I always thought people had kids so as to make their life more meaningful in the following manner: they know that when they die they will leave something about themselves: their genes, and perhaps some off their values. But what I've read seems to differ from this idea: people have kids because they like themselves so much they want to see mini versions of themselves together in a child in this life. So what is the truth?

  • It is a mandate from God.
    – adipro
    Apr 30, 2016 at 7:30
  • Well, the Bible for instance has an extract that says not all men should get married. So how can it be? Apr 30, 2016 at 11:39
  • If you want to have an open ended discussion like this, please use Parenting Chat.
    – Acire
    Apr 30, 2016 at 12:12
  • @Erica I don't think it needs to be a debate: have some people post proper answers and the question gets dealt with. It is certainly not off-topic for the site. First cause is the first question that should be posed, answered and accepted. If it has not already come up by now I cannot imagine why. Many people would like to see this answered. I would. I know why I did NOT have children, but not why others DO. It is vitally interesting, but amazingly hard for people to really explain, and they tend to get bent out of shape by being asked, as if it throws their decision in to doubt. It does not.
    – user17408
    May 3, 2016 at 23:08
  • 1
    Ask your parents why they wanted to have you.. Oct 6, 2016 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


You can certainly make an evolutionary argument: species that do not have a strong drive to produce offspring will become extinct quickly, species that want offspring will persist. Since humans are not extinct (yet) it stands to reason that, as a species, we do have a strong genetic impetus to procreate. It's baked into basic human nature.

The rewards are mostly emotional: raising kids cost huge amounts of money, it's an enormous amount of work, a massive time sink and in general a pain in the neck. It's really hard to justify other than through emotional rewards.

I have three, love them to death, and it's the best thing that ever happened to me (emotionally, not financially, that is :-)

  • So you justify it with emotional reward. What happens then when your kids are not being emotionally rewarding? Apr 29, 2016 at 17:22
  • @JackMaddington Since they already exist by then, it's sort of a moot point for your original question.
    – Acire
    Apr 29, 2016 at 20:46
  • 1
    So, to paraphrase, if you thought your kids would not be emotionally rewarding would you still have them? Apr 29, 2016 at 20:48
  • What made you choose to have children before you found that you loved them? Was there a reason, or did it "just happen" (the cause of over half of all pregnancies)? If biology makes pregnancy very likely, it really has nothing to do with a drive. Sex and pregnancy are unrelated except that a drive has a completely unintended result much later. It was not a matter of forethought. Humans can actually learn that sex can, and eventually will (in most cases) lead to pregnancy, so they can potentially reason about it. But biology makes such reasoning difficult if not actually impossible.
    – user17408
    May 3, 2016 at 23:03
  • Indeed, I don't believe most pregnancies are unplanned. These days we can reason about the outcomes of unprotected sex. We must figure out if and why we want children before they are born and I am interested in that process. May 4, 2016 at 10:23

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