefer pets, society frowns on having sex with your children. :mrgreen:
 

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-- COSTS:
- The financial costs are obscene. I would estimate at least $300K (in today's dollars) to raise them to age 18, and then more if you're paying for their college.
- The time/effort commitments are huge, especially when the kids are young.
- Having kids takes away your mobility, making you less able to move to a new area, start a new career, drop your significant other if it doesn't work out, or take worthwhile risks like investments/businesses.
- Kids can be emotionally draining, especially in the teenage years.
- It would be devastating if something bad ever happened to them, and painful just to worry about that possibility.
- Studies have shown that children rarely make their parents happier...the net effect of having kids is to make people LESS happy on average.

Yeah the costs are horrible but you don't pay them up front or in one lump sum unless someone lied to me... Most things in life have an obscene cost - the amount you pay for the beer and hangovers you have over a lifetime, the electricity bills for your internet, TV, heating etc.

You don't look at it that way when you're about to have kids.

The time you put in with your kids is horrendous - but worth every penny. I had two with my former partner and you realise just how much you want your kids when your ex tries to prevent you ever seeing them again. Her legal bill ended up being twice mine but they now live with me out of their choice. I now have a third and the older two adore her and dote on her.

Worth every moment I spent in court and every legal bill I ever faced - voluntarily. I could have walked away and lived single but I loved my kids and wanted to be part of their lives.

Mobility - my parents moved every two years with us when I was young, we lived all over Africa and other parts of the world. Did me no harm. I am trying to give my kids a static home (only because it's so much harder to do what my parents did) but they travel a lot. Kids don't restrict your travel - they make it so much more pleasure.

Anything could happen at any time with kids or adults - of course it would be awful for something bad to happen. My youngest has mild cleido-cranial dystosis so her membranous bones (skull / clavicle and pelvis) will grow slower than other kids and she may have more teeth than other kids but she's still amazing. I love watching her grow and disprove all the doctor's fears. She's 10 months old and crawling perfectly, standing when she can and her teeth have already appeared.

That's worth more than all the money in the world.

Your final point is happiness - happiness has to be worked at. Just like relationships. My first marriage collapsed but it would have anyway even without the boys however my kids will always be there and will always provide me with happy moments - even when they don't wash as often or as thoroughly as they should. :mrgreen:

--BENEFITS:
- None that I can think of?

Only if you think about the benefits to yourself.
 
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