/ Having kids - duty or hobby?

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Ben Sharp - on 24 Oct 2012
On the Men/children thread, John Hat mentioned how people often critisise others' choice not to have kids. I've certainly noticed that some people feel it is almost a duty to have children but given the amount of parents who wouldn't be without their kids surely it's more of a hobby. Something which costs a lot of money (potentially for society as well as parents) but overall brings pleasure.

Someone's choice not to have kids isn't going to negatively affect the burgeoning world population so to look down on people for not investing in children seems counter-intuitive.
johnj on 24 Oct 2012 - 88-104-136-32.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Ben Sharp:

People are always judging people on all sorts of things and as we get judged how people react to us helps to shape our personalities, which asks the question if you are so bothered about what people think are you even real or are you just a reflection of other peoples judgement. Off i go again, I do seem to be doing a lot of random rambling lately. So to answer your question i would have to answer as i see it more of a vocation.
John_Hat - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Incidentally, I'd like to point out that I like kids, one of our friends even made us godparents (mum's a vicar, we're leaving the god bit to her), and generally find kids OK to be around, we just don't want any of our own.

We are very happy for our friends who have kids, and wish them well and are glad they are happy with their situation, and would never think of criticising them for their decision, its just not for us.
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
>
> Someone's choice not to have kids isn't going to negatively affect the burgeoning world population so to look down on people for not investing in children seems counter-intuitive.

What if everyone decided not to have kids? I think the film Children of Men illustrates the anarchy we would all experience if we knew the end was nigh. My sacrifice provides those selfish enough not to have kids with the stable economic environment to allow them to indulge their personal aspirations.
David Martin - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
Nothing "stable" about an increasing or static population. Once everyone consumes as much as us the worlds population at present day levels looks like doom.
jules699 - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Its neither! Its a want. Life is full of them....
jules699 - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Tho not all want/feel compelled to have...these are still equal beings!
Ben Sharp - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)

> What if everyone decided not to have kids? I think the film Children of Men illustrates the anarchy we would all experience if we knew the end was nigh. My sacrifice provides those selfish enough not to have kids with the stable economic environment to allow them to indulge their personal aspirations.

I hate the way the term sacrifice is bandied about relating to kids, I agree that you sacrifice things in life in order to have kids, but then you sacrifice things in order to climbing. Both are sacrifices made for yourself, not society.

In a world with a sky rocketing population, a looming global famine and strained resources it seems bizarre to be talking about a children of men scenario. Don't forget how many families receive child tax credits. The state educates them, cares for them during the day and treats any medical conditions. All of this is paid for by "those selfish enough to not have kids".

There are millions of people unemployed in Britain, and many more worldwide. They're all people's children, people's children that are being supported by the state. Don't assume that having a child with benefit society financially. Some will, some wont.

You asked what would happen if everyone decided not to have kids. The world population would of course stabilise at a lower level but there would still be children. The rates of unintended pregnancy come close to 50% worldwide. There would hardly be a children of men scenario, just more resources to go around.

If you really want to sacrifice your life for another then adopt. The real tragedy is that people think following their biological whims makes them the rock of society when in fact they're doing just the same as everyone else - following their own personal wants.

I don't have anything against kids at all and it's great that we live in a society where people can bring children up in a stable environment. In my opinion though, it isn't a duty, it isn't a good for society, it's a choice that people make because they want it and it benefits them. Choosing whether to have kids isn't a moral decision, it's a personal one, like choosing to build a kit car!

Ben
Hooo - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
Couldn't agree more. I have a child, and although it means I can't do some of the things I used to, in no way would I call it a sacrifice. Anyone who thinks that having children is a duty, or that people who choose not to are selfish, needs to get a grip on the reality of overpopulation. I'd argue that everyone has children for what are ultimately selfish reasons.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Im going to be a bit controversial here so I put on my heat protective suit ready for the flaming.

As a precursor to this, I state clearly that I love my kids and wouldnt change anything for the world. I have two of my own and 1 step child whom I adore and whom i have brought up since 5 years old - she is 17 now. i regret not one day and every day brings new challenges and wonder in equal measure.

Thing is, with the time, resource, committment and stress which comes with having children, I wonder how many others, like me, often think about whether they would have children if they were able to turn back the clock. Im not the most paternal of people and in some ways I am quite selfish - I like my 'me' time with just my wife and friends either climbing, camping, motorbiking etc. but this simply doesnt happen nowadays with the frequency that I would want to be able to excel at something. i wonder if its because I have girls and and none of them really like the stuff dad does. What's more, they are all into stuff like cheerleading and horseriding, nonse of which is something that i can realy get into with them, other than providing the funds and taxi. I wonder what it would be like with a little boy.

So in answer the the, no judgement from these quarters for those whom choose not to have kids.
Run_Ross_Run - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Having kids should feel like a privilege, not a right.
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)
>
> I hate the way the term sacrifice is bandied about relating to kids, I agree that you sacrifice things in life in order to have kids, but then you sacrifice things in order to climbing. Both are sacrifices made for yourself, not society.

Tosser. You make sacrifices to go climbing....god that must be so hard.....i can't begin to imagine the things you've had to give up to indulge yourself in your selfish pursuit.

The rest of your reply fails to understand at a basic philosophical level what benefits children bring to all of society....even those who send their whole life accommdated art the expense of the state.
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

The fact that even the current government has a reasonable degree of support for children tells us how important they are to society. I agree - sacrifices made for climbing and sacrifices made for children aren't the same. I don't think that choosing not to have children (apologies for that double negative!) is necessarily 'selfish' though.
David Martin - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> [...]
>
> The rest of your reply fails to understand at a basic philosophical level what benefits children bring to all of society....

Care to start listing those benefits so they can be debated? Or does calling someone a "tosser" trump the need?
David Martin - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Perhaps the "need" for more children is outdated though?

And surely child support benefits are not there to encourage anyone to have more children, any more than "pop a sport, get yourself a council flat" is. My impression is they are there to ensure children are not brought up in destitution, with all the social ills this brings later in their lives.
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to David Martin:

It seems that this government is determined to cut as much as possible, yet they still seem quite pro-children, so what's that about? Mind you, they did slash SureStart, didn't they?

Being pro-children isn't just about benefits, though - it's about health, education, all the other services that exist to help all children grow into being useful members of society.
krikoman - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) I wonder what it would be like with a little boy.
>


ahem!!!
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)
>
> Or does calling someone a "tosser" trump the need?

Pretty much....

krikoman - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: I'd like to know who "chooses" to have children I've got three lovely surprise, we didn't choose to have them or plan them. we chose to have sex without contaception a few times though.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to krikoman:

Care to expand?
David Martin - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
I wouldn't call this pro-children stance a "have children" policy. It's merely a result of a social welfare system that is designed to protect the most vulnerable. England of old, and many other countries, fiercely encourage children but don't provide benefits for having them.
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to David Martin:

Did I say it was a 'have children' policy? I can't see that I did.

Supporting children is about providing decent education, health, social infrastructure opportunities for all - not just those at the very bottom of society, for which benefits in the more usually-defined sense come in.
Alyson - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: This thread is hilarious!

Lets get some perspective here: I seriously doubt that anybody has ever decided to have children for the good of mankind. Of course people have children because they want them and that's exactly how it should be. Every child should be wanted and loved and cherished. To a greater or lesser degree we all pretty much live the lives we want as far as we feel able, and pursue our dreams as far as we can, so the decision to have a child is no more nor less selfish than the decision not to.

Unfortunately in the last 20-30 years we have started to wake up to the severe pressure which overpopulation is putting on the natural world and on global resources, and everyone is fighting to blame everyone else and mitigate their own lifestyles as little as possible. So A won't cut down on his/her international flights because B is driving a 4x4 and B won't give up their 4x4 because the Chinese keep building power plants and the Chinese keep building power plants because the US is drilling for oil in Alaska. Now the people who have exercised their freedom not to have children are using this decision as an ethical stick to beat parents with, and so the parents feel defensive and start having to justify their choice with reference to a sound economic model. It's amazing to just stand back and watch where these arguments lead!

In answer to your OP, I have had the "you should have children" lecture a few times but it has always, without exception, come from people utterly enamoured of parenthood who want me to share in the joy of it, not from people who think I am slacking in my duty to the world. I'd be surprised if anyone genuinely held the latter view but then people do have the ability to surprise me :)
Hooo - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
There seems to be some misunderstanding on this thread...
Children are obviously vital to the continuation of the human race. It's in everyone's interest that children are born and brought up well. This fact is not in dispute.
The question is the motivation that drives people to have children. I'd argue that the vast majority are not doing it out of a duty to society, they are doing it because they want children. There is nothing wrong with that, but for someone to claim that they had children for entirely selfless reasons is almost certainly a lie. And, there is no justification in calling someone selfish for not having children.
Hooo - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Alyson:
You beat me to it, but put it better. Shall I just delete my post now :-)
Edradour - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Alyson:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) This thread is hilarious!
>
> I have had the "you should have children" lecture a few times but it has always, without exception, come from people utterly enamoured of parenthood who want me to share in the joy of it, not from people who think I am slacking in my duty to the world.

+1 to all of your points.

On a slight tangent, I do find it utterly nauseating when new parents (and most of my friends are reaching 'that' age at the moment) plaster facebook and the like with pictures of their new offspring and start referring to themselves as 'mummy' and 'daddy'. Justification for the end of a friendship in my book!
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Fickalli:

If you could 'like' on UKC your post would be first on my list.
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Fickalli:

What troubles me more is the amount of women out there running microbusinesses (in particular those involved in marketing) who refer to themselves as 'mummies' first and foremost. Men don't do this so I don't understand why women do. It makes it very hard to take them seriously.
krikoman - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Alyson: you used the "decision" word again.

When my girlfriend at the time, who was one the pill and who I knew wasn't "the one" and that we'd never settle down together. Told me, a never having kids can't stand the thought of them, 32 year old, said, "I think I'm pregnant". My world was about to end.

It turned out to be the best thing ever, having a child is so unbelievably good. It made me a more caring, less selfish and rounded human being. I now have three, not with Mrs. not for me but with someone who I can share my life with.

I know it's a cliché but the old, "you don't know what it's like until you've had kids" is so so true. No one can explain the changes, jot and heartache that kids can bring.

I know a couple of mate who've not had kids some of them get angry when I tell them you don't understand. But they can't, understand, that is, and mo one can tell them.

I’d didn’t “plan” any of mine, but if I had my life over again I wouldn’t change anything. Except perhaps to start earlier.
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to krikoman:

This all makes sense - but sometimes, for people who can't (rather than don't want to) have kids for one reason or another, hearing 'life without kids is hollow and meaningless' is a pretty bitter pill to swallow, and it's uttered pretty regularly.
GridNorth - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: With the onset of climate change it could be argued that it is everyones duty to not have kids or at least limit the number. I can see a day when Chinas laws on this matter will be held up as an environmentally responsible act.

James
gribble - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Of course having children is a duty. I am raising a belayer and the future of British climbing. Someone has to take me out on the crags in my twilight years.
Edradour - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I agree, and it seems to be an increasingly popular industry. Businesses that market themselves as, for example, 'cleaners for young mums' or 'picnic hampers for yummy mummies' should not be allowed start up loans.

I've never understood why there needs to be a differentiation between 'mummies'(or daddies) and the rest of us if we need a product. Presumably if we've decided to buy it then we need, or want it, for whatever reason.

But I would say that, I'm a hollow, shallow and emotionless non-parent!
Tall Clare - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Fickalli:

Can I introduce you to the phrase 'mumpreneur'? Grrnnngrgh.
Edradour - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Fickalli)
>
> Can I introduce you to the phrase 'mumpreneur'? Grrnnngrgh.

I've just been a little bit sick in my mouth.

Simon4 - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

> The fact that even the current government has a reasonable degree of support for children tells us how important they are to society.

It tells us nothing of the kind.

It tells us that parents are a very powerful lobby group, with well orchestrated and carefully prepared emotive, essentially blackmailing arguments, that no or very few politicians have the courage to oppose. Gordon Brown was of course famed for his "glittering generalities" about "hard-working families" (are single/childless people by extension lazy and feckless?), the UK equivalent of an American polician praising "motherhood and apple pie", but whereas his successors have not been so prone to use that sort of knee-jerk language, they have still had little resolution to seriously question the base-assumptions of this lobby.

There are few advantages, and serious risks, for the genuinely iconoclastic politician, though we are as much to blame as they are for that situation.
Mike Stretford - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to krikoman)
>
> This all makes sense - but sometimes, for people who can't (rather than don't want to) have kids for one reason or another, hearing 'life without kids is hollow and meaningless' is a pretty bitter pill to swallow, and it's uttered pretty regularly.

Yep. We're a couple who met in our late (vey late!) thirties, both having been in relationships that didn't work out. The odds aren't stacked in our favour so we try to be relaxed over it, a 'whatever happens happens' approach.

I've been down right gobsmacked at the insensivity of some people, people you've met for 30mins at a wedding for example, prying into something that is very personal, making comments like you described. Still, I suppose it's a quick way to find out what people are really like.

The thread: All this talk of choice is rubbish. Life happens to people, people who didn't want children do and vice versa. Comments about 'selfishness' ect just mean you've got a chip on your shoulder about somthing else.
Phil79 - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) With the onset of climate change it could be argued that it is everyones duty to not have kids or at least limit the number. I can see a day when Chinas laws on this matter will be held up as an environmentally responsible act.
>
> James

Environmentally responsible maybe, but a diasater in terms of human rights, at least in the way its administered in China.

krikoman - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to krikoman)
>
> This all makes sense - but sometimes, for people who can't (rather than don't want to) have kids for one reason or another, hearing 'life without kids is hollow and meaningless' is a pretty bitter pill to swallow, and it's uttered pretty regularly.

yes it must be doubley bad for them. Once you're told you can't you want it even more.
Steve John B - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Papillon:
>
> The thread: All this talk of choice is rubbish. Life happens to people, people who didn't want children do and vice versa. Comments about 'selfishness' ect just mean you've got a chip on your shoulder about somthing else.

+1
wintertree - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

> My sacrifice provides those selfish enough not to have kids with the stable economic environment to allow them to indulge their personal aspirations.

Wrong. So wrong.

There is no problem with fertility rates or population stability in the UK. Some people have more children, some have less.

What's more selfish out of these hypothetical options?
1. Someone cleaning floors in the local school pops out 6 children that go on to lead dismal, uneducated lives contributing nothing to society but their 6*6 uneducated children
2. Someone has no children but spends 30 years teaching in that school, using their talent and skill to help shape perhaps 900 people into being compassionate, creative, scientific types who will pick up the state support costs of the children from 1.

Now that's a pretty crass, extreme and patronising example but I don't think it's crass, extreme or patronising enough to contest with your use of the words like "sacrifice" or "selfish".
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to thesaunter:

Read my original post and then offer a comment. Jeez thank god your not one of the teachers you quote in point 2!

EeeByGum - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp) With the onset of climate change it could be argued that it is everyones duty to not have kids or at least limit the number. I can see a day when Chinas laws on this matter will be held up as an environmentally responsible act.

But China is hardly an example. Their population continues to explode and when you add in social pressures for Chinese people to give birth to a boy, they are creating a new nightmare for the future. Hardly a good example for the rest of us - And you can have more than one child in China if you have enough money to pay the relevant authorities.

I don't think the future is particularly bleak. I very much agree with this chap (a shining light of my childhood) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d23B-R2-qw (start at 55 seconds)
EeeByGum - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Fickalli:

> I agree, and it seems to be an increasingly popular industry. Businesses that market themselves as, for example, 'cleaners for young mums' or 'picnic hampers for yummy mummies' should not be allowed start up loans.

I agree that the terms are a bit wet - they do my head in too, but why is it such a bad thing? The "yummy mummy" market is massive. The management of Mumsnet are regularly called upon by government to offer advice and input on policy decisions in that area. If you are targeting that market, regrettably, that is the language you have to use.
Padraig on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to David Martin)
>
> It seems that this government is determined to cut as much as possible, yet they still seem quite pro-children, so what's that about? Mind you, they did slash SureStart, didn't they?

This seems relevant to the debate?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20077758
pasbury on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> [...]
>
> It tells us nothing of the kind.
>

It could also have something to do with paying the pensions of an aging and increasingly long-lived population in our own country.
wintertree - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

> Read my original post and then offer a comment.

I did. And then I did.

>> What if everyone decided not to have kids? I think the film Children of Men illustrates the anarchy we would all experience if we knew the end was nigh.
>> My sacrifice provides those selfish enough not to have kids with the stable economic environment to allow them to indulge their personal aspirations.

Having read your original post I saw no connection between the two halves of your post. The problem in Children of Men was nothing to do with selfish people not having children and leading to economic instability. It was unspecified reasons that had nothing to do with personal choice, sacrifice or selflessness.

Considering your more recent post and your earlier post it would seem that you are making a nod to a fictional movie in the belief that it justifies your statement that "My sacrifice provides those selfish enough not to have kids with the stable economic environment to allow them to indulge their personal aspirations"

I won't however get sidelined into further pointing out the flaws in any such link and just reiterate my opposing views to that last statement - which is one that crops up all over the place much to my chagrin.
In reply to Ben Sharp: Neither, but more the former than the latter.
Ben Sharp - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> [...]
>
> Tosser. You make sacrifices to go climbing....god that must be so hard.....i can't begin to imagine the things you've had to give up to indulge yourself in your selfish pursuit.
>
> The rest of your reply fails to understand at a basic philosophical level what benefits children bring to all of society....even those who send their whole life accommdated art the expense of the state.

Thankfully you can hide behind your distance trolling, speak to me like that face to face and you'll get a well deserved smack in the face.

I think you've misunderstood my point and misunderstood the meaning of the word sacrifice. If you sacrifice something you forsake it for something more worthy. It's not hard to sacrifice time/money/relationships for a leisure pursuit like climbing, it's a choice that I benefit from.

My point was that when someone forsakes pleasures in life to have a child it's because they desire the child more than the sacrifices they make for it. It's personal. You've failed to offer any reason why everyone who has a child does it for the overall good of the human population.

Children are great to have in society, needed indeed but it doesn't follow from that that the more the better. If you doubled the birth rate tomorrow society would collapse, if you halved it it would have similarly problematic consequences. The point is that at the very least we aren't suffering from underpopulation in the world so why should people be morally obliged to have children for the good of society?

Thankfully everyone else that's responded to this thread I've more or less agreed with. Some people have kids, some don't, both groups do so for personal reasons and both should be able to indulge in that.

Ben
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)
>
> Thankfully you can hide behind your distance trolling, speak to me like that face to face and you'll get a well deserved smack in the face.

You're right i was trolling to some degree but i'll justify my arguement by saying this (and yes it will sound like a Michael Jackson quote). Children create a future, without them there is no tomorrow. Without tomorrow society would cease to exist, why build anything, why comply with laws or any sense of morality when you know it's the end of the line for all of us. People who chose not to have kids do so to allow them to pursue other pleasures which they can only enjoy as a result of a stable society which is ultimately sustained by the sense of tomorrow created by those who have children. Therefore you need me and people like me more than I need you.

As for threats of violence;

1 You don't scare me
2. You probably wouldn't do it
3. You've probably made the right choice not to have kids as violent parents don't set a good example
Wonko The Sane - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> [...]
>
> You're right i was trolling to some degree but i'll justify my arguement by saying this (and yes it will sound like a Michael Jackson quote). Children create a future, without them there is no tomorrow. Without tomorrow society would cease to exist, why build anything, why comply with laws or any sense of morality when you know it's the end of the line for all of us. People who chose not to have kids do so to allow them to pursue other pleasures which they can only enjoy as a result of a stable society which is ultimately sustained by the sense of tomorrow created by those who have children. Therefore you need me and people like me more than I need you.
>
I understand what you are saying, but it's wrong to think he needs you in any way. There have always been people who do not want kids and the world has survived, but if by some strange event, no more kids were born, the default setting isn't that we all follow a hollywood script. There are other ways to go.


> As for threats of violence;
>
> 1 You don't scare me
> 2. You probably wouldn't do it
> 3. You've probably made the right choice not to have kids as violent parents don't set a good example

Bloody hell. You call a bloke a tosser then get uppity that he invites you to say it to his face! Want your cake and eat it too by the sound of it.

Remind me of an ex!
Father Noel Furlong on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)
> [...]
> I understand what you are saying, but it's wrong to think he needs you in any way. There have always been people who do not want kids and the world has survived

Yes but i was justifying why this decision is ultimately a selfish one. If we all decided not to have kids what would the iimpact be?
>
> Bloody hell. You call a bloke a tosser then get uppity that he invites you to say it to his face! Want your cake and eat it too by the sound of it.
>
> Remind me of an ex!

Was she from Glasgow as well? :-)

Wonko The Sane - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane)
> [...]
>
> Yes but i was justifying why this decision is ultimately a selfish one. If we all decided not to have kids what would the iimpact be?
> [...]

I've no idea. And nor do you really.
But it does not mean that a person who decides not to have kids inherently needs you. Perhaps in whatever world would be shaped by having no kids, they'd be quite happy.
>
> Was she from Glasgow as well? :-)

Why, do Glaswegians slag other blokes off then cry if the bloke hits them?
Wasn't the image I had og Glaswegians.

ducko - on 26 Oct 2012
The worlds overpopulated, there are not enough resources to go around, people are over breeding that is a fact, something needs to be done about it because one day there won't be enough to around for all and it'll end up in war, some may disagree but ultimately when things start to dry up it'll end in violence, I agree bringing up children can be a greatly rewarding part of a persons life but there needs to be a way of controlling how many children people have I know one family with nine children which is just ridiculous.
I'm choosing not to have children as the world is overpopulated and I don't think that the world is a great place to be as a young person and when shit does hit the fan, which it will, I wouldn't want a child being involved in that, but this obviously is my personal opinion and choice
Ben Sharp - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Ben Sharp)
> [...]
>Children create a future, without them there is no tomorrow. Without tomorrow society would cease to exist...

Thankyou for posting a reasoned response. I think you are right that if children ceased to exist society would be worse off, I'm not 100% conviced it would be as bad as you suggest but there is no point speculating.

The point is we are about as far away from that possibility as we could be, there is no shortage of children so I fail to see how choosing not to have children is a morally unacceptable position. As I said before, even if no one chose to have children, the world population wouldn't be completely obliterated as there are more than enough unplanned pregnancies to sustain the species.

>People who chose not to have kids do so to allow them to pursue other pleasures which they can only enjoy as a result of a stable society which is ultimately sustained by the sense of tomorrow created by those who have children.

Don't assume that everyone who chooses not to have children does so because they want more time to themselves, that is an obvious advantage to not having kids but there are also things you miss out on. Having kids can give life purpose and meaning, it can (and usually is) the most pleasurable, life affirming thing someone can do, it gives you someone to help you when you get old, something to be proud of and someone to leave behind when you finally hit the can.

There are pros and cons to either option and neither group of people should be looked down upon for their choice. Certainly people who choose not to have children shouldn't be accused of failing to support the human race. As I said, it's not just the parents that bring up children, it's society. Be it the childless godparents who help with childcare, the taxes that pay for education and health or the colleagues who happily take up the slack when someone is on maternity/paternity leave. As others have said, most people have kids for their own personal reasons (as apposed to species preservation) and they reap the benefits from both their sacrifices and those of society at large - don't make parents out to be sacrificial victims because they aren't. Most parents wouldn't want to be anything else.

> As for threats of violence;

I wasn't threatening you. I get annoyed by people hiding behind anonymous profiles so they can hurl verbal abuse at people unchecked. Go down to Glasgow tonight, walk up to a stranger, call them a tosser and see what happens. My bet is you would get more than a smack in the face. My point is that you wouldn't talk to someone like that face to face so what makes you think it's acceptable to do so while you're safely hiding behind your computer screen?

Ben
Ben Sharp - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to ducko:
> I'm choosing not to have children as the world is overpopulated and I don't think that the world is a great place to be as a young person and when shit does hit the fan, which it will, I wouldn't want a child being involved in that, but this obviously is my personal opinion and choice

The next century will certainly see oil/energy shortages and more importantly food and water shortages. Growing weather instability, environmental disasters and conflict over resources and over shifting world power are likely as well and the 21st Century is set for the perfect storm.

Anyone who's read Andy Caves "learning to breath" might have been touched by the excitement he felt as a child for receiving a jumper and a bar of chocolate for Christmas. That's so far away from children's attitudes in the modern day (myself included) and as a parent you just can't insulate your children from the rampant consumerism that plagues us.

With the unstable outlook for this century and reflecting on our own society, instead of asking if we must have children we should be asking if it's fair to bring children into this world.
Moley on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: I have never had children or wanted children (now 60 yr old and married 30 years), though I did "inherit" a stepson of 10 - till he buggered off into the army at 16, good call!
I simply am not keen on kids and have absolutely no interest in them or need for them in our family life (and yes, my wife is ok with this). So reckon I would make a very disinterested dad.
Two things I cannot comprehend:
Firstly when people (usually women) say they have a "right" to have children - usually associated with infertility - I just don't get that, what "right"?
Secondly, anyone having children that they cannot support 100% themselves, and knowing they will have to rely largely on state benefits to bring them up. Surely children are like dogs - not just for Christmas?
Only a hill - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> With the unstable outlook for this century and reflecting on our own society, instead of asking if we must have children we should be asking if it's fair to bring children into this world.

The world always has problems, and frankly I think things are better for 99% of people right now than they have been at most other points in history.

I'm not saying everyone has a duty to have children or anything like that, but at the same time I don't think you can hide behind the argument that this isn't a world for children to grow up in.
Sarah G on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:
>
> Someone's choice not to have kids isn't going to negatively affect the burgeoning world population so to look down on people for not investing in children seems counter-intuitive.

On the contratry, those who don't currently
have children are indeed buily "investing" in OTHER people's children!

Sxx

Sir Chasm - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp: Do you think it's acceptable to hit (or stab, is that what you were hinting at?) someone for calling you a tosser?
krikoman - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm: probably, depends who it is.
Simon4 - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to pasbury:

> It could also have something to do with paying the pensions of an aging and increasingly long-lived population in our own country.

Not a very logical response, for several reasons.

Problems with the viability of the pensions system (state and private have stresses for similar reasons, though they are significantly different and the private system is much more ruthless/realistic in addressing them), have various causes, but the the most fundamental one is the ratio between the average length of time spent working and the average length of time on a pension/economically inactive, e.g. at university, which has got much worse since the schemes started, so undermining their base assumptions. Increasing the total population by subsidising breeding does nothing to address this, as this new population has the same problem when it gets old, so as a solution to the work/retired ratio it has no more logic than a ponzi-scheme, and will be liable to a similar collapse.

The new population would itself require an ever growing base to support it, in any case why would a society that already has several million unemployed need a dramatic increase in population, which will only make matters worse?

Also if you are buying a pension, you are well advised to inspect the quality of the pension scheme and the record of its provider carefully. So by comparable logic, if other people's children are represented as a benefit as they are your pension scheme, it would make sense to vet the parents (or at any rate those that get child-benefit, child tax credits, maternity leave, etc, etc, etc), equally carefully to ensure that the parents have responsibly prepared for the role, have made prudent financial and other provision themselves, have a good personal record of behaviour - in other words, you should be backing winners, not losers. Of course none of this is done, nor is there any prospect of it happening, still less anything like the Chinese 1 child policy - all you need to do to get these payments is to have a child, so clearly what is being incentivised is just breeding, not good parenting.

The main original reason for payments for having children of all kinds (before politicians decided that it was a great way to buy people's votes with their own money, or even with borrowed money), was to make up for war losses, in other words to provide cannon-fodder. That is scarcely required now, yet the policy has taken on a life of its own.





tlm - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Fickalli:
> start referring to themselves as 'mummy' and 'daddy'.

and 'the little one'.....

When I first experienced this, I thought I had been transported into stepford wives!


tlm - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Papillon:

> I've been down right gobsmacked at the insensivity of some people, people you've met for 30mins at a wedding for example, prying into something that is very personal, making comments like you described.

In India, we had a lovely chat with a stranger in a cafe, who said:

"Do you have children? No? Maybe you have a gynaecological problem? You should see the doctor about it immediately! Or maybe you are using family planning? yes?"

It did make us giggle. We found people to be just SO open about things like that over there!


tlm - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

don't worry - there are far more people having children than not. I think we are going up by more than one person per second at the moment...

http://galen.metapath.org/popclk.html

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