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Why Gen Z prefers dogs to babies Tinder is now selling a childless dream

'Finally having kids' (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

'Finally having kids' (Mark Makela/Getty Images)


May 31, 2023   6 mins

The last time I travelled on the London Underground, I had our Labrador, Saffy, with me. Britain is a nation of dog lovers, but I was still surprised by how many strangers cooed over her. It was startling, in fact, compared to my recollections of travelling on the Tube with a baby in a pushchair a few years back. No contest: Saffy got more love.

So the ad I spotted in that Tube carriage, for the dating app Tinder, seemed particularly fitting. It depicted a smiling young couple in psychedelic clothing, with the caption: “Finally Having Kids”. They each rest one hand on a pushchair. In the pushchair is a dog.

If, given my recent experience, Londoners seem more partial to dogs than kids, this may not be the only way in which “fur babies” are on the up. According to last year’s ONS data, half of British women now reach 30 without having kids. And Pets At Home CEO Lyssa McGowen thinks some of these have redirected their caring urges toward pets. “They are taking all that time and energy and attention and putting it into fur babies, especially in urban areas,” she said.

McGowen speculates that this is happening because the classic milestones of adult life — such as getting your own place — seem increasingly out of reach to many, thanks to scarce housing, rising costs and stagnant wages. This feels plausible: in the US, studies show the stated desire for family size has remained consistent even as the birth rate has fallen. And one recent UK-based Rolling Stone investigation quoted many young couples for whom money is indeed the sticking point.

But is that all there is to it? Prospects for Gen Z are not as optimistic as for their Boomer grandparents, but in absolute terms human societies have lived through greater turbulence and gone on having kids. Birth rates remain buoyant, for example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which consistently makes the top 10 in the Fragile States Index of most unstable countries. So what else is in the mix?

Liberal feminist Jill Filipovic argues that if more women are opting to have fewer or no kids, it isn’t so much about the financial pinch. Certainly, among dog-walking acquaintances locally, I can think of several childless, younger millennial heterosexual couples who seem, on the face of it, pretty sorted: good jobs, comfortably off, often homeowners, sometimes even working flexibly from home. Ideally situated, in other words, for starting a family. And yet, they have no kids. For some in this situation, the dog is an object of minute, loving observation and care, and plays the central role in conversation that children usually do for young parents. Watching this, my sense is that although for some economics is a factor in choosing between human babies and the fur variety, at least some of the time it’s not just about money. It goes, rather, to the heart of what we think the purpose of life is — and thus what we are.

When I took our Tube-travelling dog for a check-up recently, the vet asked if we were planning to have her spayed. In discussing the pros and cons, the vet suggested one benefit would be that, once neutered, “she can just get on with being a dog”. It stuck in my mind: after all, isn’t the reproductive cycle part of being a dog? In what sense would neutering Saffy make her freer to be a dog? What kind of dogness is actively obstructed by the organismic urge to make more dogs?

If, as McGowen suggests, a great many young adults today are directing their parental instincts toward pets, I suspect a central reason is that we’ve embraced an equivalent understanding of humanness. That is, we’ve come to believe that the preconditions for realising yourself fully — especially in the field of sex and relationships — now actively foreclose becoming a parent, or at least radically reduce parenthood to one not especially appealing option among many. Given the pervasiveness of this message, the surprise shouldn’t be that many young men and women are pouring that caregiving urge into “fur babies”, but that anyone is bucking the trend and still making the human sort.

Fertility really started plummeting with the onset of the sexual revolution. While modernity consistently drives down birth rates, in the UK (with the exception of a wartime blip) the average number of children per woman remained above the replacement rate until the 20th century.  It was only in the Sixties, concurrent with legalisation of the Pill, that rates began falling off a cliff, dipping below replacement levels in 1975, the year after contraceptives were made available to everyone free of charge. Britain’s total fertility rate has remained below replacement ever since.

People are not without agency, of course. My birth, toward the end of the Seventies, attests to the fact that women didn’t abruptly stop having kids just because they could suddenly control fertility. But if contraception acted directly on fertility, it also did so culturally, by making it possible for the first time to treat sex and reproduction as two separate things. This was a seismic technological and cultural change; and one consequence was, as the Catholic feminist Abigail Favale puts it, that it became increasingly normal to see sex not as a “procreational” activity but a “recreational” one. And I suspect it’s this shift, more than anything else, that’s done most to undermine the once-robust cultural association between parenthood and being a fully realised adult human.

Cultural changes take a while to percolate through, but half a century on from the original revolution, this worldview is so normalised that it’s hard to imagine things any other way. For example, in Let’s Talk About It, a 2021 educational book about sex and relationships aimed at teenagers, the procreational function of sex is acknowledged in passing but the overall emphasis is on sex as — in the book’s terms — a “fun physical activity”.

A great many things follow from viewing sex in this way. Firstly, if sex is primarily recreational it genuinely doesn’t matter what sex your partner is, provided they want to have sex with you. “Reproduction aside”, the authors of Let’s Talk About It assert, “your genitals exist to let you feel pleasure with yourself or others (no matter which genitals they may have).”

Secondly, if the principal aim is recreation, then relationship type doesn’t matter. Studies have long shown that where children are concerned, growing up with two married parents is associated with better outcomes. As long as there is a general cultural consensus that sex is associated with children, then, this is likely to be accompanied by a consensus that sexual desire should be generally pointed at marriage or at least long-term relationships. But if sex is mainly recreational, babies are emphatically not viewed as part of the story. Rather, as in Let’s Talk About It, they are discussed as a “risk” attendant on sexual activity: a negative event of the same order as catching a sexually transmitted disease.

It follows, too, that if sex is just a fun leisure activity, then you can have any kind of relationship you like. Accordingly, the book gives equal weighting to monogamy, polyamory, hook-ups, and abstinence, saying only that “Sexual intimacy is a powerful way to feel good and bond with another person, whether it’s for a night or a lifetime”. Taken together, this worldview presents embodiment, sexuality, desire and intimacy as coruscating, infinitely varied expressive options in which what anyone does should be limited only by individual preference and mutual consent. And if this is what being a fully realised person looks like, then by comparison, reproductive sex — the boring old heteronormative kind — is constricting in the extreme.

Imagine you’ve grown up with this set of messages, or at least something like it. Now, imagine you detect in yourself a buried hankering to be a mother or father. In order even to reach the starting blocks for doing anything about this longing, you’d need to unlearn most of your culture’s ambient assumptions about the field of sex and relationships, beginning with the received view that babies are not a source of joy but threat. Then you’d have to question the taboo on connecting sexual desire with its reproductive end, which is to say accept that, if you’re trying to make a baby, it really does matter what genitals your partner has.

In the face of all this, it’s no wonder many who have absorbed some variant of this message simply embrace it, and set out to enjoy the panoply of expressive sexual and emotional options now presented, without judgement, for selection. And this means sidelining parenthood: for within that paradigm, the organismic urge to reproduce, with all the limits it opposes on those expressive options, presents itself not as an aspect of becoming fully human, but an obstacle to the infinite ways in which we might do so. Self-neutering is now, as the vet suggested of spaying Saffy, self-actualisation. And should some glimmer of the ancient drive to care for dependents nonetheless fight its way to the surface, Tinder’s latest ad campaign has the answer.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago

Why bother with any of it?
The problem with youth has always been the same. We think we know it all, but life has this tricky way of kicking us where it hurts. I have a completely asymptomatic cancer diagnosis that was only picked up because I hadn’t had a blood test in ages. I even had a multitude of scans which came back negative but the blood test which was repeated three times was abnormal. In the end a biopsy confirmed cancer. My wife and daughter have been not just my rock, but also my purpose. You cannot put value on a genuine family; and you cannot have a genuine family if you live a hedonistic lifestyle.
I get the attraction of hedonism. I still see attractive young women and have all the desires. But if I way one up against the other. My family wins hands down. I am also acutely aware that I would not have been able to appreciate this in my 20’s.
Families take time to nurture and develop. Yet our modern lifestyle since the sexual revolution has put it way down the pecking order. It is no surprise that we are more miserable than ever. There is no shame in recognising that the last 60-70 years has been the wrong path. Why are we doubling down and going harder than ever in the wrong direction?

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

If it took 3 scans to confirm cancer, you probably don’t have it. Seriously.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Only the biopsy picked it up. Nice and early.
To put it in layman’s terms. A scan is looking at food and saying it is yummy. A biopsy is actually eating food and saying it is yummy.
Anyone who tells you different is selling you down the river

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Good to know, but depressing!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Good to know, but depressing!

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

What do you mean?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

It means he didn’t read the comment properly.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

It means he didn’t read the comment properly.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

What is the point of your post aside from being offensive?

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

My apologies. I was offensive. My mother had multiple scans on a lump in her breast. The end conclusion was InSitu, which isn’t cancer but is tissue that can become cancer. They ended up doing a completely uneccessary mastectomy, followed by chemo and radiation. She died from complications of the un-needed treatment. So I’m touchy on repeatedly scanning for something as doctors often just pretend to find what they are looking for. This probably isn’t the case here and I got triggered and my comment was just nasty. Again, I apologize.

Bernard Smith
Bernard Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Sorry for the loss of your mum.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

All good J Hop. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. That is a pain that I am yet to bare. I lost my grandmother to a pointless procedure and a niece due to a simple test not been undertaken in this country.
The medical fraternity are doing their best but they are only human. This doesn’t make the pain go away though.

Bernard Smith
Bernard Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Sorry for the loss of your mum.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

All good J Hop. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. That is a pain that I am yet to bare. I lost my grandmother to a pointless procedure and a niece due to a simple test not been undertaken in this country.
The medical fraternity are doing their best but they are only human. This doesn’t make the pain go away though.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

My apologies. I was offensive. My mother had multiple scans on a lump in her breast. The end conclusion was InSitu, which isn’t cancer but is tissue that can become cancer. They ended up doing a completely uneccessary mastectomy, followed by chemo and radiation. She died from complications of the un-needed treatment. So I’m touchy on repeatedly scanning for something as doctors often just pretend to find what they are looking for. This probably isn’t the case here and I got triggered and my comment was just nasty. Again, I apologize.

Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Good lord.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Jones
Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Only the biopsy picked it up. Nice and early.
To put it in layman’s terms. A scan is looking at food and saying it is yummy. A biopsy is actually eating food and saying it is yummy.
Anyone who tells you different is selling you down the river

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

What do you mean?

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

What is the point of your post aside from being offensive?

Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Good lord.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Jones
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Good luck with everything Peter.

You are right that people in their teens and twenties cannot understand what is important in the long term. That is what society is for – to guide kids down the correct paths. Over the course of the last 50 years we have come to forget this. It is time we relearned it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

“You are right that people in their teens and twenties cannot understand what is important in the long term.”
Some perhaps but I know many 20 somethings who know exactly what’s important. However, running in working class circles as I do, they are bitter about the fact that coming up with the tens of thousands of dollars needed to raise a kid is beyond them, and they worry about what the post-civilization (woke/’diverse’) world will look like. With standards of living steadily declining and white people now becoming strangers in their own countries but liable for reparations for things that happened 200 years ago … why would you subject a kid to that future?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

The “needing tens of thousands of dollars” argument for not wanting children (even if that’s what it costs to raise them) didn’t apply until the last one or maybe two generations, against the hundreds of generations preceding them where such a consideration was negligible, if a “thing” at all. How do you account for that?
The very idea of “subjecting a kid to that future” – whilst it may be something cited by young adults, is imo simply a smokescreen for their indolence and desire to live an individualistic lifestyle which will come back to bite them on the arse (ass in the US).

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Agree with your points. People have been raising kids forever, and yet it’s only recently that I hear the “kids are too expensive” argument. Which may apply if you’re thinking that your kids need to go to elite expensive schools, dress in expensive clothes, and have all manner of expensive stuff and “experiences.”

Millenials and Zoomers seem to be very much into travel, dining out, and “life experiences” in my admittedly tail end Boomer view. The money that goes into all that stuff could just as easily go into the best life experience one will ever have: raising a family. Hard work? Oh yeah. Worth it? Absolutely. You will get infinitely more self-actualization, maturity, and learn about it not being all about you.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Agree with your points. People have been raising kids forever, and yet it’s only recently that I hear the “kids are too expensive” argument. Which may apply if you’re thinking that your kids need to go to elite expensive schools, dress in expensive clothes, and have all manner of expensive stuff and “experiences.”

Millenials and Zoomers seem to be very much into travel, dining out, and “life experiences” in my admittedly tail end Boomer view. The money that goes into all that stuff could just as easily go into the best life experience one will ever have: raising a family. Hard work? Oh yeah. Worth it? Absolutely. You will get infinitely more self-actualization, maturity, and learn about it not being all about you.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Perhaps.

On the other hand, natural selection and evolution continues on unabated and as ruthless as ever, regardless of current fashions or fads.

The folks who truly believe that the reproduction of their species is not ‘worth it’ are weeded out of the gene pool with devastating efficiency…within the very same generation.

Whereas those who will sacrifice almost everything (whether they live in devastating poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo or live in London and have to cut back on their must-have daily coffee run and favorite restaurants) to afford a child will be the future and continuation of our species. Evolution and natural selection doesn’t really care if we drive a BMW or walk in well-worn sandals for our daily commute to work.

Folks who choose to not sacrifice ‘whatever the cost’ to have kids may not like this answer, but “them’s the facts.” They are self-selecting their genes out of the gene pool. Using their firmly-affixed confirmation bias (which is something that none of us can avoid), they will lament that the world will be devastatingly worse off without their genes carrying on within the cycle of life…but evolution and natural selection will have the last laugh at their demise by moving on regardless. And it will the next generation, selected by nature, who will inevitably write our own histories within the broader context of the history of our species.

No matter our internal navel-gazing and belief that we are evolved to the point that we’re far more intelligent, sophisticated and beyond the mechanisms of old-fashioned nature, evolution and natural selection will always prove us wrong on this and will carry on with the long-dead genes of those individuals without progeny left upon the ash heap of our evolutionary history.

It is what it is.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

The “needing tens of thousands of dollars” argument for not wanting children (even if that’s what it costs to raise them) didn’t apply until the last one or maybe two generations, against the hundreds of generations preceding them where such a consideration was negligible, if a “thing” at all. How do you account for that?
The very idea of “subjecting a kid to that future” – whilst it may be something cited by young adults, is imo simply a smokescreen for their indolence and desire to live an individualistic lifestyle which will come back to bite them on the arse (ass in the US).

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Perhaps.

On the other hand, natural selection and evolution continues on unabated and as ruthless as ever, regardless of current fashions or fads.

The folks who truly believe that the reproduction of their species is not ‘worth it’ are weeded out of the gene pool with devastating efficiency…within the very same generation.

Whereas those who will sacrifice almost everything (whether they live in devastating poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo or live in London and have to cut back on their must-have daily coffee run and favorite restaurants) to afford a child will be the future and continuation of our species. Evolution and natural selection doesn’t really care if we drive a BMW or walk in well-worn sandals for our daily commute to work.

Folks who choose to not sacrifice ‘whatever the cost’ to have kids may not like this answer, but “them’s the facts.” They are self-selecting their genes out of the gene pool. Using their firmly-affixed confirmation bias (which is something that none of us can avoid), they will lament that the world will be devastatingly worse off without their genes carrying on within the cycle of life…but evolution and natural selection will have the last laugh at their demise by moving on regardless. And it will the next generation, selected by nature, who will inevitably write our own histories within the broader context of the history of our species.

No matter our internal navel-gazing and belief that we are evolved to the point that we’re far more intelligent, sophisticated and beyond the mechanisms of old-fashioned nature, evolution and natural selection will always prove us wrong on this and will carry on with the long-dead genes of those individuals without progeny left upon the ash heap of our evolutionary history.

It is what it is.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Thanks Matt, I have trust in the medical fraternity. Most doctors and nurses have their hearts in the right spot. I’ve looked the surgeon in the eye and he gives me confidence. His practice nurse is great and she is very competent. So I am happy to trust that the team involved will do a great job.
Maybe some mentoring is in order once I recover.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

“You are right that people in their teens and twenties cannot understand what is important in the long term.”
Some perhaps but I know many 20 somethings who know exactly what’s important. However, running in working class circles as I do, they are bitter about the fact that coming up with the tens of thousands of dollars needed to raise a kid is beyond them, and they worry about what the post-civilization (woke/’diverse’) world will look like. With standards of living steadily declining and white people now becoming strangers in their own countries but liable for reparations for things that happened 200 years ago … why would you subject a kid to that future?

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Thanks Matt, I have trust in the medical fraternity. Most doctors and nurses have their hearts in the right spot. I’ve looked the surgeon in the eye and he gives me confidence. His practice nurse is great and she is very competent. So I am happy to trust that the team involved will do a great job.
Maybe some mentoring is in order once I recover.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

I do think that the lack of housing and decent jobs has a lot to do with this. I didn’t want kids until my 30’s. Thank goodness I did – I wish had started earlier and had more. But part of my wife and I deciding we wanted kids was that we were ready, we both had good jobs, a house, etc. If you move back a generation before mine all those things – marriage, a job that supported a house, a house – were achieved by most people in their 20’s. I honestly think one societal change we need to consider is abolishing the university degree as an essential component to any decent job. You don’t need one for most jobs and all it is doing is deferring adulthood and saddling young people with debt.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Hegel said that all relations between one person and another are “battles for pure prestige.” The winner is a master; the loser a slave. This explains our love of dogs. All but the smallest of them could kill most humans in 30 seconds. But they don’t do that. They instead roll over in submission. They do exactly what they’re told, and never talk back. We love them because they afford us the prestige for which we long and which the vast majority of us would otherwise never enjoy.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago

‘Do exactly what they’re told , and never talk back’
You clearly never owned a dachshund .Seriously though while dogs obviously can’t speak they do have ways of showing annoyance and telling their owner what they require , making requests and demands even . They respond to love with love is at least as valid a way of describing human /dog relationship .
Perhaps you are making too much of the fact wolves and therefore dogs are supposed to have a ‘pack leader’ .

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

That is so not true.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How about this: “Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by: they do not know what is meant by yesterday or today, they leap about, eat, rest, digest, leap about again, and so from morn till night and from day to day, fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy nor bored. This is a hard site for man to see; for, though he thinks himself better than the animals because he is human, he cannot help envying their happiness — what they have, a life neither bored nor painful, is precisely what he wants, yet he cannot have it, because he refuses to be like an animal.”

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

edit

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy JS
Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How about this: “Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by: they do not know what is meant by yesterday or today, they leap about, eat, rest, digest, leap about again, and so from morn till night and from day to day, fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy nor bored. This is a hard site for man to see; for, though he thinks himself better than the animals because he is human, he cannot help envying their happiness — what they have, a life neither bored nor painful, is precisely what he wants, yet he cannot have it, because he refuses to be like an animal.”

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

edit

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy JS
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago

‘Do exactly what they’re told , and never talk back’
You clearly never owned a dachshund .Seriously though while dogs obviously can’t speak they do have ways of showing annoyance and telling their owner what they require , making requests and demands even . They respond to love with love is at least as valid a way of describing human /dog relationship .
Perhaps you are making too much of the fact wolves and therefore dogs are supposed to have a ‘pack leader’ .

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

That is so not true.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I heartily agree. I only had one and I regret that but we started too late and did not realise until too late what is really important.
Housing is certainly a big problem, but so is the “equity” brigade. While this narcissistic form of bigotry is aimed at white males in 2023, but eventually this will change. What these nasty people don’t seem to get is that humanity’s ying and yang is certainly man and woman. Together now, as always, they are greater than the sum of their parts. (I’m also sure that same sex attracted people are smart enough to grasp this concept and somehow work it to fit their taste rather than getting their knickers in a knot because I said man and woman.) Everyone will lose if equity because the measuring stick of society.
Men, especially white men, are dropping out in larger numbers. They are escaping into gaming and porn. Their whims are sated as quick as they manifest and no one gives them grief. There are no hurdles and no guilt. Why go into a world that hates you?

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Hegel said that all relations between one person and another are “battles for pure prestige.” The winner is a master; the loser a slave. This explains our love of dogs. All but the smallest of them could kill most humans in 30 seconds. But they don’t do that. They instead roll over in submission. They do exactly what they’re told, and never talk back. We love them because they afford us the prestige for which we long and which the vast majority of us would otherwise never enjoy.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I heartily agree. I only had one and I regret that but we started too late and did not realise until too late what is really important.
Housing is certainly a big problem, but so is the “equity” brigade. While this narcissistic form of bigotry is aimed at white males in 2023, but eventually this will change. What these nasty people don’t seem to get is that humanity’s ying and yang is certainly man and woman. Together now, as always, they are greater than the sum of their parts. (I’m also sure that same sex attracted people are smart enough to grasp this concept and somehow work it to fit their taste rather than getting their knickers in a knot because I said man and woman.) Everyone will lose if equity because the measuring stick of society.
Men, especially white men, are dropping out in larger numbers. They are escaping into gaming and porn. Their whims are sated as quick as they manifest and no one gives them grief. There are no hurdles and no guilt. Why go into a world that hates you?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Assuming that all families are functional and loving and all children are completely healhy, then yes, sounds like a plan. Particularly when life on earth is so jolly good and getting so much better.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Peter
I will not comment on your health ordeal, if only to wish you a swift recovery.
Your view comes from your own harmonious family experience, but look at the facts
..the rate of divorce is astronomical and let’s not forget those who would love to leave but who can’t. And then, if you’re a man, we’ll tough luck, you are good for alimony alley, not seeing your kids any more, either because they hate you, or your former spouse decided to move to the other side of the world ( 50 % of cases ) and if a woman, basically doomed
.aka f
.d Cuz a single mothers, like it or not, is not seen a hot marriage material. I know for sure, My mother was one of them. Many lovers, no husband. Seen from Germaine Greer chair a win win but a Lose loose for the common mortal.
You are right, it takes time and commitment to build a relationship, but tell me

.where is the limit ? So many marriages are just so sad to watch
..kind of Basil and Sybille

.or the reverse
.the latter often ending with violence.
As to kids, raising them today with social media lurking into their rooms behind your back, all sorts of totally unnecessary needs and wants on top of the usual costs
..frankly, not so endearing. A friend of mine described his experience as a father as totally frustrating having to deal with his 2 son’s utter selfishness. Same for his second wife with children of her own.
Being a parent when I was a kid was much easier. No children would be tolerated inside the house

go out and play
..croquet if I trust an 8 mm family movie, while adults were enjoying their tea. 3 tv channels, total control over what entered our twisted little minds

..jobs right out of university
..well, close to it and off we went.
I am not condemning people who chose not to have children but

.a dog has to remain what it is

a pet and certainly not a surrogate’s child.
Dogs touch me immensely for what they are and their ability to live in the moment, because that is all they know and in that respect, we have a lot to learn from them.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I don’t think children should be using social media or have smartphones. It astonishes me how many parents have just given way on this subject over the last 10 years or so. “Because everyone else is doing it” isn’t a valid argument in my opinion.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I don’t think children should be using social media or have smartphones. It astonishes me how many parents have just given way on this subject over the last 10 years or so. “Because everyone else is doing it” isn’t a valid argument in my opinion.

Martin Bebow
Martin Bebow
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Yes why?? Our culture seems to be coming apart and it seems clear that the disintegration of the family is at the heart of it. It is also no coincidence that religion has become sidelined.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

If it took 3 scans to confirm cancer, you probably don’t have it. Seriously.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Good luck with everything Peter.

You are right that people in their teens and twenties cannot understand what is important in the long term. That is what society is for – to guide kids down the correct paths. Over the course of the last 50 years we have come to forget this. It is time we relearned it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

I do think that the lack of housing and decent jobs has a lot to do with this. I didn’t want kids until my 30’s. Thank goodness I did – I wish had started earlier and had more. But part of my wife and I deciding we wanted kids was that we were ready, we both had good jobs, a house, etc. If you move back a generation before mine all those things – marriage, a job that supported a house, a house – were achieved by most people in their 20’s. I honestly think one societal change we need to consider is abolishing the university degree as an essential component to any decent job. You don’t need one for most jobs and all it is doing is deferring adulthood and saddling young people with debt.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Assuming that all families are functional and loving and all children are completely healhy, then yes, sounds like a plan. Particularly when life on earth is so jolly good and getting so much better.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Peter
I will not comment on your health ordeal, if only to wish you a swift recovery.
Your view comes from your own harmonious family experience, but look at the facts
..the rate of divorce is astronomical and let’s not forget those who would love to leave but who can’t. And then, if you’re a man, we’ll tough luck, you are good for alimony alley, not seeing your kids any more, either because they hate you, or your former spouse decided to move to the other side of the world ( 50 % of cases ) and if a woman, basically doomed
.aka f
.d Cuz a single mothers, like it or not, is not seen a hot marriage material. I know for sure, My mother was one of them. Many lovers, no husband. Seen from Germaine Greer chair a win win but a Lose loose for the common mortal.
You are right, it takes time and commitment to build a relationship, but tell me

.where is the limit ? So many marriages are just so sad to watch
..kind of Basil and Sybille

.or the reverse
.the latter often ending with violence.
As to kids, raising them today with social media lurking into their rooms behind your back, all sorts of totally unnecessary needs and wants on top of the usual costs
..frankly, not so endearing. A friend of mine described his experience as a father as totally frustrating having to deal with his 2 son’s utter selfishness. Same for his second wife with children of her own.
Being a parent when I was a kid was much easier. No children would be tolerated inside the house

go out and play
..croquet if I trust an 8 mm family movie, while adults were enjoying their tea. 3 tv channels, total control over what entered our twisted little minds

..jobs right out of university
..well, close to it and off we went.
I am not condemning people who chose not to have children but

.a dog has to remain what it is

a pet and certainly not a surrogate’s child.
Dogs touch me immensely for what they are and their ability to live in the moment, because that is all they know and in that respect, we have a lot to learn from them.

Martin Bebow
Martin Bebow
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

Yes why?? Our culture seems to be coming apart and it seems clear that the disintegration of the family is at the heart of it. It is also no coincidence that religion has become sidelined.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago

Why bother with any of it?
The problem with youth has always been the same. We think we know it all, but life has this tricky way of kicking us where it hurts. I have a completely asymptomatic cancer diagnosis that was only picked up because I hadn’t had a blood test in ages. I even had a multitude of scans which came back negative but the blood test which was repeated three times was abnormal. In the end a biopsy confirmed cancer. My wife and daughter have been not just my rock, but also my purpose. You cannot put value on a genuine family; and you cannot have a genuine family if you live a hedonistic lifestyle.
I get the attraction of hedonism. I still see attractive young women and have all the desires. But if I way one up against the other. My family wins hands down. I am also acutely aware that I would not have been able to appreciate this in my 20’s.
Families take time to nurture and develop. Yet our modern lifestyle since the sexual revolution has put it way down the pecking order. It is no surprise that we are more miserable than ever. There is no shame in recognising that the last 60-70 years has been the wrong path. Why are we doubling down and going harder than ever in the wrong direction?

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago

Dogs live in the here and now. They are very physical creatures. They are naturually mindful when out on walks and take note of all sorts of things close to the ground and I don’t mean just pee, I mean basic reality and it’s why I enjoy following my dog’s attention; he encourages me to look, not just at the daisies but also up at the sky and trees. He enjoy ordinary pleasures, a run, a roll on the grass, greeting human and dog friends, that sort of thing. What he doesn’t do is self-psychologise, or catastrophise or spend hours at a time lost in digitial worlds. My dog is a wise counsellor, truly he keeps me sane, also he really makes me laugh!

Last edited 1 year ago by V Solar
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

I suspect that establishing a life of “living in the moment” would require serious forethought and planning 
.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ha ha! Could be, could be!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Being present “be here now” is something few people have mastered.

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ha ha! Could be, could be!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Being present “be here now” is something few people have mastered.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

Wait until you find a great human partner.. 10 times more fulfilling.. or maybe you have one nut find the dog a better option??

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

One can live one’s whole and not find the great human partner. In the meantime…………

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What I was getting at is that a lot of people find dogs keep them grounded. Maybe some people treat their dogs like babies but I think most enjoy them for their simple doginess. Of course if you raise a puppy you do enter into a kind of parenting role because a lot of the time you are trying to keep the animal safe and to socialise it. I’m just not sure that childless people who do that do it because ‘parenting’ a dog is easier that parenting a human child. There are plenty of unselfish reasons why women choose not have children – though it’s true that their reasoning might be faulty and they might come to regret it. I have my own theory about why some people can relax more when they have a dog around. It is based on some thoughts I had after listening to talks by neuroscientist Sir Iain McGilchrist. He believes that since the Enlightenment we in the West have come put too much emphasis on a certain type of problem solving intelligence that associated with the left hemisphere of the brain and that our having done this is to our detriment as a society. He sees the right hemispheric way of seeing the world as much more holistic and truer to how the world actually is. Being too ‘stuck’ in our left hemispheres he says can lead us to see the world through a distorted lens and is associated with anxiety and depression. If I recall correctly he says that a healthy way of being is to be mainly in the right hemisphere and to use the left for specific problem solving tasks only and that a healthy state is to be able flow easily between the two hemispheres using which ever best suits the requirements of circumstance. My theory is that some poeple who suffer from this tendency to get stuck in left hemisphere are able to get free of it by being around dogs because the latter naturually express this much more embodied way being in the world. It’s actually a healing relationship. We as a society are after all said to be living through a time of unprecidented levels of mental illness. McGilchrist also says poetry, music and being in nature can help us get unstuck.

Last edited 1 year ago by V Solar
Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

I once read in Die Welt that 40 % of people preferred their dog to their spouse.
Thomas Man wrote a wonderful book about man and his dog : Man und Herr

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

I once read in Die Welt that 40 % of people preferred their dog to their spouse.
Thomas Man wrote a wonderful book about man and his dog : Man und Herr

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

One can live one’s whole and not find the great human partner. In the meantime…………

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What I was getting at is that a lot of people find dogs keep them grounded. Maybe some people treat their dogs like babies but I think most enjoy them for their simple doginess. Of course if you raise a puppy you do enter into a kind of parenting role because a lot of the time you are trying to keep the animal safe and to socialise it. I’m just not sure that childless people who do that do it because ‘parenting’ a dog is easier that parenting a human child. There are plenty of unselfish reasons why women choose not have children – though it’s true that their reasoning might be faulty and they might come to regret it. I have my own theory about why some people can relax more when they have a dog around. It is based on some thoughts I had after listening to talks by neuroscientist Sir Iain McGilchrist. He believes that since the Enlightenment we in the West have come put too much emphasis on a certain type of problem solving intelligence that associated with the left hemisphere of the brain and that our having done this is to our detriment as a society. He sees the right hemispheric way of seeing the world as much more holistic and truer to how the world actually is. Being too ‘stuck’ in our left hemispheres he says can lead us to see the world through a distorted lens and is associated with anxiety and depression. If I recall correctly he says that a healthy way of being is to be mainly in the right hemisphere and to use the left for specific problem solving tasks only and that a healthy state is to be able flow easily between the two hemispheres using which ever best suits the requirements of circumstance. My theory is that some poeple who suffer from this tendency to get stuck in left hemisphere are able to get free of it by being around dogs because the latter naturually express this much more embodied way being in the world. It’s actually a healing relationship. We as a society are after all said to be living through a time of unprecidented levels of mental illness. McGilchrist also says poetry, music and being in nature can help us get unstuck.

Last edited 1 year ago by V Solar
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

Exactly, not to mention unconditional love.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

I suspect that establishing a life of “living in the moment” would require serious forethought and planning 
.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

Wait until you find a great human partner.. 10 times more fulfilling.. or maybe you have one nut find the dog a better option??

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  V Solar

Exactly, not to mention unconditional love.

V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago

Dogs live in the here and now. They are very physical creatures. They are naturually mindful when out on walks and take note of all sorts of things close to the ground and I don’t mean just pee, I mean basic reality and it’s why I enjoy following my dog’s attention; he encourages me to look, not just at the daisies but also up at the sky and trees. He enjoy ordinary pleasures, a run, a roll on the grass, greeting human and dog friends, that sort of thing. What he doesn’t do is self-psychologise, or catastrophise or spend hours at a time lost in digitial worlds. My dog is a wise counsellor, truly he keeps me sane, also he really makes me laugh!

Last edited 1 year ago by V Solar
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

We often talk about the infiltration of cultural Marxism into the institutions of the West but it’s far from clear if cultural Marxism infiltrated the capitalist west or if the capitalist west infiltrated Marxism.

To have self proclaimed leftists convinced that: living for their career, endless consumption, the prioritisation of the individual over the community and ultimately, that even procreation is just another job which can be outsourced to the third world who will do it more cheaply for us so we can enjoy sex without the inconvenience of having children; is smashing the system – has to be admired as an act of manipulative genius, whoever is manipulating who.

Of course, as Mary has pointed out many times, it is ultimately technology which drives these changes and in the end neither of the philosophies of Marxism or Liberalism have been able to cope with rate of technological change of the post-modern world.Neither is really in control. As the philosopher Martin Heidegger observed. We don’t need don’t need a philosophy which limps after science, (which cannot help but bring to mind the contemporary slogan “follow the science”) but one which would run ahead of it.

To this date, no such philosophy exists and we continue to blindly follow where technology leads, even if the precipice lies ahead.

Kate Madrid
Kate Madrid
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Marxism and Capitalism are both the same thing—materialism. It’s a false dichotomy. It’s all one world view.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

I like that.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Then why do Marxist countries end up as totalitarian. For example: Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba. Some are dictatorial. Yes, some them are also capitalist like China, but I’m certainly not willing to be spied on and surrender my private life.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

That’s the dumbest comment I’ve heard. Both things are economic systems that don’t have any god. Because they are both not religions, does not make them the same. Being in the same category does not make them the same. How stupid. False equivalence, but you don’t seem to think things through.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

No – both systems elevate materialism. They merely differ in how the cake should be carved up. If you’re poor and happy, a Marxist is confounded. You should be “joining the struggle” etc. Equally, if you’re poor and happy, a Capitalist sees you as a threat, as you “lack ambition”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

Not much to do with procreation.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

No – both systems elevate materialism. They merely differ in how the cake should be carved up. If you’re poor and happy, a Marxist is confounded. You should be “joining the struggle” etc. Equally, if you’re poor and happy, a Capitalist sees you as a threat, as you “lack ambition”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim M

Not much to do with procreation.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Yes – same coin

Middle March
Middle March
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

The differences are stark. Capitalism is related to individualism, free and open commerce, and property rights — all associated with classical Liberalism. Marxism doesn’t recognize any of those things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Middle March
V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Interesting comment

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

I like that.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Then why do Marxist countries end up as totalitarian. For example: Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba. Some are dictatorial. Yes, some them are also capitalist like China, but I’m certainly not willing to be spied on and surrender my private life.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

That’s the dumbest comment I’ve heard. Both things are economic systems that don’t have any god. Because they are both not religions, does not make them the same. Being in the same category does not make them the same. How stupid. False equivalence, but you don’t seem to think things through.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Yes – same coin

Middle March
Middle March
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

The differences are stark. Capitalism is related to individualism, free and open commerce, and property rights — all associated with classical Liberalism. Marxism doesn’t recognize any of those things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Middle March
V Solar
V Solar
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Madrid

Interesting comment

Shannon Thrace
Shannon Thrace
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“To have self proclaimed leftists convinced that: living for their career, endless consumption…”
In my experience, that’s what married people with 2.5 kids do, not single people. My married friends think they need 2000 square foot suburban houses, Vera Wang wedding dresses, phones for every kid over 4, etc. My single friends travel, live on a shoestring, house sit, leave unsatisfying jobs to pursue self employment, and buy simple foods instead of an SUV-full of groceries from Costco.

Kate Madrid
Kate Madrid
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Marxism and Capitalism are both the same thing—materialism. It’s a false dichotomy. It’s all one world view.

Shannon Thrace
Shannon Thrace
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“To have self proclaimed leftists convinced that: living for their career, endless consumption…”
In my experience, that’s what married people with 2.5 kids do, not single people. My married friends think they need 2000 square foot suburban houses, Vera Wang wedding dresses, phones for every kid over 4, etc. My single friends travel, live on a shoestring, house sit, leave unsatisfying jobs to pursue self employment, and buy simple foods instead of an SUV-full of groceries from Costco.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

We often talk about the infiltration of cultural Marxism into the institutions of the West but it’s far from clear if cultural Marxism infiltrated the capitalist west or if the capitalist west infiltrated Marxism.

To have self proclaimed leftists convinced that: living for their career, endless consumption, the prioritisation of the individual over the community and ultimately, that even procreation is just another job which can be outsourced to the third world who will do it more cheaply for us so we can enjoy sex without the inconvenience of having children; is smashing the system – has to be admired as an act of manipulative genius, whoever is manipulating who.

Of course, as Mary has pointed out many times, it is ultimately technology which drives these changes and in the end neither of the philosophies of Marxism or Liberalism have been able to cope with rate of technological change of the post-modern world.Neither is really in control. As the philosopher Martin Heidegger observed. We don’t need don’t need a philosophy which limps after science, (which cannot help but bring to mind the contemporary slogan “follow the science”) but one which would run ahead of it.

To this date, no such philosophy exists and we continue to blindly follow where technology leads, even if the precipice lies ahead.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago

Great article as always. The only thing I think it misses is the possibility that families are not always better than the alternative. I have very little time for all but one of my family, due to a number of family dramas, but also because we just have almost nothing in common. I’m not saying all families are terrible, but if you’re not close to your family of origin it can seem a leap of faith to think the one you form will be any better, in the knowledge that you carry the scars of your background with you, which are liable to manifest in your present. Is a car crash of a family better than it never having existed? I’m not altogether convinced it isn’t a perfectly logical thing not to have a family for many people such as myself.
I understand the comment regarding purpose, particularly when things get difficult. My purpose for many years now has been surfing, gardening, music and DIY, but I now have an increasingly bad back and some other injuries that are making all of them between difficult and impossible and I’m certainly floundering for alternatives. But I’m afraid I look at it the other way; without the responsibiloity that brings purpose I can leave this mortal coil without guilt or worry so can avoid living in pain as long as my body will manage. If having a family means I will be required to suffer more in later life, but be somewhat happy in that suffering, I’ll chose no suffering and no family thanks. I really hate pain, and ignorance is bliss as far as not having a family is concerned.

Life with a well functioning body is a pleasure I feel I used to it’s fullest extent, and indeed it felt it had a purpose just in and of itself. Surely we “are” many things, not just sexual or reproductive, but creative, motive, dextrous, inquisitive etc etc. I think having a family could be great, but it could be terrible, just as easily as staying single. I don’t think Mary and the conservative movement in general give enough credence to this possibility in their machinations on the decline of the family unit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jake Prior
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

I’d tend to agree with your broad argument. Those who say “family is best” are well-meaning but being either too simplistic or lack experience of when family can be a stiflingly negative influence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Wow.. I sincerely hope you are not speaking from personal experience!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Do i appear to have been negatively stifled??

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

🙂

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

🙂

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why not? Who among us has not been damaged by our families?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Do i appear to have been negatively stifled??

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why not? Who among us has not been damaged by our families?

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Family consists of more than a few people though. I come from a very dysfunctional home and the family I grew up with are all either dead or estranged. I am close with cousins and aunts and uncles, however, and I am happily married with healthy children and enjoy a good relationship with my husband’s family as well. In fact, having a healthy family myself was a major goal of mine entering adulthood and an impetuous to heal my own wounds so I could achieve that.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

And that’s fair enough. My comment(s) shouldn’t be interpreted as being anti-family.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

And that’s fair enough. My comment(s) shouldn’t be interpreted as being anti-family.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Wow.. I sincerely hope you are not speaking from personal experience!

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Family consists of more than a few people though. I come from a very dysfunctional home and the family I grew up with are all either dead or estranged. I am close with cousins and aunts and uncles, however, and I am happily married with healthy children and enjoy a good relationship with my husband’s family as well. In fact, having a healthy family myself was a major goal of mine entering adulthood and an impetuous to heal my own wounds so I could achieve that.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

my husband and I both come from deeply dysfunctional backgrounds of family drama and even trauma. We decided at 19 that we wanted to create our own family, replacing our family of origin. It was the kind of crazy thing only very young people do, with no money, no back up in case of failure. We had three children by 25, adopted two more later. It’s been great, except for watching adult children struggle in todays dystopic world.
I should add that he was in IT in the early 80’s which meant a salary expanding to meet the needs of our growing family. Money isn’t irrelevant to family creation but it also isn’t the only or main factor as Mary said.
The message needs to get out there that even if your family of origin was horrible you can still have a fulfilling family life.

Last edited 1 year ago by Suzanne C.
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

I have news for you: ALL families of origin are dysfunctional.. only some are more so than others.. I could paint a picture of my own which would read like a Dickens novel but on balance, as EVERY experience is useful, and there were really good aspects as well, I look back, positively overall grateful for it..

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I’m sure all families are dysfunctional, and I’m sure everyone learns from their experiences, but that’s ALL experiences, not just the family. The point I was getting at is that there are many other experiences that in my experience were at least as valuable as that of my family. Having a family adds such a burden onto life – which has incredibly positive aspects no doubt – that it’s very likely to some degree limit your ability to experience other aspects of life. Even if that’s just solitude. And I’m sure I had some psychological dysfunction that inhibited my ability to bond with a suitable woman, probably better if you don’t, but given that reality you can either get depressed and curse the world, as I did for many years, or get on with getting everything positive you can from the time you hav, which I did in the end and am also extremely gratefully for.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My children would certainly agree with you, but they haven’t had to deal with alcoholism, adultery, poverty, physical and verbal abuse, and not knowing who your real father was until you were 21.
Some dysfunctions are worse than others.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

My childhood doesn’t check all those boxes, but it does most and I still wanted to have a family. In fact, when you are jipped out of a healthy family as a child, the drive can be very strong to get yourself sorted so you can experience what you missed with your own family. I need to stress the “get yourself sorted” of course, or you run the risk of recreating the dysfunction in your new family, but separating and healing and going on to form my own healthy relationships was incredibly reparative. Being able to give my children what I didn’t get is profoundly satisfying as well, again, providing you’ve healed from the fact that you didn’t get it.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

You are right about this. We didn’t really realize how badly I was damaged by a criminally narcissistic mother and the ongoing effects of not moving far away from her. It is our biggest regret.
There is still an awful lot to be said for starting a family while young, despite the wisdom gap.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It’s a huge generalization to say that starting a family young is a wise thing.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It is, but dragging adolescence and sexual experimentation out until your energy and fertility expire has costs too. The current model of middle aged prosperous men with 20 something wives is a little icky.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It is, but dragging adolescence and sexual experimentation out until your energy and fertility expire has costs too. The current model of middle aged prosperous men with 20 something wives is a little icky.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It’s a huge generalization to say that starting a family young is a wise thing.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

You are right about this. We didn’t really realize how badly I was damaged by a criminally narcissistic mother and the ongoing effects of not moving far away from her. It is our biggest regret.
There is still an awful lot to be said for starting a family while young, despite the wisdom gap.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

My childhood doesn’t check all those boxes, but it does most and I still wanted to have a family. In fact, when you are jipped out of a healthy family as a child, the drive can be very strong to get yourself sorted so you can experience what you missed with your own family. I need to stress the “get yourself sorted” of course, or you run the risk of recreating the dysfunction in your new family, but separating and healing and going on to form my own healthy relationships was incredibly reparative. Being able to give my children what I didn’t get is profoundly satisfying as well, again, providing you’ve healed from the fact that you didn’t get it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Is that news? Where do you think we’ve been living?

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I’m sure all families are dysfunctional, and I’m sure everyone learns from their experiences, but that’s ALL experiences, not just the family. The point I was getting at is that there are many other experiences that in my experience were at least as valuable as that of my family. Having a family adds such a burden onto life – which has incredibly positive aspects no doubt – that it’s very likely to some degree limit your ability to experience other aspects of life. Even if that’s just solitude. And I’m sure I had some psychological dysfunction that inhibited my ability to bond with a suitable woman, probably better if you don’t, but given that reality you can either get depressed and curse the world, as I did for many years, or get on with getting everything positive you can from the time you hav, which I did in the end and am also extremely gratefully for.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My children would certainly agree with you, but they haven’t had to deal with alcoholism, adultery, poverty, physical and verbal abuse, and not knowing who your real father was until you were 21.
Some dysfunctions are worse than others.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Is that news? Where do you think we’ve been living?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

Some can and some can’t, and choosing not to take the risk of history repeating itself by not procreating isn’t selfish, quite the opposite. Perhaps procreating to be fulfilled is selfish.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

I have news for you: ALL families of origin are dysfunctional.. only some are more so than others.. I could paint a picture of my own which would read like a Dickens novel but on balance, as EVERY experience is useful, and there were really good aspects as well, I look back, positively overall grateful for it..

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

Some can and some can’t, and choosing not to take the risk of history repeating itself by not procreating isn’t selfish, quite the opposite. Perhaps procreating to be fulfilled is selfish.

John Croteau
John Croteau
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

I struggle to do anything but feel sorry for you, genuinely. Having your own family is an opportunity to right the wrongs of your childhood. Surfing, gardening, music, and DIY can never replace the joy and fulfillment of raising children who will inherit this world and can make it a better place. In the end, Darwin’s principle rules. Those who rise to challenge and overcome will procreate. Those who remain broken victims will not.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

I’m not sure you need to feel sorry for him at all, well maybe about the bad back. Equally the wrongs of childhood usually spill over into the next round of parenthood. And I assure you, the childfree do not consider themselves broken victims. Quite the reverse.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

In which case the wrong sort of people has been having kids, if today’s youngesters are the the best they could come up with. Or, more likely, people have misunderstood what Darwin meant and prefer to believe in fairy tales.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Yikes! what a sanctimonious and ignorant comment.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

I’m not sure you need to feel sorry for him at all, well maybe about the bad back. Equally the wrongs of childhood usually spill over into the next round of parenthood. And I assure you, the childfree do not consider themselves broken victims. Quite the reverse.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

In which case the wrong sort of people has been having kids, if today’s youngesters are the the best they could come up with. Or, more likely, people have misunderstood what Darwin meant and prefer to believe in fairy tales.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Yikes! what a sanctimonious and ignorant comment.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Exactly. And we can see the results of dysfuntional families in child abuse, crimes, addiction, jails etc.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

“I think having a family could be great, but it could be terrible, just as easily as staying single. I don’t think Mary and the conservative movement in general give enough credence to this possibility in their machinations on the decline of the family unit.”
Perhaps you’re not taking into account the ways in which our changing social norms affected how families have functioned in the past few decades. For some malfunctioning families, the problems could perhaps have been avoided under different social regimes.
But even if there are exceptions to the general rule that old-fashioned families are right for most people, should the exceptions determine public policy and social norms? Not everyone who does heroin has a bad outcome. So maybe we should tell kids to give it a try, they might be one of the lucky ones?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Well said Jake.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

I’d tend to agree with your broad argument. Those who say “family is best” are well-meaning but being either too simplistic or lack experience of when family can be a stiflingly negative influence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

my husband and I both come from deeply dysfunctional backgrounds of family drama and even trauma. We decided at 19 that we wanted to create our own family, replacing our family of origin. It was the kind of crazy thing only very young people do, with no money, no back up in case of failure. We had three children by 25, adopted two more later. It’s been great, except for watching adult children struggle in todays dystopic world.
I should add that he was in IT in the early 80’s which meant a salary expanding to meet the needs of our growing family. Money isn’t irrelevant to family creation but it also isn’t the only or main factor as Mary said.
The message needs to get out there that even if your family of origin was horrible you can still have a fulfilling family life.

Last edited 1 year ago by Suzanne C.
John Croteau
John Croteau
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

I struggle to do anything but feel sorry for you, genuinely. Having your own family is an opportunity to right the wrongs of your childhood. Surfing, gardening, music, and DIY can never replace the joy and fulfillment of raising children who will inherit this world and can make it a better place. In the end, Darwin’s principle rules. Those who rise to challenge and overcome will procreate. Those who remain broken victims will not.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Exactly. And we can see the results of dysfuntional families in child abuse, crimes, addiction, jails etc.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

“I think having a family could be great, but it could be terrible, just as easily as staying single. I don’t think Mary and the conservative movement in general give enough credence to this possibility in their machinations on the decline of the family unit.”
Perhaps you’re not taking into account the ways in which our changing social norms affected how families have functioned in the past few decades. For some malfunctioning families, the problems could perhaps have been avoided under different social regimes.
But even if there are exceptions to the general rule that old-fashioned families are right for most people, should the exceptions determine public policy and social norms? Not everyone who does heroin has a bad outcome. So maybe we should tell kids to give it a try, they might be one of the lucky ones?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Well said Jake.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago

Great article as always. The only thing I think it misses is the possibility that families are not always better than the alternative. I have very little time for all but one of my family, due to a number of family dramas, but also because we just have almost nothing in common. I’m not saying all families are terrible, but if you’re not close to your family of origin it can seem a leap of faith to think the one you form will be any better, in the knowledge that you carry the scars of your background with you, which are liable to manifest in your present. Is a car crash of a family better than it never having existed? I’m not altogether convinced it isn’t a perfectly logical thing not to have a family for many people such as myself.
I understand the comment regarding purpose, particularly when things get difficult. My purpose for many years now has been surfing, gardening, music and DIY, but I now have an increasingly bad back and some other injuries that are making all of them between difficult and impossible and I’m certainly floundering for alternatives. But I’m afraid I look at it the other way; without the responsibiloity that brings purpose I can leave this mortal coil without guilt or worry so can avoid living in pain as long as my body will manage. If having a family means I will be required to suffer more in later life, but be somewhat happy in that suffering, I’ll chose no suffering and no family thanks. I really hate pain, and ignorance is bliss as far as not having a family is concerned.

Life with a well functioning body is a pleasure I feel I used to it’s fullest extent, and indeed it felt it had a purpose just in and of itself. Surely we “are” many things, not just sexual or reproductive, but creative, motive, dextrous, inquisitive etc etc. I think having a family could be great, but it could be terrible, just as easily as staying single. I don’t think Mary and the conservative movement in general give enough credence to this possibility in their machinations on the decline of the family unit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jake Prior
Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago

Dogs are easier than children and tend to die a lot sooner and therefore are not a long term responsibility on the same level as children. They also don’t talk back and call you out on your failings. You can leave them at home while you go out to work and the pub. Young people today struggle with adulting and adulting requires taking responsibility for your actions and words. To be honest, as someone who works with looked after children, I don’t weep for the those who chose not to bring children into this world, there are too many parents who should’ve made the same decision.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

But perfect children are boooring.. mine, mow aged 42, 48 and 50 are brats.. but sure I still love them!

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Exactly this and what I came to say. People are forgoing children purely out of selfishness and indulgence, not because they can’t afford it. Everyone tries to make the excuse of finances or “the world is in a state” as, just as I described, an excuse. Most young adults are a bunch of whiny, entitled, and incompetent dolts who can’t fathom having to sacrifice anything for the greater good; I say this as a woman in her late twenties and approaching 30!

None of them care about bloodlines, about ancestry, about history, or about their future when they are old and feeble and having to be cared for by an immigrant on low wages. They claim immigration is needed because we don’t have enough people, and because of the ‘economy’, yet seemingly avoiding having children of their own to bolster our numbers because of the supposed damage to the environment and bringing in people who have more than 3 children per wife! It’s madness. It’s a life lived entirely in the now instead of the future.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

This is the thrust of the responsibility and benefit of having a family, but I just don’t buy any of it. Ancestry and bloodline is too nebulous a concept for many people to grasp, and hasn’t exactly always been a concept that’s benefitted the world when you think how rape has been used as a method of war to ensure the proliferation of certain bloodlines down the ages. There are plenty of other ways of delaying gratification other than having a family – building a business, learning an instrument, tending a garden, building a house.

So have children so that when you’re too old to enjoy life the suckers can join you in your misery. No thanks, I despise being looked after and I hate being in pain, when I can’t look after myself and I’m wracked with pain that will be it thanks very much. If I were to have children it would be so they could enjoy living not so they can look after me. And what could be more selfish than the mentality of having children to look after you when you’re old and sick? I looked after my mother when she lost her mind and there was nothing much noble or dignified about it. I found out recently she wanted to die when she got her diagnosis, but I’m sure the thought of hurting her children was utmost in the decision to carry on.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

It’s not that easy to exit this world on one’s own timetable. It’s tough enough being born without choosing to do so, to perhaps not functional parents, but then it’s also not easy to get out.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I will add that my mother had had enough of ill health and wanted out of her body. I was able to help her do that so she had an easy, peaceful exit. I hope someone will do the same for me.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I will add that my mother had had enough of ill health and wanted out of her body. I was able to help her do that so she had an easy, peaceful exit. I hope someone will do the same for me.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

People all throughout the ages understood the concept of bloodlines and ancestry because it was an important part of culture; the fact that people can’t seem to grasp it nowadays is due to the cultural shift away from family and community and onto the self only further proving my point.

People have become selfish, in their own bubbles, acting like they are a single unit instead of part of a community. It’s not healthy to think this way, many people do it purely out of dysfunction, laziness, and fear, not because they actually believe in it. The degradation of our communities isn’t a coincidence, it’s part of a much wider problem.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

You might be right, although it’s hard to say what people understood about that down the ages. There were certainly also pressures to have children to help the arduous graft of living off the land and just the difficulty of preventing the expression of the sexual urge resulting in offspring.
But perhaps you’re right. I can kind of see if my parents had stayed together and there was a lineage which looked attractive to join it might have both spurred me to want to continue that lineage and have been something attractive for a woman to join. But if that’s not you’re reality and you have no place in a community or wider family, how are you supposed to relate to that? I think the other thing that’s missing from this discussion is religion. There is of course the commandment to go forth and multiply, or the equivalent, but I have little doubt that all relationships are extremely difficult and for many throughout the ages only the true religious conviction in the sanctity of marriage kept many relationships together. I also have little doubt that this was developed by wise people over years as they could see the social destruction of very temporary relationships, even though in many individual circumstances it would mean years of personal suffering.
Now, in the society in which I live almost nobody has that conviction, so if they find themselves suffering in a relationship they will understandably want to leave and might very well be individually better off for doing so. The result for the children, however, might very well be the destruction of the connection with your lineage and the disolution of your position within a community which leaves you wandering what structures you would be bringing children into or could use as a crutch to help through the difficult times. In the secular west we think it’s kind of inevitable that as people are more educated the world will become less and less religious, but it actually looks precisely the reverse as the religious are massively out-breeding the atheist and the world will very likely evolve back to a religiously dominated order. In that respect I think religion kind of proves itself right in some vital way and perhaps if you dont have faith it’s better to leave the future to those that do. It’s not just individuals being selfish, it’s the society in which those individuals live promoting selfishness – for perfectly understandable reasons. Sorry for a rambling response.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

You might be right, although it’s hard to say what people understood about that down the ages. There were certainly also pressures to have children to help the arduous graft of living off the land and just the difficulty of preventing the expression of the sexual urge resulting in offspring.
But perhaps you’re right. I can kind of see if my parents had stayed together and there was a lineage which looked attractive to join it might have both spurred me to want to continue that lineage and have been something attractive for a woman to join. But if that’s not you’re reality and you have no place in a community or wider family, how are you supposed to relate to that? I think the other thing that’s missing from this discussion is religion. There is of course the commandment to go forth and multiply, or the equivalent, but I have little doubt that all relationships are extremely difficult and for many throughout the ages only the true religious conviction in the sanctity of marriage kept many relationships together. I also have little doubt that this was developed by wise people over years as they could see the social destruction of very temporary relationships, even though in many individual circumstances it would mean years of personal suffering.
Now, in the society in which I live almost nobody has that conviction, so if they find themselves suffering in a relationship they will understandably want to leave and might very well be individually better off for doing so. The result for the children, however, might very well be the destruction of the connection with your lineage and the disolution of your position within a community which leaves you wandering what structures you would be bringing children into or could use as a crutch to help through the difficult times. In the secular west we think it’s kind of inevitable that as people are more educated the world will become less and less religious, but it actually looks precisely the reverse as the religious are massively out-breeding the atheist and the world will very likely evolve back to a religiously dominated order. In that respect I think religion kind of proves itself right in some vital way and perhaps if you dont have faith it’s better to leave the future to those that do. It’s not just individuals being selfish, it’s the society in which those individuals live promoting selfishness – for perfectly understandable reasons. Sorry for a rambling response.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

It’s not that easy to exit this world on one’s own timetable. It’s tough enough being born without choosing to do so, to perhaps not functional parents, but then it’s also not easy to get out.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

People all throughout the ages understood the concept of bloodlines and ancestry because it was an important part of culture; the fact that people can’t seem to grasp it nowadays is due to the cultural shift away from family and community and onto the self only further proving my point.

People have become selfish, in their own bubbles, acting like they are a single unit instead of part of a community. It’s not healthy to think this way, many people do it purely out of dysfunction, laziness, and fear, not because they actually believe in it. The degradation of our communities isn’t a coincidence, it’s part of a much wider problem.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

People are forgoing children purely out of selfishness and indulgence, not because they can’t afford it.

Absolutely it is, but what’s the problem? My wife and I are totally happy and content without the burden of a stinky shouty thing controlling our lives and making it a misery. We have total freedom and greater wealth to enjoy what we want to do and when. Why would anyone want it any other way?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How long have you got 🙂 I feel sorry for you

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

And yet, I feel sorry for you. Round and round we go.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

And yet, I feel sorry for you. Round and round we go.

David Ryan
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Total freedom and wealth aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. You might get to a stage where you’re jaded, eyes glazed over after years of self indulgence, and find yourself wondering what’s the point of it all. Having kids is one of the few things about life that makes any sense. That’s what it’s been like for me anyway

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

You can have both of course.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Only if you’re exceedingly lucky.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Only if you’re exceedingly lucky.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

For you, perhaps yes, but not for everyone. And why the judgemental tone towards those who don’t want children?

David Ryan
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, that’s why I included the caveat “That’s what it’s been like for me anyway”. I don’t agree that I used a judgemental tone

David Ryan
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, that’s why I included the caveat “That’s what it’s been like for me anyway”. I don’t agree that I used a judgemental tone

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

Then you wouldn’t know what freedom and wealth is like, would you? Dream on.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

You can have both of course.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

For you, perhaps yes, but not for everyone. And why the judgemental tone towards those who don’t want children?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

Then you wouldn’t know what freedom and wealth is like, would you? Dream on.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly, and you don’t know what you’re going to get. At least you can choose a dog. Having a disabled, mentally ill child looks like hell on earth.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

So because children could be seen as a minor inconvenience that is seen as a burden and misery inducing? You are clearly very materialistic which is why you value things over people; this is the problem at its root.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How long have you got 🙂 I feel sorry for you

David Ryan
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Total freedom and wealth aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. You might get to a stage where you’re jaded, eyes glazed over after years of self indulgence, and find yourself wondering what’s the point of it all. Having kids is one of the few things about life that makes any sense. That’s what it’s been like for me anyway

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly, and you don’t know what you’re going to get. At least you can choose a dog. Having a disabled, mentally ill child looks like hell on earth.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Exactly.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

So because children could be seen as a minor inconvenience that is seen as a burden and misery inducing? You are clearly very materialistic which is why you value things over people; this is the problem at its root.

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

I think it’s not surprising that the generation raised with social media would prefer dogs to children (and cats, frankly). Dogs’ inbuilt adoration for their human appeals perfectly to the narcissistic tendencies of that generation. Imagine, it’s akin to getting HUNDREDS of “likes” a day, right in your own home! All the benefits with none of the drawbacks, as Lindsay S pointed out!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

And this is “bad” because………?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Apo State

And this is “bad” because………?

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

Oh, the old argument of the free nurse… I haven’t met many childless people in care homes, and yet there they are…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

As there are those with children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

As there are those with children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

OMG not having children is “selfish”. You sound like the pope. And if every woman had the litters you and the pope think women should have you’d never get a seat on the bus.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This particular pope has made a derisive comment about Catholic women breeding like rabbits. He is an evil man, considering the Church’s teaching, which you are free to disagree with of course, but which it is his job to uphold, not make fun of those who struggle to live it.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, not having children is selfish. You are a culmination of thousands of years of ancestors, ancestors who put their blood, sweat and tears into building the very place you have the privilege to call home, and you deny the right of your offspring to experience the wonders of life because of your own selfishness. You act like you “didn’t have a choice” in being born, no one does! It’s all luck and you were lucky to be born.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This particular pope has made a derisive comment about Catholic women breeding like rabbits. He is an evil man, considering the Church’s teaching, which you are free to disagree with of course, but which it is his job to uphold, not make fun of those who struggle to live it.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, not having children is selfish. You are a culmination of thousands of years of ancestors, ancestors who put their blood, sweat and tears into building the very place you have the privilege to call home, and you deny the right of your offspring to experience the wonders of life because of your own selfishness. You act like you “didn’t have a choice” in being born, no one does! It’s all luck and you were lucky to be born.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

This is the thrust of the responsibility and benefit of having a family, but I just don’t buy any of it. Ancestry and bloodline is too nebulous a concept for many people to grasp, and hasn’t exactly always been a concept that’s benefitted the world when you think how rape has been used as a method of war to ensure the proliferation of certain bloodlines down the ages. There are plenty of other ways of delaying gratification other than having a family – building a business, learning an instrument, tending a garden, building a house.

So have children so that when you’re too old to enjoy life the suckers can join you in your misery. No thanks, I despise being looked after and I hate being in pain, when I can’t look after myself and I’m wracked with pain that will be it thanks very much. If I were to have children it would be so they could enjoy living not so they can look after me. And what could be more selfish than the mentality of having children to look after you when you’re old and sick? I looked after my mother when she lost her mind and there was nothing much noble or dignified about it. I found out recently she wanted to die when she got her diagnosis, but I’m sure the thought of hurting her children was utmost in the decision to carry on.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

People are forgoing children purely out of selfishness and indulgence, not because they can’t afford it.

Absolutely it is, but what’s the problem? My wife and I are totally happy and content without the burden of a stinky shouty thing controlling our lives and making it a misery. We have total freedom and greater wealth to enjoy what we want to do and when. Why would anyone want it any other way?

Apo State
Apo State
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

I think it’s not surprising that the generation raised with social media would prefer dogs to children (and cats, frankly). Dogs’ inbuilt adoration for their human appeals perfectly to the narcissistic tendencies of that generation. Imagine, it’s akin to getting HUNDREDS of “likes” a day, right in your own home! All the benefits with none of the drawbacks, as Lindsay S pointed out!

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

Oh, the old argument of the free nurse… I haven’t met many childless people in care homes, and yet there they are…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chelsea King

OMG not having children is “selfish”. You sound like the pope. And if every woman had the litters you and the pope think women should have you’d never get a seat on the bus.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Exactly!! Procreating and parenting are two very different things.Also, One sees so many people having kids because they don’t know what to do with their lives, need a sense of purpose and think a baby will give them all the love they never had.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s a very pessimistic view of people. Most people have children because they want children; the idea of raising the next generation excites them. Some people will have children because they have empty lives but it’s also true that most people fill their time with working because they have no other identity; most of the people I have ever worked with have no hobbies and this is most prevalent within women.

I come from a broken and abusive family, I want a family to be able to give the love and expectations that I never had, I want to produce my next generation and make them see the value that life truly has because I was denied that growing up; I was a tool to be used and abused and was discarded when I no longer had value. I would never do that to my own children.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s a very pessimistic view of people. Most people have children because they want children; the idea of raising the next generation excites them. Some people will have children because they have empty lives but it’s also true that most people fill their time with working because they have no other identity; most of the people I have ever worked with have no hobbies and this is most prevalent within women.

I come from a broken and abusive family, I want a family to be able to give the love and expectations that I never had, I want to produce my next generation and make them see the value that life truly has because I was denied that growing up; I was a tool to be used and abused and was discarded when I no longer had value. I would never do that to my own children.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

But perfect children are boooring.. mine, mow aged 42, 48 and 50 are brats.. but sure I still love them!

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Exactly this and what I came to say. People are forgoing children purely out of selfishness and indulgence, not because they can’t afford it. Everyone tries to make the excuse of finances or “the world is in a state” as, just as I described, an excuse. Most young adults are a bunch of whiny, entitled, and incompetent dolts who can’t fathom having to sacrifice anything for the greater good; I say this as a woman in her late twenties and approaching 30!

None of them care about bloodlines, about ancestry, about history, or about their future when they are old and feeble and having to be cared for by an immigrant on low wages. They claim immigration is needed because we don’t have enough people, and because of the ‘economy’, yet seemingly avoiding having children of their own to bolster our numbers because of the supposed damage to the environment and bringing in people who have more than 3 children per wife! It’s madness. It’s a life lived entirely in the now instead of the future.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Exactly!! Procreating and parenting are two very different things.Also, One sees so many people having kids because they don’t know what to do with their lives, need a sense of purpose and think a baby will give them all the love they never had.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago

Dogs are easier than children and tend to die a lot sooner and therefore are not a long term responsibility on the same level as children. They also don’t talk back and call you out on your failings. You can leave them at home while you go out to work and the pub. Young people today struggle with adulting and adulting requires taking responsibility for your actions and words. To be honest, as someone who works with looked after children, I don’t weep for the those who chose not to bring children into this world, there are too many parents who should’ve made the same decision.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

“Britain’s total fertility rate has remained below replacement ever since.”

Don’t worry! You might not have ever been asked about it, but the Government has been implementing a cunning plan to sort this…

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

“Britain’s total fertility rate has remained below replacement ever since.”

Don’t worry! You might not have ever been asked about it, but the Government has been implementing a cunning plan to sort this…

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Trouble is that when women get into their late thirties they realise they always wanted to have a family and have missed the boat. I watched a documentary the other day that found 90% of childless women past childbearing age regretted not having had children. Many bitterly. Many talked about their lives being meaningless. Many blamed their partners who never fully committed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

If those women in their 30’s with the baby-rabies stopped to think for one minute it would be obvious to them why, as they say, they can’t get a man to commit. Men in their 30’s have probably finally made something of themselves. They are established at work and financially sound. Their SMV has reached its peak. By contrast, desperate women in their 30’s are on a steep downward path relative to SMV and younger, more fertile women in their 20’s are replacing them in the sexual marketplace. Given a choice the man will favour the younger woman, especially if he wants a family. In the competition between a women in her 20’s who can easily become pregnant and a late 30’s woman who will likely have trouble conceiving and might need expensive IVF support the younger woman is the obvious choice.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Agreed, and it’s crazy because society, at least the upper middle class liberal society, pushes young girls into this quandry. The focus is all on career and sort the family out later, when it should be the other way around. I have a career and encourage my teenage daughters to as well, but urge them to focus on family in their 20’s as that is when the most amount of eligble men will be interested. They seem to have taken this to heart and both are dating commitment orientated men and choosing careers with flexibility as well, so they can lean out when they have kids to stay home for awhile. We are in a red state though, so the culture is more famiy orientated as well.
I follow a You Tuber who’s in her mid-30’s. She has a crafts and cleaning channel and she sometimes featured her fiance in her videos. Well, he hadn’t made an appearance in awhile and she announced that she broke up with him because her channel was doing really well so she was financially independant and she didn’t want to settle down yet and that she had “plenty of time.” The comments section was FULL of women agreeing with her and urging her to hold out until “she was ready”. I was thinking, “You’re 35. What, are you going to wait until 40 to consider starting a family? And do you think a bunch of handsome, financially secure, eligible men are going to be lining up to marry a 40 year old?!” It’s crazy.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

So, it seems like her relationship with her “fiance” was really about financial security and nothing more. Men are just ATM’s to some women and she seems like the materialistic type who kept him around for money. Pregnancies after 32 are considered “high risk.” Good luck getting pregnant when she’s over 40, never mind finding anyone she would want.

Jim M
Jim M
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

So, it seems like her relationship with her “fiance” was really about financial security and nothing more. Men are just ATM’s to some women and she seems like the materialistic type who kept him around for money. Pregnancies after 32 are considered “high risk.” Good luck getting pregnant when she’s over 40, never mind finding anyone she would want.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Eew yuk! That’s nasty. “Desperate women in their thirties” you wish!

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Agreed, and it’s crazy because society, at least the upper middle class liberal society, pushes young girls into this quandry. The focus is all on career and sort the family out later, when it should be the other way around. I have a career and encourage my teenage daughters to as well, but urge them to focus on family in their 20’s as that is when the most amount of eligble men will be interested. They seem to have taken this to heart and both are dating commitment orientated men and choosing careers with flexibility as well, so they can lean out when they have kids to stay home for awhile. We are in a red state though, so the culture is more famiy orientated as well.
I follow a You Tuber who’s in her mid-30’s. She has a crafts and cleaning channel and she sometimes featured her fiance in her videos. Well, he hadn’t made an appearance in awhile and she announced that she broke up with him because her channel was doing really well so she was financially independant and she didn’t want to settle down yet and that she had “plenty of time.” The comments section was FULL of women agreeing with her and urging her to hold out until “she was ready”. I was thinking, “You’re 35. What, are you going to wait until 40 to consider starting a family? And do you think a bunch of handsome, financially secure, eligible men are going to be lining up to marry a 40 year old?!” It’s crazy.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Eew yuk! That’s nasty. “Desperate women in their thirties” you wish!

april showers
april showers
1 year ago