Why do people have children? All pain and no gain?

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Winston
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Why do people have children? All pain and no gain?

Post by Winston »

I have an interesting but bizarre question.

Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?

I know that might be a hypocritical question, since all of us were children once who mooched off our parents and were a resource drain on them. But it's technically true regardless, that children only drain resources without providing tangible reward or income in return. They only provide "emotional satisfaction" and "love" I guess.

Are people generally genetically programmed to feel empty without children? Does Nature instill in people a desire for children, despite the cost and sacrifice?

If so, how come some people don't need them? Some people have no need for children and say they never want any, for instance. How come they aren't empty without kids?

I guess I could ask a similar question about pets too. Pets require expenses, food, vet bills, etc. but they yield no profit or return on investment. So why do people put up with them? It doesn't make much sense.

Sorry if these sound like cruel questions. I'm just wondering about them.
Last edited by Winston on May 10th, 2012, 11:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by Rock »

Winston wrote:I have an interesting but bizarre question.

Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?

I know that might be a hypocritical question, since all of us were children once who mooched off our parents and were a resource drain on them. But it's technically true regardless, that children only drain resources without providing tangible reward or income in return. They only provide "emotional satisfaction" and "love" I guess.

Are people generally genetically programmed to feel empty without children? Does Nature instill in people a desire for children, despite the cost and sacrifice?

If so, how come some people don't need them? Some guys have no need for children and say they never want any, for instance. How come they aren't empty without kids?

I guess I could ask a similar question about pets too. Pets require expenses, food, vet bills, etc. but they yield no profit or return on investment. So why do people put up with them? It doesn't make much sense.

Sorry if these are cruel questions. I'm just wondering about them.
I think a high percentage of people have a gene that makes them naturally want children, especially women. But modern industrial society has repressed that urge to some extent in a few regions and countries. For example, developed East Asia has extremely low fertility rates now.

Also, in some cultures, children are a long term investment as they may be expected to care for parents financially and/or physically in old age. For many, the idea of growing old alone is scary. If they marry young, have children, and eventually grandchildren, they may anticipate an old age surrounded by loved ones. On the other hand, if they remain single and have no children, those around them will shun them when they are old and frail. At best, they will be ignored, invisible.

If someone marries but has no children, than his only partner in old age will be a partner of similar age (unless he marries late and marries a much younger partner) who may die well before him.
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Contrarian Expatriate
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Post by Contrarian Expatriate »

Several reasons:

-Social pressure from family, friends and community. Every time a group claps when they hear of a birth or engagement, that is social pressure on all within earshot to get married/have kids.

-The "Keep Up With The Joneses" effect.

-Religious mandate or clergy encouragement, ie. "Be fruitful and multiply" from Christianity.

-To give their otherwise empty lives meaning. If your life has meaning, you don't need children.
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Post by odbo »

we're hard wired. it's in our dna. it's part of the cycle of life.
if there's any meaning in life it's to have children

some people may never want children. to each his own. but don't paint everyone as morons just because the majority of people having children are

news flash, the majority of people are as smart as a box of nails
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Winston
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Post by Winston »

So how many of you here want children and how many of you don't? And what are your reasons?
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by momopi »

Winston wrote: Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?
IMO the experience of taking your son to hunt and fish is priceless. But if you're looking for a more practical reason, you have children so that when you're old, your kids might be nice enough to look after you, instead of leaving you at some bad senior care facility where the rats chew on your toes.

Winston wrote: I guess I could ask a similar question about pets too. Pets require expenses, food, vet bills, etc. but they yield no profit or return on investment. So why do people put up with them? It doesn't make much sense.

You're not a pet person.
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by globetrotter »

Winston wrote:I have an interesting but bizarre question.

Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?
This meme is gaining traction among many men in the USA, I see. I witness ideas like this occcurring more and more on MRA and expat fora.

It's only worth doing something if one selfishly gains from doing it, right?

So WHY would anyone do anything that does not result in personal gain?

Such a philosophy results in the death of empathy, compassion and Samaritanism.

Life is not all about profit. I should not even have to verbalize such a thought - it used to be common sense and common knowledge.

Think about what kind of world you will live in when everyone else thinks as you do above.

If you are old, or frail, or injured, or sick, or dying, why would anyone get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff? Why should anyone care for you?

I mean, it could not be because it is the decent and humane thing to do - right?

Lastly, people have children because if they did not there would be no human beings. You would not exist. It is how all animals on this planet further the continuance of their species. It is the Number One reason all organisms exist - to create the next generation.
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Post by Think Different »

Winston, having a child of your own, I would've thought you'd understand this. Having children (as I do), is about hope for the future. It's about raising a next generation to be better stewards of the environment, a helper to their fellow man, about the continuation of the human race. Ultimately, it's about LOVE.

When you boil having children down to just money or some sort of profit (for yourself), it comes across as pure selfishness and self-absorbtion. Having children is exactly the opposite of that, but modern society has lost sight of that, while the ancient religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and not just Christianity) have understood this for millennia. Sure, not everyone is cut out to have or raise children, and that's fine. Not everyone has to be the same. But to cut down those who do have them or want them is pure arrogance. Others prefer to adopt those children who have no parents, which is awesome (I'm adopted, for example), but the stupid government bureaucrats make it EXTREMELY difficult and prohibitively expensive to adopt (it's about $30,000 per child, even in the US).

There is an element of the extreme left that wish to remove all humans from the planet and return it to just plants and animals. This is the slippery slope this anti-children mentality leads to (see http://www.vhemt.org), which in turn leads to eugenics, genocide, and governments determining who has the right to live and who doesn't. Sorry, but that's not the kind of world I would want to live in, and I think it's totally antithetical to the tenor of what I thought this website was about finding freedom from such tyranny.

I'm not picking on you in particular, Winston. I know you were just asking a question out of curiosity, and I apologize for hitting back at it hard. I just think preserving the good in humanity is one of the few things worth fighting for on this f'ed up planet.
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Post by keius »

Hmmm, well, i'm not sure that it's really about love.....help our fellow man and all that BS because if you look at our fellow man, most couldn't give a damn about our fellow man. We humans have a habit of turning a blind eye when it doesn't really involve us personally, or have some kind of stake in it.

Others have stated good reasons before me.
With that said, i do agree that it's about HOPE. The most basic reason of all, imho, is HOPE. We as people, have an innate fear of death. Our children are our legacy. It's the only form of immortality that we are capable of obtaining. People want to leave something of themselves behind once they've kicked the bucket.
So, in many ways, it is still for purely selfish reasons that we have kids.

Personally, I never wanted to have kids. When i got older though, i was more open to the idea. It's something to look forward to in your old age. Kids are like a prison that locks you down. Same reason i never wanted a mortgage and a home that i'd be paying property taxes on for the rest of my bloody life. That's not to say i don't love my kid because i do. Like someone else mentioned, we are hardwired to love our children.

But one thing we all have to agree on, DON'T have kids if you aren't prepared to raise them and are capable of providing for them.
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by Winston »

globetrotter wrote:
Winston wrote:I have an interesting but bizarre question.

Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?
This meme is gaining traction among many men in the USA, I see. I witness ideas like this occcurring more and more on MRA and expat fora.

It's only worth doing something if one selfishly gains from doing it, right?

So WHY would anyone do anything that does not result in personal gain?

Such a philosophy results in the death of empathy, compassion and Samaritanism.

Life is not all about profit. I should not even have to verbalize such a thought - it used to be common sense and common knowledge.

Think about what kind of world you will live in when everyone else thinks as you do above.

If you are old, or frail, or injured, or sick, or dying, why would anyone get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff? Why should anyone care for you?

I mean, it could not be because it is the decent and humane thing to do - right?

Lastly, people have children because if they did not there would be no human beings. You would not exist. It is how all animals on this planet further the continuance of their species. It is the Number One reason all organisms exist - to create the next generation.
I am not advocating selfishness. There is nothing wrong with helping others and doing favors for your friends. I'm all for that. But that doesn't mean that not wanting to have a child is selfish.

People who have children, at least in the West, do not do it with the intention of "I must do this to continue the human race" or "I am having children so they can care for me in old age." No one thinks like that in the West. They might do it to try to "continue their seed" though.

You're not really answering the question anyway. You are just making a moralistic opinionated statement again.
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by globetrotter »

Winston wrote:People who have children, at least in the West, do not do it with the intention of "I must do this to continue the human race" or "I am having children so they can care for me in old age." No one thinks like that in the West. They might do it to try to "continue their seed" though.

You're not really answering the question anyway. You are just making a moralistic opinionated statement again.
You have a tendency to ignore any answer that you don't like. Usually you intellectually rationalize it away, as you have done so above.

I answered you here:
It is how all animals on this planet further the continuance of their species. It is the Number One reason all organisms exist - to create the next generation.
People in the West behave under the influence of the biological imperative to continue the human race whether they acknowledge it, admit it, or are aware of it, or not. That's what Manhattan Socialites do when they head to a bar to meet a stock broker, and it's what line dancers do when they head to the bar to dance to both types of music. It is what is going on after church when everyone is mingling, and it's what is going on in Go-Go bars in Angeles City.

Denial has no bearing upon what premises people act under.

Whether they 'think like that' is irrelevant.
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Re: Why do people have children? Expense without Profit

Post by bc0305 »

Winston wrote: Why do people have children? I mean, technically children are a big resource drain that require time, energy, and expenses, yet they don't produce any profit or tangible benefit to the parents in return (in most cases that is). So in accounting terms, they are a big expense item with no profit or return on investment (most of the time).

Normally, no one would get involved in something that was all expense and yielded no payoff right? So why do they make an exception with children?

From an economic point of view, I would say children do produce benefit / payoff, although not directly to their parents.

Imagine a society with only seniors and no children/adult. The seniors have retired (ie: not working) and saved a pile of cash. But, the cash is worthless because there will be no one to produce the goods they want.

(ex: The seniors may have 1 million to spend on bananas, but there will be no one producing bananas. The seniors want to grow bananas, but their bodies may not have the strength. And, the seniors may have 2 million to spend on healthcare, but there will be no doctors/ nurses.)

So, the society needs children such that:
a) we can retire one day and trade our cash for goods. Otherwise, we will have to keep working till the day we die.
b) to extend our life expectancy.


Now, clearly, most people wont think about these issues when they decide to have children. But, the government probably is.
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Post by Winston »

I know why the human race needs children to continue the species. I am asking about the parents' reasons, not that of society, and how the parents justify the expenses and energy they put into it without tangible reward.
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Post by odbo »

love
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