Will Childfreedom Ever Be Accepted In Modern Society?

Ah yes, parenthood. The eventual goal all married couples set for themselves, or so society programs people to think. We’ve been told by society time and time again that children are an integral part of any successful marriage, and that couples without children are infertile or whatever, but that they really want children.

Truth be told, as you and I all know, that’s not the case at all and there are couples and individuals (myself included) who make the conscious choice to not have children, and that number is growing. Last time I read, some 20% of married couples are without children, and the most growth has been made in the demographic that makes the choice not to have children (though in a way, you could argue that all 20% of those individuals have made that choice because there are other avenues for infertile couples to have children).

That said, there is a big difference in how people react to the two. If a couple is struggling to get pregnant, the get all the moral support they can find. Conversely, if you tell someone that you’ve made the conscious choice not to have children, you get marginalized.

Childfree people are regularly discriminated against in social circles and in the workplace. In my experience, businesses more readily hire parents than non-parents for reasons that escape me. There’s also the accusation of the childfree choice being selfish (when in reality having children is more selfish), stuck-up, kid-haters (only true in some cases), or whatever other crap they come up with to try to shame those who have chosen to be childfree into having children. There’s also a lot of childfree-shaming that goes on in the parenting community where they talk down to the childfree, insult them, say how bad of people we are, or whatever.

In that light, I have to wonder if childfree is the new gay. Being gay is more accepted now than it used to be but it’s far from universally accepted. Same with childfreedom. I can only hope that society comes around and realizes that childfree people aren’t bad people and that we just have different priorities in life (which are not any more or less valid than their priorities). With time perhaps society at large will become more tolerant toward the CF. Do I expect to see that in my lifetime? Absolutely not, but perhaps in another couple of generations this will all blow over like racial discrimination.

What do you think? Will it ever be considered “acceptable” to remain childfree?

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About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on September 16, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think that being childfree will have a ways to go before being accepted by society as a whole, but it is already accepted across generations in some groups. Then again, my view is somewhat distorted because there is already a history of the childfree lifestyle in my family. My mom is the only person in her generation on that side of the family that chose to have a child, so I have several childfree aunts and uncles that have had a significant impact on my formative years. Likewise, my generation (those supposedly good for nothing millenials) is facing vast economic challenges as has already seen global population milestones twice in the last twenty years (6 billion in the last 90s, 7 billion last year). My peers are either firm in their decisions to stay childfree or have kids but do not pressure/guilt trip those of us who have opted out. On top of that, my husband and I have not felt any pressure from either of our parents to have children. They understand and accept our decisions (and our moms also did not see themselves as having children for years before meeting our dads, so they have some sympathy). People that don’t know my husband or myself very well may make comments about our not having kids, but I just smile and tell them “Trust me. You don’t want my DNA running around.” That ends most potential arguments in world record time.

  2. People still think having children is the “norm,” so not having children continues to be a curiosity, as well as something to judge. (But then, when don’t people judge just about anything?)

  3. To be honest, I don’t care any more whether *our choice* not to have children is accepted or not…….I’ll just lay and think about it whilst having my long lie-in over the weekend. :-))

  4. Since I live in Germany I just can offer an opinion about how things develop over here:

    I think it’s getting worse. I remember the 80s, when it was considered perfectly normal to be a career woman and not wanting children. To be precise, nobody made a big deal out of it. Some people wanted family and kids, others didn’t, end of story. The media was completely silent about people not having kids and everyone happily made their choices.

    Nowadays there’s an ever-enraged media storm against childfree people, with more and more calls for outright discrimination against childless and even more against childfree people. We are already discriminated against as far as taxes are concerned, especially those of us who are single. German singles pay the second-highest taxes in Europe, only Belgians pay more.

    I don’t know – I don’t want to over-dramatize the situation here, but sometimes the discussion has a really creepy twist if you read what was said in early 19th century against Jewish people and how discrimination against them became totally out of control within a rather short time. The accusations against the childfree are eerily similar, with all that talk about how much money we have because we’re childfree. Right now, common sense prevails and recent attacks against us have been averted (our childless chancellor Merkel had to take our side once in order to stop the ongoing nagging that we should pay even more! ), but I can’t help thinking that the climate might change. If that happens I’m going to leave the country. I’m already sick of the constant badgering in the media and have thought about looking for a job elsewhere in Europe.

  5. There is constant media coverage on the childfree, it just appears more or less not in America so much because everyone is so 3+ family oriented. No need to point fingers here, but I wonder where ‘pronatalist’ society first came from and when it started?

  6. We’re discriminated against not only in social circles and the workplace, but also by the government. This world is so over-populated, we should get a tax break for NOT having kids.

  7. While everything you say is true, I avoid most of it. Sure, I have been on the receiving end of abuse for being Childfree. As a rule I do not open myself up for them to abuse me.

    Often Americans ask a “pre-loaded” question like, “How many children do you have?”, rather than, “Do you have children?”. If they ask the “pre-loaded” question, I change the subject. I know, by experience, what will follow, so I had rather not answer.

    Seldom do people react well to, “I do not have children”. Much of the time, they get nasty. Some replied are:
    “It is not possible to be XX age and not have children unless you are Gay!”
    “You better hurry up!”
    “So sad!”
    “GOD commands you!”

    The latter is the most common. It does not help to explain that I am Buddhist and we have no rule requiring us to procreate.

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