Why Do People Have Kids?

I have always wondered why people choose to have children.

There is nothing rational about purposely raising one's own stress level, or having less discretionary income, or doing things your normally would not do in life. The answer most people often give for having kids is having a bloodline continuation, joy, or happiness. But why are children so expressly associated with happiness? Just because one has a child does, not automatically make everyone happy. Some people get rather depressed by having children, case in point (post partum depression).

All reasons for having kids are personal. In fact the times in which people had children out of necessity are non-existent in the modern civilized world. If you had a large farm that needed workers, okay that makes some rational sense. But these days if your an accountant, and she is a chef, you have no large amount of fields that need to be tilled, or livestock taken care of, so why? Continuation of a bloodline? I've driven around America from NYC, to California, to the deep south...some bloodlines should not be allowed to continue. We know for a fact not all persons whom are parents are good parents. We know some folks that have children should probably not have had children. I do not think many folks would have objected to Hitler's folks getting an abortion, but of course hindsight is 20/20.

Is there any way to logically arrive at an objective reason for having children?

I'll expand on this later, but for now one example is the economy. The economy quickly springs to mind, with the issue of having more potential workers. However...people whom do not have children pay more in taxes that people with children. People without children are discriminated against in the workplace because they do not get the "breaks" someone with children get in that environment. Children are so socially accepted into the fabric of being "good" and "positive" in the human psyche, we give families tax breaks to help them with a decision they made themselves which only affects them personally as that particular family. Is it fair and just to make people whom do not have children pay for the education of people with children as well? Logically, No. But people that don't have kids and went to public took use of the system, so okay they're paying what they used back basically. No argument there.

But why should those whom have children get tax credits? It defies logic. Your subsidizing not only other people's choices, but other people's children directly . Parents in society bear all burden of responsibility for their children's well being in all other matters, so why should people without children bear a financial responsibility to your child in the form of you the "family" getting a bigger tax break?

If you make $60,000 a year, and you have 3 kids let's say the government takes out $12,000...and you get back $5,000. And I make $60,000 a year have no kids, and they take $12,000 and I only get back $3,000 how is that fair to me? I worked hard as well, made the same amount of money..and let's say I lived across the street from you. The logic is when you have kids you have more expenses. Gee, REALLY. Logic says you could have had more money in your pocket if A) you did not have kids, B) had less kids, then you wouldn't need that extra $2,000 to cover what you have done for yourself. People do not have children for the community in modern day society.

You have them because you and the significant other had them for whatever reason, hopefully you both mutually decided to have children. No one has kids, and turns them over to the military from birth. Kids are not community property like a park bench, or a subway station. They are your kids, but they are also individuals. I can't walk up and say I need to borrow your kid to wash my windows, nor can anyone else in the neighborhood...(less they employ them, but that's another matter). So a couple having kids does not benefit the community in the short term at all, but rather an assumption that you having those children will benefit the community in the long term. Assuming you raise your kid to be a productive citizen whom gives back...less of course out of your so called non-selfish act of having kids, the kids does not turn selfish, and then it's all for naught based on your original intention of it being a selfless act.

The second reason is largely psychological. People say that children "bring joy", are a "blessing". And every other type of euphemism along these lines. Once again these are not objective reasons for deciding to creating a child, these are emotional responses from having children. And there is no guarantee once the child is born both parties, or one party, shall feel this way joy forever. A lot of things in life look good from the outside looking into them. If you are already an unhappy person, having a child more than likely will not make you happy unto itself. Because you were already unhappy as your life was, of course these unhappy feelings may come from feeling "unfulfilled" and a child certainly fills that emotional gap.

But what happens, when you tie your emotions into this child that you may or may not get tired of? Children may disappoint you later on as they get older, or not follow your requests, and then you'll be back to the same state of unhappiness. So to tie a child to an emotional response is truly dangerous and unfair to the child that did not request your procreating and bringing them into this plane of existence.


The third reason people have children is, tradition. The point of marriage for most folks is for the procreation of children. Now looking at current society we know this not to be true at all. Marriage is not at all necessary to have children. Teen pregnancies, out of wedlock (interesting name), sperm clinics. We know marriage has nothing at all to do with the specific action of creating children. Is there anything wrong with following tradition? No. Is there anything wrong with not following tradition and looking to do something new? No. But if you take the stance that you get married to have kids...does that not say you're really not in it for the love and devotion to your spouse but just simply to not feel the guilt from traditions and perhaps religion to have sex and children? Seems like a pretty weak reason to get married. Why be legally affixed to someone just for having children, to have an emotional guilt free escape card? Hardly seems noble or righteous, and what does that really do for the image of marriage does this not cheapen the idea of marriage you hold to be so strong? Seems like this vantage point makes marriage built upon a poor structure.

Face it folks, there is not one objective reason people choose to have children. None whatsoever. However, it is often cited that people whom choose not to have children are selfish.

The Child-Free side of the coin...

The folks whom choose to live child-free, as opposed to childless. Difference being one is a conscious act of will (child-free), and the other is usually due to medical defects (childless). People say it is "selfish" not to choose to have children. Argument usually being something along the lines of "If you do not have kids, and you are a good person then there will be less good folks in the world". That's not true so because, so as far as we know Hitler's parents did not kill masses of people. So what about those conscious choosing to be child-free folks?

First, what is selfishness? According to Webster's dictionary, it means to be concerned either one's own welfare excessively or without regard for others. Now to be fair this sounds more closer to being reckless, than being selfish as the appropriate wordage. Child-free folks are not selfish because they take the initiative to think about the welfare of the child with them as parents first off, as well too think so heavily about this issue as having children is serious, is with great regard for others rather than disregarding others. Child-free people are actuality self-composed, and self-contained.

Self-composed: Having control over one's emotions...see above reason #2.
Self-contained: Complete in self. Showing self control.

We all look around each day people struggling to afford their children, whether it be feeding them, sending them to college, dealing with their emotional issues on top of their own, not being able to keep them quiet in restaurants, movie theaters, etc..etc. Why is it folks whom often have children, always complain about not being able to find a babysitter..which means wishing to get away from them. Or constantly tell their kids about the "sacrifices" they made in having them..there goes reason #2 again...(not getting quite that gratitude you thought you'd get)..nice, must be sad to guilt a person into being thankful.

In regards to economy people without children pay more in taxes than those with children ultimately, because they do not get the benefit of child tax credits. Assuming all make the same amount of money. And as well since by them not getting the same amount of money back, as a family with children would...they are actually subsidizing your child care needs and placing more money in your pocket by not having children in the first place. So in essence, they cost less than people with children.

In regards to social interaction, they are looked down upon. Why? Because people associate the idea of choosing not to want children with hating children. This is completely asinine and stupid. Most of them are the educators your child will learn from in school, or create a theory to benefit mankind, cover for you at work because you have to take your kids to the doctor or make an appearance at one of their events. In reality you should be thanking people that choose not to have kids, because they are in essence making things easier upon you financially, and socially for having kids, yet they are the one's making the sacrifices so many people with children take for granted, daily. And do they get a "thank you"? No. Next time they come in late to work, and don't have kids to have a "better excuse" than you...back them up and stand up for them in the work place.

As well they challenge tradition. What makes kids inherently good? People have bad kids all the time, we even have the "terrible two's". Believing kids to be good, is just that a belief not a proof. If you have ever been to elementary school you know that most children have nothing to do with altruism. Nor does having children make one altruistic. Just makes them parents, and not necessarily good one's.

Psychologically, they are content. They already have fulfillment the way their lives are structured without children. Like I said children do not necessarily breed happiness, nor does not having them. Happiness is unto itself. So they are not sad, depressed, crazy individuals they just simply made a choice you as a parent chose (hopefully) not to make.

But how are most kids conceived? Accident or Unplanned. Choosing not to have kids, is in itself a planned action. Of course some kids are planned, obviously.

So coming back to the basic question asked earlier, why do people choose to have kids?

Because they can. It's really not more complicated than that, they do it because it is there. Just like a child whom touches stuff because it is there, no other inertia is needed. There is no objective reason for having kids unless your going to directly after birth hand them to the military, or make them expressly community property something along these lines. (Which is illegal, even adoption agencies don't make the kids clean up the highway or work fields as they are wards of the state.)

My personal opinion, I think it is done to fill an emotional gap.

Kids are an unspoiled reflection of both the partners. They know not of lying, cheating, harm, sorrow, pain. They are pure in that sense. And people will do anything to connect back to that part of themselves that living in the real world, and becoming an adult takes away that stockpile of innocence that children have so much of at birth. And as they get older you watch that stockpile decrease.

Which is why a good deal of parents hopes their children do not age, and "stay children" even though we know growth is inevitable. Which is another reason people I think have more than one child, just to keep trying to recapture that "high" of innocence lost. Now of course that's an addictive property associated with drugs, but I believe the correlation fits rather nicely.

On another note...Personal Responsibility comes into play. In this society there is this constant notion that people are responsible for themselves in regards the health care, socioeconomic status, if that is the case then why are not only parents responsible for their children's costs on the system? If this were true, people that did not have kids would not subsidize people who have kids. The healthy would not pay for the non-healthy, The young would not pay for the elderly. So it's really not about personal responsibility, it just sounds like it is about personal responsibility.

Final note...

No one should ever be guilt-ed or manipulated into having children. Ever. Children should never be conceived through what I call "soft coercion". You may know it as "If you really loved me, you would do this and I should not have to ask you". Not only if these methods are used is that not love, but 100% unjust. Because a child unlike say a car, cannot be returned to sender of there is no more love in the relationship. Often instead of serving as a reminder of love two persons once had, it is interpreted as a bad decision or mistake between those specific two people at that time...then it really wasn't love in the first place now was it?

True lover's or those in love truly...never would manipulate their partner into doing something you know that is against their wishes. If it's wrong for a man who wants 3 kids, and his woman wants 2 to "soft coerce" her into having that 3rd is wrong. It is just as it is wrong to "soft coerce" your lover into having kids as proof of loving you. Rather that "love" now becomes manipulated for your own selfish ends because you feel you are entitled to have a child with them, they now "owe" you that child. This no longer is love, but cold calculated selfish manipulation of strong emotions nothing more. It is love perverted by selfishness, and such is never LOVE.

If you encounter this with your partner it is best to break it off. Because it only works if both want kids, or do not want kids. If its a mixture of both it will never work out. She'll be in love with what she wishes you were as opposed to what you really are, and vice versa. And that is never fair to all parties involved.

Views: 6121

Tags: Child-Free, Children, Choice, by, choice

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Comment by Clarence Dember on January 7, 2009 at 9:49pm
Those are a lot of angles to view parenting from alright. Gatacca.
Now that was an extreem scenario. Most people have kids because they can and figure out the consequences or not at a later date. The kids grow up and get some job where they have to spend their lives in one closet or another. It's the learning curve of each generation really.
Comment by Dre Smith on January 7, 2009 at 4:26pm
Well think about it. You do train children to read, use the bathroom, speaking, eating, language...to be fair. Half way decent parenting is why I think a good deal of people should pass on having kids as well. Somehow I don't think being a half assed parent by design or circumstances is good enough because now the rest of society is going to have to deal with your flaws imposed on this child.
Comment by Eli on January 7, 2009 at 4:02pm
There is another reason, and it is also, from a certain point of view a selfish one. As an Atheist and a Humanist I believe two things:

1.) This life is all I've got.

2.) I should work toward the betterment of the human species as a whole.

In light of 1, I would wish to experience all life has to offer this includes the experience of raising a child. While the act of having a child bay be viewed as selfish the act of raising one is most definitely not (well unless you're one of the unabashedly rich who has kids then passes them off to the nanny for the actual raising part). I always have to laugh at those people who say they'll get a dog or a cat and somehow compare this to having a child. Rarely would you meet a pet owner whose dog had died who would rather they have died and their dog had lived. However ask any half-way decent parent who has lost a child to make the same decision and they would chose losing their own life over that of their child without hesitation. This is a level of love and selflessness that there is no equivalent to. No experience available to the human species is comparable to having and raising a child.

In light of 2, I would want to have the power to at least attempt to ensure that one generation of humanity passes after me, hopefully imbued with the same values as I.

As a third general point, I do not believe individuals have children to create a future "labor pool", but governments certainly give incentive to couples to have children for that very reason, hence the tax breaks, or, as another could see it, investing in those who create future tax-payers.

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