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I’m 26 and my husband is 39. He has three grown children and a 6-year-old daughter. We’ve been trying for a child, but I don’t know if I want to do it anymore. I know it sounds immature, but I don’t want the responsibility. There’s so much I want to do and to be. I grew up in a small town, so getting married and having children is almost a must. I love children and want the best for them if I have them, but I also know I only have one life. My husband will support any decision I make, but he says if we’re going to have the child, we need to do it in the next 18 months. Should I have children? Will I regret it if I don’t?
If you decide not to have a child of your own, you may regret it later in life. Then again, you may not. That question is impossible to answer at this point. So let’s focus on whether to have children.
First, you should not have children if you aren’t sure you want to do it. Parenting has plenty of rewards, and most people who try it enjoy it very much. However, there are enough unsatisfied parents out there to suggest that everyone should give this issue a lot of thought before taking the plunge. Parenting is a lifetime commitment, so take the time you need to get it right.
Second, while you may regret not having children, you might also regret the things you were unable to do because you instead chose to have a child. Neither lifestyle is guaranteed to save you from regret. In fact, most of us will face some form of regret regarding our choices on the family front. Generally those regrets do not debilitate, and most of us deal with them just fine. But regrets are usually a part of life, and you should be aware that having a child will simply redirect them, not necessarily eliminate them.
Third, growing up in a small town has nothing to do with whether you, personally, should opt to have a child. Make the decision based on your own life and that of your husband. Don’t waste time thinking about what other people did. You don’t raise their children, and they wouldn’t be raising yours.
I took the long way around to answering your question, because in this case the process is more important than the result. I don’t know whether you should have children, and neither does anyone else. Not your parents, not your friends, not your neighbors, and certainly not the people in your hometown. This is a big decision. Consider all the factors, then make your choice based on what you truly want to do with your life. Good luck.
What is a good pet for my son, who normally likes to be rough with his things?
If you’re looking for a pet that won’t mind being smacked around, I don’t know of any beyond a pet rock or pillow pet. A small pet could get hurt, while a dog large enough to take a beating might decide to fight back. If you do not believe your son can control his natural roughness, don’t get him a pet.
However, if he really wants a pet, insist on some changes in his behavior before bringing an animal into the house. Encourage him to be more gentle, and start punishing behavior that is unnecessarily rough. Unless he lives in a cave, your son will eventually have to change his ways a bit to get along in society. Now is as good a time as any to start the process of change.
Thank you for reading today’s Q&A. Check back here tomorrow for another installment of the Ask The Dad advice column. If you’d like to submit an Ask The Dad question, send it to email@example.com.