To Have or Not to Have: Making Choices About Children

Reviewed Apr 17, 2018

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Summary

  • Discuss it with your partner.
  • Consider counseling.
  • Prepare for a negative reaction.

When you think of your future, does it include children? Millions of people have a “child-free” lifestyle that’s filled with satisfying relationships and fulfilling activities.

With time to focus on partners, friends, careers, hobbies, and community service projects, people without kids often enjoy happy marriages and interesting jobs. Many childless adults consider themselves “child free” because their lives aren’t “less” of anything.

Still, making this choice can be hard. Here are suggestions for thinking through it and talking with others about it.

Making the choice

Some people have always known that they didn’t want kids, while others come to the decision after lots of thought. If you’re married or thinking about a lifelong commitment, this is an important issue to talk about with your partner.

Single or married, what should you do if you’re thinking about a child-free future?

  • Tap available support. You may want to visit online groups of child-free couples or talk in person with others who’ve opted not to have children. Talking to others who have struggled with this decision may be helpful.
  • Consider counseling. Family and friends may dismiss your doubts about becoming a parent. You and your spouse may even feel differently. A counselor may be able to help you work through the decision. Your doctor or a local branch of Planned Parenthood should be able to recommend a therapist who specializes in counseling adults on reproductive issues.
  • Ask questions. Why do you want children? What are your concerns? Are you prepared to make the lifestyle changes necessary? Are you willing to make the financial commitment? Think about your lifestyle choices. What kind of life would you like to be leading 10 years from now? Thirty years from now?

Telling others

If you’ve chosen not to have children, you may want to share your choice with family and friends. Be prepared for a negative reaction.

Acknowledge their disappointment, state your reasons, and try to clear up common misconceptions about child-free adults.

If your family is having trouble accepting your choice, set boundaries. Decide when you don’t want to talk about it.

Just because you don’t want to be a parent doesn’t mean you don’t like children or aren’t interested in family. You can still be a wonderful aunt, uncle, youth adviser, teacher, or Big Brother or Big Sister.

Loved ones may need time to accept your choice, but no one should be pressured into parenthood. Although the decision may be hard, the choice is yours.
 
Resource

Childfree.net, an online community of child-free couples

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice by Laura Carroll. Xlibris Corporation, 2000; The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today by Madelyn Cain. Da Capo Press, 2009; The Parenthood Decision by Beverly Engel. Crown Publishing Group, 1998.

Summary

  • Discuss it with your partner.
  • Consider counseling.
  • Prepare for a negative reaction.

When you think of your future, does it include children? Millions of people have a “child-free” lifestyle that’s filled with satisfying relationships and fulfilling activities.

With time to focus on partners, friends, careers, hobbies, and community service projects, people without kids often enjoy happy marriages and interesting jobs. Many childless adults consider themselves “child free” because their lives aren’t “less” of anything.

Still, making this choice can be hard. Here are suggestions for thinking through it and talking with others about it.

Making the choice

Some people have always known that they didn’t want kids, while others come to the decision after lots of thought. If you’re married or thinking about a lifelong commitment, this is an important issue to talk about with your partner.

Single or married, what should you do if you’re thinking about a child-free future?

  • Tap available support. You may want to visit online groups of child-free couples or talk in person with others who’ve opted not to have children. Talking to others who have struggled with this decision may be helpful.
  • Consider counseling. Family and friends may dismiss your doubts about becoming a parent. You and your spouse may even feel differently. A counselor may be able to help you work through the decision. Your doctor or a local branch of Planned Parenthood should be able to recommend a therapist who specializes in counseling adults on reproductive issues.
  • Ask questions. Why do you want children? What are your concerns? Are you prepared to make the lifestyle changes necessary? Are you willing to make the financial commitment? Think about your lifestyle choices. What kind of life would you like to be leading 10 years from now? Thirty years from now?

Telling others

If you’ve chosen not to have children, you may want to share your choice with family and friends. Be prepared for a negative reaction.

Acknowledge their disappointment, state your reasons, and try to clear up common misconceptions about child-free adults.

If your family is having trouble accepting your choice, set boundaries. Decide when you don’t want to talk about it.

Just because you don’t want to be a parent doesn’t mean you don’t like children or aren’t interested in family. You can still be a wonderful aunt, uncle, youth adviser, teacher, or Big Brother or Big Sister.

Loved ones may need time to accept your choice, but no one should be pressured into parenthood. Although the decision may be hard, the choice is yours.
 
Resource

Childfree.net, an online community of child-free couples

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice by Laura Carroll. Xlibris Corporation, 2000; The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today by Madelyn Cain. Da Capo Press, 2009; The Parenthood Decision by Beverly Engel. Crown Publishing Group, 1998.

Summary

  • Discuss it with your partner.
  • Consider counseling.
  • Prepare for a negative reaction.

When you think of your future, does it include children? Millions of people have a “child-free” lifestyle that’s filled with satisfying relationships and fulfilling activities.

With time to focus on partners, friends, careers, hobbies, and community service projects, people without kids often enjoy happy marriages and interesting jobs. Many childless adults consider themselves “child free” because their lives aren’t “less” of anything.

Still, making this choice can be hard. Here are suggestions for thinking through it and talking with others about it.

Making the choice

Some people have always known that they didn’t want kids, while others come to the decision after lots of thought. If you’re married or thinking about a lifelong commitment, this is an important issue to talk about with your partner.

Single or married, what should you do if you’re thinking about a child-free future?

  • Tap available support. You may want to visit online groups of child-free couples or talk in person with others who’ve opted not to have children. Talking to others who have struggled with this decision may be helpful.
  • Consider counseling. Family and friends may dismiss your doubts about becoming a parent. You and your spouse may even feel differently. A counselor may be able to help you work through the decision. Your doctor or a local branch of Planned Parenthood should be able to recommend a therapist who specializes in counseling adults on reproductive issues.
  • Ask questions. Why do you want children? What are your concerns? Are you prepared to make the lifestyle changes necessary? Are you willing to make the financial commitment? Think about your lifestyle choices. What kind of life would you like to be leading 10 years from now? Thirty years from now?

Telling others

If you’ve chosen not to have children, you may want to share your choice with family and friends. Be prepared for a negative reaction.

Acknowledge their disappointment, state your reasons, and try to clear up common misconceptions about child-free adults.

If your family is having trouble accepting your choice, set boundaries. Decide when you don’t want to talk about it.

Just because you don’t want to be a parent doesn’t mean you don’t like children or aren’t interested in family. You can still be a wonderful aunt, uncle, youth adviser, teacher, or Big Brother or Big Sister.

Loved ones may need time to accept your choice, but no one should be pressured into parenthood. Although the decision may be hard, the choice is yours.
 
Resource

Childfree.net, an online community of child-free couples

By Lauren Greenwood de Beer
Source: Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice by Laura Carroll. Xlibris Corporation, 2000; The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today by Madelyn Cain. Da Capo Press, 2009; The Parenthood Decision by Beverly Engel. Crown Publishing Group, 1998.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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