Stop Asking- I Do Not Want To Have Kids

I know this is a strange topic for a parents forum, but I didn’t know where else to post it. I have been a lurker here this past year and gained a lot of valuable insight. I graduated with a BBA many years and want to change career paths, so I decided to obtain another degree.

I just turned 31 a few months ago and it seems like the questions about children have increased exponentially in the past year. I am male and I can’t imagine how much worse it is for the women out there. I get asked all the time from family members and even people I barely know asking me when I am going to have children. The answer is the same every time- I am not going to have children. I then get asked when and I reply “never”. Many times I get asked “why not?”, “what are you going to do with your life?”, etc. Some people even seem like they are offended that I don’t want to have children.

So to the people who accost others as to why they don’t want to have children- please end the discussion if somebody says they don’t want to have children. Don’t go on and on and ask them why or get offended that they don’t want to have children.

One of those advice columnists has suggested that a good answer to that question or any question you deem none of their business is, “Why would you ask me that?”

Actually, you don’t owe ANY response to such a personal question. You can merely say, “Why would you ask such a personal question? And then move to a less controversial and personal topic, like the weather, wildfires, natural disasters, movies, books, whatever.

Since it isn’t a topic you want to discuss, just don’t engage. Talk about something you WANT to talk about or find someone else to chat with. Selective deafness works.

I’m sorry you have to deal with this question. I think it’s a very rude question.

I can’t imagine why anyone would ask you this. I would never ask anyone when they were having children, family members or not. As long as you and your partner agree, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this decision. If you don’t want children, then you shouldn’t have them. Too many people have children who shouldn’t.

I’m a few years younger than you, a woman, married for 3 years, and I get this all the time too. I used to respond that it was medically inadvisable for me to have children (which was true until recently) but then realized it wasn’t anyone’s damn business.

I’ve taken to answering with something like this: “Do you think it’s appropriate to ask me questions about my sex life?”

I’m sorry you have to deal with this. Are these people your age or older? It’s rude regardless. Some people (mostly older, I think) have a sense that there are certain boxes in life that are supposed to be checked off, in a certain order, and by a certain age. And, if you aren’t checking them off, you’re doing life “wrong.” They can’t even see that not everyone has the same boxes.

It’s people much younger and much older than me. I am just really mystified that people care so much about why I don’t want to have kids.

Such an incredibly rude and personal question that is none of anyone’s business. It can also be incredibly hurtful if a woman can’t conceive. I’m with poster #2 to turn the tables back on the asker with why they would ask such a personal question.

If you aren’t going to have them, it invalidates his/her decision to have them. It’s your business.

I totally agree w/you on this topic. My DH & I were married for several years before we had kids, so I lived through LOTS of questions about “When are you going to have children?” My mom one time said to me flat out that she thought it was SELFISH for people to NOT have children.

I told her that a person who chose NOT to have children probably had a good reason for making that decision. And that decision is FAR better than the SELFISH people who know that they don’t want children, but they have kids anyway.

You don’t owe those people ANY explanation. You do not need to JADE.

JADE = Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain.

If you feel that you MUST give some sort of answer, here are a couple of responses to consider:

  1. "I have a good reason."
  2. "Having children is a really big responsibility. I've thought a lot about it and I take a responsibility that I take very seriously. I've decided that it's not something I am ready for."
  3. "Did you really just ask me about my sex life? How's yours? How come YOU aren't having more kids?"
  4. "Don't ask a question like that unless you are prepared to hear the answer." :-)

As much as the question is nosy, especially coming from non-family members, people aren’t trying to be rude and don’t have bad intentions when they ask. Just tell them that you don’t wish to have kids for personal reasons you don’t wish to discuss. Repeat as needed. I’d avoid snark.

Amy Tan in “The Kitchen God’s Wife” suggests the following formula: 'In this matter you should not concern yourself for my sake".

My D is also 31, not married, and has always maintained that she doesn’t want to have kids. When asked why, she says, “I hate children.” That pretty much shuts people up. (She doesn’t really hate children–she is a teacher–but she has never wanted kids of her own.)

Why engage in a conversation about it that just invites more curious questions. Just smile and nod. There is a great thread on cc for venting.

My oldest niece and nephew are in their 30’s, one is married and the other in a 10 year relationship, and both have said they aren’t having children. They like their lives as they are. No one pressures them.

I don’t feel it’s “snark” to say that it’s a very personal question (it IS) to ask why another person has or doesn’t have kids, through choice or why knows why. Deflecting it by saying that it’s a very personal question may cause the questioner to reflect that their inquiry is inappropriate and may not pursue that in the future.

I do think people who comment on it are probably just trying to encourage it because they themselves have found it to be one of the most rewarding things they have ever done, and maybe they had been hesitant before they did it. Also… people DO change their minds when they get older sometimes. But it certainly is a personal decision. I wouldn’t tell someone to do it who said they didn’t want to, but I wouldn’t be stunned if I found out 5 years later that they changed their minds, either.

Responding to a question that makes someone uncomfortable with a comment or retort that makes someone uncomfortable seems unnecessary. Just sayin’

The question being asked is making the OP irked/uncomfortable. The OP can choose to smile, nod, and change the subject or whatever else works for OP, including indicating it IS a personal question, as it indeed IS.