"Why should WE have kids?": Couple Says Parents Should Make A Conscious Choice Before Having Children
"If you can't do all this, you should not be a parent."
Whether by choice or pressures from family among other reasons, having children is often the next step for couples after marriage.
However, more modern parents are subscribing to different views when it comes to having and raising children—if any at all.
Such is the case for Risi Daxshinni and her husband who have been married for two years and chose not to have kids—at least not for now, until they are ready.
Nothing wrong with not having children, says couple
“There’s no right or wrong answer – everyone is free to make their own decisions,” shared Risi who said they are often asked when and if they will have children.
“All this is to say, we advocate proper planning and a genuine selfless motive BEFORE having kids.”
In her post (4 Oct), Risi highlights four probable reasons why parents eventually have kids, whether or not they admit it.
- Influence from family, society or religion
- It is considered the “natural next step” after marriage
- To sustain or bring meaning to a marriage
- To fill a void or alleviate boredom
Risi, however, highlights that having children is a conscious choice that potential parents have to make, in addition to being able to provide a conducive environment and the resources necessary for it.
“Now, we’re not nihilists, but no child asks to be born. As parents, YOU make the choice to bring a child into this crazy mess of a world. A world that is neither safe nor fair, yet a world the child you birth must survive in,” she wrote.
According to her, it requires parents to “wholeheartedly devote” themselves to raising their kids to the best of their ability so that they become “happy, capable, healthy, and kind humans”.
“You must be mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially ready to give them the skills, values, and resources to adapt and thrive – without spoiling them rotten.”
If one is unable to commit to those, he/she should not be a parent, says Risi who views parenthood as something not to be taken lightly nor something to do “for fun”.
She noted that very few seem to make sense of this before deciding to have children.
Singaporean couples delaying child bearing
According to a survey commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development, 76 per cent among married individuals who planned to delay having children would delay for up to 2 years.
The rest (24%) stated that they would delay for longer than two years, or were not sure how long they would delay.
The survey which involved 2,008 singles and 2,074 married individuals were to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marriage and parenthood sentiments.
The top reasons that were identified for married individual delaying child bearing are:
- Uncertainty about the global COVID-19 health situation (60%)
- Uncertainty about economic or employment prospects (56%)
- Concerned about the safety of healthcare facilities (43%)
Responsibilities of parents: Children are not a means to fulfil parents’ desires and expectations
Risi states that parents’ sacrifices and love for their children should not come with terms and conditions.
According to her, some parents choose to have children for personal gains such as to sustain a marriage or as a form of investment—such that their children will provide for them in the future.
However, when parents force their expectations onto their children, Risi says it is akin to emotional blackmail in order to fulfil their own “selfish needs”.
“Young children are not toys, mini-me dolls, possessions, or hobbies. Grown children are not slaves, financers, bodyguards, loneliness cures, controllable robots, or substitutes for a husband/wife,” she wrote, stating that children do not owe their parents anything.
After all, it was the parents’ choice to have children “at [their] own risk” she says.
For parents who bring their children into their problems, hoping that they would be able to fix them, Risi highlights that such constant conflicts could subject the child to “trauma and long-term impacts”.
“You don’t get a second chance to raise your children”
According to Risi, many parents are heavily focused on their careers, leaving them with barely time nor energy to care for their little ones.
Some even resort to leaving their children in the care of others, she says: “Some parents dump their kids with caretakers 24/7 and make no effort to understand or engage with their children, even during the short hours they get to spend with them outside work.”
While some parents could possibly compensate their children for the lack of time with them using money and gifts, nothing beats parental love and attention.
To Risi, everything else can be outsourced (cooking, cleaning or even work) except one thing: parenting.
“It’s the most important job you’ll ever do, and unlike your career, you don’t get a second chance to raise your children,” she emphasised.
That said, to each his own and Risi says these are just her thoughts and not a way to preach nor judge parents who have chosen to have kids.
In light of the responsibilities of parents, Risi wrote: “Being childfree is better than being an absent, bad, unwilling, or ignorant parent. Haven’t we humans evolved past attaching our worth to how much we breed?”
You can view Risi’s full post here: