A few of my friends are going through this right now. One partner wants more kids, but the other does not. In one case, the husband has been pushing for more kids for a couple years and when the wife finally came around, he decided that actually he didn't want more! And now she's trying to convince him. This seems like a very stressful disagreement to be in.

What do you do when one person wants more kids but the other person does not? How do you decide?

asked 14 Apr '10, 13:30

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

edited 14 Apr '10, 18:40


+1 I'm going through this myself... anxious to read the answers!

(14 Apr '10, 19:00) Yuval

I err on the side of not having them. Seems to me that forcing somebody to have a kid they don't want is much worse then somebody not having as many as they'd prefer (especially if they already have kids). It's already stressful having a kid when it's greatly wanted by both parents. Doing it when one parent doesn't want it (or is even hesitant) seems like a recipe for driving a wedge right through the structure of the family. IMHO, the decision to have a kid should be a unanimous decision by the parents.


answered 14 Apr '10, 19:04

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%


@Igritz I agree that the decision to have a child should be a unanimous decision. But I think that it is important to honour the feelings of both parents. It may be heartbreaking for a parent who really wants more kids to know that they will never have more. This too can create a wedge in the family. I don't think either parent should be forced into something they do not want to do. So, I'm wondering how do couples find a way to agree, either to or not to have more children?

(14 Apr '10, 20:58) cat_g

I hope it was clear that I was addressing the case where the adults have already presented their best cases, mulled it over for some time, and still disagree irreconcilably on whether to have another child. At that point, there are only two choices: have one, or don't. Neither one is a picnic, but it strikes me that there's a lot more potential collateral damage when you bring a partly-unwanted child into the mix than when you merely have an adult whose desires were unmet.

(15 Apr '10, 07:06) lgritz

Thanks for the clarification.

(15 Apr '10, 23:38) cat_g

After giving this question some thought I think that there are four important points to be conscious of when two parties have differing views regarding important life changing decisions like more children, and in my opinion they are;

  1. Maintain a dialogue Keep talking about it, without pressuring each other. Unless there is a "deadline" to meet, I don't think that the process prior to the decision being taken should be hurried...
  2. Listening Both parties should practice good listening, and help the other by really giving their full attention and listening to the reasons for or against. (I think this is much easier said than done by the way, and seeing as the topic is an emotional one....it could be quite plausible to think that people with differing views just block off mentally refusing to listen)
  3. Empathize After the listening I think both parties should try to look at the situation from each others point of view. Empathy may not be the solution immediately but it will help both parties understand clearer where the other stands.
  4. Agree to disagree If after the emotional marathon you still have differing opinions then I would probably think that the healthiest option would be to take a time out and "Agree to Disagree" with a view to addressing the issue again after taking a break from all the discussions and debates.

The "time interval" could also bring different solutions to the situation that may help facilitate the decision process itself for one of both parties...here are some things that spring to mind;

  • Promotion-increased income level
  • Unemployment-decreased income level
  • loss of a child/serious illness of a child
  • Moving to a bigger home
  • Downsizing to a smaller home

Note: I would probably avoid discussing the issue with anyone else at first. I am not too sure why, but thats what I think.


answered 15 Apr '10, 15:37

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 15 Apr '10, 18:38

+1 This advice could be used for many difficult decisions that a couple faces. Well put.

(15 Apr '10, 23:41) cat_g

+1 Good advice. In our family I wanted 3, he wanted 2. Initially we took it one at time. Now we have 2 we need to resolve whether to have a 3rd child or not. However we have agreed to park the issue until later this year (although we will probably need to have that discussion soon) as we agree that next year would be a better time for the third child.

(16 Apr '10, 00:53) K D
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Asked: 14 Apr '10, 13:30

Seen: 7,587 times

Last updated: 15 Apr '10, 18:38