Is Having Children a Given Right?

Published November 5th, 2021 - 10:50 GMT
The ethical and moral dilemma here is as real as it gets.
Artwork by Al Bawaba's Rami Khoury

This is a topic I have been frequently thinking about for a while, is having children a given right? Does anyone who feels like they want to be a parent have the right to just have children? Even if they are incapable of taking care of them? Or loving them? Or protecting them? But does that mean those who are incapable of giving their children a good and loving home are doomed to let go of their desire to have kids?

The ethical and moral dilemma here is as real as it gets. No one gets to say who can and cannot have kids, or whether it is a right or not. No one is in any position to determine whether or not someone will be a great, loving and supportive parent. But what one can do is shed light on the misperception that many have when it comes to having kids. And as unfair as it might sound, having children is a luxury not anyone can afford. Not only financially, but also emotionally, physically, and mentally.

So where does that leave us? The idea here is not to question whether or not there should be legal rights correlated with having children, but instead it is a moral one. It is part of the human nature and course of life to have kids and start a family, however, the innate nature does not mean having children should simply be a natural course of life. And this is where the problem lies specifically.

The idea of having children is seen as a given pre-chosen decision that is really not given much thought. As though having a child does not entail bringing another human into this world that is deserving of a good, loving and adequate life. At the end of the day, kids want to feel safe, loved and heard. 
 

When it comes to having children, one should take into account so many different things. One is whether or not they are capable of caring for this child physically, emotionally and financially. Life is not getting any easier, and many parents are struggling to make ends meet.

Therefore, if you do not see that you are capable of providing a good quality of life for your children, there is absolutely no need to breed a dozen. Instead stick with having a kid or two that you know you can provide and care for. By biting more than you can chew, you are putting a whole lot of pressure on your kids, and this is what many do not get.

Your kids Are Not Your Punching Bag

Just because you feel like you cannot handle the pressure and responsibility that comes with having children does not mean you get to take it out on your children. Your children are not your property. They are as much of humans as the rest of us, and they should not have to suffer living a demeaning, difficult, and even inhumane life simply because you believed it will work out. In addition, if you feel like you cannot care, love and provide safety for your children, then why have them? Children need love and support.

They will eventually outgrow the toys, money and expensive outfits you made them wear, but they will never outgrow your love. Children remember how you made them feel so much more than all the materialistic things you gave them. Emotional, mental and physical care is so much more important than the kind of life you can provide for your kids. You can have all the money in the world and yet be unable to give your children what they deserve. 
 

I mean, if you take a look around at little kids begging in the streets or selling flowers. Or if you watch the news and hear about a family with 6 children who cannot feed them. Where was the parent's sense of worry about feeding them when they made the decision to have them in the first place? Why did they not think about the hardships these kids will have to endure simply because they wanted too many kids.

That is not to say the less fortunate or poor should not have kids, but it is to say that people should be more mindful and understand that having more kids is not the answer to their problems. But when it comes to children, financial support is not the only important thing, because giving them a safe, loving and caring house is just as, if not more important. There are also people who take out their frustration, problems and unhealed trauma on their kids.

According to WHO, around 300M children between the ages 2 and 4 years have suffered some form of abuse by parents or caregivers. Netflix docuseries, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” shows how 8-year old Gabriel Fernandez was killed by being brutally abused by his mother and boyfriend. This 8 year old kid did not choose to be born. He did not choose to have a mother who will end up killing him. Gabriel had no say in the matter of his life or death. But his mother did. For whatever reason, his mother chose to bring him into this world and then chose to brutally end his life. It was her choice. So why do it? Why have kids if you do not plan to care for them? 

This is only one story of thousands.

So you tell me, in what world do parents who abuse, misuse, torment and even kill their children have the right to have kids?

The Importance of Safe Space

Another important angle to consider is whether or not the world is a kind enough place to bring more innocent children into it. Destructions, plague, crimes and injustice seem to be at every corner of the world nowadays. So is having children the right thing to do when there are already thousands if not millions of homeless and orphaned children? This is a very vague and tricky situation, but one that should be considered.

Many people want to have kids from their own blood and skin, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, it is still pivotal to mention that adoption is a real and valid option to do good and help kids who were already brought into this world. Take kids in third world countries suffering from hunger, war and destruction, who is meant to care for them? If you are anything like me, and feel like there are enough kids suffering in this world, then adopting and caring for kids who were already thrown into the crossfire might be a great way to help preserve their innocence. 

Your Children Are Not Your Property

From the other end of the spectrum there is the social pressure that surrounds couples to have children. For instance, in Middle Eastern cultures, women are always asked when they plan on having a child. People, and older generations to be more specific, do not have the awareness to first mind their own business, and second to take a step back and realize how off base their question really is.

The question when it comes to having children should not be a matter of only when, but rather if. If one is ready, capable and has the desire to bring their own children into this world. This is not a matter of who can financially afford to have children or not, but instead who can offer the emotional, mental, physical, and financial support as a whole.

The idea here is not to point fingers, guilt trip or determine who gets to have children or not. The point is to shed light on the necessity of raising awareness about having children and the great responsibilities that comes with it. It is imperative that the world knows that so much more goes into having children than just choosing or wanting to have them. Bringing a life into this world is no light decision, and it should never be addressed as one. 

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
- On Children by Kahlil Gibran - The Prophet


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