Why do people have children?

They’re expensive and sometimes noisy, but people still keep wanting to have children. Some people go as far as China to adopt a child. What is the primary motivation?

DaveRaver, is this question meant to be serious? If so, e-mail me and I’ll open it back up again and move it to Great Debates.

Ha, same reason that most animals have babies! Sorry, I can’t provide cite.

because I often ask it myself. I’ve never understood it, really.

I think people have a hundred different reasons and I think probably 99 of them are unhealthy. The only one I think is a GOOD reason (it is also, I believe, a rare one) is because one is passionately interested in the process of helping another human being become part of the world in an effective and hopefully joyful way.

That is a tremendously difficult thing to do, and i certainly wouldn’t dare undertake it.

There is also what seems to be tremendous joy in the sort of love one may (does not automatically) have for one’s children. That’s pretty neat. But damn, the price is HUGE. Sheesh.

Give me my dog, any day.


I’ma amazed anyone would either ask the question or not know the answer.

People have children because they enjoy having them. Humans are instinctively driven to have children and to enjoy thier presence. People enjoy having children for the same reason they enjoy sex; humans are programmed to derive enjoyment from it. It’s really quite simple.

We’re thinking animals, so we can CHOOSE not to have children (or not to have sex, or whatever) based on other factors, but it’s still a fundamental instinct.

to have someone to annoy during their off hours.

Dal Timgar

p.s. of course i don’t have a cat, or kids. that’s what the internet is for. could the internet cause a decline in the birthrate?

Clearly I’m not human, then, because I’m programmed to avoid them whenever possible - I definitely don’t devire enjoyment from kids. They might be a byproduct of unprotected sex, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you enjoyed the sex, you’ll enjoy the results.

DaveRaver? Have you ever heard of Jaegermeister? A few shots and suddenly birth control becomes too much trouble and you’re springing for 18 years of child support.

No, no, no – you’re missing Rick’s original point.

People have children because they enjoy having their children. Wanting to have kids doesn’t mean you’re predisposed to like all kids; in fact, many parents actively dislike other children, seeing them as competitors to their own offspring.

Or, to be witty about it, “My children are terrific; your kids are brats.”

Okay, I didn’t specifically want kids, my wife did. I just wanted sex,sex,sex,sex, there was no end to the amount of sex I wanted. Once my wife got pregnant, I think some new hormones kicked in and I looked forward to at least one more. In fact, if it wasn’t for the economic limitations which primarily are the costs of preparing a child to hold their own in a modern competitive world, I’d have at least eight of them.(I have seven siblings). Wife willing of course. To watch a child in your care develop emotionally ,physically, and mentally, is probably one of the most exciting and emotionally rewarding experiences a man could have. Every subsequent child is a completely new story, and whatever works for one child doesn’t neccessarily work for the next. It never gets boring. Raising my children with my partner(I wouldn’t have wanted to do this without her) is probably the most important thing I will ever accomplish in my life. And when I’m old and decrepit they will still love me. None of the above should suggest I’m a perfect father though. Kids are quite forgiving of their parents mistakes.

Well, I’ll try to be serious here. Why did I want to have children? Why did I choose the career I chose? Why do I like to read? I did it because it felt right.

No, I don’t think that all of us have a biological need or social conditioning to reproduce. I don’t think I do. But I can say that I have always had a strong desire to pass along what I know to my children, and to watch them take it, refine it, combine it with what they’ve picked up from other places, and master it as their own.

I don’t believe I’m a “natural parent.” It’s work, and I’ve screwed it up as many times as I’ve done something right. But we can say that about everything we love to do, from playing Tomb Raider to doing brain surgery.

Besides, when they aren’t crying or pooping or puking all over you, or keeping you up all night, the little rugrats can be cute. And when they hit adolescence, and you’re about ready to kill them, suddenly they come up with a well-reasoned, articulate statement that makes you believe you’ve had some sort of positive effect.

Yeah, they’re expensive. Raising three children has cost us more per year than our combined incomes when we got married. We haven’t had vacations in the south of France. So what? I wasn’t rich when I was young and single, either.

Would I have been as happy being a favorite uncle, or joining Big Brothers? Not really, it’s the 24/7 nature of parenthood that’s both exhausting and fulfilling. Some people naturally thrive on stress.

Don’t feel that way? It’s okay, I appreciate that point of view, particularly after a bad weekend with them. Just accept that some of us do find satisfaction from the experience.

I’ve often wondered that myself. I’ve been married 24 years and I’ve never had an “urge” to procreate. When I read about people who spend their life savings going to fertility doctors I wonder, Why? Can anyone confirm whether there is such an urge, and I just don’t have it?
I think it’s interesting that the urge to have sex is quite strong, but the urge to procreate seems to be missing from many people. I guess natural selection will take care of that eventually, and maybe in the future everyone will have an urge to procreate. Not my progeny though.
I do enjoy kids, and I wouldn’t mind raising one either, I just have no desire to sire one.
My wife used to talk about wanting kids, but that was because of social pressure from her family. I wonder how much of the procreative urge is social pressure rather than any physical desire.

Well, up until recently, it’s been a damn good retirement plan:)
Seriously though, and to scare Stoid, I am really looking forward to raising children. When I see kids in the supermarket, I get all warm and fuzzy inside. I truly look forward to the day I can raise a little brood of my very own.

If I train them just right, I might be able to rely on them as a back-up retirement plan as well:)

we should have kids so somebody will take care of us when we are old!!!

People, in general, just do.

Those that don’t er, well, er, they die out !

We are descended from people who did have children, if this was on purpose or not is a different matter.

I think the urge is stronger in women.

That’s pretty much what I said on the adoption pre-interview form: “I want to warp a kid in my image.”

Because I love playing with Barbies, okay? All those cool clothes and shoes and those little pink hangers. And the awesome Barbie camper, complete with a little sink!

Seriously, I know you were probably being facetious when you asked the question. Or maybe you are so self-absorbed that you really don’t understand why people want children.

But, trust me, there is nothing more satisfying, more spiritual, more life-altering, than having a child of your own. They look like a combination of you and the other parent, of course, but they’re their own unique personality from the day they are born. As a parent you get to witness their development from the day they are born. It’s a life unfolding. It’s marvelous.

And it also makes you the most vulnerable person on earth. Because you’ll love your child more than anything you can ever imagine.

Poor families, im talking no house, no money, no jobs, even no food, like those is ethiopia… there is a great population to sponsor, and everytime I see an ad on the television, i wonder why did their parents bring them into this world if they are as poor as they are…

Is it that they cant afford protection…?

If so, who would want sex when there are flies buzzing round you and walking on you, or the risk of becoming pregnant, and every ad on television you see, someone is crying… are they so depressed that they use sex to at least try and get some pleasure out of life?

All jokes aside… im not being sarcastic…


Random guesses here:
Some can’t afford protection and some aren’t well educated enough to use protection or what kind of protection. One of the biggest efforts to curb AIDS in Africa is teaching them things like having sex with a virgin will not cure AIDS (I read this is what some people would try when they found out they had HIV but I’m sorry I don’t have a cite).

And I’m sure poorer people in every country have the same urge to procreate that richer people to do for many of the same reasons richer people do, mainly that they want to raise a child.

(I hope I made sense. This is my first venture in to Great Debates. Heckle me in the Pit if I’m a moron.)

You made total sense to me :slight_smile: