General Question

wundayatta's avatar

For you, what makes it worth having children?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) July 16th, 2009

I was thinking about the cost of children in another question. I don’t really think of children as an investment or a retirement plan. I don’t really expect anything of a concrete nature back from them.

I think I see them more as a kind of entertainment—an entertainment that seems to matter more than anything else. It feels important. After all, they are lives, and life feels like such a precious gift.

I enjoy teaching them and seeing their personalities become more and more defined. I like the crazy things they come up with, and the way them make me think. I like the problems they present.

I also think that I identify strongly with them, and, to some extent, see them as extensions of myself. They are certainly something that a part of me will remain in, even after I’m dead. A kind of legacy—a reflection of how I’ve treated them and parented them. I have hopes that, whatever they decide to do, they will more more successful at it than I have been at the things that interest me. I want them to be equipped with the skills and resources they need to lead the most self-actualized lives they can. It’s kind of a mystical thing, in ways that I feel, but can’t begin to explain.

You?

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35 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I just want someone else to mow the grass.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

My two daughters are literally my best friends. As they grew into adults & had kids of their own, I see what wonderful parents they are. I guess I did something right. We all get along great & have fun together. There’s no one I’d rather spend time with than them. There were times when they were younger that I thought I’d lose my mind, but we all came out on the other end of the tunnnel. It was all SO worth it.

Jack79's avatar

It’s more or less what you said daloon. I love all kids, because of the potential they hold, the hope you have for them in the future. A child could be anything: the next prime minister, the person to find the cure for cancer, the best singer the world has ever seen, or a notorious serial killer. And as a parent (or educator) you have this responsibility to help them make the best of it, not just to become as useful to society as possible, but to also have the happiest possible life they can get.

On a personal level, my daughter’s smile is worth any trouble I may have to go through to get it. There are days when she’ll just smile and light up when she sees me, and then there’s months of hard work to overcome the pain she’s suffered before I can get that one smile. But it’s always worth it.

jonsblond's avatar

A hug from my children can make all of the problems I faced during the day disappear.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

When I read what other people have to say about their children, I wonder if not having them was the right choice. Then I remember how fucked up my childhood was, and realize that in reality, NOT having children was maybe the best (and probably only) choice I could have made. Sometimes though, I still wonder “What if?”

Bri_L's avatar

I don’t know how to explain it but when they look at me and hug me it gives me more than anything ever has.

When they need me I feel more needed than I ever have.

They give me a greater purpose than I could ever have without them.

I am a better stronger man because of and for them.

I know that sounds like poetic crap but it is the honest truth.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Bri_L Not poetic crap at all. It sounds like a dedicated, loving father. Cheers to you.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra You shouldn’t think that having kids would have been bad for you OR them. Your bad childhood may very well have made you an even BETTER father. My husband is that way. I won’t go into the details, but he had a terrible childhood. And he’s the best father in the world in my eyes. Our two daughters would walk on coals for him. It can either turn out for the bad if you’d have been a father, or it could have been a good thing. It’s a toss-up.

Bri_L's avatar

@jbfletcherfan – Thanks much!

Facade's avatar

this is so sweet

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@jbfletcherfan thanks for that, you just helped me in a way you can never know and I can never describe. A bazillion lurve points to you. =)

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Oh, I’m glad. And hugs to you. (((evelyns_pet_zebra))) :-)

ShanEnri's avatar

My children are my center. Yes they mess up, but if they were perfect they wouldn’t be themselves. I love watching them grow, seeing what beautiful people they’ll become. I love watching them succeed at something that was difficult for them. They make my heart smile-to quote a commercial. Having children goes beyond description for me.

maryleedy's avatar

I treasure the spontaneous kisses, hugs, and “I love you” at any given moment without me asking for it.

badapple's avatar

Among the many many reasons it’s worth having kids…. my favorite is looking in my rear view mirror to see my “almost” 2 year old daughter making the weirdest and goofiest faces I have ever seen. I had parenting surprise me a bit earlier than I wanted it, but now I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

softtop67's avatar

For me its hard to expalin. With all the diapers I have changed, the nights I have lost sleep because of the monster in the closet, the meals I didnt eat because the kids “didnt feel like eating”, there occaisonally is that moment, its tough to expalin, its a look , a hug, them crawling close to you when they are scared that makes you forget all the tough times and cherish their existance

cyndyh's avatar

Both my kids are in their 20s. When I see the people they’ve become I know it was a good thing to have them and raise them. They’re both loving, caring people who serve society in helpful ways. And they’re both witty smart-asses. I’m so proud.

Now I’m just waiting for grandkids I can corrupt and send back home to their parents. :^>

Hambayuti's avatar

Arriving home from work all stressed up and you see your child run towards you, wanting to give you a sloppy kiss and a tight embrace makes it worth having children.

Getting handmade cards, with or without an occasion, filled with hearts, a mommy stick figure holding a little boy stick figure makes it worth having children.

Finding a drawing your son made for you by the bedside table, as soon as you get up from a nap – the picture showing how you look like sleeping and he has entitled this image as “The Queen of Hearts” makes it worth having children.

Hearing them apologize for something they did wrong and hugging you immediately makes it worth having children.

For everything they are and everything they are not, just knowing they are extensions of your life and seeing them grow right before your eyes makes it worth having children.

Blondesjon's avatar

We never “planned” a single one of our children, but we were 100% willing to change our “plans” to accommodate them.

It was worth it because they are our kids.

YARNLADY's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra very few parents haven’t occasionally,had the same thoughts in reverse. Plus you can experience a lot of the rewards by working with other people’s children, either through a foster program, or a mentor program
For me, it has been all of the above, plus the sense of adventure and challenge, and the success when it works out. The first few years are the best, when there is unfiltered enthusiasm and discovery. After that, as they move into the period of becoming an independent person, the going gets very rough, and you have to work to capture the sense of companionship, but it’s worth it.

Then, if you’re really lucky, they provide a whole new generation for you to enjoy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The fact that I gave them life, for one
and in terms of my future children, my current ones are a great example of what magick that is, children, I mean

dannyc's avatar

My recent week at the summer cottage. The kids loved it, we connected, and I became a kid again to play with them , even though they are older now. What a great time..I could never be as happy with anybody else but my wife and kids.

nebule's avatar

this question has really stumped me and made me stop and really think…so thanks Daloon

I think I could probably say, like many others, their smiles, their apologies, their giggles and cuddles, but mainly I think…

the first time they do anything
and
the connection to someone else that is stronger than anything you ever experience, a psycho-physical-spiritual connection that eases the blow of being inherently alone in this subjective world of me

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’d only ever make a child with a man I respected and whose family I respected and could trust to be active in my child’s life. I’d never have a child just for myself against the blessings or welcome of a man or his family, that would be unfair to my child’s future and self confidence.

nebule's avatar

…oh something I just realised today… the fact that being a parent, having children, their colour, life and experience… it gets better every day….

I remember people always saying to me when he was newborn…“relish this time because you’ll wish they stayed like that forever!” but i don’t ever…I love the fact that he’s getting older and wiser and more animated…even at 2 and a half… he is such a Joy… and whilst I will relish every moment of his life and every stage… I look forward to seeing him as a man. The thought brings tears to my eyes.

Jack79's avatar

@lynneblundell yeah that’s because he is fun to be with anyway, and actually more fun at 2 than he was at 1. But when he grows up and goes away (or even when he’s 6 or something and out to school), you’ll miss tucking him in, and breastfeeding him, and even changing diapers. I haven’t seen my daughter in 7 months and I’m missing out on all that could have happened in this time, but when I think back I don’t just miss the time when she was 3. I also miss her 1m-old and 8-m-old and 22-m-old phases. Though admittedly the 2–5 period is by far the best, because of all the speaking :)

cyn's avatar

They give life to life….

cyndyh's avatar

@Jack79 and @lynneblundell : I don’t miss the really young and helpless stages. It does get better and better as they grow into themselves. People told me those same things, and later they’ll tell you things about enjoying them before they become teenagers. It’s great when their own wills become more developed. It gets better and better.

Jack, I think you might not be missing all that younger time if you were seeing her every day. You’d be enjoying the present and not wistful for the past. Take care.

Jack79's avatar

@cyndyh you’re probably right about the last bit, because it’s exactly all this extra time I have alone looking at her pictures and videos and so on. But I remember enjoying every little bit, as lynne said, the first time she did anything, like even the first time she burped or the first time she peed or, most amazingly, the first time she looked at me and smiled.

cyndyh's avatar

@Jack79 : I hear you. Here’s hoping you get to hang with her and get reacquainted again real soon.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have put countless hours, blood, sweat and tears into raising my kids. I can’t help but think that I would have no problems at all if it weren’t for worrying about theirs. All the heartaches I endured through my life, I relive when a similar thing happens to one of them. That being said, they are the light of my life and my reason for living.

Zen's avatar

At this point in time, when they are all grown up (more or less), I look back and can’t even imagine life without them. So to answer the question, everything about having children makes it worth it. Perhaps most of all, knowing that unconditional love really exists: it is my love for my children.

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