Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

THE CHILDFREE LIFE IS JUVENILE AND SPIRITLESS


THE CHILDFREE LIFE IS JUVENILE AND SPIRITLESS
By Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D. Traditional Realist

The Time Magazine cover of April 12, 2013, glorifies “The Childfree Life” as the path to a happy and good life.  The idea being touted is children destroy the couple’s freedom to live the life they desire. Not having children is supposed to insure a fantastic existence.  This is a blatant attack on the institution of marriage. The dagger is openly being placed in the heart of the most important social unit for our society: the family.

The conscious decision of a couple not to have any children is not marriage it is co-habitation. There is a major difference between a couple that wants to have children and are unable to have them and a couple who has no intention to have any. Procreation is vital to a nation’s survival. Throughout the ages societies have given incentives to couples producing children, as they are the future.

Our self-absorbed culture is sending an anti traditional marriage message about the benefits of producing, raising and maintaining stable families. Citizens are delaying marriage as long as possible making the average age for marriage reach its highest level while the percentage of people getting married is at its lowest.  New fads such as making one-year contracts for people living together and “hooking up” or “friends with benefits” both terms defining casual sex with no commitment” are making a mockery of natural intimacy. Sex before marriage is embedded in our modern culture. This destructive norm is being sold to youngsters by the media at a younger and younger age.

The decision to raise a child is a game changer for a person’s life.  It is difficult for a person that is hedonistic and self-centered to function as a parent. To be a decent parent you have to learn to become more mature. People without the experience of raising their children have less opportunity to develop inner strength. Our own children teach us it is essential to be responsible and giving of oneself in the process of raising them.

This demanding process takes time and energy that many young Americans are wholeheartedly rejecting. The percentage of children born out of wedlock is perilously rising.  At the same time the fertility rate is at its lowest level in our history. In 2011 the fertility level fell 9%.  The number of couples not having children has doubled from 1970 to the present. Women make up 60% of college graduates and many of them are postponing getting married and having children for the sake of their careers.  After waiting too long before having children couples are spending incredible amounts of money in fertility clinics.

“Having it all” in this cultural context means having as much wealth as possible and children are a major drain on assets. The alleged average cost for caring for a child until age 18 is estimated at a ridiculous $234,900 according to a sociological survey.  This outrageous guestimate is an attempt to frighten away perspective parents from having children.  The cost of raising a child depends solely on the choices of a parent’s lifestyle.

In the past there was a stigma on women not getting married. They were called spinsters. Those who never had children were looked upon with pity. According to traditional culture, these females never were able to experience the joy of children.

Our modern hedonistic culture has turned this upside-down by claiming that couples that have children are overpopulating the world and polluting the environment. The childfree lifestyle is a choice with long-term consequences. Those who decide not to have children will have an extended time catering to their own wants.  Over time they usually regret the loneliness of not having any loved ones in the later years of life and death. Commitment to almost anything in our perennial teenage culture is extremely difficult. People have to be mature to delay immediate gratification for future benefits. 

Fulfilled individuals conclude parenthood is more spiritually fulfilling than pampering oneself. There is a vast majority who look forward to the blessing of child rearing. These people want to be there for the milestones of their children’s development and the joyful events that punctuate life’s journey. These parents learn that even the child’s trials and tribulations gives their children increased strength to face the future difficulties of life.

Many parents state, “my children raised me well.” When we hear our children imitate us as parents we alter our behavior to be better role models. These insights motivate us to be givers not takers. We mature into better people.

A childfree life is a sterile one. Being fixated on pleasing oneself is a selfish behavior that does nothing to stimulate spiritual growth. It leaves the individual in later years dependent on strangers. This narcissistic lifestyle for most ends in a joyless “failure to thrive” existence.


Dr. Maglio is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.






18 Comments:

Blogger Amy Blackstone said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

The number of broad assumptions the Dr. makes in this article is truly astounding. Since @Amy Blackstone has taken the time to deconstruct some of the initial statements, I'll tackle one further in.

"Over time they usually regret the loneliness of not having any loved ones in the later years of life and death."

What is your evidence for this assertion? In fact, most research suggests otherwise. The childfree do not lack loved ones. They just don't have biological children. Having biological children is no guarantee that you will have someone to look after you in your old age. And really, isn't that a tremendously selfish reason to bring a life into the world?! The childfree are often able to better maintain friendships and other familial relationship into their old.

I don't think the Time article argued that not having children "insures a fantastic existence." I'm sure some childfree people are very unhappy, just as some parents are very unhappy. The point is, society has started to become more accepting of people who make the decision to not have children. The pressure to have children because you are supposed to is lessening. This is a good thing. Not everyone is meant to be or wants to be a parent.

To assert that the childfree, as a group, are juvenile and spiritless is ridiculous on its face. How can you possibly make such a grand proclamation about a widely diverse group of people you clearly know nothing about. You do realize it's possible to make other contributions to society than having children?

8:30 AM  
Blogger Lance Blackstone said...

What a horrible, and horribly written, article. Your vitriolic and unsubstantiated comments are shameful from someone who is supposedly a provider of mental health services.

Speaking of horribly written and unsubstantiated, let's just take one of your paragraphs:
The conscious decision of a couple not to have any children is not marriage it is co-habitation. There is a major difference between a couple that wants to have children and are unable to have them and a couple who has no intention to have any. Procreation is vital to a nation’s survival. Throughout the ages societies have given incentives to couples producing children, as they are the future.

This is one of the most disjointed paragraphs I've ever read. These four sentences should have been, at least, 3 paragraphs where you actually build your arguments to support these assertions. But I guess you're 'an authority' so we should just believe that they are true statements?

They aren't true though. Let's break it down:

The conscious decision of a couple not to have any children is not marriage it is co-habitation.
Really? I thought it was a sign of a couple's commitment to each other as well as a legal construct that assures certain rights and responsibilities. BTW - procreation without marriage existed way before, and for far longer, than procreation with marriage. Shouldn't that matter to a "Neo Traditionalist"? Or are traditions only traditions if they were the ones you were born into?

There is a major difference between a couple that wants to have children and are unable to have them and a couple who has no intention to have any.
Ok, so take some time and explain the difference. Don't just assert it; use some logic. And while you're at it, please let us know if you think it is ok for people to marry who know they can't have children in advance or is it only ok if they get married and find out afterward? Infertile and post-childbearing age people want to know!

Procreation is vital to a nation’s survival.
Only if immigration does not exist (and it does). And by the way, SOME people choosing not to have children is not the same as ALL people choosing not to have children. There is no crisis. The population is still growing...which may be the real crisis. In any case, fear-mongering is not helpful.

Throughout the ages societies have given incentives to couples producing children, as they are the future.
Putting aside the reference to Whitney Houston, this begs the all important question "So what?". Societies have also given incentives to persecute minorities, destroy natural resources and exterminate species; to war, rape, and murder. Those societies probably thought they had pretty good reasons for incentivizing those activities as well. You have to do better than 'If it was good enough for grandpa, it's good enough for me'. But again, you seem to be beholden to traditions only in so far as they are the ones you were raised with. That speaks to a shallow understanding - or strange interpretation - of history.

Substantively the rest of your article is nothing more than a slanderous rant against a group of people you clearly know nothing about. Here's an article written by a person who actually does empirical research - not just assert an unsubstantiated opinion - on the childfree.

http://werenothavingababy.com/childfree/6-things-we-know-about-the-childfree/

8:56 AM  
Blogger Jackie G. said...

I must agree with Emma and Lance. In your article, you have made broad assertions without providing any substantiation to back them up.

Couples without children are no less married than those couples who procreate. Marriage is a commitment that a couple makes to each other every day. When parents expend so much of their energy on the needs of the children, the marriage relationship tends to deteriorate from simple lack of time and energy to spend alone together remembering why they married in the first place. Of course, in your view, it seems that the only reason a couple marries is to have children, so maybe the marriage relationship isn't all that important.

You assert that people without children are lonely later in life because they don't have any loved ones. Don't you think that "loved ones" can include people beyond one's biological children? Couples without children are quite capable of developing close friendships with other people based on mutual interests. They can bond with each other on a level far beyond couples that are friends simply because their children are on the same soccer team.

You seem to imply that childfree couples don't mature "spiritually." I assume that you mean that they don't learn to put others' needs above their own, to have empathy for the suffering of others, to contribute to the betterment of society. Plenty of parents have not attained to these ideals, nor have they modeled them for their children. How can they when society demands that to be good parents, people must work extra hours to pay for a nice house in a "good" neighborhood in the best school district and shuttle their kids to and from extracurricular activities every night of the week? Such a busy lifestyle allows little time for spiritual reflection. Childfree couples likely have more time for contemplating deeper spiritual issues and for actually volunteering their time in making society better.

I acknowledge that plenty of parents do take the time to model a good marriage in front of their children and to make sure that their children understand the need to sacrifice their own self interests in order to help the less fortunate. But your insinuation that childfree couples are narcissistic, spiritually immature, and hedonistic is baseless and just plain mean-spirited.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Jackie G. said...

I must agree with Emma and Lance. In your article, you have made broad assertions without providing any substantiation to back them up.

Couples without children are no less married than those couples who procreate. Marriage is a commitment that a couple makes to each other every day. When parents expend so much of their energy on the needs of the children, the marriage relationship tends to deteriorate from simple lack of time and energy to spend alone together remembering why they married in the first place. Of course, in your view, it seems that the only reason a couple marries is to have children, so maybe the marriage relationship isn't all that important.

You assert that people without children are lonely later in life because they don't have any loved ones. Don't you think that "loved ones" can include people beyond one's biological children? Couples without children are quite capable of developing close friendships with other people based on mutual interests. They can bond with each other on a level far beyond couples that are friends simply because their children are on the same soccer team.

You seem to imply that childfree couples don't mature "spiritually." I assume that you mean that they don't learn to put others' needs above their own, to have empathy for the suffering of others, to contribute to the betterment of society. Plenty of parents have not attained to these ideals, nor have they modeled them for their children. How can they when society demands that to be good parents, people must work extra hours to pay for a nice house in a "good" neighborhood in the best school district and shuttle their kids to and from extracurricular activities every night of the week? Such a busy lifestyle allows little time for spiritual reflection. Childfree couples likely have more time for contemplating deeper spiritual issues and for actually volunteering their time in making society better.

I acknowledge that plenty of parents do take the time to model a good marriage in front of their children and to make sure that their children understand the need to sacrifice their own self interests in order to help the less fortunate. But your insinuation that childfree couples are narcissistic, spiritually immature, and hedonistic is baseless and just plain mean-spirited.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Chris Bleu said...

This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Thanks for the laugh.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

Please explain how a marriage certificate for a childfree couple is any less official than for a couple that has children?

10:58 AM  
Blogger micasa said...

Here is another example of pronatal ignorance.It's shocking it's from a "Doctor" who may be counseling people about whether or not they want to have children.
I guess this "Doctor" should require everyone take a fertility test before marriage? He's forgotten the many loving, kind humans who want children and can't!" To say that we, the childfree by choice are "juvenile and spiritless" make me shake my head and understand why there's still such a need for better education and more books.
If this man would like a copy of my book, "Confessions of a Childfree Woman" I would be happy to send it to help him see how wrong this article is and how inflammatory, and dangerous it is too.

11:04 AM  
Blogger phoenixxphyre said...

There is so much wrong with this post and the sweeping generalizations you make with absolutely no evidence to back them up that it would waste entirely too much of my time to bother to respond to everything that's wrong with it. However since I saw that your Ph.D. is in human development and a couple of the things you stated are refuted by the chapter I recently read in a textbook on the topic, I thought I would at least respond to those.

You state: "Those who decide not to have children….over time they usually regret the loneliness of not having any loved ones in the later years of life and death.” Berger (2011) citing Brown & Kawamura (2010) states “Many middle-aged adults, married and unmarried, have no children. Will they be lonely and lack social support? Probably not. Members of the current oldest generation who never married are usually quite content and not usually lonely” (p. 713). Berger (2011) goes on to state, citing DePaulo (2006) “...elderly people who never married usually have friendships, activities, and social connections that keep them busy and happy” (p. 713). If those who never married are usually not lonely then it makes sense that those who are married and never had children would be no more likely to be lonely.

You also state: "A childfree life is a sterile one…It leaves the individual in later years dependent on strangers". Although that may be true for some, it may also be true for some who have children since it is not only childfree people who end up being cared for in nursing homes or by other caretakers. However, it is not very likely for anyone, with children or without, to end up being dependent when they're older. Berger (2011) says: “Only 10 percent of those over age 65 are dependent on other people for basic care. In the United States, less than half of those (about 4 percent of the total number of elders, less than 1 percent of the total population) are in nursing homes or hospitals....Most people over age 65 function as well as they always did” (p. 645).

It's interesting that you consider the estimate of what it costs to raise a child an attempt to frighten "perspective" (I'm assuming you meant prospective?) parents away from having children, yet you make unsubstantiated claims in what seems to be an attempt to scare people into having children.

Reference:

Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

12:12 PM  
Blogger MBogue said...

Those who have already left comments have expressed themselves so well that I don't have a lot to add. I will mention, though, that my life without children is anything but sterile and selfish. I have time to be a deacon at my church and volunteer in other ways that help the poor and the homeless.

I continue to be amazed that so many people try to force the childfree into having children. How could that possibly be good for the children everyone supposedly care so much about?

1:31 PM  
Blogger Jazzmine Daniel said...

It seems as though you are implying that 'spinsters' should still be a thing and we should isolate women without children like society use to do.
But you cant possibly be saying that, could you?
And do you believe in over population? I mean, do you understand it is a real thing and some people do not want to contribute to that? Some people simply choose not to pass on their mental and physical defects. Should those who have consciously decided to not inflict a future generation with an illness that is nothing but a burden be talked down on and attacked for their choice?

1:38 PM  
Blogger amanda smith said...

I am amazed at the ignorance portrayed in this piece. Many great points have been brought up in previous comments, so all I would like to add is my personal anecdote. I made the choice to be sterilized April 8, 2011, when I was 24 years old. I am one of the youngest women to have the procedure done. I have never been pregnant and I never will be. I have always known that I am not meant to be a mother and I decided to take action to ensure that I would never be placed in a position that I will never be prepared to face. I believe that having parental instincts isn’t some innate trait that we all posses, every person is different, and every person has different abilities. Caring for a child isn’t something I am able to do, not now, not ever.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, you are one sexist motherfucker.
I think I'll hold out on having spawn just because of this article. ;)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, you are one sexist motherfucker.
I think I'll hold out on having spawn just because of this article. ;)

5:46 PM  
Blogger M. Eggert said...

Just how much did you have to pay to get your PHD? Your article is juvenile and thoughtless. I would expect a high school senior to be capable of better.

You choose to attack a CF "straw couple" for being hedonistic, so may I assume that you are fine with us judging all parents by those who abuse or kill their children? If being parents made them better people, one shudders to imagine what they were before reproducing.

You also claim that there is a difference between those who cannot have children and those who do not want them. True the latter were never disappointed like the former. However, the "cant's" will not receive any of the alleged benefits of reproduction any more than the "won'ts." Are you going to tell THEM that their lives are spiritless? Very nasty of you.

Also, my sympathy to your wife/partner. If you only see marriage as a venue for reproduction, and not as a sacred ceremony that expresses your commitment to love and care for the other person for a lifetime, you are a bitter, spiritually impoverished creature.

1:56 PM  
Blogger John Doe said...

Here's a suggestion for the self-righteous group-thinkers attacking Dr. Maglio's perspective here: visit his college preparatory school, Wider Horizons. The address is: 4060 Castle Ave, Spring Hill, FL 34609.

There you will find the most well-mannered, high-achieving student body within 1,000 miles of its location. The students come from homes that are either rooted in Dr. Maglio's preferred design or come from homes that at least respect his worldview.

I am a proud parent of a four year-old there. He is reading, counts past one hundred, is starting to comprehend addition, subtraction, and multiplication, knows most of the names of the planets, understands the process of pollination, executes rudimentary public speaking, knows the meaning and some use of dozens of Spanish words, knows the meaning of many Madarin Chinese words.... In short, he is light years ahead of "average" public school children.

In fact, the "average" Wider Horizons graduate completes his or her tenure there with an associate's degree from the local community college.

So, rant away while grasping onto your belief that modern gender studies and sociology are paramount. Meanwhile, Wider Horizons students are flying past your children, if you dare have them, in the fast lane of life. The more likely case is that your nieces and nephews will be fetching coffee for them in the near future.

A couple of tangents follow:

1) Decidedly off-topic, but forever in the forefront of the liberal mind, consider the following: Wider Horizons' student body is decidedly diverse. This is likely counter to your pre-conceived notions. The most recent graduating class had a 2/3 composition of minority students. Dr. Maglio isn't the knuckle-dragger you wish him to be.

2) Should I dare share the following thought? I shouldn't, but I will. Dr. Maglio should charge higher tuition rates than he does. In fact, if I were ever to hit the lottery for, say, $100 million, I would give at least $20 million to his school. Playing the lottery probably runs counter to the teachings of the school; but I think I will start doing so on the miniscule chance (at usury rates) that I could become such a benefactor.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Josiah Chaney said...

Dude, this is so OTT that it's actually pretty funny. This is satire, right? At any rate, bitter, party of one.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Renee Marie said...

This article is just ridiculous. It's so archaic: The only point of getting married is to "go forth and multiply." Sure, Dr. Maglio, let's continue to birth millions of children while other children already on this planet are neglected and starving. Smart thinking. Have you ever heard of a wonderful and selfless act called "adoption"?

Just because someone can feel confident and happy with their lives without having children does not make them juvenile, it makes them MATURE.

I also find it disgustingly offensive that this author has the nerve to criticize women for "postponing getting married and having children for the sake of their careers." Excuse me? I applaud women who go to college and get worthwhile careers. For the hundreds of years women haven't had equal rights, this guy dares criticize women for doing what men do? How narrow-minded.

I hope that this author's idiotic and outdated opinions are in the miniority. He better wake up and realize he's not in the 1800's anymore. Sorry, Dr. Maglio, but you're in the days where women have equal rights, and "traditional" doesn't mean "right."

5:00 PM  

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