Debate and Discussion

The Childfree Lifestyle--Good or Bad?
Aurora Moon at 8:19PM, Jan. 19, 2008
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child-free

Being “Childfree” is a way of saying that you made a personal choice to NEVER reproduce children for various reasons.

I'm one of those people. My reasons for not having children:

1)Overpopulation. I have the belief that it is a generous act not to bring more people into the world. For Overpopulation has created problems of the following such as environmental issues, resource problems, etc.

2)Medical concerns that I won't get into here.

3)There are existing children in the world which is already suffering. If I had to have a child later in life, I would rather adopt one of those children who needs me rather than contribute to that existing problem of overpopulation.

There are many out there who prefers to have a child-free lifestyle, even if it means that they wouldn't “Continue” the bloodline.

But The world nowadays seem to be full of media who promotes having a family and a home as the only life to have. That being child-free is seen as a “selfish” thing to do.

Opponents of the child-free lifestyles states the following (taken from the above link):
Religion:
There has been a debate within religious groups about whether a child-free lifestyle is something to be condemned. Some religious conservatives have stated that it is a rebellion against God's will. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988, Pope John Paul II has set forth the Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity, particularly in vocations such as monasticism, and so approves of nominally child-free ways of life under certain circumstances.

The Southern Baptist author R. Albert Mohler, Jr. says, “Couples are not given the option of chosen childlessness in the Biblical revelation. To the contrary, we are commanded to receive children with joy as God's gifts, and to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”, a position consistent with some Protestant denominations' condemnation of homosexuality, gay couples, and gay marriage.

Selfishness issue:
Some opponents of the child-free choice consider such individuals “selfish” for neither having, nor wanting, children. The idea behind this position is that, since one argument is that raising children is a very important activity (child-free author Virginia Postrel calls it “the most important work most people will ever do”), not having children would therefore mean living a hedonistic, consumption-based lifestyle that makes no contribution to the world, only to the self.


However there seems to be a whole different side that counters both arguments well:

Selfishness:
Child-free individuals sometimes respond to these accusations of selfishness by claiming that the act of having children can itself be just as or even more selfish especially when poor parenting creates many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large. The decision to become a parent is often based on characteristically “selfish” and egotistical motives as well.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are so many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and resource depletion

Religion:
In response, there are new churches being formed with the child-free movement. For example, a group called The Cyber-Church of Jesus Christ Child-free is a group of Christians who feel the call to have no descendants by fleshly means, just as Jesus had none.

Other mainline evangelical Christians have more balanced views, as published in Today's Christian Woman in an article by Raymond Van Leeuwen entitled “Is it All Right for a Married Couple to Choose to Remain Childless?” He shows that Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” what people generally think of as the Biblical mandate to procreate, is really not a command formula but a blessing formula: “You shall be fruitful…” He writes that while there are many factors to consider as far as people's motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one's time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.

so what is your viewpoint on this? Discuss.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
imshard at 8:43PM, Jan. 19, 2008
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I have so many nieces and nephews and cousins that it isn't even funny anymore. No concerns about my bloodline. In fact I'm the youngest child, my siblings already have several children each. No worries about the family name or bloodline continuing. On my mother's side too. So thats not a problem.

Religion? Well Go forth and multiply has been well fulfilled and it really has been misinterpreted as a reason to have children. I can't really think of religious reasons to have kids come think of it. Not in my belief system anyway. That is the domain of married people, and most religions have plenty of room for those who choose to serve their community instead of their spouse and household. Childless married couples though? nuh-uh you can't have it both ways. You go in the sack with a spouse for the purpose of a baby coming out. ZIP!

Overpopulation? Why not, the overpopulation issue almost an exclusively a Chinese and Indian problem. Nothing against them you see they just represent the largest concentrated population centers. In the rest of the world, there are declining birthrates overall. The USA included.

Medical concerns? I suppose I'd never considered it that way. I have the glass man affliction personally. I wouldn't want to pass that on or risk dying before the kiddies get older…

Suffering orphans? welll… I'm not against adopting if I'm ever needed to.

Breeders do tend to want everybody to be breeders. Children are wonderful. They bring a deep sense of fulfillment when you raise them or contribute to their growth. Yet bachelors and maidens (yes antiquated language) have always held a part of society. Its not selfish to devote yourself to others. You've simply given yourself to something other than raising a family.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
bobhhh at 8:02AM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Well my wife and I are childless for several reasons.

1. We are both physically and emotionally recovering from various genetic ailments. Me personally, I am not anxious to pass along my Diabetes to a child, to say nothing of my clinical depression. These ailments coupled with my addictive nature, which was hellish and took me to the age of 40 to overcome, are not something I would wish upon an enemy, much less a child.

2. My parents were horrible people, and I hated them. My father has been dead for over a decade and his voice still haunts me. Somehow I survived the emotional torture and physical abuse, but even though I have evolved some form of perspective, I dread the possibility that I, in absence of any real example, might be nearly as bad as a parent. I would never want to bring a child into the world who might end up resenting me and wishing he could have done better for a father, like I do.

3. Possibly because of 1&2 I just don't have the instinctual desire to procreate. I don't feel a need to either carry on my scumbag fathers “good” name(infact letting it die seems like a small victory), nor do I similarly need to see a little copy of myself or worse one of them running around.

4. Because we both suffered traumatic child hoods which we are only now recovering from, we have decided we need to nurture each other and try to find some of that joy we both missed out on. Also our life and little community theater allows us the opportunity to help troubled teens like we were, which I feel is probably a better use of our talents than shaping a young childs life. I feel that helping each other deal with the misery and disappointment of a broken childhood gives us the sense of accomplishment and family that most of you with kids experience, and the bonds we have forged run nearly as deep.

5. Reading the above you might agree with me that just as in nature, not everyone is meant to procreate. I will even go as far as to say I might have been better off not having been born. Not that I want to die, although I have in the past, I am alive now and wish to enjoy what remains of my life. Having a child is the ultimate responsibility and frankly some people who you wouldn't trust the most meanial tasks to just blunder into it with no other qualifications than their plumbing. You need a renewable liscence to own a dog after all, and children are a good deal more tricky to raise. Kids deserve to grow up with parents they can count on to provide them with competentant and devoted support. Kids have no choice in this matter, parents do. The fact is my parents were unfit to raise children as evidenced by me and my narrow escape from dibillitating depression and madness. It's always sad to me to see the way some people treat their children. I believe, like me, that there are just a whole bunch of people that should never be allowed to ruin a childs life.

Having kids is a frightening enterprise to me, and I have endless respect and admiration for those who get it right.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
mishi_hime at 8:41AM, Jan. 20, 2008
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There are so many childern that are thrown away, sold into slavery, abused, or barley living. Now, we seem to have a recent trend of kids having kids, and abortion as a solution to this problem.Thinking about all options and deciding to stya child-free if better than just having a bunch of ‘happy accidents’.


i also think that the bible and traditional Christian beliefs still very much influence people to have childern, If people see a child-free person and think they're selfish, religion is probably to blame.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:03PM
Black_Kitty at 10:28PM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Speaking in a sort of hypothetical-general kind of way (and in no way directed at anyone)…

Not having children is, in a way, a selfish decision. But before everyone slings me up on their pitchforks, hear me out!

Most people who decide not to have children do so because they recognize their own interests and desires, and realize that they are incompatible with having children. If being selfish means having concern over your own interests and placing them above others, then the decision to not have children is oftentimes selfish in nature. Having children often means sacrifice and putting their own interest over yours. You cannot be a good parent if you keep putting your own interest over your children's.

The word “selfish” however often cares with it a negative connotation. In this case however, I would much rather have selfish childless people who chose to be responsible and not have children, over selfish people with children who keep putting their own interests over their child's. There's nothing wrong with choosing not to have children but there's a lot of things wrong with choosing to have children but then not raising them because you never wanted them to begin with.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
bobhhh at 10:51PM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Black_Kitty
Speaking in a sort of hypothetical-general kind of way (and in no way directed at anyone)…

Not having children is, in a way, a selfish decision. But before everyone slings me up on their pitchforks, hear me out!

Most people who decide not to have children do so because they recognize their own interests and desires, and realize that they are incompatible with having children. If being selfish means having concern over your own interests and placing them above others, then the decision to not have children is oftentimes selfish in nature. Having children often means sacrifice and putting their own interest over yours. You cannot be a good parent if you keep putting your own interest over your children's.

The word “selfish” however often cares with it a negative connotation. In this case however, I would much rather have selfish childless people who chose to be responsible and not have children, over selfish people with children who keep putting their own interests over their child's. There's nothing wrong with choosing not to have children but there's a lot of things wrong with choosing to have children but then not raising them because you never wanted them to begin with.

Actually I believe my concerns are more considerate for the welfare of a child I might rashly call into being. I think it's more selfish to insist on having a baby when you are not fit to be a parent. I think it's more generous to leave parenting to those who are better suited by temperament and ability.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
RabbitMaster at 7:29AM, Jan. 21, 2008
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I would absolutely support anyone in the Childfree lifestyle even if I thought their reasons were invalid. I think its your absolute right to have or not have as you see fit, and I would be against anyone looking down at you for making that decision. I think that the decision to not have children is in many cases more responsible than deciding to have kids you have no intention of taking care of.
Having said that, we have a big family by some standards and we are very much into our children. We make sure we put the necessary time and attention into our kids, even at the expense of some of our personal prioriites. By having these kids, we have obligated ourselves, and no one else, to ensure their well-being. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
albone at 8:38AM, Jan. 21, 2008
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Being childfree is a choice, not really so much good or bad. Bad, I think are the deadbeats that have 12 kids to get the government check for drugs. But aside from that, you know that you don't need any education or licensing to be a parent? You need to for so many things and yet being a parent is just there. Now, I'm not suggesting that we should, but I know my share of horrible parents that probably shouldn't be allowed to care for a child.

I would think that a good arguement for childfree would be less strain on resources. Half of our current budget goes to Baby Boomers and beyond, that's not going to get any smaller any time soon. Not a truly compelling arguement but I think it holds water.

I think Bob's on the money with his reasons. Raising a kid is hard, raising one with medical problems would have to be a nightmare especially in the current state of health coverage this nation is in. That being said, you could move to Canada. So, uproot your life to Canada to have a kid. I digress though…

I think its fine if you want to focus on you and no one else. I personally have friends that had kids for the sole purpose of having ‘something to do.’ Doesn't seem like such a good reason TO ME to have a kid. That being said, it seems to be working out for everyone in that situation.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
SpANG at 9:29AM, Jan. 21, 2008
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albone
Being childfree is a choice, not really so much good or bad.
Well, not always a choice either. There could be things that prevent you from having kids, even adopting them. But that point is neither here nor there I guess.

Black_Kitty
Not having children is, in a way, a selfish decision…
Your argument is valid, but you must see the other side of that. People have kids all the time just to get welfare checks (like albone mentioned). And, some also have kids to use as leverage against a family, to inherit wealth, or even to keep a marriage together. It's not all “pure thought”, Is what I'm saying. ;)

I don't feel negative people that have kids, though. Unless they fall into one of the categories above. Actually, at one point in my life, I really wanted to have kids. Luckily, I got over it. ;)

But seriously, I made a decision a while back not to. Yes, I had selfish reasons, but I also had genuine concerns about the environment that I may have to raise my kid in. The school systems are horrible, the economy is bad, society's moral's have hit and all-time low, and it just seems like it's getting worse. Plus, kids seem more and more defiant as time goes on (usually to their own peril). IMO, I don't like the direction the youth of the world is headed, so I didn't want to be a part of it.

Will I ever change my mind? Eh, maybe, before it's too late. I don't like to use absolutes when it comes to my outlook. Too many variables. But my mindset would have to spin 180 degrees to re-think the kid thing, that's for sure.


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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
crazyninny at 1:24PM, Jan. 21, 2008
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I just say that whatever feels right, is probably the best choice for you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:48AM
usedbooks at 3:29PM, Jan. 21, 2008
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I don't think that the choice either way necessarily makes you “good” or “bad.” There are a lot of good and bad reasons for either decision.

That said, I think that there are some people who've had children who probably never should have (bad parenting and whatnot), but I would never think a childless person *should* have children. They aren't hurting anyone by not having kids, and if they decided not to reproduce, they likely wouldn't have been great/happy parents.

As for me, well, I'm not entirely sure. I kinda would like to have kids, but I have no good reasons for it. (I think I would be a good mother, but that's not a reason to have kids, imo.) I can think of really good reasons (for me) not to. Mostly because I want to give to society and be generous with my time and resources. I can only do this if I am by myself. It is unfair to make sacrifices of yourself if other people depend on you. Alone, I can give all my money to a charity and live on very little. – If I had a child, I couldn't do that because the child would suffer for my choices.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
Aussie_kid at 5:34PM, Jan. 21, 2008
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My view is that it depends on the parents. Would they be able to cope with a child? Would they negelct the child? Or would they be a good parent and look out for their offspring. What about if the parent would do that, but drink and can have a mean temper?

Personally, I think there should be a liscence to have kids. Sort of like for driving, you pass a few tests, demonstrate you could cope with raising a kid. That way, the people who really want children can prove that they are prepared to sacrifice and be determined, while the people who are too lazy to even attempt have already proven themselves unworthy.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
kyupol at 5:35PM, Jan. 21, 2008
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I dont plan to have kids. I dont wanna bring people into a world that is so negative.

I can feel it everywhere. The general negativity of the world. While I used to get depressed about it because I was too weak to stomach the truth, now I see this as a learning experience.

My intention for not having kids is not selfishness.

My intention is good. If my would-be kids are still spirits existing in a different non-physical realm, I dont want them to be born into this world and suffer.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
bobhhh at 7:08PM, Jan. 21, 2008
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Aussie_kid
My view is that it depends on the parents. Would they be able to cope with a child? Would they negelct the child? Or would they be a good parent and look out for their offspring. What about if the parent would do that, but drink and can have a mean temper?

Personally, I think there should be a liscence to have kids. Sort of like for driving, you pass a few tests, demonstrate you could cope with raising a kid. That way, the people who really want children can prove that they are prepared to sacrifice and be determined, while the people who are too lazy to even attempt have already proven themselves unworthy.



I believe most things should require a liscence and a test. Possesion of firearms, parenting, driving, voting, etc…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
albone at 7:46AM, Jan. 22, 2008
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Yep, twas the point I brought up earlier because they're some damn shitty parents in this country. In my city, it's a practice to shit out as many kids as you can and collect the WIC check. Those people ought to be sterlized.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
bobhhh at 9:18AM, Jan. 22, 2008
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albone
Yep, twas the point I brought up earlier because they're some damn shitty parents in this country. In my city, it's a practice to shit out as many kids as you can and collect the WIC check. Those people ought to be sterlized.

The term that curls my fingernails is “baby daddy”. It's like we now have a new social status for a philandering male who impregnates women with not a scintilla of intention to act as a father. It almost appears as if it serves as a bragging right.

I honestly don't think these girls are smart enough to have WIC fraud as their primary motivation, I think that comes later when they are saddled with children and no prospects for fathers who will man up and contribute to the nurturing and financial support of their progeny. I think the reality is closer to the fact that these girls, much like gamblers, feel the odds won't apply to them and that they will snare one of these “baby daddies”.

Reminds me of the old joke about the woman and the snake.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM

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