Having a favourite child is something few parents would willingly admit to, but regretting making babies altogether? The sentiment easily remains society’s biggest parenting taboo. It’s not an easy thing to admit, but new research reveals the feeling is far more common than you’d imagine.
When YouGov asked 1,206 parents how they felt about their decision to have children, the vast majority (83%) insisted they’ve never regretted becoming parents. Good for them, sure, but not everyone felt this way. Of those polled, one in 12 (8%) admitted they were unhappy with their decision, and a further six per cent revealed they’d had regrets in the past. (continued below)
Younger parents – those aged between 25 and 34 – were the most regretful, with one in five either rueing their choice today (13%) or having done so at some point previously (9%). Among parents aged 55 and over, only one in 10 wished they’d never had children – presumably because they’ve mostly forgotten about the time they had to catch baby vomit with their bare hands – and just four per cent said they’d questioned their feelings at some point over the years.
Interestingly, the sentiment was shared equally between mothers and fathers. Of the parents who wish they’d ultimately stuck with contraception, five per cent say they only regret having children to a ‘small extent’. For two per cent, it’s to a ‘moderate degree’, while one per cent admitted feeling regret ‘to a large extent’. Yikes.
Despite their regrets, only four per cent said they wouldn’t have had children if they could turn back the hands of time. The same amount (4%) admitted they would’ve had fewer kids in hindsight. Generally speaking, though, the majority were happy with their lot – 54 per cent wouldn’t change a thing – and 29 per cent wished they’d had more.
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