General Question

LDRSHIP's avatar

Why do people want to have children?

Asked by LDRSHIP (1191 points ) December 2nd, 2013

Is it purely because of scientific reasons? Naturally we were made to in the end reproduce. I mean really what other reason?

But people are much more aware than any other animal and in terms of survival there is plenty of humans.

I ask for the people that have children or want to, why exactly did you come to that decision?

Why is it so important that you must have a child?

I will not include adopting in this question.

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31 Answers

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

The reasons are many. Each of us have our own assortment. One, to live, experience, learn, without passing something on to a new generation seems lonely, futile, wasted. Some need to feel they will not disappear completely if they reproduce. Some want someone around to take care of them when they get older. Some just want something besides a dog to kick when they get frustrated. some are hoping for a work force they’ve trained themselves. Some see it as a way to correct their own mistakes in little mini reproductions of themselves.

jonsblond's avatar

Life can be lonely without a family of your own.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Mrs Squeeky and I have been married for 25 years and having kids was not for us,and our lives have been super,but you have no idea of the ridicule that we had to go through for that choice from family and friends,and to this very day we still don’t want children,so I for one we be eager to read the answers you get from this question.

Smitha's avatar

Pregnancy and childbirth are life experiences. It’s a wonderful feeling to give birth to and care for children who combine our own attributes with the attributes of the partner we love. It’s just amazing to watch the baby grow in your body and then bring life into the world that is a piece of you. Words cant describe the way we feel about our own blood. Moreover it keeps our generations going, that’s what a family is called.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@jonsblond our life hasn’t been lonely at all with no children.we enjoys each other and that is all we need.

jonsblond's avatar

That’s why I said it can be, @SQUEEKY2. I didn’t say it is. :)

DWW25921's avatar

I know several people who want to have children because they live off the benefits and don’t want to work. I mean, sometimes the reasons are purely logistical. More kids mean more cash and food benefits from the state!

nikipedia's avatar

My kid has brought me more happiness than anything else I’ve ever done in my life.

Coloma's avatar

I am an only child and I had an only daughter. Didn’t want multiples but for sure one child.
Yep, as @nikipedia said, I loved being a mom, and also the kind of mom I wished I had had.haha
I raised a bright, curious, creative daughter, just like her mama and best of all, I was the kind of mom that said ” Sure we can keep “it.”

“It” was everything from puppies, kittens, chickens, donkeys, rabbits, and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. I was an awesome mom and I raised an awesome human being. Good enough for me. :-)

ragingloli's avatar

Base instinct.

Thammuz's avatar

Ego, mostly.

I see how many people I consider worse than me are breeding like rabbits and I despair for the future of the human race, therefore I try to inject some of my qualities into the future generations. It’s not really about genetics as much as it is about teaching my values to my offspring.

I live in italy, most people here are below what anyone would consider “decent”.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This is the one subject that has ALWAYS baffled me, and there really is only one possible conclusion: PEOPLE ARE IRRATIONAL. The casinos know it. Politicians depend on it. Wall st fortunes are made and lost because of it. People will go to extraordinary lengths to procure offspring, knowing they will be saddled with enormous and crippling decades long expenses for outcomes less predictable than those on a roulette wheel! Go figure!

ucme's avatar

This has been discussed here before & typical of Fluther, whatever personal reasons parents gave some self righteous arseholes jumped all over them.
Truth is, there is no one reason, rather a series of heartfelt, carefully thought out factors are at play.
For us it was simple, we both wanted kids because, well…just because.
We have lots of love to give, considered ourselves ideal parent material & naturally, felt a burning desire to splice our genes, as it were.
Couldn’t possibly have worked out any better, our kids are wonderful & yes, so are we!

cookieman's avatar

I will not include adopting in this question.

Why?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I thought we had children because we want Grandchildren.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Is there any point in having children.

Oh I don’t know…”

Stretch Out and Wait by The Smiths.

….......

It’s the biological imperative.

Response moderated (Spam)
Coloma's avatar

I joked with my daughter for years ( she just turned 26 last month ) that it pays to breed your own kind. haha
We have so much in common, personality wise, creatively, our sense of humor.
Of course we are different people, but my DNA was the stronger influence over her dads. When we’re on an improv roll of wit and humor we’re just smokin’. lol

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I will give you a few reasons that have been told to us over the years , as to why people want to have children,
1. To have someone to care for them when they are to old to look after themselves.
2.To carry on the family name.
3.To have something to love,(and what’s wrong with your spouse or a pet?)
4.To have grandchildren.( and who says they are going to have children?)
People will add countless other reasons,those are the few that people have hit us over the years, I don’t begrudge people that want to have children,just in this day and age I do believe it is foolish and and not intelligent to have more than 2.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 All very bad reasons for having kids.
Anything other than really wanting to share your life, knowledge and passions with a child are poor reasons.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma I totally agree but those are the reasons people bombed us with over the years,and we still do not have nor want any children in our lives so you can see how well those reasons worked on us,OH then people hit us with what’s the matter you hate kids?
Not at all just don’t want any of our own.

MariaTravels's avatar

I completely agree with SQEEKY2! To carry on the family name? That sounds a little old fashioned and shallow…

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Well…maybe my family is evolving, a long line of only children and now my daughter, at age 26 really has no desire for a child herself. I totally support that. People are such slaves to the programming. Sure, I’d like a grandchild, but I’m not going to be destroyed if that doesn’t happen.

I also believe humanity is already at critical mass and really we should stop reproducing in light of serving the greater good of the planet at this time.
I have a grand cat. I just buy the cat toys. It fulfills my desire to buy things for something. lol

cutiepi92's avatar

My reason may be selfish, but it’s so I won’t be alone and lonely when I’m old and about to die. It’s sad when you see people in nursing homes and whatnot that have no family or children….their friends are all dying off and they have no one to visit them…..it’s sad.

That and I just want to experience being a mother.

I do not want more than 2. Shoot, even more than one might be too much lol.

Coloma's avatar

@cutiepi92 You’re going to be very disappointed if your kids move far away from you.
You do not have kids to be your caretakers in old age. If that happens great, but to count on it is a set up for some big disappointment. Expecting your kids to live within a few miles of you their entire lives is unrealistic and controlling.

cutiepi92's avatar

^I actually would rather them move away lol. But I would still think that even as an old person they would make time to come travel to see me. I’m not saying I want constant attention; but knowing that it’s there if I need it is comforting rather than sitting there knowing that you really are alone in the world…

Coloma's avatar

@cutiepi92 Of course most people hope their kids will be around but just saying anything could happen, so it’s best to not be too invested in having kids to care take you in your old age.

snowberry's avatar

My kids always said I had them to use as slaves! Then they grew up and discovered I had given them an awesome work ethic.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@stanleybmanly It is interesting that you bring up the issue of rationality because there is a recent paper by Laurie Paul (available here) that addresses precisely that topic. The paper has gotten quite a bit of attention, including a story on NPR, a blog post at Psychology Today, and a blog post on Crooked Timber (a popular philosophy blog).

Paul’s conclusion is that having a child is not a rational decision, but neither is it an irrational one. Deciding to have a child is a transformative experience. Making the choice to have a child turns you into the sort of person for whom parenthood makes sense. Making the choice not to have a child turns you into the sort of person for whom parenthood does not make sense. And since you cannot know what it will be like to have a child before you have one (no amount of observation or babysitting can replicate the experience), we lack the information necessary to let the reasoning process do its job.

This might help explain some of the communication gap between those with children and those without. The debates about whether or not it is a good idea to have children are largely hopeless precisely because the decision to be on one side or the other has already determined what sorts of things will count as compelling reasons for you. Thus your bafflement is of your own design, just as the bafflement of parents at your position is of their own design. The decision to have a child or not is not a matter of self-discovery, but self-creation.

LostInParadise's avatar

@SavoirFaire , Doesn’t this fit into the existential perspective? Who we are is not predetermined, but is instead a creative act. The existentialists may have overstated the case. We are probably born with some predilections, but from what you are saying we are incredibly flexible in who we become.

Something else to consider. Might cognitive dissonance play a role? Once we make a decision, we can be very good at creating reasons for having made it.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@LostInParadise Yes, the whole notion of transformative experiences is something that would fit right into existentialism. This isn’t surprising as one of Laurie Paul’s specialities is phenomenology, which is an important aspect of almost every major existentialist thinker’s work.

As for cognitive dissonance, that’s a good question and perhaps something that Paul should consider addressing. She would need to show what the difference is between someone experiencing choice-supportive bias and someone who has crafted their own preferences.

I imagine she’d say something like this: cognitive dissonance involves discomfort resulting from conflicting mental states, and choice-supportive bias more generally involves emphasizing a choice’s benefits and downplaying its drawbacks. Each is a form of self-deception. But a transformative experience makes it such that one can endorse the choice they’ve made even in full awareness of its drawbacks and the benefits of alternatives. The phenomenology is not one of reassurance.

This is clearly not enough, though. It’s an outline of a response, but one in need of filling out. I imagine a full response would rely on the claim that choosing whether or not to be a parent is a non-rational decision. The transformative experience leads us not to say that we had good reasons, but only that we are happy with how things turned out and can no longer imagine living otherwise. Alternatively, I suppose she could argue that choice-supportive biases are a mechanism of transformation. That would be an interesting route to take.

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