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June 2024 - Vol. #22, No. 3

To parent or not to parent? Is it “You’ll change your mind” or “I love them. I just don’t love the choice I made”? Arguments for and against having children (from my children). How did we do parenting our three children? I share the evidence.

Welcome to the June edition.

In SAVVY, Naomi Campbell and R.O. Kwon present opposite views on whether to have children or not. To women who don’t want to be mothers, Campbell says “You will change your mind.” Kwon writes about parents who regret having children and their anguish. There are almost no spaces where a parent can discuss the taboo topic of regret.

In SKILLS, what are the top two or three reasons to HAVE or NOT HAVE children? If you had to make a case for the OPPOSITE choice, what are the two or three top reasons? Read how my three children responded to these questions.

In SOUL, I reflect on the nature and quality of our parenting skills and history and conclude that the State of the Union and parenting effectiveness was very good. Check out the reasons I offered.

David Mee-Lee, M.D.
DML Training and Consulting


Father’s Day in the USA was June 16 and I was fortunate to have all three of my children home to clear out the family home of 25 years. The youngest of the family is 38, facing the biological clock for child-bearing; and my son just turned 40 wanting to be a father. The eldest has two girls aged 12 and 9 and she loves being a mother and co-parent with her husband.

The topic of children inevitably comes up when we are together. This was especially true this time as two articles popped into my email this month that I had forwarded to my children. One article strongly advocated for having children, while the other focused on parents who regretted having children.

Tip 1: Naomi Campbell had 2 kids after 50 and has a message for young women who don't want to be moms: "You will change your mind'.

Naomi Campbell is a British model and a single mother of two kids. In a June 10 article, Amanda Goh wrote about Campbell’s belief that many young women not interested in being mothers will eventually change their minds. The supermodel opened up about motherhood and her hopes for her children.

  • "I have heard a lot of young girls saying that it is too expensive to have children and they may not want them, and I have said, 'You will change your mind. You will want to be a mum.' I understand economically it is tough. But my mum had nothing and she made it work. It's worth it. It is so amazing," Campbell said.

  • "We have to depend on the younger generation to change this world. I trust my children more than us to do the right thing," she added.

A 2021 Pew Research study found that more and more Americans aren't interested in having children.

  • Childcare costs are also rising: According to Business Insider's estimates, parents could spend at least $25,714 caring for a child this year, up 41.5% from 2016.

Tip 2: The Parents Who Regret Having Children — “I love them. I just don't love the choice I made.”

In April 2024, R. O. Kwon wrote about the other side of the child-bearing desire. Kwon, who has no plans to be a parent, highlighted the responses she gets when she reveals her decision:

  • No one regrets having a child, or so it’s said.

  • I am told I’ll change my mind, that I’m wrong, and that while I’ll regret not having a child, people don’t regret having children.

  • “The next question people tend to broach if I indicate I don’t plan on having kids: What does my husband think? I find this odd, a little prying — do people think I didn’t discuss this topic with him, at length, long before we pledged to share a life?

  • If I respond with the truth, that he feels exactly as I do, here’s the usual follow-up: but what if he changes his mind?”

In 2013, a Gallup poll asked Americans 45 and older how many kids they’d have if they could go back in time. Seven percent of the respondents with children said, "Zero." And in 2023, a study estimated that up to 5% to 14% of parents in so-called developed countries, including the United States, regret their decision to have children.

"These studies align with what I've found in my personal life," Kwon says. While most parents don’t regret having kids, some do. You can read Kwon’s full account about parents who have confided in her about parental regret. Here are some of the issues for parents who regret having children:

  • “Some of these parents talk about feeling utterly alone, like villains past all imagining.

  • Several have noted that, afraid of being judged, they decline to be candid with their own therapists.

  • If asked what I think, I reply that, from what I’m hearing, they’re not alone. Not at all. I hope it helps; I’m told, at times, it does.

  • I’d heard a range of chronicles of parental regret, as have other friends without kids, the stories were related one-on-one, in private. It’s a taboo subject, one made all the more difficult, punitive, by the ubiquitous belief that people who feel as they do either can’t or ought not exist.

  • I’ve thought about the isolating effect of silence, and what it can cost to live in hiding.

  • Each parent I talk to points out this dividing line: it’s possible to have strong, lasting regrets about a life choice while ferociously loving — and caring for — the fruit of that decision.”

“Online forums aside, there are almost no spaces where a parent can discuss regret. Some of this is for good reason—no child should have to hear that they’re regretted—but what other human experience is there about which one will probably be judged a monster for having any regret at all?”


I have always told my kids that they can do anything and make their own choices. But whatever they do, do it with your eyes wide open... Know the costs and benefits of whatever path you choose.

It takes a lot of knowledge and skill to be a responsible and effective parent. In that context, I posed two questions to my children and secured their permission to share their responses with you.

1. What are the top two or three reasons to HAVE or NOT HAVE children?

2. If you had to make a case for the OPPOSITE choice, what are the two or three top reasons?

The following responses are their candid words, thoughts and beliefs. I understand their opinions in the context of their unique temperaments, birth order, parent-child match of personalities; and the life stages and growth of their mother and me.

Tip 1: Rich personal growth and seeing, shaping and sharing your children’s growth make parenting so special.

Miya has been pondering and practicing parenting for over 12 years. Her reasons to have children:

  • As an adult you will never be pushed harder. Yet having children allows for a rich personal growth experience.

  • There is such joy in seeing growth, shaping behaviors, and sharing experiences like music, theatre, surfing... all experiences that are so unique and special.

  • We see the simplicity in life through the eyes of children.

Miya said it is hard for her to make a case for NOT having children. She would say:

  • It’s really really hard and you have to be patient beyond belief not to scar them.

  • You would have more money being childless.

Miya Mee-Lee Dias Trainer/Coach/Facilitator/Speaker/Presenter

Tip 2: 
There is a growth journey to release my own self-centeredness and care about someone else, compelled to out of deep love. Creating, guiding, teaching and developing my children’s minds and spirits.

Taylor is not interested in making a philosophical argument for why “people” should or should not have kids. His answers are “for ME personally, my personal view for my life.”

The reasons he wants to have children:

  • "I want the growth journey of being forced to release my own self-centeredness and care about someone else, not because I should, but because I’m compelled to out of deep love.

  • I want to create another human who is half me and half my partner and enjoy the pleasure and happiness of seeing how our traits mix and meld together and become a whole other being.

  • I look forward to guiding and teaching the development of my children's minds and spirits, not imprinting them as much as guiding them on their own discovery. I want to help them grow and develop."

Taylor’s reasons not to have children:

  • "A child I birth now will be alive in 2100 and beyond and will have to live through massive environmental change — rapid sea level rise, mass climate migration that will lead to geopolitical and cultural strife that will make the European social strife after the Syrian war in 2014 and 2015 look quaint.

  • It will be an incredibly disruptive time and there is likely to be a lot of pain and uncertainty. I would worry about exposing them to this.

  • Very soon, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be orders of magnitude smarter than any human alive. When this intelligence combines with biological tracking and surveillance, we risk living in an authoritarian surveillance state run by technology that we can no longer control.

  • Or at the very least, the vast majority of people will choose to be fully plugged in rather than connecting in person — living their lives in virtual worlds, dating virtual sex dolls and caring even less about the health of the physical world. I’m hesitant to expose my children to this world."

Taylor Mee-Lee
Musician | Writer | Career Counselor & Recruiter

Tip 3: Regret about having children; the impact on adult, partner time and the marriage; financial cost; and having kids to avoid loneliness.

Mackenzie is increasingly feeling that she does not want to have children. Here are her reasons why:

"1. Regret about not having children versus the risk to have them and then regret having had them.

  • The number one reason people always tell me to have kids is, you might regret it later when you are older and wish you had them. My thought is, isn't it just as big a risk to have them and then regret having them? But in that scenario you have no choice but to keep your kids (obviously) and just bear it.

  • There is only beginning to be more openness to parental regret, but it's a taboo subject so we have no idea the actual rate of parental regret, it could be something people are keeping to themselves.

  • My personal thought is that there is much more parental regret out there and of course the people who have kids are going to say they love it, because of the social shunning that would come if they were honest.

2. The impact of children on adult and partner time.

  • I'm a naturally impatient person. Every time I'm around kids for a long period of time they trigger me and I have the sense that they are more work than they are worth.

  • They always want me to do things I don't want to do (like playing with them); they disrupt adult time (constantly talking so it is hard for adult conversation to continue with any flow).

  • On this point, I can see how having children would deeply affect my relationship with my partner... putting stress on it and forcing us into a more codependent lifestyle. We would have to be around each other all the time, instead of how it is when kid-free.

  • We each have time for our personal space and alone time, and then get to really enjoy each other when we choose to be together. With a kid all those nice and sexy things would be a lot harder to maintain. The moments of joy are nice, but they don't seem to outweigh all the costs.

3. The finances of having children.

  • On the money point, my biggest fear is that kids are super expensive, so I would feel forced to work a job I may not like, just because I HAVE to make a certain amount of money.

  • Without kids, I'm only responsible for myself so can take bigger risks in order to pursue a more fulfilling career. My fear is that kids would put a lot of financial pressure on me and would require me to work a job I don't want to have.

4. The 'You’ll be lonely later if you don’t have children' argument.

  • To elaborate on point #1 — people always say, have kids because you will be lonely later if you don't have them. They say, you'll want them to be around you and spend time with you when you are older.

  • My thought is, you can raise these kids, give them your all, but even then, there is no guarantee they will want to hang out with you or spend time with you later.

  • It seems silly to me to sacrifice so many years just to make sure you aren't alone later in life. I'd rather just work on being happy with myself so that I don't get lonely.

  • It is a gamble on all the years of commitment and work that come with having kids, just so I don't MAYBE end up lonely later.

5. Staying together for the kids.

  • From my observation, kids tend to make people stay together in relationships longer than they should because they are 'staying together for the kids.'

  • I've seen couples (like my parents) stay together for 40+ years “for the kids” when they probably would have been happier separated years ago. Kids force couples to stay in relationships far longer than the relationship should last. Just too big of a sacrifice!"

If she had to make a case for having children, Kenzie said:

"1. Having children fills a need to be happy and needed.

  • I can imagine for people who are not happy with themselves or need to be with other people to feel happy, that having a kid would make them feel needed.

  • It fills up an empty space, gives them some kind of purpose that is socially accepted by our culture. People don't question you if you say, I'm having kids to have a family, not be lonely later and for a sense of purpose. Not even a question! But if you say I'm not having kids - they want to know ALL the reasons.

2. It is fulfilling to see the stages of development.

  • I can imagine it would be fulfilling to see your child go through all the stages of development.

  • One of the only positives I can see is that it could help with childhood wounding by giving someone a chance to give their child the childhood they never had. I can image that might be healing for some.

3. It could strengthen the partner bond.

  • I think for some people, it could strengthen the bond with their partner on some level (although I see this coming with a lot of struggle as well)."

Mackenzie Mee-Lee
Talent VP at TheLions


At least once a year, many parents on Mother’s or Father’s Day reflect on the nature and quality of their parenting skills and history... or at least this parent does.

So as I listened to the vigorous and robust sibling discussion on having children or not, I concluded that the State of the Union and parenting effectiveness was very good... not perfect, but reassuringly good.

Here’s why:

  • Firstly and basically, they were all together working as a team to close one chapter of our family and move forward. Sadly, some siblings never talk or come together.

  • While each has strongly held views on a variety of subjects and especially the topic of having children or not, their emotional intelligence is high and they were able to hear each other, consider and accept or reject each other’s points of view.

  • Even though they have different temperaments, priorities and preferences, they respect each other and recognize their unique talents. Moreover, they are actively co-creating a coaching, training and personal growth venture that melds their complementary skills and knowledge.

  • We are able to openly discuss what worked well and what didn’t in the parenting style and culture of our family. As parents I know we did our very best to nurture a loving, safe, secure and dynamically healthy developmental experience. In many areas we succeeded. In some areas they have woundings as we all do, to create contrast and clarity on how they want to grow and develop now as adults (and parents).

Oh, and by the way, if you are interested in my feelings about having children, I cast my votes with SKILLS Tips #1 and #2. I hear and understand Mackenzie’s opinions clearly. I know she will land on her feet whichever way she jumps.


Thanks for joining us this month. See you in late July.


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