Local News

Many Couples Pleased About Not Having Kids

Posted February 16, 2004 10:03 a.m. EST

— Some couples do not have any worries about homework or bed times because they do not have children.

No Kidding is a social club with chapters across North America. The group has a growing number of people choosing not to have children.

"Our closest thing to children are pets," said Steve McDaniel, of No Kidding.

"When we saw friends having kids, we, once in awhile, would say, 'Well, should we think about it? Do you feel it's time?' That feeling and time never came," said Margaret-Anne Atkins, of No Kidding.

That time is not coming for a lot of couples. In 2002, the nation's birth rate fell to a historic low -- about 67 births per 1,000 women 15 to 44. It was a decline of 43 percent since 1960.

"In my mind, if you have children, we have to change our life entirely and put a lot of time and effort into children, and it would be a radical change," Steve McDaniel said. "We didn't want children enough to make that change."

Many members of No Kidding said the group is a perfect fit because many of their friends have children.

"We found a lot of our friends who still live here who have children can't go out and really do a lot of the things that we enjoy," said Annette McDaniel.

The group has Halloween parties, New Year's Eve bashes and weekends in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Some people said members of these kind of groups may regret not experiencing having children of their own.

"I'd rather not have children and regret it than have a child and regret it later on," said Barry Atkins, of No Kidding. "I can't imagine the pain in a child's life when they realize that, at some point, their parents didn't really want them."

Plus, Atkins said having children is no guarantee of fun in the early years or the golden years.

"I have a lot of experience in home nursing and I saw firsthand many, many 80-year-olds very lonely in their homes where their children had moved away from the city and don't even contact them by phone call," she said.

Non-custodial parents, step parents, and empty nesters are not eligible to join No Kidding. According to U.S. Census reports, about 29 million married couples in the United States do not have children.