Some thoughts on “children are a choice”

Enter any discussion about child poverty, and sooner or later someone will say “but children are a choice”, as though that settles everything – ignore kids in need, it’s all the fault of the irresponsible parents. Some thoughts:

  • If parents aren’t interested in spending time with their children, it’s fair to point out that they could have chosen a different path in life. It’s a different story when parents cherish their children, but are unable to make ends meet. Of course more money would make a difference to those families.
  • Children are a blessing. Children are themselves. No-one “has” children; children are not things to be had. And they don’t ask to be born.
  • Reliable contraception is an an awesome invention, but a recent one, yet to be perfected. For many couples, a first child arrives a bit sooner than expected, or an extra one comes along.
  • Being a good parent and being a good income earner don’t go hand in hand.
  • You can choose not to become a parent, but you can’t control the desire to start a family. 
  • Once kids arrive, parents are pretty much stuck with supporting them, even if financial circumstances change unexpectedly.
  • Everyone relies on the state to cover part of the cost of childrearing, especially education. Parenting isn’t a self-sufficient kind of activity.