Monday, December 13, 2010
Please...Stop Having Children!
Okay, okay: this title needs an asterisk. I love kids and think that bringing children into the world and raising them well is one of the greatest things a person can do. I, too, one day hope to have kids. What I'm talking about here is people having children for the wrong reasons.
Far too often, men and women choose to have kids for the wrong reasons - basically, to fill them up and make them feel loved. This, in essence, is one of my most cringe-inducing, nostrils-flaring pet peeves. Children deserve to be born into situations where the parents are emotionally balanced and want children for the right reasons - to give them love and stability, and help them to flourish.
If you are in a relationship and contemplating having children, ask yourself why you want to have kids. Having children to keep up with the Joneses or simply because you've always wanted to have them are not good enough reasons. Talk with your partner and ask him or her the same thing.
In my private practice, I see many adults who come in for therapy because they didn't get the love, support, and attention they needed from their parents when they were young. When children don't get what they need from their parents, it's usually because their parents weren't ready or didn't want to have children for the right reasons in the first place.
So, how does this whole messed-up cycle work? It usually starts with social pressure to fit in and to do like those around you do. We all know that people often get married because that's just what everyone does. (Enter divorce, stage right). Unfortunately, people also have kids for similarly unhealthy reasons. Too many childless men and women fall victim to the social pressures that everyone is supposed to have kids to be happy and whole, and end up having kids themselves whom they later aren't so crazy about - or don't prioritize, which is even worse.
If this is one of the reasons why you want to have kids - because it's what everyone else is doing - give yourself permission to wait and really think about this life-long decision. The harsh, rat-infested reality is that having kids for the wrong reasons will backfire like nobody's business. With a couple of little ones yelling and screaming in the backseat, you could end up feeling frustrated, claustrophobic, and resentful if you're having them for the sake of filling your own voids, and take a wild guess whose radar will pick up that message loud and clear. Still not sure? The kids. THE KIDS!
PLUS: Dr. Seth's new book, Dr. Seth's Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve, is about how to stop repeating bad patterns in your romantic relationships. It's in every Barnes & Noble store, as well as Borders and others, and online at Amazon.com!