"At least 2,000 children a year, or five children every day, die at the hands of their parents or caretakers. More children die at the hands of their parents than from falls, choking on food, suffocation, drowning or residential fires. More children die from abuse and neglect in the home than from gunfire in the streets."
--U.S. Advisory Board On Child Abuse & Neglect/ 1995 Report
Common Reasons People Have Children...
(And A Few Thoughts)
Someone to dress in all those cool kids clothes, buy toys for,
etc. Someone to teach things to and share experiences with.
Response: Why not volunteer time as a Big Brother or Big Sister, give time to a worthwhile charity (ie. your local food bank, library, reading literacy, or english-as-a-second language organization). Donate extra stuff, books, and toys to the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, etc.
Don't have time to volunteer? Don't have the money to give clothing and toys to the needy? Then you probably can't afford the time/money you need to raise a kid in a mindful, thoughtful way.
As relationship glue.
Thought: Any relationship too weak to survive the lack of kids
probably won't last long or prosper after they arrive. After all,
since when do dirty diapers, hospital bills, and years of stress and
worry work as aphrodesiacs! :) Also, how many times have you seen
maried couples talk to each other "through their kids" instead of
directly to each other? Very romantic. When you met, you fell in love
with each other because of who you both were when you met. Children
can change this dynamic for the worse.
Also, married couples with children are twice as likely as childless couples to file for bankruptcy and they’re seventy-five per cent more likely to be late paying their bills, according to Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren. Financial stress is a major risk factor of divorce.
Someone to inherit your stuff, business, loot, etc.
Thought: What makes more of a difference in the world: leaving your
money, etc. to the random result of a sex act regardless of his/her
personal qualities and interests (perhaps he or she does not really want to inherit your business but accepts the burden merely out of duty). Or leaving it to your alma mater, a special charity, establishing a grant or scholarship fund for the underprivledged or worthy, etc.?
Because it's "normal"/ because your parents want grandkids.
Thought: We live in a world where many children are molested, beaten, and
abused, people starve, and the planet is overburdened. So many people say they want children because they have so much love to give but very few of these people care enough to adopt a child in need already on the planet (and not just babies either, there are many older children that need to be adopted or offered foster care). If your parents want to spend time with children, there are many Foster Grandparent Chapters throughout the country. Volunteering at a local daycare center might also be an option.
Because you might regret missing the experience.
Thought: Life is about choices and when we walk down one path we
sometimes rule out another. Think of it another way...what if you
regret having kids? Many people do, whether they admit it to
themselves or not (it takes a lot of energy to put up a front 24
hours a day). Children can sense this and in some cases, end up getting abused or neglected emotionally or physically. If you have any regrets, as stated before, you can always adopt or volunteer. You cannot return a 2 year old or a teenager back into the womb.
But if you change your mind and adopt he/ she won't look like you
or be "blood". You won't be continuing the family line.
Thought: Think about it really...doesn't that seem a bit narcissistic?
Because when he/she grows up they can take care of you/ be your
Thought: Doesn't sound very fair to me to ask a child to take on
these burdens. As adults in the world we have the power to make plans to take care of ourselves (via saving and insurance, etc.). We can be
mindful and make sound investments for our own future. As a childfree adult with many active interests I prefer to make friends in the real world, not give birth to them.
But isn't your life empty?
If by the term empty you mean not full of the drudgery and self-negating responsibility that often comes with parenting, then yes. If you mean to imply that leading a self-chosen, mindful life full of meaningful activites and long-term goals is empty, then I have no idea what you mean. The childfree life is about making the most of one's choices, opportunities, and freedom.