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If you had to do it all over again -- Would you have Children?

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trillionaire

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If You Had It To Do Over Again -- Would You Have Children?
by Ann Landers
circa 1976


It was a simple enough letter. A young couple about to be married wrote to ask for guidance. They were undecided. They just couldn''t make up their minds whether or not to have a family.

"So many of our friends", the letter said, "seem to resent their children. They envy us our freedom to go and come as we please. Then there''s the matter of money. They say their kids keep them broke. One couple we know had their second child in January. Last week, she had her tubes tied and he had a vasectomy--just to make sure. All this makes me wonder, Ann Landers. Is parenthood worth the trouble? Jim and I are very much in love. Our relationship is beautiful. We don''t want anything to spoil it. All around us we see couples who were so much happier before they were tied down with a family. Will you please ask your readers the question: If you had it to do over again, would you have children?"


I printed that letter and the sky fell in. The word didn''t come from Chicken Little. It came straight from the gut of young parents and old parents, from Anchorage to San Antonio. I heard from Junior Leaguers and welfare mothers. The Boston Brahmins wrote and so did the hill people of Kentucky. I had struck an unprecedented number of raw nerves. The question unleashed an incredible torrent of confessions "things I could never tell anyone else..."


After five days of reading, counting, and sorting mail, a bleary-eyed staff of eight secretaries announced we had received over 10,000 responses, and--are you ready for this--70 percent of those who wrote said, "No. If I had it to do over again, I would not have children."


Twenty years of writing the Ann Landers column has made me positively shockproof. Or so I thought. But I was wrong. The results of that poll left me stunned, disturbed, and just plain flummoxed.


Could it be? Not only could it be, it is. The message came through loud and clear. Wake up and smell the coffee, Annie old girl. Your readers had blown the American Dream. Motherhood, which always rated right up there with apple pie, Old Glory and the U.S. Marines was due for a reassessment.


About 40 percent of those who wrote to say, "No. I would not have children if I had it to do over again," didn''t sign their names. On the other hand, nearly all the letter that said, "Yes. Our children have brought us great happiness," bore signatures. A number of those who expressed the latter view asked me to print their letters. Many said, "You can use my name if you want to."


Approximately 80 percent of the total response came from women. The average letter ran almost a page longer than the usual Landers letter. I was particularly moved by the intensity of feeling.


Dozens who wrote said, "I am weeping as I write this. It''s the first time I have ever put such thoughts about my children down on paper. It''s painful."


Many readers who expressed shame and guilt signed their names and addresses but asked me not to respond. A Miami woman P.S.''d, "My mother-in-law makes her home with us. Her eyesight for envelopes is very bad, but it''s perfect for what''s inside. If she found out I had written to you, I would never hear the end of it. Please don''t answer in any way, shape or form."


The "No" mail fell into four major categories.


Category One: Young parents who were deeply concerned about global hunger, overpopulation and the possibility that we might incinerate ourselves with nuclear weapons. A San Francisco father expressed his sentiments candidly: "The world is in lousy shape. We would feel guilty if we brought a child into this mess. Later, if we decide we want a family, we will adopt."


Category Two: Parents who stated frankly that their children had ruined their marriage. "Our happiest years were the ones before the babies came," wrote an Atlanta woman. "In those days, we had time for the theater, parties, rides in the country, weekend trips and best of all--each other." A wife who had signed her letter "Too Late For Tears in Tampa" wrote, "I was a successful, attractive, career woman before I had these kids. Now I''m an exhausted, shrieking, nervous wreck--too tired for sex, conversation or anything else." A Chicago mother of four enclosed her check-out tape from the supermarket. The total was $61. "This is what we spent on groceries last Thursday," she wrote. "The price of food is out of sight. My husband was laid off for six weeks last winter and we had to accept help from my folks. It was humiliating. We love our kids but they are so damned expensive. Actually they haven''t given us that much pleasure. We''d have to vote ''no''."


Category Three contained the most pathetic letters of all. They came from older parents whose children had grown up and left home. ''Manhattan Mom'' wrote with more rancor than self-pity. "I get a postcard from the Bahamas at Christmastime. On Mother''s Day, I get an azalea plant. In between, maybe two phone calls. I raised that boy alone. His father died of cancer when he was three. Some thanks I get."


A 63-year-old president of a large corporation in Cleveland apologized for writing in longhand "But," he went on, "I''m ashamed to dictate this letter to my secretary." He described the camping trips, the evening devoted to watching their sons play football. The sacrifices (not money, he emphasized) in terms of time spent with their children. "And now," he wrote sadly, "they are too busy for us, but they seem to have plenty of time for their in-laws. Thank God we don''t need anything from them, but it hurts not to be included in their lives. My wife and I talk about it to each other but no one else knows how we feel. It''s not the sort of thing you lay on your friends. When your column appeared, my wife read it out loud to me at the dinner table. We both voted ''no''."


The most bitter letters of all came from Category Four: parents of teenagers in trouble. "Where are the joys of parenthood" asked a Washington, D.C., mother. "We haven''t seen them. But we''ve seen a good deal of security guards who''ve caught our daughter shoplifting. We have also seen policemen who picked up our youngest son for selling drugs on the school grounds. We''ve seen some very depressing emergency rooms where the older boys were taken by an ambulance after totaling two cars and one motorcycle. My husband and I keep asking ourselves, ''What did we do wrong'' but I''m not sure anything could have saved our kids. The pressures to steal and do drugs are tremendous. Two other couples we know are having the same problems with their kids."


Parents with traumatic problems that involve police and hospitals are definitely in the minority. What about the majority?


Why are they sorry they had children?


Many, I believe, are disappointed because their children failed to live up to their parents? secret expectations. Every mother wants her daughter to be beautiful and popular, especially if she wasn''t. When the daughter turns out to be neither, the mother feels let down.


Dad, who didn''t make the high school football team and couldn''t get into Harvard, nurtures the secret hope that his son will succeed where he failed. Nothing is ever said, of course, but the nonverbal communication is at work and Junior gets the message. Getting the message is easy, but doing what Dad wants isn''t. So Dad is disappointed and Junior feels inadequate and rejected.


Too many parents have a grossly unrealistic approach to parenthood. Everybody loves a cute little baby but nobody wants an 11-year-old who socks a teacher, a 14-year-old who steals money from his grandmother''s purse, or a 16-year-old who is hooked on drugs.


The disenchantment often sets in early. When a young couple has to miss ''the party of the year'' because the sitter didn''t show up, they can''t help resenting the child who kept them home. Add to this, walking the floor with a colicky baby, no more romantic vacations, and a bill from the orthodontist for $3,000. They ask themselves, "Who needed this"?


Are there some invisible components to help explain that staggering 70-percent negative response? Some missing pieces to the puzzle? I see one, for sure. The person who is against something rather than for it is much more readily inclined to take pen in hand and express his anxiety, rage, or disappointment. People who are contented are rarely motivated to write and tell me how happy they are. Anger, hostility and resentment are often the fuel that moves people to action.


Am I saying that many parents who voted ''No'' are disappointed, resentful, and angry? Indeed I am. They feel ripped off. ''Heartbroken In Long Island'' wrote, "God knows we did our best. My husband and I even took some night-school classes to learn how to be better parents. We followed the book, did all the ''right'' things, but two out of three of our children turned out bad. I don''t believe we failed them. They failed us."


If it is true that a large percentage of the parents in this country are sorry they had children, why don''t we hear more from them? Because such an admission goes against the grain of what we have been taught is human nature. Parents are supposed to love their children no matter what. To speak disparagingly of one''s offspring is socially hazardous.


Trouble with a husband, on the other hand, is a common topic over teacups, luncheon tables, bridge hands and telephones. By the same token, a battle with the little woman is discussed candidly at bars and clubs--wherever men meet. Plain talk about marital problems is a national sport, because everyone knows no marriage is perfect. But parents who have trouble with their children are inclined to keep their mouths shut--unless their troubles have been in the newspapers, or the parents happen to be in the company of other parents who they know are having trouble with their children.


Common misery can make strange bedfellows. A striking example of this was described in a letter from a couple of ''No'' voters who had to appear in court when their son was arrested for selling speed. Two other sets of parents whose sons were involved in the same ring also turned up in the judge''s chambers.


"We didn''t have one thing in common with those people except our children''s arrest," wrote one of the mothers from Detroit. "They were definitely from the other side of the tracks. But when you have the same kind of trouble, you become brothers and sisters under the skin."


If I had polled my readers 20 years ago about their feelings toward their children, would the response have been the same? I believe not. While it is true that children have rebelled against their parents from time immemorial (rebellion is a normal symptom of growing up and achieving independence), never in the history of our country have the rebellious young managed to generate so much bitterness and alienation.


Our children have far more effective weapons to use against us than we had when we were rebelling. They have ready access to smoking lounges in high schools, communes that feature kooky, far-out religions, and college campuses that permit students to live with members of the opposite sex. (You can like it or lump it, folks, because the colleges say they are not responsible for the morals of the students. But don''t forget to send in that tuition check.)


Yes, the game has changed and so have the rules. More radical switches have taken place in our society in the last 20 years than in the previous 200. Parenthood was never easy, but it is far more difficult than ever before.


Today''s parents find themselves ill-equipped to deal with the steady barrage of violence (not to mention garbage) on TV--the electronic baby-sitter. Our children are bombarded with magazine ads for pornographic ''literature'' and ''art'' that would shatter a glass eye at 40 paces. We have the Pill, pit, LSD, booze for 18-year-olds, and skin flicks featuring kinky sex with close-ups of everything two people--and sometimes three or four--can possibly do together.


Our young people have no heroes. They have seen their country lose a war for the first time in its history. They have heard their President say, "I am not a crook", and resign rather than face impeachment. They have seen their Vice President plead no contest to a charge of tax fraud and leave office in disgrace.


Polls show the average American has equal regard for politicians and used-car salesmen.


God may be in His heaven, but all is not right with the world.


It is no cinch to produce well-balanced, emotionally healthy children in an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety and at a time when the values of an earlier era--the work ethic, discipline, firm guidelines and reward for excellence--are rejected as ''old fashioned''. Granted, these past 20 years have been extremely difficult for both parents and children. My heart aches for all who are caught in the switches of this transition period.


Still I am boggled by that 70 percent. No way could I have responded ''No'' to that question. My daughter, Margo, has been a joy to me--not the perfect child, mind you, but our problems have been few and of no great significance. It would be utterly impossible to imagine what my life would have been like without her.


But Margo is now 36 years old and she has three children of her own, one a teenager. Would I be so joyous about parenthood if Margo were 15? I doubt it.
 

D&T

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YES! even though two months after getting married we were pregnant
didn't plan on it for about five years. we already had issues at the beginning of our marriage, had we not had our first DD, I don't think we would have stayed together. So our saving grace to our marriage was DD because it made both DH and myself TRY that much harder because of DD, true we had some really really rocky times the first three and half years but this past couple of years, we have been the happiest with our marriage and family life.

ETA: all the craziness and the temper tantrum, we go through just disappears when they give you hugs and kisses and tells you how much they love you.
 

Icce

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Lol, Thanks alot trillionaire....I have never wanted kids before. I still am more No than yes but sometimes FI and I say if one day there was an accident in the way future we think life could still be okay (as it might be I just don''t like other peoples kids lol)..but after reading this lol....more confusion to the MESS and security is my need in life!!!
 

decodelighted

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I *LOVED* reading this ... because it runs so contrary to most of the stuff that''s out there. As someone teetering on the edge of ability to have kids & still deciding "no" it is a big relief to me. I wish people would be more honest about their feelings & not wait for anon. polls to spill the shocking truth!
 

purrfectpear

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I didn''t plan on children and the one I had was a surprise. While I did benefit by learning to share, to sacrifice, to put someone else''s welfare above my own (all of which were good things to learn - as an only child I led a privleged life), I think I probably could have gone through life quite content NOT being a parent.

I don''t look back with dread by any means. It was a fairly happy experience and my child really didn''t cause me much trouble (if any).

The truth is I love babies, tolerate toddlers, and pretty much can do without children.
I don''t know if I would have saved the money by banking it (doubtful) but there was a financial cost to having a child. Roughly $130,000.00 or so.

Let''s just say the dog is a whole lot cheaper, loves me unconditionally, and I can put him in a crate instead of paying for daycare
 

lyra

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Standing at the end of my life looking back, I would be the one saying life would not have been worth living without my children having been part of it.
 

sevens one

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Date: 5/29/2009 6:30:19 PM
Author: lyra
Standing at the end of my life looking back, I would be the one saying life would not have been worth living without my children having been part of it.
A M E N T O T H A T!!!!
(no one said it would be easy) -
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 5/29/2009 6:30:19 PM
Author: lyra
Standing at the end of my life looking back, I would be the one saying life would not have been worth living without my children having been part of it.
Yep. Had I not had children, I would have felt life would have been incomplete! I spent my teens and onward planning to have kids and when the time came, I went off the pill and had my kids. Exactly as planned. Sometimes I wonder if it may have been easier spacing them out a few more years! lol
 

Dancing Fire

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Date: 5/29/2009 5:20:52 PM
Author: purrfectpear
Let''s just say the dog is a whole lot cheaper, loves me unconditionally, and I can put him in a crate instead of paying for daycare
yup,and usually they don''t
back at ya.
 

vespergirl

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Yes, I absolutely would have children again. My son is only 2 and a half, but in these brief years he has brought more joy to my life than anything else.

I think that perhaps some of those parents who wrote to Ann Landers about having disappointing experiences with their children possibly were not very good parents, which explains how their kids turned out
 

hlmr

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Absolutely ! Unequivocally ! Yes !
 

Kaleigh

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YES!!! No doubts about it.
 

packrat

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I would do it a million times over. It''s frustrating at times, and I want to pull my hair out and run screaming down the street..but I just don''t think I could live w/out my kids. My need for them is no different, to me, than my need to breathe or eat. I can''t think of anything they could ever do in their lives to make me wish I''d never had them.
 

TravelingGal

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Well, since my child is only ONE, I really don''t think I can say whether I would or wouldn''t. As of now, sure. But I think you have to raise them and be done with it in order to truly say one way or the other.

I think the part about expectation was interesting. My friend asked me what I wanted my kid to be. I said, I honestly hadn''t thought about it and I really didn''t care. I really really didn''t care. What I DID want was for her to make a living and be able to survive without much stress. My friend wanted her kid to be a pro athlete (golfer) - she dreams of seeing him on TV and being proud of him. I don''t think she''s alone.

I don''t know. Maybe my expectations are too low. I told my friend I hope my daughter is not beautiful. I''d like her to be a bit above average. I''d love her to look stunning to the right man who loves her personality. I think having a beautiful, popular daughter is a recipe for heartache. Fortunately, I don''t think she''ll be a babe nor a dog.

I guess the biggest thing I wish for is that her head is screwed on straight. If it is, I imagine everything else will fall into place.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 5/29/2009 10:22:03 PM
Author: vespergirl
Yes, I absolutely would have children again. My son is only 2 and a half, but in these brief years he has brought more joy to my life than anything else.

I think that perhaps some of those parents who wrote to Ann Landers about having disappointing experiences with their children possibly were not very good parents, which explains how their kids turned out
You know, my gut reaction is to say the same thing. Then I think about it a minute or two more...

I honestly believe that sometimes, you really can do your best and be a good parent and your kids can be jacked up. Of course, we can''t know for sure because we don''t know what the jacked up kid''s homelife was really and truly like, but really, what defines a "good parent?"
 

cara

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Date: 5/29/2009 10:22:03 PM

Author: vespergirl

I think that perhaps some of those parents who wrote to Ann Landers about having disappointing experiences with their children possibly were not very good parents, which explains how their kids turned out
*Some* of the parents. But if a good kid can emerge from perfectly miserable parents, can''t good parents be cursed with a bad kid resistant to their efforts?

Parents can''t always control what the get. Some kids go their own way. And some parents may have been good parents for some kids, but not the one they happened to get. Just a bad fit. Maybe you can call them bad parents for not being able to adapt fully to the child they got, but with a different kid (or even their other child(ren)) they might have done just fine, so is it all to be blamed on ''bad parenting''?

But it sure is enlightening to read the column. For one, it is quite long and wordy for an advice column. And even for being 30+ years old, it sure seems relevant and contemporary.
 

ChinaCat

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Date: 5/30/2009 12:18:58 AM
Author: cara
Date: 5/29/2009 10:22:03 PM


Author: vespergirl


I think that perhaps some of those parents who wrote to Ann Landers about having disappointing experiences with their children possibly were not very good parents, which explains how their kids turned out
*Some* of the parents. But if a good kid can emerge from perfectly miserable parents, can't good parents be cursed with a bad kid resistant to their efforts?


Parents can't always control what the get. Some kids go their own way. And some parents may have been good parents for some kids, but not the one they happened to get. Just a bad fit. Maybe you can call them bad parents for not being able to adapt fully to the child they got, but with a different kid (or even their other child(ren)) they might have done just fine, so is it all to be blamed on 'bad parenting'?


But it sure is enlightening to read the column. For one, it is quite long and wordy for an advice column. And even for being 30+ years old, it sure seems relevant and contemporary.

I have been thinking about this article for the past few days. I did not feel this strongly about it, but some of the feelings/experiences in the article are some of the fears I used to have (and still have) before I got pregnant. I am now 7.5 months preggo, so that obviously colors my thoughts.

First, I wanted to respond to the thoughts above about not being good parents. I am sure that is true in some cases, but I agree with Cara. I think that sometimes you can just get a "bad" kid (and by bad I mean not well-adjusted or having drug or alcohol issues, etc, anything that makes them more difficult to raise). But I also think that sometimes parents aren't a good match for the kids they get. In my family and DH's family, we have both. It is interesting to see how two parents can raise one child to great success, and another you wonder what went wrong. I believe it's a combo of a lot of things, but most parents do try their best.

Secondly, I do agree that most likely one of the reasons for such a high percentage of negative responses was due to the author's guess that content people don't take the time to respond. But that's not to say that there isn't a huge majority of people that feel this way.

I think it's a total crap-shoot. LIke anything in life, things can go horribly wrong or things can work out just right. I don't think that such experiences can ever convince someone to have or not have kids. I definitely don't think that having kids is an end-all be-all to life and that you have to have them to be truly content. I think I would have had a very happy and fulfilled life without kids. And I may have wondered, but I never would have really known what I was missing. But even being just pregnant, I have to say that it so far has been such an amazing experience that has definitely added something to my life that I am so grateful to be experiencing. And my feelings about the article and my fears are so different now that I'm having a kid. I'll just say that it's worth it. At this point.
Ask me again in 15 years.
 

Jas12

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Yes. I would.

but, i can easily see where resentment creeps in. Having kids is a self-sacrifice on many levels. You sacrifice you time, your body, your well being and sanity (at times) your money, your intimacy with your partner and often your hobbies or passions are put on hold or put aside completely. This is something that some parents will never come to terms with. I teeter into resentment on some days or hours but then i remember it was my choice to have a child and life is no longer about me. It can''t be about me. I think that when we start expecting something from our kids--their friendship, their love, their success, their popularity, we run into troubles. Our kids are not here for us. We are here for them. period. they owe us nothing really, we owe them everything. The nice thing about this arrangement is that if we do this mostly right we get secure, loving, respectful children that will bring us joy because we see their happiness.

One of my favorite quotes on parenting actually comes from a starbucks cup. I remember reading it shortly after i had my son and my mom''s friend (mom of 3 kids) said to me, if i can give you some advice it is to not expect your children to *be something* before they are something. A few days later i read this quote:

"Do not kiss your children so that they will kiss you back, but so they will kiss their children, and their children''s children" --i cut it out and kept it.
 

hlmr

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Date: 5/30/2009 12:16:28 PM
Author: Jas12

''Do not kiss your children so that they will kiss you back, but so they will kiss their children, and their children''s children'' --i cut it out and kept it.
I love this.

Another great piece of advice I received years ago, is to never stop hugging your children.....especially when they are teenagers. They might not always want to hug you back, but they will still receive the love through your hug anyway.
 

Allison D.

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Date: 5/30/2009 12:00:15 AM
Author: TravelingGal
Well, since my child is only ONE, I really don''t think I can say whether I would or wouldn''t. As of now, sure. But I think you have to raise them and be done with it in order to truly say one way or the other.

I think the part about expectation was interesting. My friend asked me what I wanted my kid to be. I said, I honestly hadn''t thought about it and I really didn''t care. I really really didn''t care. What I DID want was for her to make a living and be able to survive without much stress. My friend wanted her kid to be a pro athlete (golfer) - she dreams of seeing him on TV and being proud of him. I don''t think she''s alone.

I don''t know. Maybe my expectations are too low. I told my friend I hope my daughter is not beautiful. I''d like her to be a bit above average. I''d love her to look stunning to the right man who loves her personality. I think having a beautiful, popular daughter is a recipe for heartache. Fortunately, I don''t think she''ll be a babe nor a dog.

I guess the biggest thing I wish for is that her head is screwed on straight. If it is, I imagine everything else will fall into place.
T-Gal, this sums up why, upon learning you were expecting, I knew in my heart that you''d be an amazing parent....and why I still firmly believe you are.

Your expectations aren''t too low; they''re perfect.
You understand exactly what matters.....and you also understand what doesn''t. This instinct will serve you very well. Amelia is a very lucky little girl.
 

Allison D.

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Date: 5/30/2009 12:18:58 AM
Author: cara



Date: 5/29/2009 10:22:03 PM

Author: vespergirl

I think that perhaps some of those parents who wrote to Ann Landers about having disappointing experiences with their children possibly were not very good parents, which explains how their kids turned out
*Some* of the parents. But if a good kid can emerge from perfectly miserable parents, can't good parents be cursed with a bad kid resistant to their efforts?

Parents can't always control what the get. Some kids go their own way. And some parents may have been good parents for some kids, but not the one they happened to get. Just a bad fit. Maybe you can call them bad parents for not being able to adapt fully to the child they got, but with a different kid (or even their other child(ren)) they might have done just fine, so is it all to be blamed on 'bad parenting'?

But it sure is enlightening to read the column. For one, it is quite long and wordy for an advice column. And even for being 30+ years old, it sure seems relevant and contemporary.
Wholeheartedly agree. I think it's always SO easy to blame the parents....and many times that blame is well placed. But not always.

My best friends are amazing parents; I've watched them raise their two children with awe and have often wished I had the kind of childhood they've provided to their kids. Their kids grew up not getting every little thing they ever wanted. They had to earn things they wanted. They were expected to contribute to the chores in the house. They ate dinner every night together as a family, and my friends made it a point to know what was going on in their kids' lives. They knew without question that they were thoroughly loved, but that good behavior was instilled and expected.

When they got into the teenaged years, my girlfriend took a job that would allow her to be at home more; she felt they needed more guidance than ever during this period of life when peer pressure became great. They were involved and engaged parents without letting their children rule the kingdom, so to speak.

Their children are grown now; the son is 21 and the daughter is 19. The son, despite a solid upbringing, just can't seem to get his life in order. He's been in trouble, he's gone to jail; he got involved with drugs and didn't finish high school. His parents have done everything possible to try to help him get his life on track, to no avail. Their daughter, on the other hand, is the epitome of what every parent hopes for. She does well in school; she's just finished her second year of college. She is a warm, thoughtful young lady; she holds down a job and has a clear vision of where she's going.

Both of these kids grew up with exactly the same love and energy invested. Their son has always been the type to insist that he's right and has to learn his lessons his own way; their daughter has always had a strong desire to please her parents. Both children have been given the same solid upbringing, but one has floundered as an adult and one is thriving.

A parent's role is to instill the right values and tools for a child to grow into a reasonable adult, and to love their child enough to do that job to the best of his/her ability. However, the outcome isn't guaranteed. It's absolutely more likely that a child will turn out well with solid parenting, but it's not foolproof.

It's easy to glibly say "oh, it's the parent's fault"; perhaps that mantra is how some parents reassure themselves their own personal outcomes will be different. It's easier to believe that can't happen with your kid if you parent well than it is to accept that you could be the epitome of a great parent and still wind up with a kid who doesn't meet the mark.

ETA: I agree with T-gal that the answer is much more meaningful once one is done raising his/her children.
 

soocool

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If I were unable to have kids on my own then I probably would not have utilized any other means of having children. Since I was able to have a child, I would utterly do it all over again. Life is full of experiences and whatever you make of it. I made it a point to be there for my daughter. See her first steps, watch her first dance recital, be there cheering her on at soccer. Kissed the boo boos. Watched her roll her eyes at me and I rolled mine right back at her. I have witnessed first hand how she has blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

We have lots of talks especially late at night before she goes to sleep. Yes, I sit on her bed at bedtime and we discuss everything. No topic is off limits. A few weeks I told her that when she began thinking that she was ready for sex, I hope that she would tell me so that she could get on birth control. I did add that I hope she waits until she is 40 first. I told her that I don''t expect her to take care of me and her dad when we get older, but I did want her to stay in our lives. I told her that she can study whatever she wants in collegel and that all I want is for her to find something she is passionate about. I do want to live her life; I want her to live her own life!

When she is all grown up it will be her decision how much a part of her life her dad and I will be. I do know that I have nothing keeping me where I am and if it is ok with her, her dad and I would like to be close by. The 3 of us are extremely close and having her has truly enriched my life and has shown me how selfless I can truly be, puttting her needs before my own. And as I see her maturing, she has done the same for me and her dad.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
I''m only 5 months in-but so far I would say yes! They really just add a whole new dimension to my life that I love.

Do I have days where I feel resentful? Yes. But overwhelmingly those are outnumbered by days that I am just in awe with them!

I agree with TGal that it''s all about expectations. I always think it''s so interesting that people have such concrete ideas about what their children will be when they get older. It''s like the parent living vicariously through their kid. THAT sets people up for disappointment IMO.

All I want for my kids is for them to be healthy, happy, and self sufficient!
 

*Danielle*

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
336
I personally do not want to have children, but I doubt that column represents the entire population. A lot of mothers having a hard day probably decided to get it out and sent it without giving it time to process.
 

DivaDiamond007

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,828
Date: 5/30/2009 12:16:28 PM
Author: Jas12
Yes. I would.

but, i can easily see where resentment creeps in. Having kids is a self-sacrifice on many levels. You sacrifice you time, your body, your well being and sanity (at times) your money, your intimacy with your partner and often your hobbies or passions are put on hold or put aside completely. This is something that some parents will never come to terms with. I teeter into resentment on some days or hours but then i remember it was my choice to have a child and life is no longer about me. It can''t be about me. I think that when we start expecting something from our kids--their friendship, their love, their success, their popularity, we run into troubles. Our kids are not here for us. We are here for them. period. they owe us nothing really, we owe them everything. The nice thing about this arrangement is that if we do this mostly right we get secure, loving, respectful children that will bring us joy because we see their happiness.

One of my favorite quotes on parenting actually comes from a starbucks cup. I remember reading it shortly after i had my son and my mom''s friend (mom of 3 kids) said to me, if i can give you some advice it is to not expect your children to *be something* before they are something. A few days later i read this quote:

''Do not kiss your children so that they will kiss you back, but so they will kiss their children, and their children''s children'' --i cut it out and kept it.
+1.

My son is almost 11 months old and life has been one big rollercoaster since the day I found out I was expecting. My life has changed in so many ways since having a child. It''s no longer about me me me. I also see how easily the resentment can kick in - especially if you''re the first of your circle to have a baby. Everyone else is going out for drinks but you have to stay home with a crying baby. Who hooo a day trip to Cedar Point! Oh wait, we need somebody to watch the baby (heart sinks). It can get really depressing really fast.

That said, my son was planned so DH and I knew what we were getting into. The love I have for my son is greater than anything in the world. He is the reason that I live because I have to take care of him. He is the center of my world. It is the point of every day to make sure that he has everything that he needs. It''s not always easy but totally worth it.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,654
Yes, I would do it again and have a few more! I've never thought of it as sacrificing my time and money. I think of my kids as tremendous assets to my life who have allowed me to experience so much more than I wold have if I didn't have them.

However, I could care less about drinks with friends or vacations with adult couples. We also chose to chum around with families with similar-aged kids so we never felt left out. We had rockin' New Years Eve parties, camping trips, vacations, etc and never felt like we were missing anything.
 

Jas12

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
2,330
swinggirl--you have certainly embraced being a parent and i hope will be that type of mom. I don''t mean to suggest that everyone feels resentful about parenting, but i can see how it *could* happen. I have friends that go both ways. I have a 2nd cousin that tired to get pregnant for 9 years and finally did so after spending 40k on IVF. She now ships her kid off the grandma 2 nights a week so she can ''get drunk'' and have "me" time. She told me i was "INSANE" for nursing for 14 mos b/c i was "loosing myself" and becoming "just a mom"???? I try not to be judgement but i can''t relate to her in the slightest. Sure i have days when i want a break (looking fwd to my first weekend away!) and i need my hour at the gym each day alone but my son is my center now. I can barely brush my teeth without him in my thoughts, he brings so much layered purpose to my life now and like you, i feel like having a family to share all the fun stuff with is the whole point of life.


I also agree with Tgal--this question will be interesting to reexamine when are kiddos are ''all grown up''
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
Date: 5/29/2009 3:23:47 PM
Author:trillionaire
Are there some invisible components to help explain that staggering 70-percent negative response? Some missing pieces to the puzzle? I see one, for sure. The person who is against something rather than for it is much more readily inclined to take pen in hand and express his anxiety, rage, or disappointment. People who are contented are rarely motivated to write and tell me how happy they are. Anger, hostility and resentment are often the fuel that moves people to action.
I've read this article before, and this is the section that still rings in my ear. It is simply SO TRUE.

Which is why I take any negatively-reviewed thing, be it a new restaurant or parenthood, with a pretty small grain of salt. I go off the observations of (not the conversations with) the parents whom I am close with and have respect for, if I am to form an opinion on the general sentiment toward having children.


As far as the actual portion of the population who would "not have kids if they had it to do over again," what really rings true for me there is the level of expectation surrounding one's children. It honestly boggles my mind to hear things like "every mother wants her daughter to be beautiful and popular," or "dad ... nurtures the secret hope that his son will succeed where he failed." I have no doubt that this is a cultural thing (the culture of your nearest/dearest family and friends, not of your region or background), because I have never seen this in people that I am close with, and certainly never within my own family. I've seen family and friends pick up on their kids' talents and abilities and muse about what future that might bring for them - but never "she can carry a tune, she will be the next Celine Dion!"


Sevens One is right - no one said it would be easy. Back in the Baby Boomers' era (the parents polled for this article would have been that generation's parents and earlier), expectations were quite different from what I see today. Marriage + children was an expectation, not an option, and to the vast majority of people in the 1950s and earlier, I doubt that life without kids even occurred as an option. I think that parents these days have the resources to know much better what they're getting themselves into with having kids, and much more importantly, the socially-accepted option not to have them if they truly don't want to. That, to me, is a major difference here.

Yes, all regions and cultural subsets are different, so it can be argued that it's still a social expectation for many, yadda yadda.


THAT SAID - I am a BIG supporter of anything that convinces people not to have children. BIG. If you can be happy without ever having kids, GREAT, please go ahead and don't have kids. This world has enough people that do want them that people should absolutely not reproduce through some misguided sense of social responsibility. I think we'll have, on the whole, better parents and, in turn, better children if procreation is left to those who truly desire the experience - the whole experience.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
Author: Jas12
'Do not kiss your children so that they will kiss you back, but so they will kiss their children, and their children's children'
Jas, that's beautiful. It really sums up the importance of good parenting - it's not about what they'll do for you after growing up, but rather what they'll do for the next generation.

Date: 5/30/2009 10:32:55 PM
Author: swingirl
However, I could care less about drinks with friends or vacations with adult couples. We also chose to chum around with families with similar-aged kids so we never felt left out. We had rockin' New Years Eve parties, camping trips, vacations, etc and never felt like we were missing anything.
That's the way to do it!
 
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