5 Signs You May Not Want Kids

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated July 22, 2022

As people transition into adulthood, many individuals take different routes. Some choose to get married and have children shortly thereafter. Some get married and decide not to have children. Or some people choose to not get married and may stay single or have a life partner. If you are concerned that you are on a less than traditional path, don’t panic. It may seem like every friend you have is having kids left and right, but this does not mean you have to have children as well. It is perfectly fine to stand your ground and not have kids if that is something you do not see for yourself. But, what if you are unsure if you should have kids? In this article, you will see some signs you truly don’t want kids and how to get support in your decisions through online therapy.

Signs You Don’t Want to Have Kids

If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t know if I want kids,” you aren’t alone. In fact, 27% of adults in the United States choose not to have children. Also, the birth rate in the United States is the lowest it has been in 35 years. So, if you don’t want children, do not feel abnormal. However, if you are just unsure if you should have children in general, it can be confusing. Thankfully, there are a few signs that you may not want to have kids in the future.

Maybe you are unsure if you will be a good parental figure to children of your own. You might think you aren’t capable of being a healthy parent based on your own childhood or personality traits. But these insecurities shouldn’t be what stops you from having children. It should be other reasons, such as the signs below, that make you decide not to have children.

1. You Aren’t Ready to Give Up Your Independence

When you do not have kids, you can be more spontaneous because no one is at home depending on you. When you don’t have kids you can sleep in on the weekends and go out with friends as you please. Independence is one of the biggest reasons people choose not to have children. It’s also one of the reasons people choose to wait to have kids until they are in their 30s.

Having the ability to spend time alone and relax can be vital for many individuals. It can help them recuperate and process their emotions. Whereas with children, you will rarely find moments of peace in your day. Kids are a huge responsibility, and you may not want to, or be mentally capable of, having that on your list.

Another factor that’s important to note in regard to independence is having the freedom to work wherever you need to for however long you are required that day. For example, people who work in healthcare may not have the flexibility in their schedule to raise a child. They could be on call or have to work double shifts. This can make them start to feel guilty for not being around their child, but rather have a family member watch them or pay for daycare. If you have a career like this, where you don’t work a standard nine to five, this lack of independence may be the reason you choose not to have kids. Or it could at least be a reason to wait to have children until your schedule is more predictable.

2. You Haven’t Found Someone You Want to Have Kids With

Ideally, most people want to be with their forever partners when they bring children into the world. However, this isn’t always the case for parents. Relationship dynamics change and you may realize the person you are with isn’t someone you want to raise a family with forever. Or you may not be with anyone at all, and you are embracing your single life. Whatever the situation may be, it’s important you find the right person to have children with.

Now, you may be thinking, “When in doubt, I’ll get a divorce/break up with them and we can co-parent.” While this is an ideal situation for any co-parenting couple, this isn’t always the case. For example, they should be a responsible adult that is a positive force in your child’s life and your life. When you have a child with someone, you will still have to communicate with them whether you want to or not. Also, your child will be spending time with them and will be raised under their values as well. You cannot just cut them out of the picture if your relationship fails (unless there is a legal reason to do so). So, it is important to find someone that you want to be linked to forever if you want to have kids with them.

In addition to concerns with you not wanting to be connected to someone forever, there are also concerns for your child. When children are put in situations where their parents or families aren’t on good terms or separate, it can cause lifelong trauma when things do not work out. According to Verywell Family, a divorce or separation can lessen the parent-child bond due to the time apart from each other. It can also put stress on both parents as they parent by themselves. Additionally, they point out that a divorce may cause more mental health issues in children down the road. So, it’s better to avoid having a child with someone you aren’t 100% sure about.

3. You Are Considering Having Kids Because Your Family is Pressuring You

Most parents are excited to become grandparents one day and can’t wait for this day to come. Sometimes this can be difficult because they may just automatically assume that you want to have kids because you have a big family, your siblings all had kids, or because you got married. However, this isn’t always the case. When someone decides not to have children, their entire family may start to pressure them. They can make fun of your decision or even express disappointment in you when you say, “I’m not sure if I want kids.”

If you are in a situation where you have no desire to have kids, but your family wants you to, that is not a reason to have children. Your decision to raise a child for 18 years should be made all on your own. It should not be made because you are feeling pressured. At the end of the day, your parents will only watch your child every so often, but you will be the one solely responsible for them.

4. You Aren’t Financially Able to Support Kids

For some people, they do not have the extra income to support a child. Even though you work as many hours a week as possible, you may still be living paycheck to paycheck. Having a child is another mouth to feed, a person to clothe, and you will need to pay for childcare. This may not be in the cards for you. However, if you are able to improve your financial situation later, you may change your mind and decide to have a child.

If you are financially capable of supporting a child, you may not want to spend the money on another person. You may want to continue spending the money you make on yourself and yourself only. This could include traveling, buying designer purses, having a nice car, or living in nice housing. Whatever you like to spend your money on, you may not want to share that with someone else. No matter your reasoning, waiting, or choosing not to have a child until you are financially capable of supporting them is the responsible option.

5. You Have Never Had the Desire to Become a Parent

Some people just don’t have the desire to have kids and that is completely normal. Not everyone is born with a maternal or paternal instinct or desire. Some people want to travel the world or live minimally in a van. Sometimes people’s outlook on life or plans for the future just wouldn’t be practical to achieve with children in the picture. If this is your feeling towards having kids, this is completely acceptable. You cannot make yourself want a child if you don’t truly feel the desire to have one. This is one thing in life that shouldn’t be a fake it until you make it type of situation. You should want to be a parent and choose to put your independence aside for your child.

If this is a question that you really want an answer to, or if you just want to talk to someone, BetterHelp offers online therapy and can connect you with licensed therapists.

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Date of review: July 27, 2021

Review written by BetterHelp user T.A. after counseling with Pam Skon for 2 years on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, career difficulties, and coaching

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