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Do men want kids as much as women? Can men have a strong desire for children?

Tagged as: Family, Pregnancy, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 May 2015) 7 Answers - (Newest, 1 June 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Is a man's desire to have kids as strong as a woman' s? Obviously this requires a bit of generalisation - there are plenty of women that don't want kids, and plenty of men that do - but are men generally a bit more ambivalent towards kids?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 June 2015):

There are some men who really, really want to be fathers. But I think the majority of men, certainly from what seems to be the case with my friends, is that they are ambivalent along the lines of "if my wife/partner wanted them, I'd have them, but I'm quite happy not to have them if my wife/partner doesn't"

I'm a man who doesn't want kids. Been single five years. Trying to find women in their 30s/early 40s who don't want kids or don't already have them is REALLY difficult. It is much easier, as a childfree woman, to find a man who doesn't want kids (or isn't fussed).

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A male reader, Sageoldguy1465 United States +, writes (31 May 2015):

Sageoldguy1465 agony auntI'm approaching 65 Y.O. My G/F is 75. I've told her that I want to start a family..... and she is agreeable to going along with that....... We try to start a family most every morning. So far... no luck.... BUT, we are persistent!!!!

So, you see,.... it never ends... this inexplicable desire to spawn kids......

Good luck...

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A male reader, Garbo United States + , writes (31 May 2015):

Garbo agony auntStatistics are great at generalizing things so here are some for UK:

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jun/13/single-fathers-uk-statistics

These numbers tell us that 13.5% of single households are headed by the father which means that in whopping 86.5% of the divorce cases courts settle up the mothers to watch the children. However, once children grow up and have an actual choice as to whom they want to be with - father or mother - statistics show that older kids tend to choose their fathers.

"The fact that lone father households consistently have a higher proportion of non-dependent children may also indicate the preferences of older children who are freer to choose who to live with."

Moreover, stepfathers are more accepting of children because "all stepfamilies with dependent children, 78% are from the woman's previous marriage".

If we put these two facts together following generalizations can be made:

- Courts are unduly biased in favor of women raising children but kids, given choice, pick their fathers and since those fathers accept those kids it implies that fathers love those kids more than the courts believe

- the fact that stepfathers are accepting of children that are not his, at whopping 78%, it means that men, by huge percent, love children even if they are not theirs.

So if I am to answer your question based on these numbers I would say that the society underestimates the love men have for children, that they don't give men enough leverage in raising children and that society's bias against fathers deprives children of valuable style of parenting. One effect of absence of fatherhood is that it promotes promiscuity in girls and violence in boys, statistics which clearly exist but are beyond the topic of your post.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (31 May 2015):

chigirl agony auntI think men want children as much as women, but they're not put under the same pressure to have kids. Generally speaking, women are put under a lot of pressure from peers and family and society, to have kids. Like it's the only thing we're supposed to do, because women are still not expected to contribute in the working field... We're expected to be pregnant and have kids and take care of the house. These expectations live in society, even if we worked for gender equality. These customs and expectations are still there. So women are put under a lot of pressure to have kids, and if we don't have kids we're "failures". Whereas men do NOT get the same pressure. They want kids just as much, but they are relaxed about it, and not worried about it. They are more comfortable and take their time. No one pressures a man to have children early on, because men are expected to contribute in the working field BEFORE they have kids. He's expected to work up some good money, buy a house etc, and then find someone to have kids with. So he is expected to take his good time, and even if he doesn't ever have children that's accepted by society to a much larger degree than a childless woman.

So, the result is that a lot of women feel under pressure to have kids, it becomes stressful, it becomes a full time occupation to find a man to have kids with so as to not get judged by society as a failure. So women are much more on the forefront when it comes to having children, they tend to rush for it more, bring it up, and on the surface "want" it more. But I believe it's not true that women want children more than men do, we're just being pressured by society to hurry up. Women are constantly being told to not wait because of the biological clock, that we shouldn't work so hard on a career because we shouldn't postpone getting pregnant etc.

A good example from my own country is a female athlete. She's won so many gold medals, she's one of the best in the world in her sport, she wins almost every contest she enters. But she's 35. And childless. And OMG, you wouldn't believe it should matter what she does in her personal life, but news and media are all over her with this question: isn't it about time to give up sports and focus on having a family before it's too late???

They seriously keep asking her this. She's a world class athlete, for crying out loud, but THAT is the number one topic: when will she quit to have children.

I do not know a single male athlete who gets pressured to have children the same way, or who would get interviewed and his childlessness was the main topic. It's absolutely ridiculous. As if she'd be abnormal to not have children. It's just expected that she will quit soon and never return, because society thinks as a woman she should have children by now and then stay at home not doing sports again.

I may also add that her live-in boyfriend is also an athlete, doesn't do as well as her, but he's in contests, and they never ask him these things when he's interviewed!

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (31 May 2015):

Code Warrior agony auntI think so, but only if you're talking about the desire to have children prior to pregnancy as opposed to what a woman experiences during pregnancy. I wanted kids as much as my wife. Obviously, as a man I can never experience the feeling of a child growing inside me and can't know how much that impacts how much a woman wants that child, but I can tell you that my wife was profoundly impacted by her first miscarriage and I wasn't nearly as badly affected. I think for her it was far more real because she felt the baby inside her and I never had that opportunity because it miscarried when it was too small for me to feel it externally.

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A male reader, Overlay United States +, writes (31 May 2015):

I think that they probably do, although it's a shame that there isn't a more dependable way at the outset of a relationship of bringing men and women who feel the same toward having or not having children together. (It seems to me that that issue would only come up after both parties have invested a fair amount of time and effort in a relationship, only to have the question of children then be a potential deal-breaker.)

(Of course, a man's or woman's views on the issue may also change over time, but I don't think that either party should proceed on the assumption or belief that the other's views WILL change.)

All I know in my personal case is that I had always wanted children as part of marriage. However, the women with whom I was involved prior to marriage (over a period of sixteen years) have subsequently had only one child among them, and the woman who had that one child was still dating multiple men and giving no indication of being ready to "settle down" when I was involved with her.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (31 May 2015):

" . . . are men generally a bit more ambivalent towards kids?"

As a male I would say yes because our biology is not tied to child-bearing and there's no time limit on our fertility.

For a man having a child is a strictly a lifestyle decision with no physical or medical considerations, and as such can always be put off.

A fifty-year-old woman who decides she wants a baby is out of luck, while a fifty-year-old man who decides he wants a baby can always marry a woman in her twenties.

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