Making the Decision to Have Children Video

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  • 0:01 Having Children
  • 1:34 Decision Making
  • 3:04 Life Before and After Kids
  • 4:20 Biological Clock
  • 5:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

In this lesson, I face one of my greatest fears: talking about having kids. We'll look at some points to consider, such as the costs and the way it changes a person's life. In addition, the idea of baby fever is also looked at.

Having Children

I have to say, writing this lesson is kind of strange. I've known most of my life that I didn't want kids. And now it's like the universe, in the form of work, is putting my face into it. 'You think about this!' says the universe. 'But I don't wanna,' I whine.

The decision to have children is a big one that is not something to be made lightly. When a couple is discussing the idea of having children, they often look at two main factors: time and money.

Parenting takes a lot of time. Parenting is the process of taking care of a child until he or she is considered an adult. This typically means the minimum of going through pregnancy, birthing the child, and raising it for 18 years. 18 years! That's a long time! Quick, do the math on how long ago 18 years was.

I've been accused of being a bit obsessed with money, so I like to point out that raising a kid also takes a lot of money. If you had a kid within the last year, you can expect to spend over $241,000 on just basic costs. That doesn't even include the big ticket stuff, like college. That's a quarter of a million dollars on food, clothing, a car, and extras. I could buy a house with that! I could retire at a decent age!

Decision Making

We've talked about some of the issues that revolve around having a child - that they take forever to grow up and cost a lot. The average amount of time a couple spends discussing these issues before deciding to have a child has been increasing as the demands of parenthood have also increased. This discussion time likely decreases with each subsequent child as parents now understand what it takes to raise a child.

There is no direct or typical way in which anything is discussed; I mean, no couple argues exactly the same. One of the first parts of a discussion of most couples is whether they want kids or not. I can remember back to high school and there being one girl who expected to have eight children. On the other hand, I have known for a long time that I don't want any children. Obviously, when the decision making process comes up, we would have radically different starting places. Other issues also need to be discussed, like:

  • Can a couple afford the children they want?
  • Where will it be raised?
  • Will someone, man or woman, stop working to take care of it and for how long?
  • How will the family unit survive on one income?
  • What does each parent expect after the birth of the child?

The pitfall of not having this conversation is that it leads to relationship stress. It can be mighty upsetting to find out after the child is born that the other parent, man or woman, didn't actually want it.

Life Before and After Kids

Another issue that might be discussed is how much life will change after having kids. Let's take a look at some common things that you or I do and how they change after having kids.

Shopping or a quick trip to the store before kids is easy: hop in the car, go to the store, pick up what you need, and meet your friends for some frozen yogurt. After kids it's: getting the kids cleaned and dressed, making sure they've used the bathroom, getting them into the car, getting them out of the car, keeping an eye on them in the store, getting things you need and hiding the things your kids broke, getting them back into the car, and getting them home. Needless to say, it's a production.

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