Why children?

March 21, 2007 at 2:26 pm (sociology)

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66 Comments

  1. lorsban said,

    Hello everyone,

    To give you a brief background, I’ve been married for almost a year and everyone in my clan keeps asking us if we have kids why not etc, etc…We have plans but maybe later anyway back to the topic, all this talk of kids got me thinking about a couple of questions:

    Why have kids? What’s their role? Most parents say that holding their newborn or seeing their child being born is the happiest moment of their lives. Why is that? What is it about the kids that makes their parents gush and feel all warm and fuzzy inside as if it were the highest plane of happiness?

    Then I went back to my previous idea of life’s purpose and goal which is to survive and to thrive. After trying to see how kids fit in to the picture, I saw a connection:

    We choose the best partners (with the best genes) to have a family with because we feel they can give us great kids with the right stuff to survive and thrive in this world. Most would say that opposites attract and studies have shown that we choose those whose genes Compliment ours. In other words we instinctively choose those whose strenghts cover up our weaknesses-physically, biologically, mentally, spiritually etc…Basically we want our kids to be our improvements or updated versions of ourselves. The hope is always that our kids will do better than we can. So we help them, raise them, push them to strive, work, achieve.

    We feel great when our kids succeed, and we blame ourselves when our kids falter.

    In essence, children represent hope. A clean slate and a better chance at fulfilling life’s purpose and the hope of getting that much closer to attaining life’s goal.

    What do you guys think?

  2. floyd said,

    Darwinism is what I am thinking.

  3. lorsban said,

    I’m sure there’s one hell of a pick up line somewhere in there
    😉

  4. myownenemy said,

    children=human race last long time

  5. myownenemy said,

    😉

  6. oriental67 said,

    You’ve basically just described Schopenhauer, Hegel, and Irigaray’s interpretation of the masculine order all rolled into one.

  7. wuliheron said,

    I sometimes joke with people saying, “May you be blessed with 12 children!” Once I had a couple respond, “How did you know? We both come from big families!”

    Anyway, new fathers get a big petosin rush when the baby is born as do mothers when they nurse. In other words, it is natural to love one’s offspring. In fact, virtually every species’ newborns display neotenic (youthful) features that make them attractive to their parents.

    The largest number of children on record born to the same mother is 63 and the largest for a male is estimated around 450. There are perhaps as many reasons for having children as there are people.

  8. AppleCider said,

    A child represents unconditional love. It’s like when you get a new puppy all it wants to do is lick your face and look cute. Even when it does something wrong like pee on the carpet you can’t bring yourself to be mad at it because it just wants to love you. Kids (the young ones anyways) are no different. They bond with the people that surround them immediately, and they know of no other emotions other than love. It is the preciousness, the innocence, and the love of an infant that drive people to have kids.

    Besides that aspect, there are other reasons why people might want to have kids. It’s almost always expected of couple to have kids within any given society. It is simply the next step in the life; it is their place in society to do so.

  9. surrealforreal said,

    I had children for one reason-

    I was bored. I had literally experienced all that I wanted to in life except having children. I read every book I wanted to read, I did all the hobbies I wanted to do, I started my own company and after all of that I simply ended up being bored. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old and I haven’t been bored since… 🙂

  10. petunia said,

    So I’m not a guy…can I still answer? I really want to have a child and don’t have one yet. Some of the reasons are to experience loving a child since that is an important part of being human. I’m also curious how it is to have a person grow inside me. Children are also really silly, so that gives me an excuse to act that way too, without everyone rolling their eyes at me. I also want to help someone grow up strong and kind.

    It can give people a sense of security to know that we are leaving someone we value in the world when we die. It gives us a sense of meaning and continuity.

  11. softtarget said,

    Kids are a lot of hard work. Expect to be woken up at inappropriate times, don’t expect to hold on to the same furniture for too much longer, and be prepared for clutter. They will crush your puny “life-style,” and consume your food. Random odors will begin to manifest in unexpected places, and The Wiggles (popular ozzy kid’s show), might drive you mad.

    But you might just experience love, true love, in a way that you would not otherwise know.

  12. aestheticist said,

    Petunia wrote:
    So I’m not a guy…can I still answer? I really want to have a child and don’t have one yet. Some of the reasons are to experience loving a child since that is an important part of being human. I’m also curious how it is to have a person grow inside me. Children are also really silly, so that gives me an excuse to act that way too, without everyone rolling their eyes at me. I also want to help someone grow up strong and kind.

    It can give people a sense of security to know that we are leaving someone we value in the world when we die. It gives us a sense of meaning and continuity.

    Why is it an important part of being human?

  13. lorsban said,

    Petunia,

    You mentioned continuity and I suspected as much also but didn’t mention it (explicitly) in the original post. But I think that’s one huge factor: we want our genes to continue so we seek to improve on them as much as we can. The better our genes are, the more chance they’ll have to survive. It’s as if the will to survive was ingrained at even the micro-biological level and it’s driving us to do things in its favor.

  14. rabeldin said,

    softtarget wrote:
    Kids are a lot of hard work. Expect to be woken up at inappropriate times, don’t expect to hold on to the same furniture for too much longer, and be prepared for clutter. They will crush your puny “life-style,” and consume your food. Random odors will begin to manifest in unexpected places, and The Wiggles (popular ozzy kid’s show), might drive you mad.

    But you might just experience love, true love, in a way that you would not otherwise know.

    The same can be said for spouses and pets. So, don’t get married and don’t adopt a dog!

    Life as a hermit satisfies some people. That’s ok.

  15. petunia said,

    Aestheticist wrote:
    Why is it an important part of being human?

    Maybe it is better to say it is a fundamental part of being human. It is an all encompassing experience that changes us, defines us, and it occurs universally to humans throughout the world and time. To never experience having a child, feeling parental love for a child, is to not experience something that typically defines the human experience. For me that makes it important.

  16. epilogas said,

    Basicly you are right. I consider having a child as first and most important indicator life was not in vain.

  17. moremanzanas said,

    Lorsban, “Darwinistically” you are right, but when it comes to choosing to have kids I think the social reasons have more to do with it. People nowaday have kids later in life and fewer because we can. Also; we don´t have to count on them for our economic welfare when we grow old (well yes we do, but society and taxes have taken care of this, not our own kids). About choosing the best genes: I don´t think it matters that much. A person; say a woman, who feels her biological clock is ticking might pick just about any bloke in order to fill her need, even attending a sperm bank where the only guarantee is that the “father” doesn´t have any genetical disease (I should think, I´m not very updated about how sperm banks work!), but theres nothing certain about the “father´s” qualities. And for men, who are not as restrained by the biological clock, well yes, most men prefer a genetically “strong”(=???beautiful,???=attractive) woman, but does it really prevent him from having many, maybee not so strong genetically, women? Isn´t he programmed biologically for quantity? As a member of society, family and their rules our reasons change a bit, that´s my point.

  18. rerity22 said,

    What good is man on earth after he’s dead. What has he left to society and the future? I would think that the answer for most people is kids. For most people having kids gives them a feeling of fullfilment in life. Maybe thats why great intellectuals and writters abstained from having kids, due to their own way of fullfilment and effect on the future via their theachings.

  19. aestheticist said,

    Petunia wrote:
    Maybe it is better to say it is a fundamental part of being human. It is an all encompassing experience that changes us, defines us, and it occurs universally to humans throughout the world and time. To never experience having a child, feeling parental love for a child, is to not experience something that typically defines the human experience. For me that makes it important.

    How does it define us? Why do you need someone to define yourself?

  20. petunia said,

    Aestheticist wrote:
    How does it define us? Why do you need someone to define yourself?

    We are already defined by others, just as we define others. How would you define yourself in such a way to negate the influence and relationship to all others and the world around you? In having children we become mother or father. Our children are influenced and defined in part by us as we are by them. Parenthood defines an all encompassing role to play, a function to fill. It influences most of our decisions from that point onwards, shapes our emotions towards another and ourselves, increases our desire to nurture and protect another human being, and might even make many a little sillier and chubbier.

    This has been experienced in countless contexts throughout human history. If we choose not to participate in this experience, there is an aspect of the human experience we will not share with our fellow human beings.

  21. floyd said,

    Defining oneself externally is (usually considered) psychologically unhealthy. However, interpersonal relationships may be an exception, as multiple relating beings essentially become one insofar as they relate with each other.

    -Floyd

  22. Skull Pilot said,

    There really is no remaining biological imperative to produce offspring. There are more than enough people on this planet that the human race, barring some nuclear war or an asteroid strike, will undoubtedly survive.

    That being said, there is really no reason to have children other than selfishness. People have children because they want to and no other reason. Now they may bend to the social pressure to have children but the underlying reason is still selfishness.

    Another question to ask is “Why are couples who make a conscious choice not to have children made to feel that they are somehow inadequate in the eyes of society?”

  23. floyd said,

    Skull Pilot wrote:
    People have children because they want to and no other reason.

    That’s a good reason. Instinctive pleasure is a great thing.

  24. Skull Pilot said,

    Certainly creating children is pleasurable as to the whole physical process of gestation, labour and childbirth, I’d have to say not so pleasurable. But I’ll let a woman answer that.

    the question is begged: What’s so great about having a child that it is worth the pain and possible dangers of childbirth?

  25. softtarget said,

    rabeldin wrote:

    The same can be said for spouses and pets. So, don’t get married and don’t adopt a dog!

    Yeah, but once you have a kid, you realize that (while you love them) they may not be the bundles of joy you at first expected- they are, literraly, a lot of hard work.

    And whether or not you planned on having that child becomes a mute point, once you’ve decided to raise that child, and they are born. In the case of spouses and pets, you can change your mind a few years in- a child, on the other hand, is here to stay.

    I got married to a woman who already had a kid, and I thought that would be enough for me. One day (inspite of use of contraception) I found out she was pregnant- what’s more, she was having twins! So here I am, with three kids, and I only experienced one unexpected pregnancy. I love them all, but I don’t get very much sleep.

  26. surrealforreal said,

    I don’t think raising kids is hard work at all. Getting up in the middle of the night for each of my kids wasn’t difficult at all. I can’t think of one difficult thing regarding my children that I have experienced.
    The only drawback I can see is I am more vulnerable to risks that I never had while childless. Vulnerable to all of the terrible things that can happen to a child from birth through adulthood. Seeing as my children have more worth to me than I do there is a new weak spot I have a that was not there before.

    Should tragedy happen, then yes, things would then be difficult. Is changing diapers at 3 am difficult? Nope…

  27. petunia said,

    Skull Pilot wrote:
    the question is begged: What’s so great about having a child that it is worth the pain and possible dangers of childbirth?

    I do think part of it is an instinctual drive. Every time I see a little child, their innocence, their potential, their beauty, I wish I could have one. I could love a child whether I gave birth to them or not. I feel I could be useful to help a child grow and learn to be strong and help make the world a little better. I also like buy little tiny sweaters, and special little clothes I see in hope of giving them to a tiny person someday. Sometimes I just want a tiny, hilarious person marching around the house with their own ideas about stuff. That might be reason enough for childbirth?

  28. surrealforreal said,

    Plenty of reason for having children. Actually it’s the best reason. Just be prepared for a child who may philsophically disagree with you because like it or not you won’t shape them as much as you think you will. I’ve read your debating skills and I guarantee you will have interesting dinner conversations… 🙂

  29. aestheticist said,

    Why do we need to specifically define ourselves by having kids?

  30. softtarget said,

    I don’t think that’s what petunia is saying at all. I think the point is that responsibility of having children becomes one of the defining aspects of one’s life, when they have a child. This seems obvious enough, it is a tremendous responsibility to undertake. It is certainly not the sole, specific definition of one’s life, and I don’t think this is what Petunia is saying, either.

  31. softtarget said,

    surrealforreal wrote:
    I don’t think raising kids is hard work at all. Getting up in the middle of the night for each of my kids wasn’t difficult at all. I can’t think of one difficult thing regarding my children that I have experienced.
    The only drawback I can see is I am more vulnerable to risks that I never had while childless. Vulnerable to all of the terrible things that can happen to a child from birth through adulthood. Seeing as my children have more worth to me than I do there is a new weak spot I have a that was not there before.

    Should tragedy happen, then yes, things would then be difficult. Is changing diapers at 3 am difficult? Nope…

    Trust me, if I only had one at a time, I would be a true baby master. Two at once can be quite a task. 😀 But I’ve maintained my sanity, and maybe come out stronger for it.

    I see your point about worry. When you have kids, a little part of you is always dwelling on them. i’ve found that moderation has been one of the side effects of having kids (for me, at least). Responsibility breeds moderation.

  32. rabeldin said,

    I don’t think taking care of babies is difficult. All you need is a wife who attends them 24/7. 😀

    Seriously, I never paid enough attention to them when they were young. They had to become little adults before I noticed them. 😀

    As to why we had them, I could never deny my wife anything she wanted. 😀

  33. discoveryii said,

    I think a good father would agree that seeing their kid grow up is, perhaps, the greatest joy the father could have. You can answer this question easily: play Pokemon :O

  34. lorsban said,

    moremanzanas wrote:
    About choosing the best genes: I don´t think it matters that much. A person; say a woman, who feels her biological clock is ticking might pick just about any bloke in order to fill her need, even attending a sperm bank where the only guarantee is that the “father” doesn´t have any genetical disease (I should think, I´m not very updated about how sperm banks work!), but theres nothing certain about the “father´s” qualities. And for men, who are not as restrained by the biological clock, well yes, most men prefer a genetically “strong”(=???beautiful,???=attractive) woman, but does it really prevent him from having many, maybee not so strong genetically, women? Isn´t he programmed biologically for quantity? As a member of society, family and their rules our reasons change a bit, that´s my point.

    Moremanzanas,

    You’re right about guys, in a way we are hardwired for quantity. However, since raising human young requires tremendous amount of effort to raise from both parents, most guys can’t simply go hopping from bed to bed, having kids all over. Because of this, I believe that once a man decides to have children, he chooses a woman who he feels can take care of them best. I think that’s why most guys get shocked by the painful realization that their once hot wives have turned into their mothers. The Empire Strikes Back.

  35. periculum said,

    I agree with those who said having kids was selfish continuation of genes. I wish to have kids in order to propogate MYSELF. I wish to contribute to the world, to spread my genes and my ideas in the production and raising of kids. Even if my kids grow to completely disagree with me, it doesn’t matter. No matter how they turn out, they will be a product of me and my love.

  36. lorsban said,

    periculum wrote:
    I agree with those who said having kids was selfish continuation of genes. I wish to have kids in order to propogate MYSELF. I wish to contribute to the world, to spread my genes and my ideas in the production and raising of kids. Even if my kids grow to completely disagree with me, it doesn’t matter. No matter how they turn out, they will be a product of me and my love.

    That’s as direct as it gets. And basically, this is what the initial post is about.

  37. aloysha said,

    I agree that the desire to have children is mostly selfish. There are many psychological benefits to having children. The first is the expectation (especially for women) that by having a child they will always have someone to love them, even if their spouse leaves. Another benefit is the almost god-like control over newborns which can be very gratifying and fulfills the need for power and control which could be especially appealing to an authoritative type parent with low self-esteem who has to put up with submitting to an authoritative boss or spouse all day.

    Now these psychological benefits might decrease over time, but I think it is quite common for parents to view their children as ego-extensions long after they are born. For instance, I know several families who enroll their children in every concievable activity from piano lessons, to karate, to Spanish programs when they are 5 or 6 years old. In this case it seems the parents do not view their children as children, but more as products they hope to mold into superior products that will reflect positively on them and that they can show off to thier friends.

    So them,

    Is if right to have children for purely selfish reasons?

    If not, what is a good reason to have a child?

    Should there be some limit on the number of children one has? That is, is it a problem that some people might have 6 or 10 children so they will have more chances for one of them to do well and reflect postitively on the parent or to take care of them in old age? What about the environmental impact and resource consumption of huge families?

  38. petunia said,

    Self interest is certainly a factor in having children, but this instistence on it being completely selfish sounds like an oversimplification. All acts are not equally selfish, however such a belief excuses those who wish to indulge their selfishness. That some parents use their children as extensions of their own ego gratification (and MANY do), does not mean that everyone does this at all times. My father was completely selfish and didn’t want children. He was too selfish to desire this. He was cruel and indulged his selfishness regularly. I’m not a parent yet, but these descriptions lead me to think of my mother and attempt to fit her into such a mold. It doesn’t work. Her love is unconditional and selfless. She spent her life helping young chidren as a kindergarten teacher, and has said that she does not believe in talking down to children. They are important people with important things to say. She didn’t indulge a sense of power or control, but helped them with their needs. I have accomplished plenty in my life, but feel her love would be exactly the same if I were barefoot and flipping burgers. It is sad for a person who cannot see past selfishness, when so much lies beyond it.

  39. aloysha said,

    Petunia:

    I completely agree not all parents are selfish. I have been thinking hard about this question myself. I can definately see the benefits to having a child, but then I wonder if it is even right to bring a child into the world now. It seems to me that the environmental problems are quite serious and the way we live now may not be possible for much longer.

    Is it right to bring a child into a world with so much uncertainty, when he or she might have to endure terrible suffering if things do go in a negative direction?

    Where I live, there are many homeless alcoholics wandering the streets each night. I wonder, might it have been better if the parents of that child never brought him or her into the world? I think some parents do not consider the impact of having 5 or 6 children will have on the earth and on the lives of those children if they are not properly taken care of. It is a difficult decision indeed, and one I think is often made with far too little consideration and far too much self-interest.

  40. lorsban said,

    Aloysha,

    Environmental conditions are a factor that you should think of when deciding to have a child but I don’t think its reason enough to not have a child. The main reason is that there is no such thing as an ideal situation to raise a child. There can be just as many failures as success stories in both seemingly ideal and seemingly “bad” conditions.

    I think the only thing parents should think about is their capacity to raise a child. How mature are they? How stable (emotionally, economically, spiritually) are they? How stable is their relationship with one another?

    If the parents have the capacity and have the right qualities then they can raise the child in any situation and the child will most probably be better off. More than the situation, its the ability of the couple for responsible parenthood that matters more.

  41. lorsban said,

    Hey guys,

    I think that the main reason my wife and I aren’t thinking about kids yet is the fact that raising kids is not a joke. We’ve seen it happen too often that the couple have kids too early into the marriage that all the focus is placed on the kids and not on their relationship.

    When this happens, the parents find out too late that they’re incompatible and their fights and separation will inevitably scar their all too vulnerable children in the end. Or the parents can choose to mask or hide it from their kids until they feel that their kids are “ready” to face the reality-which is a tough situation and never works because kids are more perceptive than we think they are. They can tell when something’s not right.

  42. moremanzanas said,

    periculum wrote:
    I agree with those who said having kids was selfish continuation of genes. I wish to have kids in order to propogate MYSELF. I wish to contribute to the world, to spread my genes and my ideas in the production and raising of kids. Even if my kids grow to completely disagree with me, it doesn’t matter. No matter how they turn out, they will be a product of me and my love.

    I don´t think having kids is more or less selfish than anything else. Marriage in more selfish “I promise to live with you for the rest of my life and not have others, if you do the same”, but it doesn´t stop us from getting married. Not having kids is as selfish as having them, by using anticonceptives you are also deciding a path to your life. As to whether it is good or not for everybody to have kids is another thing, a decision for the individual to make. The middle aged women I know who decided not to have kids are as selfish as the ones who have them, usually they just have more money to spend on themselves.

    And Lorsban, when you get dead tired about people asking, tell them you´ll have five or six, that will keep them quiet.

  43. lorsban said,

    Funny you mention that. Actually, when someone asks I say we’re having a dozen. 😀

    And they really do shut up.

    And you’re right about not having kids, in a lot of cases its even more for selfish reasons than having kids. When you have a baby, all your attention will be focused on the baby. Nearly everything you do will be for your baby. Without a child, you’ll still be doing things for yourselves.

  44. asis said,

    Having kids is great. I’ve just assumed that it completes some biological circuit but there is no doubt that it changes your life in a good way. It changes your perspective in that you become substantially less egocentric, you will learn to be much more patient, you will become more compassionate, you will become more socially conscious as your kid goes to school you will make connections with other parents and you will become more involved with town/city government as issues related to schools/taxes/etc. get debated.

    As it relates to this discussion board, one of the things that is best about having kids is that you have to make some hard, clear decisions about what you believe. You need to teach your child about the world.

    My daughter is 4.5 years old. One of her cats died last month. What do you say to a child of that age when they ask you where their beloved cat has gone? It’s a poignant moment and it tests your own beliefs. I believe that my daughter has made me a better man.

  45. lorsban said,

    Asis,

    I think you’ve just stated the direct improvement a child can make on ourselves and our environment. It’s true that because of our children, we want to make the living environment as a whole better-so we become conscious and pro-active citizens. Without kids, we’d care less what happens since we can just up and go when we please. With kids, we do our best to improve the environment for them primarily but in doing so, we’ve helped improve things for everybody’s sake.

    You’re also right about self improvement. I’ve seen a bunch of my old friends who used to be totally useless goofballs turn into responsible citizens because of their kids. In effect, we focus on the kids but in actuallity, everybody benefits.

    The question is, do we know this instinctively or subconsciously? Are we instinctively driven because of their benefit to us?

    Parents never choose to have kids for the reasons you’ve stated but I agree that these are the tangible benefits. So could it be that these benefits are in fact hard-wired into our systems?

  46. asis said,

    Could it be? . . . Yes.

  47. azazel said,

    I wouldn’t say hardwired, but impressed upon our subconscience as a possible, desirable result just through personal experiences.

  48. omen said,

    I’ve often asked whats the point in life?
    Why work for a shit wage?why do anything?

    And it all comes down to mating and producing offspring, we’ve evolved a womb-load since back in the day (millions of years ago, perhaps?) but our primary mission is still to have kids, to keep the race in stock with newer kids

    Society has changed massively now though, we’re at crossroads
    We don’t need any more people in the world really, cos 6 billion odd aren’t gonna snuff it overnight
    Careers,materialism,lifetsyles overall have changed to an extent where children are becoming second to jobs and enjoyment(hobbies etc)

    Lifestyle charts 2006; Down 1 at number 2 is children, our new number one is Careers

  49. speed of sound said,

    myownenemy wrote:
    children=human race last long time

    Thats sort of what I am thinking…… Humanity is always stiving to be better (not always succeeding ). I believe that what we’re really thinking is of improving humanity through our kids. If someone believes that thier genes are good for the race, they have children to pass it down. That’s also why we teach our children lessons we’ve learned, not only so that they don’t have to ‘learn the hard way’, but also so they can spend thier time learning more lessons then you did, and thier children learning more lessons than they did, and so on and so on.

  50. nixnix said,

    I think it would be interesting to know reasons against having kids.

    For example, a pessimistic person might claim “life is too cruel”, or “probability of passing on hereditary shit is too high”. Yet a kid might be an optimist and probabilies can be improved, right? Perhaps the most common reasons against having kids are pragmatic, such as economy, or comfort… ?

  51. asis said,

    nixnix wrote:
    I think it would be interesting to know reasons against having kids.

    For example, a pessimistic person might claim “life is too cruel”, or “probability of passing on hereditary shit is too high”. Yet a kid might be an optimist and probabilies can be improved, right? Perhaps the most common reasons against having kids are pragmatic, such as economy, or comfort… ?

    I’ve three comments here: the first is that people who have diseases or other genetic conditions might well opt to refrain from having kids. On the other hand, there are two points to be made. These situations are most often a matter of statistical probability. Huntington’s Disease, for example, is genetically passed on from parent to child. Woody Guthrie died of Huntington’s Disease and his son spent some considerable time wondering if he would die in a similar manner. He did not die and I. for one, am glad that Arlo was given the opportunity for life. The second point is simply this – perhaps a short life is better than no life at all.

    My third point is that the concept of NOT having kids for economic reasons presupposes a specific economic starting point. What I mean is this: If you start in the suburbs then having kids means a) extra bedrooms, b) buying more basball gloves, ballerina gear, music lessons, soccer practices, etc. If you live in a third world agrarian system, having lots of kids means, a) increaased liklihood that someone will actually survive and be able to support you in your old age, b) increased liklihood that someone will help out with the cooking, cleaning, etc. c) lots of help with the crops in the fields.

    Anyone who wants to do some serious research might look into the evolving situation in China where for many years there has been a policy of “one child per family.” (population control) This has led to some unexpected results.
    This is a great topic. Thanks.

  52. moremanzanas said,

    nixnix wrote:
    I think it would be interesting to know reasons against having kids.

    For example, a pessimistic person might claim “life is too cruel”, or “probability of passing on hereditary shit is too high”. Yet a kid might be an optimist and probabilies can be improved, right? Perhaps the most common reasons against having kids are pragmatic, such as economy, or comfort… ?

    I´ve heard this “life is to cruel” argument and personally I don´t think it´s a good enough an answer. Is life really crueler today than 1000 years ago? Possibly, the people supporting this argument have had a cruel life.

    What about changing the example aswell, an optimistic person´s reason for not having kids? Would the argument be that his own life is so good so he doesn´t want to step out of the comfort zone and share his life? I believe a career-oriented life sometimes can make us comfortable and kids threaten that comfort with all the time and money they need.

    Furthermore, I think that as a citizen you interpret what qualities a parent should have, there are laws carried out by institutions that set standards regarding children´s rights, there is a market offering what many people believe that children should have, schools in which the childs education is shaped, society,neighbours, family influence in the individuals idea of a “parent”. If you as an individual start having doubts about being able to provide resources according to your image of “a good parent”, this may also be a reason for not having kids. As an example (vague, but still an example ) I might have strong feelings against the schoolsystem, but as a citizen I will have to send my kids to school, which goes against my beliefs. I might think it is more important to protect my beliefs and values than having children.

    (This is not my case though, I´ll just try hard to find a very good school,that applies to my beliefs, for my kid and hopefully this will be the best choice)

  53. cuttress said,

    “life is cruel” is a psychological escape route. It is a dogma stipulated by the selfish in denial.

  54. moremanzanas said,

    I agree. A more honest answer would probably be “I might be cruel”.

  55. Fiammetta said,

    I think that it is hope, more than anything else that would drive me to have children. I am a well educated, successful woman who could raise children well. In my case, I have some hereditary defects that I would be 85% likely to pass on to any offspring I might have. So at 24, I had my tubes tied for that reason. It’s not that I don’t want to raise kids, I don’t want to bear children that would suffer and possibly die prematurely. If/when I get married and settle down, I’d like to adopt two children. I would be a good mother, and I am looking forward to raising my children to be compassionate and productive members of society. I think I could provide a good home, and a good stable environment to these children that would allow them to flourish.

    I think that people have a desire to further society. Some do it out of ignorance (accidental pregnancies or just a general misunderstanding of the global population problem) but some do it because they may have the next person to change the world. We all want the world to be a better place, we just have different ways of executing that plan.

    I do think that people should only have enough children to replace themselves, but that is because I understand that there is a global problem. I tend to think that people who have 5+ kids are ignorant and doing a great disservice to society. I don’t care who told them to “go forth and multiply”, or why they need so many kids… I care about the fact that oil prices are driven by the SUV of the family with 5+ kids who use more oil in a year than a small african village of 500 uses in 5 years, and that it effects the global economy and further separates rich and poor. People shouldn’t have more kids because they can, that is selfish and lacks compassion for the global community. But that’s just my opinion.

  56. nixnix said,

    I think that it is hope, more than anything else that would drive me to have children.

    Hope for what?
    I suppose we tend to hope for a future with humans in it. Reproduction is one way to fulfill it, immortality (ignoring the improbability) is another.

  57. Fiammetta said,

    Immortality, while an interesting concept, does not complete the cycle of birth and death that all life is built around. If it were possible, I am not sure that it would not bring down all of mankind. Old minds die, so that we stop holding onto past mistakes and can move forward. Death symbolises a moving on from the past, and learning from it’s mistakes.

    A hope for a better future. A hope to be remembered and have an impact on society. A hope that our children will do better for society than we did.

    People have children to be immortal. They have the hope that their values and morals will carry forward into the future and that they impacted it in some way. We all want to be part of a bigger whole in some way, we all want to teach others lessons with the way we live our lives, good or bad. Some rebel against society to attempt to change things either conciously or subconsiously, and some move positive things forward by believing in them and carrying the torch.

  58. cuttress said,

    Fiammetta wrote:
    People have children to be immortal.

    You have created the world in your own image. Even the claim above is a generalized assertion that only applies to a select few. I have long read in-between the lines and made many observations and what I have found is that there are so many other variables that play key roles. I know many girls who live in project housing or other low-income or gov’t funded areas and the truth is that notions of legacy and contribution was the last thing on these persons’ minds. Usually, in many of these cases the pill failed, or they were just not careful and decided to go ahead with having the baby. Meanwhile, the father pisses off and is nowhere to be found and the women can’t even afford the legal fees to get her alamony or child-support that she is entitled to because she is an impoverished welfare case to begin with. THe final product is an accident-child growing up in an impoverished area with values perhaps even more decadent and degenerated then the parents. This is hardly a “contribution” or “immortality”. Even this example is one case, but be careful with dogmas and generalization based in the world you live where the grass is green and the sun always shines.

  59. Fiammetta said,

    I think that people who procreate below the poverty line, do so more out of accident or ignorance and not because they want to have children. The ones that do want to have many children below the poverty line, usually do so for religious reasons or for what they can get out of the government if they do. But they are the exception, not the other way around.

    Most people want to have children because they feel like they can raise productive members of society that will carry on their legacy of morals and values. The original poster postulated on reasons people purposely pro-create. That is what I was commenting on.

  60. lorsban said,

    Fiammetta wrote:
    I do think that people should only have enough children to replace themselves, but that is because I understand that there is a global problem. I tend to think that people who have 5+ kids are ignorant and doing a great disservice to society. I don’t care who told them to “go forth and multiply”, or why they need so many kids… I care about the fact that oil prices are driven by the SUV of the family with 5+ kids who use more oil in a year than a small african village of 500 uses in 5 years, and that it effects the global economy and further separates rich and poor. People shouldn’t have more kids because they can, that is selfish and lacks compassion for the global community. But that’s just my opinion.

    The issue with purposely having many kids is that some of your kids won’t be getting the proper guidance and attention that they deserve-this will pose a problem for them later on. That’s irresponsible. But, in my opinion if you can plan it properly and put a proper gap in between children it may be manageable and even successful.

    The global economy and the oil issue, I think, is a different topic. But if I were to comment, I think that there is no overpopulation and there is no scarcity issue. The main problem is distribution. Some have too much, some have too little. The goal shouldn’t be to suppress the needs of those with less, rather to think of ways to properly distribute the resources of those with more. (some would consider people as resources as well)

  61. moremanzanas said,

    Lorsban wrote:
    The issue with purposely having many kids is that some of your kids won’t be getting the proper guidance and attention that they deserve-this will pose a problem for them later on. That’s irresponsible. But, in my opinion if you can plan it properly and put a proper gap in between children it may be manageable and even successful.

    The global economy and the oil issue, I think, is a different topic. But if I were to comment, I think that there is no overpopulation and there is no scarcity issue. The main problem is distribution. Some have too much, some have too little. The goal shouldn’t be to suppress the needs of those with less, rather to think of ways to properly distribute the resources of those with more. (some would consider people as resources as well)

    Yes. I think that the number is not important but would hope it would be a concient and more mature choice in many cases. In some cases the most correct choice may be to have none, for others 12 may not be so bad. It is difficult not to follow the norm 2 maximum 3 kids when you do common activities as hanging out with people from work, family or childrens daycare centers, as Lorsban stated at the beginning of this thread people question when when when.

    As a man you might easier be able to get away with not having children and focus on your career, women in developed countries may be able to justify why they´re not having kids, but in a developing country? Well, of course you have a choice but the consequences of deciding not to have kids may not be very pleasant. In some societies men are advised to find another woman if she hasn´t “given” him a child. I believe that a vast population is not aware that they have a choice as marriage is more of an economic union than a romantic one.

  62. lorsban said,

    moremanzanas wrote:
    As a man you might easier be able to get away with not having children and focus on your career, women in developed countries may be able to justify why they´re not having kids, but in a developing country? Well, of course you have a choice but the consequences of deciding not to have kids may not be very pleasant. In some societies men are advised to find another woman if she hasn´t “given” him a child. I believe that a vast population is not aware that they have a choice as marriage is more of an economic union than a romantic one.

    That’s true. There really are places where having kids is THE reason for union. Here in the Philippines there’s a lot of pressure on couples. But things are changing, now that times are harder and also because people are slowly realizing that child rearing is difficult. Most couples however still have a candy-coated notion of having kids, they get all giggly and gushy.

    My wife and I on the other hand have a pretty good idea that that’s not the case. I have 3 siblings, all with kids and it ain’t no picnic. Actually, I don’t know how some parents do it. Especially those that are still young and working. You come from work all tired and your kids want all your attention so you give it and end up more tired, eat, feed the kids, dress them up, change diapers, put them to sleep, see why they’re crying, put them to sleep again-all while getting a few winks in between. Seriously, you guys deserve a medal.

  63. theabsenceofdeceit said,

    Governments want one thing from us, to have kids so they can become more economic slaves of a nation. We expand and the economy grows. I guess thats fine because as the person supports his country the country supports the person. So governmental reasons can simpily be brushed aside. But that is easy for me to say for i am in a generally free country. But it is very easy for me to brush the government’s reasons aside.

    On a personal level, we have children to support ourselves. Every action we take is an ATTEMPT at furthering our own happiness. Just the same as going to the casino is an ATTEMPT to further line your pockets with gold. It can backfire. Having childrem could turn out to be a nightmare.

    It is undoubtable that when it comes to having a child of your own there is an intense love. For me I’de say it is a sense of duty. that it is my duty as a parent to protect and love my child. And of course all the other reasons to love an offspring, the hope of them achieving, being a new hope, of immortality, of the continuation of flesh and blood, of watching them grow up.

    But when you boil it down to its roots you have a child for YOU. To better yourself to create this love. A selfless deed does not exist. Conciously you may be concidering someone else, but within you are thinking about you. You may pull someone out of a bus for glory of the feeling it provides, or the fact that yuo would feel bad about walking away. These thoughts are often subconcious but they still exist.

    of course this isnt where it all ends. Just because you have a child to make yourself happy, it doesnt make the childs personal life any lesser than your own. Your love definitly doesnt equal nothing as a moral deed. maybe you subconciously are only conciderign yourself, but you actions and love will make your child grow up to live a decent life. and also the moralistic prospects dont make the feelings any less perfect.

    (I dont actually have children, but have spent a decent sum of time thinking about the concept)

  64. asis said,

    theabsenceofdeceit wrote:
    Governments want one thing from us, to have kids so they can become more economic slaves of a nation. We expand and the economy grows.

    Of course this is not an absolute. We all know that the government of China has created laws expressly forbidding couples (women) from having more than one child. I’m no economist but it seems relatively easy to see that at a certain tipping point, increasing population will actually create an economic drag on a society.

  65. kangda said,

    From my experience, not many chinese have respect for that law, or respect for any greater good belief. They often goto a different country to give birth to circumvent that law. Or they just have more since in rural china which is 80% of china there is no way to enforce the law.

    I’m still not sure why china has that law, because the chinese government doesnt consider its people a responsibility.
    Probably was a political reason behind making that policy and that’s it.

  66. asis said,

    Well, it seems that we have had radically different experiences then. You see, my experience has been that virtually everything you’ve said is in error. Please let me take it point by point:

    K: Not many Chinese have respect for that law . . .
    J: It’s not clear to me if you mean they dislike the law or if they follow the law. My experience has been that the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people obey this law, even if they do not like (respect) it.

    K: They often go to a different country to give birth . . .
    J: You must have been hanging out with all those rich Chinese people. I was hanging out with the regular Chinese people who do not have the means for international travel. Again, the vast majority of the Chinese people do not even have passports (which are not given out as easily in China as in the USA)

    K: . . .since in rural China . . . there is no way to enforce the law.
    J: It’s true that most of China is rural and that it is somewhat easier to hide children in a rural environment. Despite this the law does get enforced. One need only look to the existence of the numerous orphanages located in rural areas to know this is true.

    K: Probably was a political reason behind making that policy.
    J: Gee, do you really think so? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that their population was growing exponentially while their capacity to support that population was only growing geometrically. They were in a position of having to decide between creating a policy to radically limit their population or going to war in order to acquire the necessary resources to support that growing population.

    There is a huge amount of information available on the internet related to this issue. If you’ve like to know more you can simply go to google. Or, you can start here: http://www.laogai.org/news/newsdetail.php?id=2218

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