Your piece on childless couples really hit home ("No Kids? No Kidding," Sept. 15). As child-free adults, my husband and I--both in our 30s and with Ph.D degrees--are very happy with our decision and feel it is a personal and private one for any couple.
While a first-time inquiry from someone concerning our family plans seems reasonable, it is the repeated questioning from friends and family--as if we "forgot" to have kids--that saddens us. Regular and less-than-subtle hints about biological clocks and "settling down" only serve over time to diminish the friendships we have with these people. This is needling, not concern.
Our private lives are not soap operas to be filled with new little relatives for our families' or for our friends' entertainment. There should be a better reason than this to have children: to truly want them.
I hardly think it's necessary to have support groups for childless couples who feel that society still favors people who have or want children.
Judging by the number of single mothers who have told me how hard it is to support a kid, I'd say that parenthood has lost quite a bit of its cachet in this economy where a box of Pampers costs more than two compact discs, and two incomes aren't enough to make ends meet.
I would never presume to argue with the childless-by-choice couples over the very personal decision to remain child-free. However, I do take issue with the experts cited in the piece.
Sociologists Debra Umberson and Walter R. Gove found that "parents with children at home were less happy than non-parents, although they did have a greater sense of meaning and purpose to their lives " (italics mine) .
I am dying to know exactly how happiness was defined in this study, if not as a sense of meaning and purpose. More fun? Frequent sex? Disposable income?
It's obvious that children bring as much heartache as joy and that childless couples are, in general, more carefree and less financially burdened than parents.
Yet, if the scientists had acknowledged a sense of meaning and purpose in life as a major factor in adult happiness, they would have found the parents the happier group. Apparently they didn't, and the happiness they describe is essentially a shallow one.
If Katey Johansen has decided not to have children, this is certainly her right. However, to flippantly say to strangers that if she had a kid she'd "probably abuse it" is crass and insensitive.
Contrary to her thinking this is "a great way to express how angry I am," the remark shows she has not learned an appropriate way to articulate her anger or to express her decision. Child abuse is not a matter to be used jokingly.
There are many ways to be a family. One of these is to be a loving couple without children. That's all she has to say.
S. KANANI FONG
DAVID J. ANDERSON
La Habra Heights
Consider this. It took since the dawn of humanity to the 20th Century for the human population to reach approximately 2 billion. In the last several decades, that figure nearly tripled. If population growth continues as it is, we will reach around 10 billion before the middle of the next century.
Under these circumstances, childless couples, childless by choice or by chance, should be lauded and given medals and tax breaks instead of harassment.
It is insane to breed uncontrollably and then push others to do the same.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for "No Kids? No Kidding."
My husband and I are also child-free by choice and Carroll Lachnit's article made us realize perhaps we are not ogres after all.
While I realize the majority of parents are undoubtedly quite satisfied with their status, there is also a percentage of people who have cheated themselves and their children by not initially determining if they are emotionally and financially equipped for such a responsibility.