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Pricing children out of existence - A selection of views guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers in this Times article!

(175 Posts)
SueW Sun 29-Jul-07 07:19:45

Pricing children out of existence

BrummieOnTheRun Sun 29-Jul-07 07:55:12

Hardly any of my friends (most in mid-level management or sales positions) are breeding. And I'd say 40 - 50% of them have had abortions at some point... no, maybe slightly less than that, but not much.

From last week's Times: "In affluent areas research shows that three-quarters of teenage pregnancies are terminated, as opposed to less than one-fifth [in less affluent areas]"

This article's not about teenage pregnancies, but the point's the same. It's about what you have to sacrifice to have children. Women are increasingly deciding not to make the sacrifices, particularly in London.

If I'd known childcare for 2 children would be equivalent to the cost of a mortgage, I'm not sure I'd have done it.

TranquilaManana Sun 29-Jul-07 08:16:21

am extremely lucky that dp is extremely lucky to have been in right place at right time and made a good nest egg. we are comfortable and he is clever and good at what he does and so we are, economically, v comfortable.

if i had met and fell in love with someone less affluent... i doubt id have had kids here in the UK. i grew up wathing my parents struggle to keep heads above water. dunno if i could face that for a life.

if i had done it in the UK, id have stayed v close to family so i could benefit from 'free' childcare. and lived with my dad, no doubt. no other way.

JudgeyMcJudgeson Sun 29-Jul-07 09:33:19

Honestly what do I think?

We have more disposable income than 50 years ago. We also have a more materialistic culture.

A lot of people (by no means all) don't want have to sacrifice to bring up children. They think they should be able to keep up the lifestyle they have got and afford children.

It's never going to happen. It never has happened.

SO they don't have kids.


Also I think people feel freer not to have children. Availability of contraception, knowledge about contraception, and women having more control over their own bodies and the choice to choose a career instead, means that not as many have children and those who do tend to have fewer. Societal pressure to have children still exists, but is less than it has been previously.

My Nan had 11 children. She didn't want them and did not have a happy life. She lived in an isolated village with a Catholic Midwife. I wish she had had the choices that others have now.

As for anything there are many reasons/factors contributing to this.

Find Brummie's abortion statistics interesting though.

Freckle Sun 29-Jul-07 09:46:15

I too think that this has more to do with women's financial independence than necessarily not wanting to make sacrifices. In the past, when women were dependent upon men financially, they had children because that was deemed to be their role. These days women can choose whether to take on that role or whether to choose a career. Those that choose a career are often the sort who wouldn't want children (mass generalisation here). Obviously there are those who combine the two, but many of them struggle with this, both logistically and emotionally.

If you are not terribly maternal and you see your colleagues struggling to cope, what choice are you going to make? Add to that the nice lifestyle you have acquired for yourself, are you really going to give much of that up for something you didn't really want in the first place?

BrummieOnTheRun Sun 29-Jul-07 09:48:49

would love to know whether childcare has always been this expensive compared to salaries though, e.g. stats on childcare costs as a percentage of salary.

I guess going back to my grandmother's generation, informal arrangements were allowed (just having someone in your house). the downside of better regulation is increased costs.

My mother used nurseries. must ask what she paid in the 70s...

Wordsmith Mon 30-Jul-07 08:27:52

The cost of private education may be a deciding factor in the writer's charmed circle, but I can assure you that here in less affluent Britain, where people send their children to state schools (remarkably, without feeling the need to 'beg on the streets') and accept the need for some compromise on holidays etc when the children are little, we just get on with it.

Very few people, logically, are able to afford children. We weren't but we just went ahead and did it. We survived! We now earn about half what we did before kids and have twice the outgoings, but somehow we're still here.

I think the article refers to a very specific strata of society.

Wordsmith Mon 30-Jul-07 08:29:29

Agree with Freckle, too. These days if you don't really want to have kids, it's not so unusual to say so and not have them.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 08:58:37

I think the article is interesting. Some of the comments are a bit far fetched, but the main point, the extremely high cost of living and it's impact on the number of children that a working class family can afford -- is very good. I don't think that things like the cost of childcare and the cost of private education typically stop people from having children. But I do think it's quite common for people to have fewer children when they start to look at these things. If cost were no object in my life, I would have another child. But, we have chosen to stp at two and one of the main reasons is that I might one day in the future be able to pay for 2 sets of Senior provate school, but probably not three. I think having a third child will impact the quality of life I can give to the two I already have. So, the shop is closed and that is one less British/American child.

Leati Mon 30-Jul-07 09:10:31

I just genuinly believe that if a person really wants to have children they are going to find a way to make it happen (medical conditions excluded). If a person thinks that having a materialistic life is more important then they probably shouldn't have children, anyway. Everyone has a choice and it is thiers alone.


That being said, I think it is sad that the quality of family life has suffered as expenses have increased. It is one thing when both parents work long hours because that is what they desire. It is another thing when both parents work long hours because they have to, in order to survive. What happens if the price of living continues to rise? Perhaps, some sort of intervention could make family life more enjoyable.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 09:11:39

When do you sleep, Leati?

KTeePee Mon 30-Jul-07 09:16:56

I know that there are lots of families where both parents have to work for financial reasons - but in many of the families I know, where the mothers say they "have" to work, the extra money seems to be spent on holidays, flat screen tvs, etc, etc. I think many people regard luxury goods and holidays as essentials nowadays.....

speedymama Mon 30-Jul-07 09:17:44

From my personal observations, a lot of people are not prepared to make changes to the their lifestyles to accommodate new off-spring. Also, they cannot bring themselves to live in cheaper areas, buy cheaper clothing, do without gadgets, expensive holidays or heaven forbid, consider state education for their precious off-spring.

For many people, it is not so much how much they earn but how they spend it. If one aspires to a certain lifestyle and is not prepared to compromise on outgoings to reflect new circumstances, then of course one will find it financially challenging. However, that is their choice and one should recognise it as such but of course they don't and it is easier to blame the cost of living blah, blah, blah.

Leati Mon 30-Jul-07 09:19:23

Pretty Soon...I think my body is confused about day and night but DD sleeps in too.

Leati Mon 30-Jul-07 09:21:22

I drink way to much coffee.

expatinscotland Mon 30-Jul-07 09:23:14

Nearly all my friends are child free by choice. One has an adult child whom she had when she was quite young and whom she brought up as a lone parent.

I think it's got nothing to do with 'sacrifices' and I wish people would quit bleating on about that like everyone's making so much money they just don't want to 'cut back'.

For millions of people in this country, it's about feeding the children and keeping a roof over their heads.

FA to do with holidays, gadgets, eating out.

Millions don't have that kind of stuff anyway for trying to survive in Rip-Off Britain.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 09:23:17

If you take up running in the evening it will burn off the caffeine and you can go to bed (not that I'm trying to get rid of you).

expatinscotland Mon 30-Jul-07 09:24:08

Cost of private education. LOL!

expatinscotland Mon 30-Jul-07 09:24:43

I used to love to run. Then I had all that damn knee surgery.

Try yoga! I've found that more helpful because it's also relaxing.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 09:25:14

Someone wrote quite far down on this thread that we have more disposable income than we did 50 years ago. Is this true? And what constitutes disposable income?

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 30-Jul-07 09:25:20

For us, holidays are essential. My parents live in a different country, and my sister and her family in yet a different one. I still want my children to grow up knowing their grandparents and their cousins, so we need to travel. Then there's the essential holiday(s) for ousersevles too. We don't go on luxurious holidays but I love getting away and our children get something out of it too. But I agree about gadgets and other up-to-the-minute material posessions, they don't interest us at all.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 09:25:55

Swimming? Bike riding? Don't think Yoga will burn off the caffeine, will it?

expatinscotland Mon 30-Jul-07 09:27:22

I think it's one of those BS myths, eleusis, like 'All people who are in debt are in this predicament because they are spendthrifts' and 'If you just had some self-control and didn't eat so much, you'd lose weight'.

It's all a very simplistic, sophmoroic shirking of social responsibility to pass blame and make every ill in society the fault of an individual because they just didn't buck up according to how one thinks they should.

expatinscotland Mon 30-Jul-07 09:28:07

I mean, look at the cost of living! And before anyone comes on and starts spraffing about mortgages, I'm talking about the millions of us who rent, too.

eleusis Mon 30-Jul-07 09:28:19

Good point about necessary travel Christina. I got an earful from mys sister last night becase she has only ever seen DD (now 4) once and has never met DS (now 2). It's just too bloody expensive to go to Chicago. I looked at flight prices fro Christmas wee, and the best I found was £1800, which is nearly $4000 just for plane tickets. No way can I spend that on a holiday.

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