Children. They’re the gift that keeps on giving. They have the ability to bring happiness and joy to a family, but there are certain questions you need to ask yourself before taking such a big step to becoming a father. There are many repercussions and responsibilities that come along with parenthood, some of which don’t directly affect the family; others have a more obvious impact. These 5 reasons should be taken into consideration when asking yourself whether you should take on the role of a parent.
1. They’re Killing the Planet
It might sound a bit dramatic, but there’s truth behind this. As the human population increases, people consume more resources. Whether it’s food, energy, or water, more people results in more consumption. The 7 billion people already on the planet are using a vast amount of resources while reserves of essential energy deposits are depleting. Why is this a bad thing? Well, overpopulation can lead to water, food and resource shortages, damage to the environment (think ozone depletion and global warming), overharvesting of animals (which leads to species extinction), and higher possibilities of disease outbreaks. While it’s difficult to see the immediate risks of having children, considering the negative consequences of population growth and the effects that it could have on younger generations might make you second guess your decision.
2. They’re Expensive
You’ve heard this one before. Between diapers, formula, clothes, food, furniture, and hospital costs, children can be very expensive. And then there are college funds, cars, and more food to worry about as children grow into teenagers. A recent report by the USDA (apparently child expenses fall under the same scope as agriculture) states that it costs average-earning Americans $234,000 to raise a child for 17 years, with housing, education, and food being the highest expenses. This number varies by state, of course, with the most expensive states being in the urban northeast. As noted, this number is the average cost, but the price can vary greatly depending on income level with the report stating:
“A family earning less than $59,410 per year can expect to spend a total of $169,080 (in 2011 dollars) on a child from birth through high school. Similarly, middle-income parents with an income between $59,410 and $102,870 can expect to spend $234,900; and a family earning more than $102,870 can expect to spend $389,670.”
As presented by these staggering numbers, it is evident that children can be great financial burdens.
3. They Take Time
Along with being expensive, children are also a huge responsibility. Parents have to invest a lot of time into teaching children essential skills and values, and this often means sacrificing their own passions and needs. Of course, that’s what parenting is about, but a significant amount of pregnancies are unexpected. For young people, an unexpected pregnancy might force the parents to stifle their career ambitions or put certain aspects of their lives on hold.
4. They Can Strain Relationships
It’s no secret that raising children is a serious time commitment, but the idea that children can break up marriages and relationships is almost taboo. But it’s true. Bringing children into a relationship changes a lot of things. Whether it causes sexual frustration, financial duress, or simply more arguments, these issues can result in the separation of two people. Discussing possible concerns beforehand is always a smart move because, to put it bluntly, assuming that parenthood won’t affect a relationship is simply unwise.
5. You Don’t Want Them
This is probably the most rational explanation. Becoming a father isn’t a decision that should be made on a whim; it requires deliberation and thought in order to reach a consensus. One of the biggest mistakes for adults to make is to have children that they don’t want or aren’t ready for. This could lead to divorce – not just from your spouse – but from the child, too. Essentially, you’re doing a disservice to an innocent child. Perhaps this is one cause of the high divorce rate in the United States, as well as the high percentage of single mothers.
Considering these 5 important reasons could definitely lead to a more coherent and intelligent decision. In the meantime, consider the contraceptive options available so that you don’t have any surprises.
Featured photo by mith17