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Unpopular Opinion: Having Kids is Selfish

by Laurène Navet 2 years ago in children

The reasons why people have kids

Having kids presents many disadvantages. They are costly, money-wise and energy-wise, they take a lot of your time, you struggle giving them a proper education… and it lasts years! I couldn’t get my head around why so many people still want kids after knowing what is waiting for them. So, I decided to look at the advantages of having kids (yes they do exist). That’s when I realized that all these advantages have one thing in common. They are all selfish.

For most of the people that agree with my conclusion, having kids is a selfish action towards the environment. We all heard about overpopulation and how humanity is using all of Earth’s resources, and the planet cannot keep up with us. By keeping the population grow this way, at some point the planet won’t have enough resources for everyone and the outcome might be catastrophic. For others, it is selfish towards the children that don’t have parents and are looking for a family to adopt them. There are millions of orphan kids, or simply kids that were left by their parents who probably couldn’t afford giving them a proper lifestyle, and these kids dream of having a home.

Although I agree with these reasons, for me, it goes further than that. It is more than just about the environment and other children; it is about individuals’ self mental state. I decided to look deeper into what leads people to consciously make the decision to have kids. Some of the reasons I found include the pride of having your own kids, the fear of loneliness, and avoiding having to face failure.

The pride of having your own kids is something that can be seen with many parents. They are proud of their children, watching them grow, watching them learn, watching them become the person they are becoming. They are proud when they see the similarities they have with their children; physical or mental. They are proud they can call a human being theirs. They are proud they gave life. Because, they are proud of what they produced, created. It all comes back to them, their pride relates to what they accomplished more than what the child accomplished. When a parent says to his or her child, "I am proud of you," he or she really means, "I did a good job raising you," so, "I am proud of my own work." The pride parents feel when they have kids is also reflected on the fact that they built a family. They are surrounded by people and love, and they won't ever be lonely.

The fear of loneliness is also a common symptom to having kids. People fear coming home to an empty house with no one to take care of. They fear having to accept that other people have families to come home to while they don’t. They fear that it will make them depressive. And lastly, they fear that when they will get old no one will be there, in turn, to take care of them. Social pressure plays an important role in giving people the idea that they should have kids. Society says that at a certain age, after you have a stable job and place to live, you should get married, and then you should have kids. When people get to that age and are single with no kids while their friends around them are getting married and becoming parents, they feel like they failed in life. This is only due to the social norms that are in place, but your success in life should not be based on what society says is right but on what you think is. Furthermore, deciding to not have any kids doesn't necessarily mean that you will become an old person "filled with regret, waiting to die alone," like Saito says to Cobb in Christopher Nolan's Inception, and that you will be very lonely. You can still surround yourself with people you love, even if they are not family. The fact that parents believe that they would feel lonely without their kids puts some kind of pressure on the children's shoulders, reminding them they need to always be there for their parents, and making them feel as if they owe to their parents although they are not the ones who chose to be part of this world. In addition, the parents' fear of loneliness shows that there is something unaccomplished in their lives.

People also decide to have kids when they see what they couldn't accomplish. They want to keep their minds busy when they are realizing that they can't reach their dreams, to forget the fact that they are actually giving up. It is like a psycological treatment against falling when meeting failure. Young people have big dreams, and when they start realizing how hard it will be to reach them, they decide to have kids, so that they have something to look after and keep them busy for the rest of their lives, but most importantly something that would make them forget their dreams. They use the children to avoid the moment, the fall, after they are facing the fact that they failed to achieve their goals. They can feel that their pride and hopes are about to get destroyed and they feel powerless against it. They find that they have fought enough throughout their lives with no success. They understand they are about to give up, and the fall will be rough. At this moment, when fatigue got stronger than fighting, having kids becomes an exit for them to avoid falling with the cliff that is collapsing underneath their feet. Like a little bridge that is taking them to a different kind of cliff, that they are hoping will be safer. This idea is only mental; it is about people's dreams and ambitions. What people wish to accomplish, even if their lifestyle is optimal. They can be living a nice life, but deep inside them they have that regret of not having become the person they had wished to become. Coming back to the parents' pride of having their own kids, they can’t be proud of having reached their dreams, so they switch that pride towards their children, in order to feel some kind of pride and accomplishment.

Having kids is a decicion that needs to be thought thoroughly before being made. It is completely up to the parents whether they will bring a new life on the planet or not. What lead people to make the decision to have kids are reasons that revolve around themselves. In other words, they are selfish. People are aware that this one decicion will change their lives drastically, but they generally do it for the pride of having their own kids, the fear of loneliness, and to avoid having to face personal failure. The fact that having kids is selfish does not mean that it is bad, it just reminds parents the power of giving life, and that they are the only ones responsible for their children.


Laurène Navet

Read next: I Get My Smile From Her

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