Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Why would choosing not to have children be considered selfish?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (20608points) January 28th, 2018

People would say that all the time to Mrs Squeeky and myself when we said we were not having children, when I would ask them why does that make us selfish no one could answer.
I would think having children and regretting it would be selfish.
I am not trying to start any arguments about children or no children.
Why would people think not having children is a selfish act?

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17 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Many people have been raised under the paradigm of: grow, up, get married, have children, work until 65, be grandparents, then die.

Couples that don’t have children have a lot of disposable income that people raising kids don’t have. So jealousy rears its head and people consider DINKs (double income, no kids) selfish because they are not “sharing” by raising a family.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

~Sounds like a bad pick up line.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

In this day and age not having kids would seem the prudent, responsible thing to do.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thanks @zenvelo .
And I agree about the prudent thing as well.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Maybe because (in some peoples views) by not having kids they aren’t contributing to society? Because those kids won’t grow up to become workers and slaves to this society, forced to work and get nothing in return?
Here is a relevant article from 2 years ago though.

Demosthenes's avatar

Comments like that I can only react to with laughter at this point.

It’s selfish to have children, it’s selfish not to have children, it’s selfish to have a large family, etc. Some people are so quick and willing to judge other’s personal life decisions, yet they have no justification whatsoever for sitting on that high horse of theirs. My only assumption about the reasons for the judgment in the OP would be that these “selfish people” are choosing not to divide their time and resources on children, so that can be seen as selfish in the act of keeping it all to themselves. But then one could also say that having children is selfish, especially biological children, since the population is high enough and there are many children in need of adoption. It’s all selfish by someone’s definition.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Demosthenes You mentioned adoption and another thought popped into my head,
Maybe because there are some women/couples who aren’t able to have children or have miscarried etc that people think choosing to not have kids is selfish? especially when the couple is able to?

NomoreY_A's avatar

If people would mind their own freakin’ business instead of offering other people unsolicited opinions we would all be a lot better off. Choosing not to have children is a couples right and there is nothing selfish about it.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@NomoreY_A I agree with you 100%. Too many people have such boring and dull lives that other peoples business is all they want to know about.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thanks @NomoreY_A I agree, but I would like to know why they think it’s selfish.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Because as a poster mentioned above, possibly they envy you secretly for having more quality time or disposable income for yourselves than you might have if you were raising a family. Or as SergeantQueen suggests maybe they need to get a life.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Like take their kids/grandkids to the park or a movie rather than offering advice to childless couples. Just my own unsolicited opinion for them. ; )

Zaku's avatar

I think they can’t answer because, like most such social opinions, they reflect feelings that the person feeling them hasn’t thought through, and are generally about their own experiences. Very often, it seems to me, these sorts of feelings are about resentment for difficulties they went through. In this case, they remember how much time and energy and expense and difficulty and responsibility was involved, so there’s the sense that someone not having children isn’t going to have to do that, and can devote more to themselves.

Personally, I think it’s similar to how some people react to other life choices that are different from theirs, when at some level they actually resent their own choices. For example, working at a job that wasn’t what they wanted to do with their own life (often gets voiced as resenting people who don’t do the same).

KNOWITALL's avatar

Most of society never question societal requirements, like children so they resent free thinkers. Most parents want a grandchild, perhaps that could be considered selfish. Im 45 and just played PS4 all day, but I also give lots of time to others. Depends on your perspective but its my life.

rojo's avatar

I think people use the term selfish because they cannot think of another word for it. Basically what they mean is that it is out of the norm. As has been said earlier, society expects you to have children and a large part of your life and resources is/are dedicated to the raising of these members of the next generation. Those who choose to forgo this step for whatever reason are considered a little odd and more concerned with their own welfare than that of society. But unless everyone does it society will continue on so no big deal.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t subscribe to that opinion, so I can’t speak for it; but at a guess, I’d say that how those people feel about their own experience of parenthood is a major factor. If they see themselves as doing a lot of sacrificing and caretaking and burden-bearing as parents, and therefore as being self-effacing, then people who don’t make these sacrifices must be the opposite. Ergo, selfish. It’s not really a statement about you. It’s about their own attitudes and possibly their disappointments and resentments.

Maybe they also think you’ll become a burden on society because you won’t have kids to take care of you later on. (And of course that means, implicitly, a burden on them.) But how many kids—especially these days, if the kids are millennials and are likely to be still living with (and supported by) mum and dad—are really going to stick around and care for their aged parents? I, for one, am not counting on it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jeruba And who’d place their lives in a millenials hands willingly? haha!

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