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To have or to not have a child? Is it wrong to choose to not have them?

Updated on June 11, 2012

What does a person need before having a child?

Some people feel that if they don’t want kids, they are evil, selfish and choose to not fulfill their purpose as men and women. Society and religion, along with the culture, instill people to believe that they will, in the future, become parents and continue to procreate and fill the planet. It is very difficult for people to realize all the cons of having children when they are convinced all men and women, especially the latter, are apparently supposed to have them to fulfill their roles.

Before I go on, let me tell you- I and not a man who wants to have children. I have a niece, but I certainly do not want children, and to tell you that I’ll never change my mind would be a lie, but it’s not very likely it will because the reasons are very strong. And as I will describe, they are not to taken for “excuses”.

Difficulties of raising children today

I am not going to judge the mindset of people who want to be parents, but for what I can see, many of them do not think about the future when thinking about having a baby. Unlike dogs, cats or other animals which pretty much don’t change their habits during their lifespan, people do change, and it is very important to see that the “cutest” stage of an offspring only lasts a couple of years, between 3 to 4 years. As the baby becomes a child, the difficult part of raising him or her starts, and it only gets more and more complicated as he or she grows, enters puberty and hormones scramble.

There are many situations that are definitely not going to be explained with extreme details as it will take forever, that complicates raising children, and that is not taking into account those that are external. Internal and external situations that affect the life of a person will shape him or her to become somebody with high or low morals; somebody with high or low self-esteem, and somebody that will be or will not be productive for the world, which is pretty much, overpopulated if we take into account the very bad distribution of wealth and the overall problems between the rich, poor, and middle class. Being a parent has always been a tough task, perhaps much tougher and harder than any other “job”, and a great number of parents fail with the task, as we see a much higher rate of divorce, a higher inability to keep a job (not considering jobs lost due to layoffs or the bad economy), and the inability to stay away from some form of corruption. The progress with technology, how easy is for children today to reach things that we adults could not when where were kids, in part of the media, the Internet, smartphones and other devices, has also contributed for the difficulty. Even those who have a milder character are, in many occasions, so prompt to bullying, that they turn “bad” in order to fit with society. The task is tough and to guarantee your child will be an excellent, moral and honest person with a great sense of honor in today’s world is foolish. You can have faith and work as hard as possible to be able to succeed, but not all parents have succeeded into raising their children, because of the so strong external forces that perhaps are much tougher today than ever before.

Personality and character

There are four main forms of personality: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. Unfortunately, the way the world works today is more inclined towards the choleric and sanguine person. Successful people are expected to be extrovert, proactive, incisive, resilient, tough, decided and persuasive. This is the standard “expectation” for all professionals and people who are going to work. But this is not the way it works. Some people are forced to turn this way so they don’t lag behind, but to fake a personality just makes that person unhappy. There are children who are melancholic or phlegmatic whose parents are extremely choleric and sanguine, and together with the lack of the ability to talk the right way to the child, instill a character that most likely will create tons of problems once the child hits puberty. Also, even if their parents are good at handling someone melancholic or phlegmatic, certainly there will be other children and even teachers in their schools who will not be as good as their parents. We all know that most children that are bullied are of either of these two personalities. The phlegmatic and melancholic is generally quiet, introvert and does not like to be surrounded by others at all times; but today’s mediocre society, even among the adults, expect all people to be extremely jovial, extrovert, and always on the move, and they instill their mindset to their children who in turn want to do the same to other children, and because of the lack of experience, they turn such “attempt to change the other student” into a form of abuse which is on the rise in the United States and what’s worse is that it does not stop there, but goes beyond to college and even the workplace. Perhaps the solution to this problem, going into the root, is to find a way to deal with issue that there are people who are introvert and are just as productive and useful in their way. In other words, if you know someone is not as “active” as others, you should not force that person to become something that goes against their nature. There are jobs, indeed, that require the person to be extrovert because the nature of the jobs demands it. Firefighters, project managers, lawyers and police officers are among these examples, and the introvert must know which career to follow to make him happy and feel right. Parents should be well prepared to handle all four forms of personality before having a child because they will not know what personality they will bring; if they expect the child to be sanguine, which is pretty much the general expectation, but they get a melancholic child, then there could be trouble as the child grows and faces both the sanguine-choleric dominated world and his/her parents.

Childish education, mediocre paternity and bullying

Lots of parents today don’t have the slightest preparation to be so. In fact, if we look at statistics, today it is much higher to face the possibility to live only with one of the parents, because they chose to have children before realizing they don’t fit with each other. The presence of both parents is crucial for the growth of a child. There have been, indeed, good people raised only by a mother or a father, but that does not mean one of the paternal figures is not needed. Almost all people who were risen only by one of their parents, deep inside, resent the absence of the other, and that is manifested later in life. Generally, a child needs more than a simple figure and even both parents to become highly productive physically, emotionally and socially when they become adults. Parents should possess a high level of maturity, in terms of what life is, before raising a child. They have to aware that the world is not an easy place to live, that there is a lot of good but also a huge amount of evil and unfairness. We generally believe that evil is limited to rape, murder and other obvious actions. But evil is much deeper and varied than that- evil can be found as early as in schools, in one “infamous” thing we all hear today- bullying. Not only bullying by students, but also by teachers, directors and higher authorities. Any form of “attraction” to harm others, even if it only using minor insults such as “you are an idiot”, is evil. We want to believe “it’s natural, it’s normal”, instead of telling our kids that it is not right, plain and simple. We measure something as normal, even if it is not right because it’s the way most kids behave at their age. Of course, parents cannot worry about the other kids at school in terms of their education, but they have to make sure their kids are equipped against such situations as other kids insulting them for no reason, at the same time not instilling them that they “do the same”. A good parent understands that a person’s self-esteem cannot rely on others’ perception. As human being especially that age, between 5 to 16, is in development and will not understand as us adults why we cannot base our self-esteem on others’ opinions about one, but we have to set examples, tell the kids the truth, and make them realize that they only should care about those who care about them. Nobody in the world has been liked by everyone they meet. Not even Jesus Christ or Mohammad. There is a truth and that is some kids are more popular than others, but one kid cannot struggle to be popular in the basis on being some he is not. If a parent tells their kid it is ok to do some things that are not right, on the basis of the age, the kid will have no control in life. This is even much, much harder and rather dangerous at the puberty stage, when boys and girls tend to be much more rebel and difficult to have a communication with; a parent need to be extremely patient, but at the same time be strong enough to be “controlled” by their child, otherwise they will most likely fail as parents.

A kid is not their parents’ property; kids are not “gifts” from God or anything similar

A common statement when a person is told that he or she is going to be a parent is that, in the excitement, they say “thanks God for this beautiful gift”. It’s understandable, but truth is that no human being is the property or the belonging of another human being. A child will grow and most probably move away 18 years later in average, to live his own life. Parents should give the tools, though personal experiences of the child will give them additional tools, to prepare for life. A parent cannot expect anything from their child- they should discover what the kids bring with them according to their personality, their character and their abilities. It’s not bad that a father wishes that his child becomes a lawyer, or a basketball player, but lots of mediocre parents today “force” their children to be something they are not. This has made this world a much more complicated place to live in- children want to please their family but deep inside they are not happy. They manage to become what their parents want them to be, but they are not satisfied. They feel bored at their jobs, and worst of all, they take the position of another person who loves the nature of that job. We stereotype jobs according to the gross income they provide. It’s natural that parents want the best for their children, but sometimes what they believe it’s best for them is not what they believe is. Emotional and spiritual peace and happiness is much more important than financial stability. There are many “wealthy” people that can’t be any unhappier than they are, because deep inside, they feel miserable, incomplete, without any purpose. They become their parents’ and society’s puppets. This boosts abuse of drugs, unfaithfulness and other problems, which pretty much explains why our world is basically a mess. Parents are not the owners of their children. They might not be happy or comfortable of what their child decides, but they have to respect. That is, of course, if what they do does not harm others.

Optimism vs. Reality

What I have explained in this hub is just a small, very small portion of the issues of parenting and you may find better and broader information on other books by specialists in the matter. But you have to understand that before you choose to want to have a child, you have to be ready. Some people say you’ll know on the march. Certainly, there are things that you will learn while you raise your child, but you cannot go one and have another person to come to a world that is not easy without the necessary tools to “lessen” the probabilities of that child to face a hard life here. If you just want to cuddle something, give love, but do not want to pass through the rather extremely difficult task of raising a child, for them to be ready to handle the evil of this world, then perhaps what you need is a dog, or a cat. The world is not an easy place to live in, especially today with 7 billion people and the extreme competition for jobs. You want the best for your child, and if you are not ready, perhaps the best for him is not to come here. Forget the society pressure, what the church says or the general perception that we are all to procreate. Before you have a child, ask yourself: Are you ready if he or she is born gay? Or disabled? Or with a strong character? Do you believe your husband or wife will accompany you well in the task of raising the child? If not, are you enough? Does your job nature allow you to share the sufficient time with the child for him or her to become a productive person in the future? Do you feel prepared to handle your child as he hits puberty? Are you ready to answer questions about sex, guns, violence, corruption, etc. with him or her? If you are sure you can handle all this, perhaps you are ready. If not, don’t blame yourself for not wanting to have a child. You don’t need to have one if it is not in you, it is not a call for everybody.

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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for this well thought out piece. I wish more people would take the time to be realistic about how hard it really is to raise a child. I thought I would never have a child, I didn't want to add to world over population. I was born with scoliosis, and would never want anyone to go through the surgeries, braces, casts. and teasing I endured. Nevertheless, 8 years into marriage, with someone I dated for 5 years, we had a child. It was a shocking change of our lifestyle, doing whatever we wanted for 13 yrs. and that had to stop. He reached 16 before we realized he did have the scoliosis, what I feared, but his is much less severe. He is one of the brightest spots in my life, and I learned as much from him as he learned from me. So I hope people start putting more time into better child rearing, and get more realistic. But I'm glad I changed my mind.