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Old 07-27-2011, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,353,473 times
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Okay, this is in response to the other thread, about being childless as a senior.

I responded to that thread, but on reflection, I felt I was horning in, since I do have a child and don't regret it.

So, I am starting this thread.

Are you happy that you had children, or do you regret that you did? Why?

When I was in the thick of the terrible teenaged years, I sometimes regretted it, amidst the tears, fears and anguish. But even then I loved him. Yes, we spent a lot of money on him (teeth, unfinished college, shrinks.) And missed out on many adventures, although we managed to do some great travel once he started growing up.

I feel like the love that a parent feels for a child is very special and irreplaceable (pets notwithstanding !)

I also think that being a parent is one of life's great adventures, and makes you grow in fundamental ways.

He's going his own way now, and I applaud that, but we fortunately continue to be close in many ways, and I hope that my husband and I will continue to have a mutually loving relationship with our son until we're both gone.

I DO NOT hope that I become a burden to him, nor do I expect him to take care of me. Nor do I expect him to produce grandchildren.

DISCLAIMER: this is in no way intended to belittle all the folks that chose not be parents. Life is full of adventures, and parenting is just one of them.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Northern panhandle WV
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I have five children and 2 grandchildren that I love dearly, very dearly, that is why I wish I had never had them. Some of it has to do with wishing I had been a better parent, I was 16 when I had my first child.
But the main reason is what the world has become in just my lifetime, and where it is headed. I don't want those I love to have to live through it or die in it for that matter.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,648,620 times
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To the OP just an FYI. Being childless and being childfree are two different things. Sometimes people are childless because they want but cannot have kids. People who consider themselves childfree are those who consciously choose not to have children.

The idea is that being "less" of something means you are lacking something. Being "free" of something means you did not want something in the first place. The reason I bring this out is because I think most of the posters on the other thread were what is called "childfree by choice."

I apologize for hijacking your thread just a little bit. But I thought it would be helpful to know the distinction between these two terms.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:48 AM
ifa
 
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People almost never regret having children. One reason is that it is such a major sacrifice of time and energy, and money. Even if the experience was more pain than pleasure, people seldom regret things that they put that much of themselves into.

Another factor is that we can never go back and do our lives the other way. I can't imagine how my life would have been if I did have children, so there is no way to compare.

And people who have children can't imagine what it's like to have not had them.

So there really will hardly be anyone who regrets either decision. And that kind of regret is pointless anyway, unless you enjoy torturing yourself.

Also, if someone decided not to have kids and then missed having someone to nurture, they could adopt or get a pet.

And finally, when you have kids they are only with you for 20 or so years. And after that, you don't actually have them anymore. Unless you plan to enslave them as caregivers.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifa View Post
People almost never regret having children. One reason is that it is such a major sacrifice of time and energy, and money. Even if the experience was more pain than pleasure, people seldom regret things that they put that much of themselves into.

Another factor is that we can never go back and do our lives the other way. I can't imagine how my life would have been if I did have children, so there is no way to compare.

And people who have children can't imagine what it's like to have not had them.

So there really will hardly be anyone who regrets either decision. And that kind of regret is pointless anyway, unless you enjoy torturing yourself.

Also, if someone decided not to have kids and then missed having someone to nurture, they could adopt or get a pet.

And finally, when you have kids they are only with you for 20 or so years. And after that, you don't actually have them anymore. Unless you plan to enslave them as caregivers.
That is very true. I regret some things I did and some things I didn't do in the past but not having children was a decision I made that I am still good with.

The thing is, too many people have kids without thinking about it. It should be a very well thought out decision but all to often it is not. That's where you have child abuse. Suddenly there is this life for which one has to be responsible and that is not always something everyone can handle. So the parent takes it out on the child.

It's difficult for people who truly want to have children to understand the feelings of people who do not. I have no feelings for kids and never did. It made no more sense to me to have children than it would have been to have anything else I couldn't feel strongly for.

So for me it wasn't so much economics or having someone to care for me in my old age. It's just that I never wanted to take the path of parenting in my life. I think many childfree people would agree with this.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,353,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
To the OP just an FYI. Being childless and being childfree are two different things. Sometimes people are childless because they want but cannot have kids. People who consider themselves childfree are those who consciously choose not to have children.

The idea is that being "less" of something means you are lacking something. Being "free" of something means you did not want something in the first place. The reason I bring this out is because I think most of the posters on the other thread were what is called "childfree by choice."

I apologize for hijacking your thread just a little bit. But I thought it would be helpful to know the distinction between these two terms.
I agree, I should have specified, "childless by choice", or "childfree" as you suggested.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,353,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifa View Post
...
Another factor is that we can never go back and do our lives the other way. ...
And people who have children can't imagine what it's like to have not had them.
...
And finally, when you have kids they are only with you for 20 or so years. And after that, you don't actually have them anymore. Unless you plan to enslave them as caregivers.
Just a couple of quibbles. We folks who have had children can imagine life without them, because (some of us) had a perfectly fine childless life before starting a family (I was 32 when my son was born.)

And...they are not just with you for 20 years. Yes, physically they leave, but except for some unhappy examples, children are with you emotionally forever. They are always *there*, in some sense, even if they are thousands of miles away (or a 15 minute bike ride as mine is.)
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
21,534 posts, read 43,962,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arwenmark View Post
But the main reason is what the world has become in just my lifetime, and where it is headed. I don't want those I love to have to live through it or die in it for that matter.
Which is why it bothers me not a whit that my son/dil have no children. I do not want that responsibility for them - and, in an extended way, for me. No thank you. Not today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ifa View Post
And finally, when you have kids they are only with you for 20 or so years..
Not these days. The economy has forced kids to be dependent on their parents far longer than any of us wish. My main concern these days is leaving enough assets to carry my son/dil through their lives, because their opportunities are so much more limited than mine were.

Additionally, kids are not only with us for 20 years. At least not in my family and extended family. The parents are always helping the adult kids and vice versa. Perhaps we are fortunate that way. The 'family' is really a tightly-knit unit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwanderer View Post
And...they are not just with you for 20 years. Yes, physically they leave, but except for some unhappy examples, children are with you emotionally forever. They are always *there*, in some sense, even if they are thousands of miles away (or a 15 minute bike ride as mine is.)
They are with us in many ways - some good, some burdensome. Once you've given birth to that responsibility, it never leaves. One is a parent all one's life. At least in my family that is true.

All that said, my life has been enriched and expanded through the one child I had. Yes, I probably could have been richer financially and freer and had a totally different life than I have now had I not married or had children. At this point, I can't imagine it, however.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Near a river
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I never regret having had my children. But at times I do regret "having children" as a life choice.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,164 posts, read 8,684,984 times
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Smile Sometimes, choices are made for you....

It's no secret that I have poor vision so having children and even getting married wasn't even on my radar. Not at all. I was not a maternal type girl either; probably considered a Type A personality at one point. Everything was just such a struggle for me but I hid it well from people; in fact, I look quite normal except I'm blind in 1 eye and poor vision in the other.

At one point in my life, I was extremely busy - 2 jobs, part time college, starting a business, helping my parents financially - all of sudden, I started dating someone I had known a few years before. Then, I started the business. I then got married and guess what, nine months and one day - voila, a child!! A daughter - she just turned 27 yesterday and each year, I relive the feelings - the night before her birth, how my "carefree" (haha) life would change, someone would be dependent on me, etc. Well, then I had her - I still remember those feelings - feelings like I had never felt before swept over me and I remember being so stunned I just cried (happy tears). Was it always easy? No. I often think I most likely have made the "childfree" choice so God took care of that for me and just pushed me in a different direction. I am so thankful he did b/c I also have a son. My 2 children have taught ME about life - I'm so grateful for them and even they're young adults, they're a part of my daily life and I'm part of theirs.

I also am thankful that people today have many choices to make and what I learned was to say - never say never - because you just never know. Life has led me in a lot of different directions and I'm grateful for that, truly I am.

At the same time, there are times I feel lonely. I think it comes from having so much put on me at a young age and being made to feel productive all the time that I don't know how to relax, feel guilty if I do and these forums have been great for learning about future lifestyles and how we all handle life's expected and unexpected gifts.
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