Rationality and being child-free

Cultural and developmental factors (some people being more likely both to be rational and not want kids for external reasons) are going to swamp pure "rationality" on this subject. Which means we don't have a control group, or even a particularly clear idea of what a control group would look like.

So I agree with David Gerard's more introspective approach - the most rational thing to do seems to be to figure out exactly what we think we know about having children vis a vis our ideas of what would be a good idea.

So, doing just that: my main ration... (read more)

I was a lot like this. I didn't end up having my child until I was 40, after something somewhat resembling an overextended adolescence. I think it was feeling I'd found just the right partner.

In any case, I knew I wanted children but didn't feel ready, then I did feel this could work when I was with someone I felt I could raise children with for the next couple of decades. And so far it's going pretty well.

(And then the teenagers landed on our doorstep, so I got to experience adolescent angst from the outside about a decade earlier than I'd expected. FUN T... (read more)

Rationality and being child-free

by InquilineKea 1 min read20th Nov 201064 comments

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So I found this post quite interesting:

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2009/03/gnxp-readers-do-not-breed.php

(I'm quite sure that the demographics of this site closely parallel the demographics on Gene Expression).

Research seems to indicate that people are happiest when they're married, but that each child imposes a net decrease in happiness (parents in fact, enjoy a boost in happiness once their children leave the house). It's possible, of course, that adult children may be pleasurable to interact with, but it seems that in many cases, the parents want to interact with the children more than the children want to interact with the parent (although daughters generally seem more interactive with their parents).

So how do you think being child-free relates to rationality/happiness? Of course, Bryan Caplan (who is pro-natalist) cites research (from Judith Rich Harris) saying that parents really have less influence over their children than they think they have (so it's a good idea for parents to spend less effort in trying to "mold" their children, since their efforts will inevitably result in much frustration). And in fact, if parents did this, it's possible that they may beat the average.

(This doesn't convince me in my specific case, however, and I'm still committed to not having children).