The morality of having children
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25-03-2017, 10:05 AM
RE: The morality of having children
I love kids. Having kids is one of the best things I've done. They were imaginative, creative, funny and yeah, a lot of work, but life in general is a lot of work.

Could I afford them? No, not at all. I shopped at the Goodwill or sewed them clothes. We didn't give them all the goodies and material shit all their friends had because we couldn't afford it. And they survived. Now they look back on their childhood with great pride because they made it without all the latest gadgets and toys. I taught them that life isn't about material stuff, there's more it life than affording things. As long as kids have food on the table and clothes and are free to play and learn then it's all good.


I laugh at people who plan their life out in detail. That's just very funny. "At 29 I'm gonna be doing such and such, at 34 I'm gonna accomplish this and 38 maybe I'll be able to afford a kid." Bwahahahaha. The only people that REALLY can afford to have kids are the Bill Gates of the world.

But that's the thing about having kids that's so much fun. Plans go out the window. I grew up an atheist but I always liked the phrase...."If you wanna make god laugh....just make plans."

Well anyway, that's my take on things. Wink

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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25-03-2017, 10:08 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 09:01 AM)Loom Wrote:  I have no intention of spawning any kids. Heck I'd get a hysterectomy right now if it weren't so invasive and expensive (and heavily discouraged?).

If I ever change my mind (I won't, I'm terrible parent material) I would much rather adopt a child that is already here and needs a home.

Absolutely!

I don't understand the obsession with having to have kids that look a bit like you. There's so many that need a home already. If I ever did go in for kids (I have a vasectomy so it definitely won't be mine) I would also adopt/foster.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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25-03-2017, 11:57 AM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2017 12:03 PM by mordant.)
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 08:10 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Two men are responsible, primarily, for all the wonderful things we have such as Bridges, Satellite communications, radio, the internet, skyscrapers, cell phones that are supercomputers in our pockets, MRI machines and all of the future wonders that will be devised and built based off of their work.
By that logic, then the billions of persons born since those two didn't contribute much toward those things. Somehow given your objectivist perspective, I don't think you're pushing the Horatio Alger, anyone-can-be-president type of meme here, but it sort of seems like you are.
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25-03-2017, 11:59 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 08:29 AM)ImFred Wrote:  That's very well articulated but if our population gets much higher those brains are going to be used for Soylent Green instead of thinking.
Population growth is a self-limiting problem. Either increasing education / prosperity or increasing resource constraints naturally reduce birth rates. People were predicting the collapse of civilization as we know it way back in 1970 over population growth and it didn't pan out. It won't now either, not on any grand scale. Famine and societal collapse will happen in specific localities at times, and sometimes that may even be because of population growth more than other factors. But I don't see population growth as a world-scale dystopian threat.
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25-03-2017, 12:00 PM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 08:31 AM)Dom Wrote:  I chose not to and when people hear that I don't have kids, they pity me.

Kids bring their parents much happiness and much sorrow, too. Looking around my friends now, that we are older, it's mostly "they never call, they never visit". Or "they want to get rid of me and put me in an institution".

I acted my conscience - my life style was not good for kids, and I didn't get the urge. Maybe because I always had dogs - they do utilize the mothering instinct. Old now, I still have dogs to brighten my days. I feel good about not contributing to the over population (and that was a consideration). I had a heck of a life so far, and I am content and happy with my choices.

Nothing to pity here. Tongue
No, but much to envy :-\ Good for you, I admire your self control and foresight.
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25-03-2017, 12:17 PM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2017 02:04 PM by I'mFred.)
RE: The morality of having children
Quote:way back in 1970

People knew that if you depleted your resources you die as far back as 1970 BC.
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25-03-2017, 12:27 PM
RE: The morality of having children
My current wife and I have had the conversation a lot about kids. On the one hand it's useless to whimper about how things turn out with your kids; all one can do is what one knows to do and has the ability to do at any given point in time. But both of us feel subjectively like we shouldn't have bothered, despite that my wife is a typical "momma bear" who would go nuts or kill herself if either of her children died, she feels like a lot of older parents of adult children: where are the grateful children who will gather 'round my hospital bed to see me out on my last day of life? Her jackass daughter told her up front, "I'm not going to get stuck taking care of you when you're old". Her son is far more respectful and kind than that, but the kind of socially clueless / avoidant type who is never going to remember a birthday or send a thank you note for anything (the polar opposite of his mother). My daughter is superficially appropriate but when you hang up after talking to her on the phone you realize the call was 100% about her and she once again did not ask anything about you (and no, that's now how I raised her or what I modeled for her, either). You send her kids gifts and you're lucky if the arrival is noted or acknowledged in any way. Talk to her in even the most delicate way about these issues and she becomes more avoidant than ever, and probably resentful in the bargain.

And of course my son is simply dead, but when he was alive, he had mental health issues such that he was effectively a turd who I had to perpetually either save from himself or allow him to suffer natural consequences from which he invariably learned zilch. And don't get me started on the emotional ambiguity and cognitive dissonance of grieving someone who was both a beloved child and yet a constant worry who never fully "launched".

One of the biggest things about children that I wish I understood is that as a parent, you are NOT the major influence in their lives, at least not past the toddler stage, and even then your major contribution is simply to "do no harm". They spend most of their waking hours with their teachers (some great, some not so much) and with their peers (particularly in the middle school years, mostly a "Lord of the Flies" scenario so far as I could tell). They come home cranky and exhausted with a ton of homework to do, barely speak to you at dinner and depending on their academic aspirations and social proclivities, may stay up until the wee hours studying for tests and not welcoming your bonding attempts. In the age of social media, which was just getting underway during our children's formative years but, I can only imagine, has reached a fever pitch by now, they are also constantly "connected" to the primal subconscious of their peers. My now 22 year old and very social stepdaughter actually believes that she has hundreds of friends because she thinks friendship is defined as someone who is connected to you on FarceBook. If you try to elucidate the difference between acquaintances and friends, she looks at you like you're insane. Which, I note, is a favorite technique of her generation, they are great at gaslighting others and avoiding substantive discussion or resolution of issues.

So the notion that you are going to have children who are going to bond emotionally with you and retain that bond throughout life is not a guaranteed thing. You don't get to choose your child's personality characteristics or their compatibility with yours. You don't have control over how spouses (or ex-spouses, that's a whole OTHER topic) are going to influence them. You don't have control over how teachers and peers and culture are going to influence them. I am truly happy for folks like dancefortwo who had entirely satisfactory parenting experiences and good relationships with their adult children, I really am. But I get really irritated when sometimes those folks say, this turned out this way, not because I was lucky, but because of how I went about it or how dedicated I was or how much I was present or whatever. No, you got LUCKY and I hope you know HOW lucky you are. Because my wife and I can testify that no amount of brilliance, dedication, good intentions or effort can overcome some of the factors that influence outcomes in child rearing. It's basically a crapshoot.
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25-03-2017, 12:48 PM
RE: The morality of having children
I find it quite bizarre when other's proclaim a moral certainty onto something, insinuating what you should or shouldn't do.

I've mostly heard it in regards to trying to coerce people to have babies though, rather than the other way around. e.g. "how selfish of you to not have babies"

But anyway, its people's own choice on whether to have babies or not, I don't try to make it my opinion to judge.

I must say though, I am all for family planning and abortion options being readily available for those that choose to use them, and I am troubled by government policies that keep giving more and more money to a solo mother that keeps spitting out babies. I do think there should be some limits on tax spending and self responsibility there.
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25-03-2017, 01:07 PM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 12:27 PM)mordant Wrote:  So the notion that you are going to have children who are going to bond emotionally with you and retain that bond throughout life is not a guaranteed thing. You don't get to choose your child's personality characteristics or their compatibility with yours. You don't have control over how spouses (or ex-spouses, that's a whole OTHER topic) are going to influence them. You don't have control over how teachers and peers and culture are going to influence them. I am truly happy for folks like dancefortwo who had entirely satisfactory parenting experiences and good relationships with their adult children, I really am. But I get really irritated when sometimes those folks say, this turned out this way, not because I was lucky, but because of how I went about it or how dedicated I was or how much I was present or whatever. No, you got LUCKY and I hope you know HOW lucky you are. Because my wife and I can testify that no amount of brilliance, dedication, good intentions or effort can overcome some of the factors that influence outcomes in child rearing. It's basically a crapshoot.
Well, that was thoroughly pessimistic and depressing to read, I feel quite sad now.

My experience thus far has be quite different. My kids are 8 and 6, so I know there is a long way to go in the journey, puberty hasn't come just yet.
I do like to think I have some influence. I read lots of books, I think long and hard about my strategy, I put alot of time into bonding with the kids and teaching them stuff. As well as teaching them academic stuff I try very hard to teach my kids responsibility and life skills (such as critical thinking).
But in saying that, my two kids are different. So I understand that there is some luck of the draw too.
I do feel that as parents if you show interest in your kids, if you pay attention and support their academics, their personalities and their interests then your kids will likely turn out fine.

I'm not sure about this "will they care about me, will they respect me, will they look after me in old age" thing though.
I live my life as if I don't expect a return from my kids. As a parent, I'm not necessarily trying to be their best friend. They may grow up to resent me as a parent for this. At some point as my kids become adults, I do need to stop "parenting"them, and start more and more respecting them and their choices. But I don't have an expectation that they must respect me or devote their lives to looking after me in old age.

Anyway, I'm not pointing at you and saying you must have done it all wrong. I do agree there is some degree of luck involved but I don't give it as high a weighting as you do. I'm trying my best, as I expect you did too. You have high insight, I have my naiive dreams, anyway. I'm not really sure what the future holds, but I'm not about to give up and think it all comes down to luck, that is too pessimistic for me. I believe that what I do matters.
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25-03-2017, 01:37 PM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 11:59 AM)mordant Wrote:  People were predicting the collapse of civilization as we know it way back in 1970 over population growth and it didn't pan out.

I don't know what you were reading, but what I read in the 1970s said we would have big problems in this century -- i.e., Limits to Growth for instance. With climate change, the future is now.

Undecided
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