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Voluntary Childlessness Essay

774 words - 3 pages

Sixty years ago marriage and having children were synonymous. Choosing to remain childfree was not an option. Then in the 1960's the introduction of the birth control pill changed everything. Having children became an event a husband and wife could choose and plan for. Ever since some couples have chosen to remain child-free. A choice which has been controversial, with child-free couples being criticized by society and pressured by family and peers. However, more and more couples are choosing to remain child-free, and recent studies have revealed some surprising findings.By the year 2010, the number of married couples without children is expected to rise by 50%, to more than 31 million. This growing trend is likely the result of society's changing attitudes towards children and the role they play in our lives. According to a recent Pew Research Center Survey fewer people across all age groups consider children to be an important part of a successful marriage. Two decades ago children were viewed as vital to a good marriage. Today they are placed below shared household chores, adequate income and housing, and a happy sexual relationship. In fact, 65% of Americans say that the main purpose of marriage is to form a union for personal happiness and fulfillment as opposed to having and raising children.The reasons couples choose not to have children are varied. Many couples simply lack a strong urge to become parents. Others are concerned about the financial restrictions, childcare challenges, and time constraints of parenting. They do not want to give up their spontaneous lifestyles that often include travel, entertainment, sports, and hobbies. Some couples are motivated by environmental, political, or overpopulation concerns. The career limitations of becoming a parent is also a common reason couples choose to remain child-free. And, according to the website No Kidding, 62% of child-free couples worry that children would negatively affect their relationship, a concern which recent research has shown is not unfounded.In fact, studies have consistently shown that having children has a small negative impact on people's overall happiness. These studies have revealed that after becoming parents couples describe a higher occurrence of conflict and disagreement and an increasing disenchantment with their overall relationship. Robin Simon of Florida State University conducted several parenting studies and concluded that parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions, and more frequent negative emotions. Her study also revealed that no group of...

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