Societal norms and pressures to conform shape our decisions, including the reason for having children.
According to the Rutgers study, 7% of American parents express regret about having children. This sentiment is even more pronounced in European countries, with 8% in Germany and a startling 13.6% in Poland expressing the same regret. What’s behind these numbers? One primary driver seems to be FOMO.
Is FOMO a Reason For Having Children?
It’s human nature to measure one’s progress against peers, often leading to feelings of envy or the pursuit of societal acceptance. While these feelings typically dictate our consumer choices or lifestyle habits, the profound effect they might have on intimate decisions, like starting a family, has remained relatively unexplored until now.
The research from Rutgers reveals that a notable fraction of parents in the U.S. experience regret about their choice to have children. A significant factor behind these sentiments? The lurking presence of FOMO.
Deciphering Parenthood’s FOMO
Professor Kristina M. Scharp at Rutgers offers insights into the deeper motivations that underpin the choice of parenthood.
For many, societal standards exert considerable influence. In addition, there is a prevailing notion that embracing parenthood equates to unlocking unparalleled love and a sense of purpose.
Contrary to this widely-held belief, her study implies that the fear of being left out of a pivotal life journey might be the driving force for many, This can even overshadow genuine parental aspirations.
Gleaning Insights about the Reasons for Having Childrenfrom Online Conversations
To grasp the underlying sentiments more comprehensively, the researchers explored the discussions on the /r/childfree platform on Reddit. This digital space offers a haven for those who consciously choose to remain without children. So, by examining the discussions, the research team hoped to decode the multifaceted feelings and experiences surrounding the choice of parenthood.
Three distinct perspectives on parenting emerged from their examination: the idyllic view of parenting, the challenging and taxing nature of parenthood, and viewing parenthood as an inevitable path.
A previously uncharted factor weaving through these discussions was FOMO.
This revelation holds significant implications for how individuals approach family planning. Grasping these latent motivations can empower individuals to make decisions that resonate with their true values, rather than succumbing to societal pressures.