Convince me that I should have children.

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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GandK
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by GandK » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:59 pm

@andystkilda

I had children. Do I regret it globally? No. Do I regret certain parts of it? Hell yes. But the "would you do it again?" question is extremely loaded because if I say no, my kids would not exist.

So this is how it shakes out: I'm glad I had my kids. I love my kids. But if you told 20-year-old me about all the realities of having kids, 20-year-old me would have run away screaming. She would not have forged onward, determined to embrace the good things. I'm certain of it. So I think parents put on rose-colored glasses at times when they contemplate their own choices, because the alternative isn't good. Or healthy.

andystkilda
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by andystkilda » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:03 pm

GandK wrote:@andystkilda

I had children. Do I regret it globally? No. Do I regret certain parts of it? Hell yes. But the "would you do it again?" question is extremely loaded because if I say no, my kids would not exist.

So this is how it shakes out: I'm glad I had my kids. I love my kids. But if you told 20-year-old me about all the realities of having kids, 20-year-old me would have run away screaming. She would not have forged onward, determined to embrace the good things. I'm certain of it. So I think parents put on rose-colored glasses at times when they contemplate their own choices, because the alternative isn't good. Or healthy.
Yes, I think you're right. It's probably an evolutionary trait in us that we put on those rose-coloured glasses and sign-up to having kids.

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Dragline
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Dragline » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:27 pm

andystkilda wrote:
jacob wrote:
andystkilda wrote:I'd say the simple fact that in my opinion, very very few people regret having children in the long run. Does this fact alone not prove it is a good decision for most?
No it doesn't :-P

You need to consider all combinations:

1) People who had children and regretted it.
2) People who had children and didn't regret it.
3) People who didn't have children and regretted it.
4) People who didn't have children and didn't regret it.

One should hope that (2) and (4) outweigh (1) and (3) respectively. The question is whether it does? If it doesn't the next question is the cost of making a mistake e.g. regret vs 18+ years of unhappy parenting. All on a sliding scale of course. Other aspects may apply too.
I agree that you have to consider all of those categories, but doesn't category 2 have far more people in it, worldwide, than the others? - 80-90% of the world population. So by definition, if it is the largest category, it is the decision with the highest percentage chance of being the correct one, from a life-long perspective. No?

I agree that the likely cost to someone how may regret not having children would probably be less than someone who hates parenting but has no choice to continue on for 20 years!
In developed societies, the trend appears to be a lot more people in the 3/4 category.

But I would suspect most people are in both categories 1 and 2, or 3 and 4, depending on what day or year in their life you ask them. I know an awful lot of men fathering babies around age 50 or later now, after having sworn off the idea earlier in life.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by jacob » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:31 pm

My 25 year old self already had a lot of indirect "parenting" experience.
+ My mother worked in daycare + we had an in-house daycare (2-5 y/o kids)
+ Younger sibling, several younger family relatives (I'm the oldest cousin on my mother's side).
+ I was in a four year relationship with someone who had two kids (preteen and teen years).
+ I never liked being a kid nor was/am I really interested in interacting with kids.

While most kids grow up to be nice people (technically average people---that's another factor, I risk not being able to relate to them), I must admit that I do and did not enjoy any of the parenting. Changing diapers. Getting them to do their homework. School events. Them setting their room on fire. Having the cops knock on the door. Not saying that's a given thing for all kids, but it seems to happen a lot more than people think (remember, I have a big sample space here). Of course there were/are good things too but to me a birthday party doesn't bring me the same joy as e.g. being on a boat fishing.

People say it's different "when it's your own" whatever that means. However, I suspect part of that is exactly to resolve a potential but strong cognitive dissonance. In any case, I've made a deliberate and I believe informed choice based on my knowledge of parenting and how I personally (dis)like that obligation and decided that I don't want this 20+ year commitment. Even as much as it probably would be nice to have kids --- as long as they've moved out already. Even then ... I also know that being estranged from your kids or relatives happen more often than people care to admit.

OTOH, I think that anyone who has always fantasized/thought of being a parent, enjoyed parenting when experienced it, likes kids ... should definitely consider having kids.

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Chad
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Chad » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:44 pm

andystkilda wrote:I'd say the simple fact that in my opinion, very very few people regret having children in the long run. Does this fact alone not prove it is a good decision for most?
How many 40-60 year olds are going to admit that 20-40 years of there lives was miserable?.....none. Plus, it's almost impossible to understand how you feel from every part that sucks and is "worth it" from having kids. I'm not suggesting that most regret it, but the idea that almost all are glad they did seems too extravagant.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by andystkilda » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:04 am

Chad wrote:
andystkilda wrote:I'd say the simple fact that in my opinion, very very few people regret having children in the long run. Does this fact alone not prove it is a good decision for most?
How many 40-60 year olds are going to admit that 20-40 years of there lives was miserable?.....none. Plus, it's almost impossible to understand how you feel from every part that sucks and is "worth it" from having kids. I'm not suggesting that most regret it, but the idea that almost all are glad they did seems too extravagant.
Again, just my opinion.

I think it's definitely one of those issues that has its camps and people very rarely change from one to the other - and most will stridently defend their decision on the matter, even with its decades-long implications.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:11 am

I have always really enjoyed the company of people under the age of 4 because they are so uninhibited compared to most adults, so I always wanted to have children for that reason but another prime or core motivation for having kids if you are a female is that there are parts of your body that you will never use if you don't have kids. Obviously, there are billions of uteri and sets of mammary glands on the planet and there is a 50% likelihood that you will create another set by using your own so it is really the opposite of wasteful to choose to not ever power up those parts but I am way too driven by curiosity to have resisted the temptation. Also, I don't regret the choice even though my adult children informed me that their plan for caring for me in my extreme old age is to "air-drop me into some South American jungle." Whatever.

Noided

Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Noided » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:15 am

My take on kids

So, my parents made me and educated me so that I could be an happy adult. Now I will waste decades of my life doing the same thing so that my kid will also waste decades of his life doing the same and so on and on. To me this seems meaningless.

To me meaning is in being with my friends and learning new things. Well one could make the argument that even this is meaningless and in the big scale of things it is. But if I am to live a reasonable happy life I have to do what makes me happy, which is to learn and be with people I like. Not waste my time just continuing the cycle.

If (big if) I would change my mind, I would not have a kid of my own blood, I would adopt. Too many kids waiting to be saved and have a happy life.

Fun fact: a work colleague is just complaining that he is drowning in expenses because of his kids. "No one told me this would be like this" he said. This does not sound like someone who is happy with his life. But to be honest, he also said: "If I went back, I would do the same".

arrrrgon
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by arrrrgon » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:25 am

There was a time when I would have been on the don't have children side, but now that I'm a dad I look forward to seeing my little guy every day. When I walk in the door and he starts yelling dada it puts a huge smile on my face. Yes there is plenty of added responsibility, but every time they smile at you it's all worth it.

My wife wanted kids from the start, but I wasn't ready for that. I doubt I ever would have felt ready, but I wasn't going to make my wife miss out on something she wanted so badly. I'm glad she talked me into it.

I didn't read this whole thread. You may have already made your decision, but if not good luck :)

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BlueNote
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by BlueNote » Mon May 18, 2015 9:38 pm

I used to teach kids of all ages ESL. They were Japanese kids so they were on good behaviour with me because I was their sensei but I did also see a lot of bad behaviour. Overall I personally enjoyed teaching kids between the ages of 3 and 12. Between ages 3 and 12 kids were eager to learn and you could easily develop a mutual respect with them. For some reason many people become quite difficult emotionally and behaviourally around age 12-13 extending to ages 19-21. Basically I observed people become much more cruel, mercurial and irrationally rebellious during this phase of life. I figure that strong bond parents form for their children early in life must come in really handy when your kid tells you the hate you every day , demand money, get in trouble with the police etc.

I was brought home by the police for drinking under age,my Mom had to take me to court when I was 15. I was involved in drugs, smoked cigarettes, had unprotected sex and did many things I I shouldn't have all in the name of experimentation with freedom when I was a teenager. I had a big hate on for authority and institutions and rebelled against them heavily. I guess I am lucky I don't have any teenaged children, I quit smoking and never developed any drug habits. My parents probably had difficulty with me during this period of my life, but I turned out relatively fine.

Anyways my two cents is that the years 12-19 are usually quite difficult for parent and child relations. I don't know much about the infant years but there seems to be talk of little to no sleep, cleaning fecal matter and dealing with entitled relatives. My experience seems to indicate that ages 3-12 are the golden years for being a parent.

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jennypenny
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by jennypenny » Tue May 19, 2015 12:54 pm

BlueNote wrote: Anyways my two cents is that the years 12-19 are usually quite difficult for parent and child relations. I don't know much about the infant years but there seems to be talk of little to no sleep, cleaning fecal matter and dealing with entitled relatives. My experience seems to indicate that ages 3-12 are the golden years for being a parent.
That's so funny, because I feel the opposite. I guess it depends on the personality of the parent. I found the 3-12 stage the most difficult for several reasons. During those years, there seemed to be the most competition between the kids (actually, between the parents through their kids) regarding over-the-top birthday parties, designer clothes, and the latest gear. There was always talk of picking the *right* everything--the right school, the right sport, the right club, the right diet, the right doctor, blah blah blah. I remember one conversation where a friend was worried that my kids wouldn't be good at math because they didn't take formal piano lessons. Many of my friends sent their kids to SAT-type prep courses in 2nd grade to prepare for the GATE test to get into the gifted program. The hardest part was that, at that age, the kids weren't old enough to fully understand my arguments about wasteful spending or not caring about what other people thought. Now that they're teenagers, I can be straight with them about why we spend our money the way we do. I also find it easier to decide when to say yes and no, but I pick my battles carefully. I don't really care if they curse or dye their hair purple or get a tattoo. I do care that they avoid mistakes they can't undo and insist on a weekly family night with games/movies/unhealthy food to foster our relationship. As long as they do that, they are free to make their own choices/mistakes. I'd rather they made the bad ones while they were still living with me so I can help them through them.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 20, 2015 5:51 am

I generally agree with jennypenny. The toughest years for me were the ones where I was always driving somebody to a ballet lesson (paid for by grandparents) or feeling compelled to help with PTO swim night or having to listen to the same knock-knock joke 20 times. However, I would add that having adult children is an enjoyable phase. My S27 (who is currently taking a mini-retirement funded by a mini-inheritance )recently thanked me profusely for having gifted him with a used copy of "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" for Xmas and my D24's new boyfriend is into tiny house construction. So...since the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, if you are only moderately lucky, having children today might result in interesting dinner companions 20-something years from now.

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vexed87
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by vexed87 » Wed May 20, 2015 12:19 pm

@7Wannabe5, totally agree with you.

Also, sorry if it was mentioned previously, but your older relatives and friends will start dying off eventually, and unless you have a really healthy social life at 85+, when you start losing your independence, you'll be glad you had kids to look out for you in your old age... we sure as heck know society wont.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by DutchGirl » Wed May 20, 2015 4:09 pm

I've worked in nursing homes for a few years during my study. I can tell you that most people, whether they have children or not, do not have visitors. If they're lucky, their children come visit at Christmas and on their birthday. If they are REALLY lucky, their children come visit every Sunday. Even that would mean they would be alone for 6.5 days out of 7.

Having children will probably not solve your 'problem' of feeling lonely when old. Sorry.

The happiest elderly people in those homes were the ones who could connect to the nurses and talk to them, and perhaps also the ones who were still able to move about a bit. So I would say: invest in a healthy lifestyle, and invest in staying social and kind to others.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by jacob » Wed May 20, 2015 6:45 pm

+1

If the goal [for Europeans/Americans---Asian cultures are substantially more filial, but that may yet change?!] is to have someone looking out for us during old age, developing "friendship with 'most people'"-skills and applying them to our octogenarian peers seems like a far more prudent strategy than counting on descendants having any inclination to do more than the occasional birthday/xmas card, bring babies for rare visit, arrange funeral, etc.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu May 21, 2015 7:05 am

It's not like there is some steep cliff you fall off of into total decrepitude when your youngest child turns 22. My youngest turned 22 when I was 48 and I am in good health so I will likely spend 30 or 40 years as the parent of adult children before I become needy. There are at least 3 or 4 different phases to go through past that point. The pre-Grandma years, the young Grandma years, the still-the-one-who-is-counted-on-to-roast-the-turkey years, the no-longer-responsible-for-the-turkey-but-will-bring-her-famous-pie years, the somebody-will-pick-you-up-for-Thanksgiving-dinner years and only at the very last the we-really-should-stop-by-the-home-and-pay-Great-Grandma-a-visit years.

Granted, the above is based on a conventional Midwestern American model not everybody would even remotely wish to feel compelled to follow but, perhaps, there is some truth and benefit to be gained by Taleb's assertion that when it comes to relationships friendship is fragile, kinship is robust and attraction is anti-fragile. Therefore, I guess best bet would be to try to figure out what would render you still attractive at 85 and second best bet would be to have spawned some kin.

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by George the original one » Thu May 21, 2015 10:34 am

Unconventional me... mom was 64 and retired one year when I turned 22!

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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Peanut » Thu May 21, 2015 1:37 pm

jacob wrote:+1

If the goal [for Europeans/Americans---Asian cultures are substantially more filial, but that may yet change?!] is to have someone looking out for us during old age, developing "friendship with 'most people'"-skills and applying them to our octogenarian peers seems like a far more prudent strategy than counting on descendants having any inclination to do more than the occasional birthday/xmas card, bring babies for rare visit, arrange funeral, etc.
Seeing that China recently passed laws requiring adult children to visit their elderly parents, I would say the traditional Asian form of filial piety is already game over. Once compliance isn't voluntary...

But to me expecting your kids to take care of you is a wrong expectation to have, period. They didn't ask to come into the world. That's all on you.
Definitely prepare Plan B. I have already agreed with a good friend of mine that we will live together when/if we become widows.

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vexed87
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by vexed87 » Thu May 21, 2015 3:31 pm

@DutchGirl/Jacob, by having children looking out for you I meant, having someone to help you show you the way BACK to the care home and help you with life choices when your faculty starts to depart ;-P

No I wouldn't expect to be a burden on my own kids, that is unless they choose to live in MY house ;)

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BlueNote
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by BlueNote » Sun May 24, 2015 9:03 pm

jennypenny wrote:I found the 3-12 stage the most difficult for several reasons. During those years, there seemed to be the most competition between the kids (actually, between the parents through their kids) regarding over-the-top birthday parties, designer clothes, and the latest gear.

My perspective is that of a school teacher so I guess the parental perspective could be much different. One thing I have noticed is that the perspective of actual parents is sometimes much different then the perspective of non parents towards the same kids. The classic case is when a kid exhibits the same bad behaviour over and over again all day long and resists all reasoning and punishment. The grandparents visit and act like you're a terrible parent (or start offering advice that has already been tried ) because of the level of punishment you're meting out because they have no idea what the pattern has been like. My grandparents were like that sometimes from what I remember.

When I baby sit nieces and nephews they often aren't used to my home, schedule, cooking, etc. So they whine, complain and cry more due to the lack of familiarity and because they miss Mom and Dad. My wife had to constantly remind me that our future children will be accustomed to our surroundings and schedule, so again another perspective issue. I guess I'll never really know what it's like until I have my own....


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GandK
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by GandK » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:26 am


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Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:50 pm

DutchGirl wrote:I've worked in nursing homes for a few years during my study. I can tell you that most people, whether they have children or not, do not have visitors. If they're lucky, their children come visit at Christmas and on their birthday. If they are REALLY lucky, their children come visit every Sunday. Even that would mean they would be alone for 6.5 days out of 7.

Having children will probably not solve your 'problem' of feeling lonely when old. Sorry.
Maybe not, but consider that only about 6% of the Dutch over 65 population lives in nursing homes (1) and getting there in the first place may signal lack of robust family ties.

I think some form of multi-generational living is the best solution to old age isolation/obsolescence. To borrow from 7w5's example, at some point Grandma the turkey roaster par excellence should be given charge of the physically capable but experience-poor and have responsibility for guiding them to greater culinary wisdom. Ditto for other areas of expertise. The current paradigm seems to be to learn from youtube videos what once would have been transmitted organically. Grandma's side of the bargain is retaining enough emotional fortitude to be comfortable with shifting into the role of valued advisor/dispenser of wisdom rather than final decision maker--but it tends to be Grandpa and not Grandma who doesn't appreciate this.

See also ERE: What if you lived forever

James_0011
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by James_0011 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:05 am

Honestly it is so difficult for me to even fathom why people would want to reproduce. I respect peoples decision to do so, but still difficult to grasp.

Does everyone who reproduces expect the future to be better? That is no/small chance of economic collapse, war, etc...?

Also I'm curious how many of you with children enjoyed your childhood, and have/had a good relationship with your parents?

henrik
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Re: Convince me that I should have children.

Post by henrik » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:47 pm

James_0011 wrote:Also I'm curious how many of you with children enjoyed your childhood, and have/had a good relationship with your parents?
I did/do. Why? Do you suspect that most people don't?

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