Devil's Advocate 

Don’t Have Kids

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This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Ever hear someone mention that they don’t want to have kids only to hear, invariably, someone ask “why not?” The reason people ask is because having kids is the norm, actively not having kids is not the norm, and so in this DA post I tackle the reasons I think one would decide against having children. I think this particular post falls into the realm of personal opinion and desires, not “good” or “bad” advice, so it’s slightly different from other DA posts.

Kids Are Expensive and Time Consuming!

The number one reason why having kids is a bad idea is that they are expensive and they require a lot of time (time is money!). Given the cost of a hospital stay, which is almost unavoidable, your upcoming kid is already costing you a lot of money and they haven’t even been introduced to the world yet (Read Connie’s story about how much it costs to have a baby). Afterwards, this little tyke is going to eat a ton, run through clothes like it’s the Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement’s Bridal Gown Sale, and they’re going to have ridiculously expensive hobbies. That’s before they leave elementary school! As the years go on, they get more and more expensive, culminating in college. College, while not required (see this DA post on why you don’t need college to succeed), is basically the minimum of education demanded by society if you want to make something of yourself (or at least that’s the public perception of what society demands).

Tremendous Responsibility

Once you get the past the money, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility when you’re raising another human being. Not only will they be expensive, but you’ll also feel compelled to spend that money because you want your child to succeed. Marketers will bombard you with advertisements about how your child needs to have the latest learning gadget, or how they need to be in this plan or that plan, or how you can’t buy thing particular product because it’s not as good for you as their product. You’ll have to make these decisions, try to make them independent of cost, and still try to provide what you need for your kid to succeed? It’s like when people say they won’t go to the cheapest person for Lasik even if they’re certified and have done thousands of them, they don’t want something that important to be dependent on price; well, are you going to buy the cheaper cereal or do you not want what your child eats to be dependent on price? What’s more important, your child’s health or your eyes? Do you want to be making those decisions?

Your Life Is On Hold

I can’t imagine having children in my early twenties, but that was the norm many many years ago. Heck, I can’t even imagine having a child now, at the age of 27, when my parents had me. With so many young professionals focused on their careers, it’s very difficult to for someone to put it on hold, if only for a little while. Certainly there are plenty who find it more important to raise a family than it is to generate income but many young professionals want to work, advance in their organizations, and make the big dollars so they can, maybe, relax in their older years. Women are no longer looking to become housewives and I think they shouldn’t have to be compelled to feel that way, just like men don’t often look to becoming stay-at-home dads. So, asking anyone to put their career on hold might be a little unreasonable.

I think those are the main reasons why people wouldn’t want to have kids but to be perfectly honest I don’t know (we want children) for certain because I’ve never broached the subject with anyone. If you’re on the “No kids” side of the argument (or at least “no kids for a few more years”), please do share your thoughts. If you’re on the side, I’d love to hear your opinion about these reasons.

{ 283 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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283 Responses to “Don’t Have Kids”

  1. Mike says:

    Having children is a selfish activity. Do you have kids for your sake or for theirs? For an overwhelming majority of “loving parents” I am afraid it is the former. In this day and age who in their right mind would want to have kids? I can not think of one reason to have children that is not selfish- you are basically bringing a life into this world for your own sick, selfish reasons.
    the majority of people can’t do a damn thing with their lives, yet they want to bring more people into it? In order to “guide and nurture” the poor little guys? Most people, plain and simple, have no business having children.
    Of course, it is their right to do so (at least until a court declares otherwise), but that still does not make it a good idea.
    Adopting kids, on the other hand, is frequently a decent idea. Children are like puppies- there are too many damn strays already, and you want to make more?

    • abby2009 says:

      @ mike, why would it be selfish having a kid (if u can) i mean, having a kid would bring family closer together. carrys on family legacy, and NOT everyone can work. crud i tried to put five applications in different places and no1 will hire me. either to qualified or not qualified at all. so basically my hubby (thank goodness he has a job still) and i get dis. so that would support the kid.and the kid wouldnt be living in some lavish richy rich lifestyle either. just bc u dont want kids dont ruin it for the people that do want kids just bc seems to me that you arent happy in your own life. why would u want to adopt a kid when parents WHO SHOULDNT have kids got knocked up in the first place?….and as for puppies there arent alot of stray dogs(atleast not in my neck of the woods)

      • Drew says:

        Abby’s Point #1 Having a kid would bring family closer together. – Why does it have to take bringing another life into this world to bring a family closer together. Why can’t family be close with out overpopulating?
        Abby’s Point #2 Carries on family legacy. – Wanting to carry on ones family legacy does nothing to benefit humankind as a whole, therefore would be considered a selfish act.
        Abby’s Point #3 – Not everyone can work. – Someone who doesn’t work under normal circumstances is probably having a hard time supporting their own lives as it is and have no business bringing another life into the world that they cannot fully support, that is a true representation of the words unfair and selfish.
        Abby’s Point #3 – Just because it seems to me that you are not happy in your own life. – I have a hard time believing that people with kids enjoy their, not their kids, but solely their lives more so than people who have the freedom to do whatever they want every day they wake up with no overbearing responsibilities or overwhelming costs of a child. But that’s just an opinion.

      • Allie says:

        Oh honey- if you can’t get a job or string together a grammatically correct paragraph, what in God’s name makes you think you should be, “Carrying on” your family legacy? Mike seems perfectly happy and secure- please don’t make lame attempts at an insult toward him to make your breeding-self feel better.

    • Virginia says:

      I absolutely agree, Mike. It is selfish. It’s a way to justify one’s existence when they have nothing else to show for it. No career, no successes, no family, no happiness. What other way to gain steady income and not feel alone in the world but to have children. Granted, I’m speaking about a totally different demographic of parents than say the two-income, married, stable family, but the prior is a growing demographic that is essentially crying for help.

      They have little education about pregnancy prevention or alternatives to pregnancy AND they have little education about substance abuse and using protection while having intercourse. So you have a 16-y/o with a history of 3 STD’s and who imbibes alcohol and smokes…..yeah, that’s quality. I fear for the child. It’s not sacred anymore, human life. We don’t value it or honor it, we don’t care if we had 7 margaritas the night we conceived and the neurological and developmental damage it could do to the fetus. Pssh, hell no, we don’t think about that. but oh, babies are so cute! Well, they’re not cute when they’re 12, mentally retarded, and they’re getting hit on at school and facing drugs and all that garbage. And you can’t stop it because the media is feeding sex and violence and bullcrap down our throats everyday. Sounds like a load of hypocrisy in this world and it’s no safe environment for any child, no matter what kind of family you come from.

      Yes, Mike, you’re on to something there. It is selfish. And really sad.

    • Allie says:

      Mike- WELL SAID!! Thank you!!!

    • Anthony says:

      perfect explanation

    • Terri says:

      I couldn’t have said it myself! I used to want kids when I was younger, still in my teens but I read Ellen Peck’s book, The Baby Trap shortly steer I got married. I had to read it twice before I saw her point of view. I left my husband so he could become a breeder. I am much older now, wiser and certainly am glad I didn’t have kids! Like you said, there are so many who shouldn’t be parents. They are nothing more than baby pumps, many of these girls cannot wait for the alter before they’re pumping babies, hence the baby mamas and baby daddies. Not husband and wife, mommy and daddy. I never needed to see myself in miniature, I have better things to do with my life than being sombody’s mommy. Today’s society is not fit for the raising of good-natured children. Far too much violence everywhere. The video games emphasize this. Nope, I am happy to be child-free!

  2. TRACEY says:

    i am a 30 year old woman who has never wanted them, i have two step kids who i get on great with but would not want them full time, i know how hard it is brining them up as i am a big part of that but i would never choose to have them, life would stop why would anybody choose to spend all there hard erned cash never mind time that you could have for yourself or partner, not getting that job because it does’nt fit into school times, or that thank you that never comes. no i am the kinda person that wants to get up in a hot summers morning that i have off work to just get up and go somewhere not having to be tied to yeah go but in between 9-3 and am a clean freak so kids are not my fortae

  3. Michelle says:

    I really wanted a baby with my new husband. My dream was to have 2 children with a good husband. I only ended up with 1 child and no father for him. Now that I am remarried I revisit the idea of having 1 with my new husband. His additude was “I would love to have kids but I don’t want some court to tell me when I can see my child”. That comment made me feel like he saw something in our future I couldn’t see. Now I don’t trust the idea of having 1 with him even though he tells me he wouldn’t mind having 1 now. I’m so bitter with his insecurity that I almost feel like punishing him with not giving him a child. I’m really hurt and torn by this subject. I pray that this baby demon in my head will just disappear so I don’t have to worry about having 1 anymore. If I could only start menapause and be done with the baby days it would resolve this horrible feeling of confusion.

    • Susan says:

      You are so bitter with your husband’s insecurity that you want to “punish” him by not giving him a child?

      So if you two do break up, are you going to “punish” him by refusing to let him see his own child?

      You are the reason why people shouldn’t get married, let alone why they shouldn’t be having children.

      • NICOLE says:

        I agree with you Susan.. she would be the type to hold grudges and put her child thru turmoil out of selfishness in which the child would grow up to resent her for it…

        It doesn’t sound like Michelle has even spoken to her husband about the hurt that comment has caused, instead she just lets it play like a broken record in her head… your right Susan shes not ready….

  4. Virginia says:

    I’m 25 (still young) and have no inherent desire to have children.

    I grew up an only child with completely awesome and giving parents (a rarity these days, I’m sure) and I was rarely in the company of relatives close to my age, nor was I ever hired to babysit. Ever.

    So my lack of desire, I believe comes chiefly from my lack of exposure to children and my lack of siblings. Do I see this as a bad thing? Not so much. It’s made me who I am today and I’m quite proud of my stance on children. I’m happy to celebrate for others when they have children, I even do ultrasounds at a Maternal-Fetal Medicine office (ironic much?), so…that’s enough for me! My other reason comes from society and culture as they stand today and how disgusting I think everything is. I hate the media and its mind-controlling ways, I hate watching other people use that media as a baby-sitter because they wanted to have children or had children as an accident and are still trying to balance their out-of-wack social life and selfish desires along with them. I think these days it’s not a stable or safe environment no matter how well you think you can raise a child or how stable you think you are.

    Plus, it seems like none of these children have married parents these days. Not that I blame them, but look at the paper someday. How many single moms can you find that delivered a child and there is no father listed alongside them? Seriously? We can even handle our own commitments, how can we expect to portray a commitment to our child? Or show them how couples should be? I can barely find a chivalrous man these days because they had a horrible father figure or total lack of one. I can’t imagine what this new generation will be like. It’s nauseating.

    So as qualified and as intelligent as I believe I am, that I may someday make quality progeny for the proliferation of our species, I’d rather spend my time doing charity work, taking care of my parents, travelling, spending time with people (and their children), and living a fulfilling life that way. It’s not for everyone, but it sure as hell sounds good to me!

    • Ryan says:

      I grew up an only child as well. Ironically, my lack of desire probably comes from my OVERexposure to kids growing up. My grandmother’s house (she raised me) was always full of kids (mainly her grandchildren). As I got older but the kids that were in and out of the house seemed to stay the same age, I began to realize how much was involved to take care of a child. I saw how much time/resources/money was consumed.

      I, too, am EXTREMELY proud of my stance on not to EVER have kids. I’m 35, and I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO REGRETS.

  5. Maudie says:

    I’m mid 40’s and knew since I was forced to watch that awful video in junior high about the female reproductive system and having babies that I never, ever, ever…never wanted them! I also grew up with older parents who were cold, strict, verbally abusive and unloving. They never even told that they loved me until I joined the military at 18 and was shipping off to boot camp. A little late at that point I’m afraid. Over the years I’ve been told that I will change my mind. Hardly. I’ve also been told that I am being selfish by not having children…and…who will take care of you when you are old? My answer is…ROBOTS. It is unfair to simply expect that your children will care for you when you are elderly and unable to take care of yourself. What if you children grow up to be total losers and can’t even take care of themselves? I have been happily married to my husband for over ten years now. We like to travel, go see live music, and have nice things in our home that aren’t “kid proof” or unbreakable. I am also epileptic. I have no desire to endanger my life or the life of an unborn child due to my illness or the medications that I am forced to take. All in all…I’m happy just the way I am. My husband and I, along with our three cats will continue to enjoy our lives together…child-free.

  6. Water says:

    Today is 2011 and the age of good jobs with good pay are OVER. Jobs don’t pay enough to support a family even with two people working full time. Companies expect 50+ hours a week so how are you going to take care of a child if your working 50+ hours a week at stagnant wages.

    America is just not the land of opportunity anymore. It’s the land of slave labor for slave wages. Corporations want slave workers who will do whatever they are told with no benefits or compensation. Your pay is going to be LOW from now on and your lucky to FIND a job.

    Anyone who has a child today is INSANE.

    • Eileen says:

      @ Water, you make a very good and intelligent point. I was thinking the same thing. America is NO longer the land of opportunity. I have been looking for a permanent job with medical benefits for quite some time. My spouse and I are only getting job offers for temporary contract work as contractors/consultants. That is definitely no guarantee. The Client/employer can give us notice at any time that the contract has ended. Then what would we do if we had kids? I’d be stressed and embarrassed if I had to go to my family or friends for financial assistance to help raise kids (if we had them). That would be very stressful!

  7. tracy hansen says:

    I HATE how when I mention that I don’t want kids everyone wants a huge explanation from me about why. They want to know everything about my life to see if soemthing in my past traumatized me or physiologically damaged me someone. The reality is that I had a normal childhood filled with love and now have a wonderful marriage to a loving, honest man. I don’t want children because I don’t want children. How come its not PC for me to ask a woman who mentions that she wants children why and then psychologically analyze her? So annoying!

    • Greg says:

      It is a double standard.

      But people are conditioned and brainwashed and scared of what others will think. By you not having kids, I think a fear mechanism is engaged in others who do have kids and makes them realize/remember what they gave up when it was just the two of them and not a house of screaming and yelling critters.

      Stick to your inherent desire to not have kids is my thought. We have three and love them but, believe me, no matter what people say, it doesn’t get easier and the “reward” has yet to present itself.

      I think I’d rather wrestle alligators! 😉

      • NICOLE says:

        Greg I love your honesty. Its nice to finally see someone who has kids who can say that basically “the grass isnt greener on the other side”.. I do appreciate that…

        I dont have children either, spouse and i have been married for 6 years now, he has a daughter who lives in another state. I have always been torn with having children and i notice that when i decide to babysit someones kid, celebration soon follows after they leave. :).. The older I get, it becomes evident that having them may not be in our best interest.. and i get so sick of people meddling in my uterus about when im going to have them.. as if they are going to take care of them.. I finally have shut people down with that stupid question “are you pregnant yet” by telling them that “IF i get pregnant i will let you know, stop asking me that question every time i see you its annoying” and they totally back off..

  8. Anna says:

    I am 50 years old and never wanted kids. I have a boyfriend and we plan to get married someday
    and he never wanted kids either. When people ask me if I want kids I tell them no that I am too old to start a family and they respond by saying “it’s never too late to have kids”. Are you freakin kidding me!!! Most people my age are grandparents and these people have the nerve to
    tell me to have kids at my age?? Most people know how old I am and to tell me to have a kid
    is just plain stupid and ridiculous. Who wants to start a family at this stage of my life? I never had the desire to have kids since I was 13 years old. Alot of women look down on me because of this but I say “hey if you don’t like my lifestyle, don’t bother with me”. I do like kids as long as they are not mine! Its nice to know that there are alot of
    people like me who feel the same way. The only kids I will ever have is my 2 dogs!

  9. nomnomnom says:

    Planet’s full, constant economic issues, resource scarcity in virtually everything, global warming, and yes, most importantly the reasons you stated is why I don’t want kids.

    – 24 year old guy

  10. Ashley says:

    Having children is one of the most selfish acts on Earth. Our world CANNOT SUSTAIN MORE PEOPLE. Reproducing so you can have someone that looks like you, to make YOU feel better, to make YOUR life more enjoyable, as millions upon millions of hungry babies starve to death. The planet is beyond full. Birth control is more affordable than ever, if not free for most.

  11. Tamra says:

    Here’s the run-down:

    Stupid people have the kids because it’s a “miracle”

    Smart people don’t (or just have one that they send to private school)

    Haven’t you seen the movie Idiocracy?


  12. Turkish says:

    Great Posts everyone!

    Nice to see what we Really think on this important issue. My two cents would be: when is humanity gonna act as if we are already grown up? We wait on governments, babies, and advertisements to sew up the loose ends we do not take care of ourselves. And thus throw our responsibilities on little innocent babies that throw theirs on more babies. The apple may not fall far from the tree, so we need non controlled minds to shake us all up!

  13. pr says:

    It is absolutely selfish to have kids. I also don’t want to have kids. When I talk with friends who want to have kids, they all sound selfish to have kids.

  14. sherylee says:

    I always thought that I would have kids but it did not happen. I have been upset but trying to be happy with my life despite this issue. Life happened, and my relationships did not work out I and now I am in my forties. I did not plan things to work this way. I realize that more people do have kids and you can feel that you are the outsider, so to say. I can say in all honesty, there is not ONE relationship I would want, when I look around at the people I know, and I think many of them should not be parents. I have come to realize that many people should have taken birth control or not have had sex, then bringing in an innocent child. Almost anyone can have a kid but does not mean that they should, even if at time I wish I had them, I must be grateful for other things.

  15. Carley says:

    I think having kids is just another external mechanism that people use that they think might make them happy. Like getting a new car, a longer holiday, a bigger house, a cooler job, more money. Have a kid! Then another, then another…
    It’s that constant search for fullfilment. Having a kid is just another person in the world who’ll come with all the same human imperfections and struggle in all the same ways. But,..whatever you think’ll make you happy!!

    • NICOLE says:

      I agree with you Carley, I just think the ladies i know are secretly miserable and want me to join their club.. My sister made this statement to me one time, that having kids is the best thing she has ever done.. but i dont see how with all the constant yelling and screaming.. they always have their hands out for something and they are basically running her. I have never watched those spoiled brats and have no plan on doing it.

      Kids will NOT make you happy.. either your a happy person or you arent.

  16. Essence Prince says:

    I agree I don’t have kids. I have the best life that I know of…..The world is getting worse; why bring kids into it? There was just a shooting at an elementary school today.

  17. KC says:

    I love my girl friend and our life together is perfect. A child won’t make our situation any better. If we had a child, we would have less time for each other. Well, at least for the next 18 years. Too often people do things just because thats what you’re suppose to do. You’re suppose to get married. You’re suppose to have children. You’re suppose to buy a house. Those are very serious commitments that trap you in a daily routine for the next 30 years. You have no time for your self and you have no time for your spouse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Save yourself the grief and get a dog instead. There’s already 8 BILLION of us here already.

  18. Shirley says:

    We have raised five children but I understand the points of those who choose not to have them. It is certainly an entirely personal matter and not to be judged.

    Raising children is not easy and not all of it is fun, but to us, the rewards of teaching, learning, watching and loving were definitely worth the hard times.

  19. Catherine says:

    What did you feel when you first realized that one day you were going to die? People say life is a gift you give your kids. But if we are all going to die and not exist again anyway..wouldn’t it be good to just skip the whole being born, suffering, and dying routine? I often brag that my kids( I don’t have any) are just skipping the whole thing..I loved them THAT much.

  20. gary says:

    I believe each of us reacts to our surroundings in one of two broad ways. Either we go with the flow, mostly following convention. The notion being that this must be an comfortable way to go, after all, the mere anticipation of participating in the milstones events of the “cultural norm” imbues a since of well being. There is inai need to belong to a group with a set of common beliefs.

    A smaller number of us are what might be called curtural outliers,”anticipators”, who may lack the same degree or type of emotional connections and are more likely to consider the down side of a course of action, as well as, the positive, the consequences of which will impact many others in positive and negative ways in addition to ourselves and society at large..

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