16 Real Disadvantages / Cons of Not Having Kids (Childfree Life…)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

couple looks out the window

It’s easy to rattle off a list of reasons why it’s a good idea to have a childfree family, but what about the disadvantages? Think about all of the things you will be missing out on and how never having children can impact your overall life. Today we are going to take a closer look at the real disadvantages of having a childfree family. 

As a potential parent, you have probably toyed with the idea of having kids or not. For many, there’s a deeper calling…an ingrained desire to be a mother or father. For others, there’s just nothing. While they may not feel a deeper yearning to have children, they know that it’s the next expected and logical step, and so they still toy with the idea. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the cons of not having kids so that you can decide if it’s for you or not. 

Cons of not having kids – 16 downsides to choosing a childfree family:

1. No paid maternity or paternity leave from work.

Some might go as far as to say that there is discrimination in the workplace because both mothers and fathers are provided with paid leave when there is a baby on the way. Not having kids means you will never experience this particular “perk” at work. 

2. It saddens the extended family.

Yup, prepare yourself for it. If you don’t have kids, expect to get questioning stares and sad comments from extended family members. Mothers, fathers, uncles, and aunts…heck, even your cousins might have a few comments to make. They do this because they are sad, and they personally feel that your lifestyle choice goes against the family. 

3. Alienation from peers and other community members of the same age.

You may start to feel a little left out when your once best friends spend an entire evening talking about strollers and nappies, which you have no interest in. Suddenly your best friend is going to recitals and after-school sports practices, and you’re left trying to maintain a social life alone. This is one of the downsides that people most often talk about when they choose not to have kids.

4. You miss out on the depth of a bond that only a parent and child can share.

Any mother will tell you that you haven’t experienced true love until you have experienced that unbreakable bond between parent and child. This could mean that there’s a void in your life, and you may always wonder what that feels like. 

5. There’s the possibility of regret later on in life.

Regret is a terrible thing to try to work through. If you decide not to have children, you might decide later on that you made a mistake, and then you will have to live with that regret. 

6. There will be no one to take care of you in the golden years of your life.

Why do most people have children? Sure, it’s for love and having the joy of molding and shaping another human…but are there other reasons? For many people, their kids are an unconscious safety net for when they grow old. If you have children, there will be people to love and care for you when you become too old to care for yourself. When you have no kids, you may be at the mercy of a nursing home or left to fend for yourself.

7. There’s a sense of missing out on crucial life events as you grow older.

There are big life events that everyone naturally wants to enjoy, and having kids is just one of them. If you don’t have kids, you will have to witness your friends enjoying all these “crucial” life events, and you may feel left out. 

adult couple

8. Pressure from family and friends.

Without children, family members and close friends develop a sudden urge to apply pressure on you to have them. At least it feels like that. This could leave you feeling frustrated and like a failure.

9. You and your partner could grow apart.

Couples that have children have a mutual focus. The children become a joint sort of “project” that they can focus on together. This can strengthen and deepen the relationship. When you don’t have children, you don’t have this particular opportunity for your relationship to grow. Without a common focus, you may grow apart or lose interest in each other. 

10. You may reach your 40’s and feel unfulfilled. 

Are you sure that the way you feel now is the way you will feel a few years down the line? Many people are quite happy with their decision not to have kids while they are younger, but when they get a bit older, they feel as if their lives have not been very fulfilling. If you choose to have a childless family, you could end up in this very position. 

11. Dealing with the “do you have kids?” questions.

People just expect couples to have children, don’t they? When they see a married couple of the right age, they think there must be kids, or there must be a problem. When they find out that you have none, the questions begin. Expect to be asked if you have kids and when you say no, expect to be asked all manner of personal questions about your decision. 

12. Generation gap in the family.

If you don’t have kids, you could end your family line or cause a generation gap. Of course, this depends on how many other couples in the family there are and how many choose to have kids (or not). If there’s pressure from the family to keep the family name alive, you might feel as if you are letting down the people you love.

13. Family gatherings are small and lack the joy of youth.

Many people have grand ideas of family gatherings being big, noisy, and jam-packed with the delighted squeals and laughter of children. If you choose to have a childfree family, this type of bustling family event with youthful joy just isn’t a possibility. 

14. More pressure on you to succeed.

When you decide not to have kids, people around you will assume that you are choosing to focus on your goals and career instead. This can place an unnecessary amount of pressure on you to make something of yourself or succeed in all of your endeavors. 

15. You may miss out on approval from older couples (usually mothers).

Is the approval of others something that is important to you? If it is, not having kids might irk you a little. Older mothers may struggle to connect with you and will therefore withhold their approval. If this is something that bothers you, it could make life very uncomfortable. 

16. You never get to park in the “moms and tots” parking close to the mall entrance.

Parking lot street sign - reserved for mothers with children

Occasionally, moms and parents with babies get the opportunity to zoom into the parking spots closest to the mall entrance. If you don’t have kids, you will never experience the sheer joy of doing that. 

All in all

Choosing not to have kids is not a decision that’s easily made. Some people simply cannot have children, so the option is off the table, and others choose specifically to have a life without them. Either way, there are pros and cons to this particular scenario.  

When considering the disadvantages of having a childless family, take the time to consider if these are really disadvantages to you personally. You may find that these are things you can actually handle, especially if you don’t have that deep desire to have children. May your next step and life choice be the right one for you!

JC Franco

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.