Forum Navigator

    Popular Tags

    advice age change children cnet college collegenet culture dating death eball education family food friends fun future ginger god happiness health job kids love marriage mljay money parents people politics pulsar raelo relationship relationships religion school sex sleep slynch8686 society thecrimsonactuary think time tobias travel wanderer women work world

    Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    created by claskate 1343 days 21 hours 33 minutes ago

    Category: World

    Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    While at dinner with my dad this evening, we somehow ended up on the topic of marriage and children. At this time in my life, I do not see children at all in my future and for some reason this always seems to shock people. The idea of a woman not wanting children, oh my!

    Is it selfish to not want children?

    Are married couples pressured to have children?

    Do you judge those who do not have children of their own?

    Why do/did you want or not want children of your own?

    Looking forward to your responses! Feel free to go beyond the questions asked...

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Is it selfish to not want children? I think would be much worse to have children if you didn't want them in the first place.

    Are married couples pressured to have children? Definitely. My husband and I were married for 9 years before we had kids. My family pestered us non-stop about having them until I flipped out and asked them to stop.

    Do you judge those who do not have children of their own? No, everyone has there story. Maybe they can't have kids, don't want them, or it's none of my business.

    Why do/did you want or not want children of your own? I love having kids! I have three of my own. Three is plenty so far!

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    I do not think a woman not wanting children is selfish. I myself never dreamed of a "Cinderella' wedding or a husband and a houseful of kids. I had plans, big plans for what I wanted to accomplish in my life and I had a plan to achieve these goals. I was one of the Most Likely to Succeed in my high school class.

    It's not that I don't like kids, I do. I have worked with kids in one role or another ever since I can remember. I started babysitting when I was about 8. I helped with mentally / physically handicapped kids from the time I was about 12. I taught school (k5 and middle school) for several years. I have taught Sunday School, Children's Church, lead girl scout troops, and various other roles. I am very social and have many friends with kids so I have had plenty of interaction and just thought I would get my 'kid fix' that way. Then I would be able to fully focus on achieving my goals.

    Then one day, I met the right person and things shifted a bit. Then I got pregnant and when that child was born my whole world changed. I cannot imagine not being a mom now and wouldn't trade it for all the world. Nope, I didn't reach all those goals and dreams. But I found new goals and dreams and I am working toward those with my family.

    I do not judge whether people could or should have children. I do not get involved in pressuring others one way or the other. I didn't like it when people did it to me! I think having children is a personal decision that each person and every couple has to make based on their circumstances, hopes, and dreams. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Follow your heart, your dreams may change, but you will be true to yourself.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    I love this forum. I take part in similar conversations often and I always like to hear everyone's thoughts on the topic.
    I have 5 kids. I didn't always think that I would have kids and the first two were totally accidental.. But here I am, with a houseful.
    Of my closest friends, half of them have larger mixed families and the other half purposefully don't have kids.
    I personally don't think its selfish to not have kids, just like its not selfish for me to want a night away from the ones I have..
    According to Webster, selfish is defined as: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

    At first glance, it may seem that not wanting kids is a selfish desire but I think the tale end of the definition is what makes me think otherwise.. "without regard for others".. If you listen to the reasons why people choose to not have kids its often out of consideration for the child that would be. Whether its because they don't feel like they could be a good parent, or they don't think that they would want to raise a child in todays world.. You could almost turn the question around and ask if it is selfish to want children. I want a baby, I want a house, I want a new car, I want I want I want..
    So, I don't judge people who don't have or want kids... Shit, sometimes Im envious of their child free lives.. but not totally.
    Its a personal choice. I admire my friends who are willing to openly admit that they don't want kids, because often its just expected that everyone must want kids. The people who don't want kids are sometimes treated like they are totally weird for simply knowing that being a parent isn't something they want to do. If you look at it logically without any romanticism behind it; who wants to get fat for 9 months, push a bowling ball out from between their legs, not sleep for year while dealing with leaky boobs, only to have your house constantly trashed during the kids toddlerhood, being criticized by other parents constantly for every decision you make, paying thousands & thousands of dollars so that you can raise a kid, who will turn into a mouthy, know it all teenager.
    All that being said, I love being a mom and wouldn't give it up for anything in the world. This is the path that I have chosen.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Great topic! I don't believe it is selfish to not want children. I personally do not have any children and do not want children. As a 33 year old female in northern Idaho, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Most women my age (in my area) have kids already or want them. I know what you mean about people being shocked when they find out you don't want kids. I don't know if it's because they feel it's selfish or because it's against the "norm".

    I do believe married couples are pressured to have children, often from the parents of the married couples because they want grandchildren. My ex and I weren't even married and his mom was talking about wanting grandchildren in front of me (probably because she knew I didn't want kids). Needless to say, differing opinions on having children was part of the reason that relationship ended.

    I don't judge people who don't have children, they probably have their reasons just like I have mine. Honestly, I just don't have the "urge" to have a child. And even if I did, I have multiple medical conditions working against me in that regard. So in the end it's not for me, and I'm okay with that.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Hey Claskate,

    I completely understand your opinion. I personally do not want kids right now or within the next six years because of the circumstances school has taken on my time andon the fact that I am entitled to being selfish meaning I am not ready to give up receiving Xmas gifts, birthday gifts, etc lol. Children are wonderful but the require a great deal of time and management, so I choose me while I still have the option. Now if I get married within those six years, then of course this will have to be re-evaluated because I'll have to include my husband's point of view.

    I don't judge people who don't have children, I honestly think they are the nicest people I've ever met in my life. They genuinely care and they always have great advice to offer and they have a gentle spirit.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    "Children are smarter than any of us. Know how I know that? I don't know one child with a full time job and children." (Bill Hicks)

    Are we talking about biological children or any sort of children?

    I suppose it is selfish of a woman to not want biological children as much as it is selfish of a man to want them. After all, one's got to go through the pregnancy and labor while the other doesn't.

    But on either side of the fence (wanting children or not), it's the intentions or the reasons that count more. Someone could want children for selfish reasons just as much as someone could not want children for selfless reasons. A selfless reason to not want children is realizing an inability to provide for a child because of financial difficulties or because of the likelihood of a genetic disorder.

    I don't think it is right to judge people for their decisions, regarding their choice to have children or otherwise.

    I don't want biological children mainly because I do not want to subject my body to a pregnancy but also because there are so many children who are in need of a good home. Given the choice to help a child who is already in existence, I would rather do what I can to improve their life rather than selfishly bringing new ones of my own into the world.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Hey Claskate!
    I'm from a family of 12 (I know right?) and I totally feel for you here! Its the parents choice if they want kids or not! Some parents just can't afford to have kids (Financially or career wise) And it would be better to not have kids then to have kids you couldn't afford, or didn't want yet

    Kids are great don't get me wrong (I was a kid once.... Ok maybe I still am a little bit :P) but its way better to be comfortable with where you are at before you decide to have kids. Kids aren't for everyone ether. Some people just don't have patience to deal with them.

    I guess what I'm saying is that its up to you, don't let anyone else tell you what you should do! Do what you want, its your life!

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    If it is, then I don't care. I've got way too much to do to worry about children. Graduate school, my job, even the fact that I'm a single guy, means I'd have a hard time taking care of a kid. And that's not even including my absolute lack of interest in children, or my even greater desire not to have them touching my things or stealing my food.

    So, no, I don't think it's selfish, as people who don't want kids won't make good parents anyways. Why make the children suffer through that?

    Also, kids are sticky, yuck!

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    But to answer your question, no, it isn't selfish not to want children. Not everyone has the desire to have kids, and that's totally fine! It doesn't mean you're any less of a nurturing or loving person, and really I don't think it says anything negative about you. Society places a huge emphasis on the idea that all women MUST want kids, and if they don't something within them must be broken. I've never subscribed to that mentality. So maybe you'd prefer to love and nurture a puppy instead of a child: that's still mothering. Or, maybe you don't want the responsibility of keeping another living thing alive. Seriously, it's a ton of pressure to have those little people and be constantly paranoid you might screw them up for the rest of their lives. Plus, the financial drain and emotional exhaustion...nope, I don't think it's selfish at all not to want kids. What's more selfish is to have children when you know you aren't interested in them.
    I hope I didn't scare you with any of that: most of it was just said in jest. Really, kids are great. Most of the time. Okay, well, there are great moments in having toddlers. And I'm told it gets better as the amount they sleep at night goes up (still waiting!). But if you're not into having kids, don't let anyone try to pressure you into thinking otherwise. There's nothing wrong with you, it isn't selfish, and it's a very mature decision to know yourself that well.
    And yes, kids are often sticky. The rumors are true.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    To answer the question, ultimately, yes, my own intention to not have children does come from impulses that might be considered selfish. I myself don't want the financial burden of children or a situation where I have to plan my career and my entire life around someone who will for the most part just resent me for it, and I can't pretend that my own career accomplishments will be so world-changing that I'm remaining childfree as a sacrifice.

    So yes, it's selfish. But that's not a bad thing. For one thing, it would be worse for me to have children I didn't want and make children spend their entire lives growing up in an environment where they are resented for their very existence. For another, people who choose to have children are also motivated by desires that are fundamentally selfish. And, I'd argue that that type of selfishness is even more pernicious, because of the consequences to the environment of overpopulation.

    In closing:

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Hi Claskate

    People have asked me if I want children, and I usually say no. Maybe that will change in the future, maybe not. But yes, people are often shocked. I've even been downright yelled at for my answer.

    Is it selfish? Maybe a little bit. I have much too much going on in my life. I have my dreams. I have my goals. And while Im sure kids are an amazing blessing and I enjoy spending time with the kiddos that I teach, having kids gets in the way of your goals. And if your goals remain your priority after having kids, those kids aren't being raised right. If it is selfish, it's not wrongfully selfish. It's simply a personal decision. It shouldn't be something you have to do and are viewed as selfish if you don't.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    As a mom of four, I had to decide not to have anymore and what to do about it. I decided to take permanent measures to limit myself to "only" four kids. It was a tough decision. I thought my fertility was a gift from God and, although I wasn't planning to have more, to end that gift was an insult to God. I see your question in the same vane. How do we perceive our fertility as women, our parenting, if not as a gift!

    My doctor gave me a pearl of wisdom to hang on to for life! He said, you are giving your fertility back as a sacrifice in order to invest your life into the four children you already have. God honors sacrificial giving. That was all I needed. I have never looked back on my decision to end my days of fertility.

    I see your decision in the same light. You have been given that same fertility; even the ability to adopt for some families is a gift. But you want to give that gift back as a sacrifice in order to invest your life into some other place. You don't even need to know what that other is. I don't think you need to know. I think if you can view your fertility as a gift and as precious, the fact that you are willing to give it up is a sacrifice and thats all you need.

    Now if you just hate kids, or don't want the kid-focused life for the next twenty five years of your life, I don't think you are being selfish. You just know your strengths. It is said that people have children out of a selfish sense that they are such wonderful people they want to add more wonderful people like them into the world. Or they want to have children to have insurance that someone will care for them when elderly. So I hear selfishness written all over that.

    With that said, a childless couple will always be the odd man out. People, especially older or more traditional people, will expect kids. So just learn how to get around it and find childless couples to add to your list of friends!

    Great question!!

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    I think it's not selfish to not to want to have children as long as your reasons aren't selfish. It really just depends on your circumstances. If you tell your husband you want children before you get married and then completely do a 180 degree flip and say you don't want to have them after you get married then that is extremely selfish. If you love children but are just afraid that it'll ruin your figure, then that is selfish. If you genuinely do not feel the need and don't necessarily feel fit for motherhood, then you are completely right to not want children. It's your body and your ability.

    Married couples are pressured to have children because even the Bible says to be plentiful/boutiful and to sow your seeds (if you get what I mean). There will always be pressure from friends, family, and even society because that is the norm.

    I do not judge those who don't have children. I find that I can have more fun with those that don't have any children because they're very independent and tend to do some more interesting things in their free time. They're just plain sociable.

    I want children because I know that I want to carry own my lineage and all of my generations of fathers' legacy.

    It's funny because my fiance dropped a bomb and told me that she was considering not having children! I almost took the ring back lol.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    The global population is expected to increase by 38%, from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.6 billion in 2050. - Pew Research Center

    You know that feeling you get when you are driving too fast on a slippery road and there is a turn up ahead? Most of us will slow down in that situation. Presently, we have a planet headed hell-bent-for-leather toward an environmental disaster. There are too many of us and our global economy threatens all life on the planet. I believe the only way any of us will survive is a massive investment in green technology.

    Here's where the decision to have children fits in. Just as most of us slow down when the driving gets slick, we need to reduce the rate of population growth to give the green technology time to develop. No one wants the government to impose a solution. Therefore we need to do it ourselves. In such a context, your decision not to have children is anything but selfish. Worldwide, women need to learn that they can do something valuable with their lives other than reproduce.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    My family has been pushing me and my hubby to have kids too. Although I would want one eventually, my husband doesn't want them AT ALL. So, we compromise getting a dog and as of now, out parents have mellowed out about the children thing. I think if you know you don't want kids, then it's best to not have them. If you want the liberty to not worry about little ankle-biters, its not a bad thing at all. It's not like our world is starving for more human beings, our schools are filled to the brims and they aren't even educated nearly as well or fed good food anymore. It's almost mercy to what could have been your kids to keep them from entering the world we're going into. At the same time, who knows if your kid could have been the next Nobel prize winner for endorsing better health regulations, etc.

    I feel like I will want a kid of my own eventually, but now, I'm enjoying my selfish time.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    First let’s talk about what it means to be selfish. Selfishness is defined as “caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interest, regardless of others.” (Thank you MoMo). It is understandable how selfishness is often viewed negatively, but with many regards our decisions often result from some form of selfishness. Some could argue that wanting children is just as selfish as not wanting them. The only difference, like many stated above, is the reasoning behind each decision. If someone does not want a child then they should not be forced to have one just because they are a woman or are in a serious relationship.

    People endure immense amount of pressure on a daily basis to conceive children due to the social norm being that children are the future and it is their responsibility to continue their bloodline. Not wanting children in your life, but having them because you feel the strain to fulfill some expectation granted by society will most likely not result in happiness for either the child or the parent. There is still a stigma amongst woman who choose not to join the reigns of motherhood (through adoption or conception) and that needs to be altered. If men do not want children, they are not perceived to be some selfish spinster like some would perceive women to be if they chose the same fate. After reading all of your lovely and well thought out responses, I am glad to see that all of you support a person’s decision to not want children because ultimately it is up to the individual to determine how they want to live life, whether it consists of children or not.

    Thanks everyone for the responses! I really appreciate them! :)

    Gen, Most people assume that there is an order to life: get married, buy a house, and have children. Marriage doesn’t always mean couples will have children right away or even follow that order of events. I completely agree that it is up to the individual to decide to have children and whether they want to explain their reasoning or not, it is up to them either way.

    Deanna, Life changes in the most unexpected ways and all we can do is try our best to adapt to those changes. Having children wasn’t your top priority, but when it happened, your perceptions and priorities changed, which seemed to work out well for you!

    to be continued...

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Mo, Did you reach in my mind and grab my thoughts? Your response was almost identical to the one formed in my head when I created this forum. Great minds think alike :) We always need a break, no matter what we have going on in our lives, they keep us sane!

    Lissa, I haven’t been in many relationships, but wanting or not wanting kids is definitely a major contributor when it comes to staying or leaving a relationship.

    Ericka, Having children is a major life commitment and you have to be willing to commit to that before deciding on the decision to have kids or not.

    AZ, Well written post! I am glad you included adoptees as well as biological children because the reasoning does differ depending on the situation.

    John, Welcome to Cnet! That’s a large family! I agree, no one should be cajoled into having children because it is ultimately up to the person, no matter the motive.

    Tenk, You’re so busy I couldn’t possibly imagine you have the time for many things, most of all raising a child!

    Lynsey, I agree that some people assume that if a woman doesn’t want children then she must be emotionally inadequate, physically inept, or a rebel against societal norms.

    Jack, Selfishness is not always as bad as it seems. Like you mentioned, there are benefits to not having children as well as benefits to having them.

    Michaela, You’re right, it shouldn’t be viewed as something we have to do. Society just assumes everyone wants children because according to society “what is life without kids” or “how could you not want them “or how can you not pass on your familial genes?”

    Rose, Completely agree, it is not selfish to know what you want in life and to go after it.

    Arcane, Welcome back! It is important to communicate these feelings in a relationship because sooner or later they will be brought up again even if it is much later down the road.

    Innocence, Interesting viewpoint! I agree, women are more than just baby making machines!

    Julia, Welcome to Cnet! People seem to use animals to fulfill the lacking presence of kids, it is an interesting phenomenon.

    Thanks again everyone!!

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Hello kate

    I get it, your parents had you and now they feel like it is your turn to have your own and make them a grandparent. I wonder if people get surprised when a man say I do not want children as much as they do when a woman say so.

    I do not believe for a second that it is selfish to not want to have children. It is true that from my perspective children are wonderful little bundles that can bring you a lot of joy or the opposite however not everyone is meant to be a parent.

    I applaud people that are sure they do not want children and state so because to me it means the person took the time to think about what s/he wants. Children take up time, energy, finance and they need and deserve a lot of love, to bring a child into this world knowing that you have no desire or intention of providing these things for the child is what is selfish.

    I do not judge people that have no children because it is not my place to judge them. I do not know the circumstance in which they do not have children and even if I am aware of it, it is still none of my business.
    I want children one day, I do not know when I will have time but I love kids so I want them.

    Re: Is It Selfish to Not Want Children?

    Personally, I think to each their own. I don't judge those who don't want to have children any differently than I do those who do. I think it's better to not have children if you don't want them because it can make a person unhappy to be put in a situation they never wanted. I know a couple people who don't want children and that's totally fine. Often times people prefer pets which is a great option as well.

    I think I will have kids someday, I just see that in my future and sometimes I find myself excited about it as long as I'm in a good place in my life for it, but you never know! I do think there is a pressure put on married couples to have children, just like lissamay81 said, a lot of times from the couple's parents because they want grandchildren and also because it's not always "normal" for married couples not to have kids. I think that life should be lived the way that you want it to be though and if children aren't in that plan, that's totally okay.