Making the Decision to Parent or Not to Parent

I wrote a fictional story last week from one of the many prompts I follow on a woman who did not want children because of having helped raise her younger siblings. I based the story on a real-life decision made by two people that I know, one of them a grandson.

Both guys had decided before they were teenagers that they did not want to be fathers when they grew up. In both cases, the men felt like the a thief had stolen their childhoods, specifically their mothers, making them responsible for younger members of the family. Neither felt that they were allowed the chances for impish behavior, becoming grown before their time.

My grandson loves his brother and sisters, but being denied opportunities to release his inner child while still young means that he feels that he had already done the “parenting thing,” and he wants nothing more to do with it. His attitude is redolent of my friend who feels the same way. He would not even date women with children, afraid of being forced into a role he thought too time-consuming and not fulfilling.

Of course, with the eighth great-grandchild due in May, I am not missing out on another generation because one grandchild does not want to parent. But, I cannot be feel bad for both of these men, one in his thirties and the other in his sixties. Being a parent was the hardest job I had, but the rewards in terms of joys, hugs, love shared, and time spent together was aspects that I am glad I did not miss.

Of course, it is a personal decision. Having had a mother who thought that she was not meant to be “domestic,” and a father who absent nearly all of my childhood, I can say that some people shouldn’t be parents. Also, if a person does not want to parent, they should not be shamed into changing their minds.

I have a good friend whom she and her husband decided not to be parents before they married and stuck with the decision who has been called everything but a child of God for the decision. They have been referred to as selfish, social failures, and going against nature. What kind of parents would they have been, if they had allowed others to make their decisions for them.

But, it is the individuals who make this decision at such young ages, due to being almost forced into a role they needed wanted nor enjoyed, that hurts my heart. Many people had responsibility for younger siblings and made a different choice. So, it comes down to personal choice.

Yet, I would caution parents to be careful about giving one child so much responsibility and denying them time to play and be children. It can lead to resentments and to individuals feeling that they have already parented and do not wish to repeat it. We must be vigilant to not place too much on young shoulders. Just my two cents.

Fandango Prompt is Release. Ragtag prompt is Thief. Word of the Day is Impish. Your Daily Prompt is Redolent.

5 thoughts on “Making the Decision to Parent or Not to Parent

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  1. I agree Regina, I parented six kids and I don’t regret any of the time I gave them, if anything I often feel I could have done more. It is a choice you make, or in my case they just seemed to turn up and what was I to do? But my three girls have produced gkids and a wonderful eight they are. My eldest son has one child and has decided to only have the one. My two other boys are gay and are happy in their respective skins. There are plenty of examples out there of bad parenting, of people who produce babies to take advantage of the government handouts. As a teacher, I saw plenty of cases of neglected children and I often wished their parents had made wiser decisions. As parents and grand parents we know the benefits we reap nowadays, but you are right, parenting was no easy job.

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  2. I never feel bad for people who choose to be child-free. I’ve only known those who have happy lives sans kiddos, so good for them. If people want children and can’t have them, that’s a different thing. Raising children is hard work and costly, so I can totally understand why people decide not to. One of the great sadnesses in my life was feeling that I needed to stay in an unhappy marriage until my children were teenagers; otherwise, I would have left.

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  3. This is so good, Regina. I was one who, as the overburdened eldest, decided early I would never have children. I too was looked upon by Christians as “selfish”. This hurt deeply, because I felt it was inaccurate–my mother was very abusive toward me, and I greatly feared I’d be the same kind of mother, horrible…I didn’t ever want to hurt a child as I’d been wounded, didn’t want to see that look of betrayal in my child’s eyes. I’ve never regretted my choice, didn’t feel I missed out. It’s a shame that so many women who yearn for children are not blessed with them…and that those who can’t be loving mothers have half a dozen. Thanks for being here–you’re an asset and blessing to us ❤

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