Is having children these days a smart idea?

Tj Favela/The Collegian
Tj Favela/The Collegian

For years, traditions have dictated that as we get older, our job is to at some point have children, but is doing so the right decision considering the current state of the world?

Many people these days don’t see having children in their personal futures. A major reason can be that the world we are living in is not only not suited for children but is often actively against them.

Being a parent means constantly worrying about the health and safety of a child. How can you guarantee a child’s security in a country where elementary schools are used as shooting ranges?

Depending on what state you live in, the prospect of being pregnant can be dangerous in its own right. Assuming you make it through that, the basics of trying to keep a child alive have grown even more complicated due to the rise of gun violence in the U.S.. 

For those on the fence, the safety reason alone can keep them on the no-go side. But for those who have grown up dreaming of becoming parents, the worries move past physical safety. For Generation Z and millennials, life has not been easy from an economic standpoint. These generations experienced two major recessions, while also dealing with traumas from political events and, of course, COVID-19.

Witnessing major political events can be traumatizing for anyone, but for a young adult, they can have a lasting mental impact.

These issues don’t just reflect the present. They represent a picture of the future that prospective parents would throw their kids into. Previous generations made a point of sucking all the good from the world and leaving the youngsters with the scraps. So it’s not hard to see why young people wouldn’t want to put the same pressures on the next generation.

Seeing and living through these issues has meant many people are now “waiting for the right time” — the right time being when inflation isn’t making basic grocery shopping a game of “What do I need more?” Or when the stress of paying back hundreds of thousands in student loan debt isn’t creeping up every waking moment. 

Even veteran parents want to lock their kids in a box for fear of what lies ahead.

 Unfortunately, that’s not an option. Parents have to choose between scarring their kids for life by telling them the true reality of the world or risking the dangers if they continue to live in ignorance.

For previous generations, hiding the world’s wicked ways was a lot simpler, mostly because the issues at hand didn’t literally exist in their hands. 

Technology may be a necessity but it can also be dangerous if not handled properly. Most adults grew up with either none or very minimal amounts of technology and social media use. However, for younger generations, social media is something that many have before they can even read. It is so common to see children with their own phones, but how does free reigning access to the internet and other people’s opinions really affect them?

While knowing how to navigate technology is an important skill to have, it comes with the risks of cyberbullying, access to inappropriate websites and online predators.

Given the facts, it’s not unreasonable to see why so many people are not having children of their own. Some people have found comfort in the idea of adoption, but with as many problems that people face perhaps, some of the worst can be found in the foster care or adoption system.

Seeing an overgrown and underfunded system such as foster care or adoption seems to be the one beacon of light for those who still want a family. The kids in the system are not only more susceptible to world issues due to their unstable environment, but many are navigating these issues completely alone.

The truth is, “traditional family values” are changing. The next generation of parents is more concerned about their circumstances and ethically raising children than they are about just continuing the family name.