Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Childfree on the Butt End of Rude Questions

Childfree by choice

“By and large, childfree people are generally freer thinking, better educated, less religious, are more conscious of the consequences of our actions (and thus, less likely to smoke, drink and drive, use other drugs, etc., and more likely to use seatbelts, helmets, etc.), and have more disposable income than those with children,” Steinburg wrote in an e-mail.

‘Don’t you know what causes that?’ From probing in-laws to strangers who accuse you of being selfish, and friends who insist “you’ll someday change your mind,” childfree couples definitely have one thing in common: the constant, usually intrusive, questions and commentary they endure, they say.
. . .
Stewart-Sheaffer agreed that some people are completely tactless when they talk to her about being childfree.

“Some people are incredibly rude,” Stewart-Sheaffer said. “They ask me if I can’t have kids or why aren’t you having kids. People expect as a married couple that if you don’t have kids, there must be something wrong with you. People assume you should be overpopulating the earth. There’s plenty of people making up for me, though. I saw a family last night with five kids under age 10 at Pazzo’s. Just a beautiful little family, but holy crap, don’t you know what causes that? They’re making up for the two-point-five I’m not having.”

While sleeping late and vacationing at will are some of the benefits childfree couples list, they’re usually not the main reasons they decided to forego children.

According to Steinburg, the reasons people decide not to have kids are as varied as the “colors in a rainbow.”

“Many of us love our lives as they are and would not welcome the changes that children inevitably bring,” he said.

Still others are concerned about overpopulation and the problems that it causes, while some people prioritize education, travel, careers, or hobbies over babies, Steinburg said. Other childfree couples simply cherish the tranquility, freedom and spontaneity their childfree lives revolve around. According to Steinburg, a disproportionate number of childfree people are first-born, and helped raise their younger siblings, or are only-children, and simply relate better to adults.

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