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Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. There are plenty of people who don't have children by choice. Then there are people who do have children and soldier on despite not being particularly happy with that decision. Circumstances can also change and affect opinions over time. Having a special-needs child, for instance, is remarkably challenging––and society doesn't necessarily prepare you for that reality because the image of the "perfect family" is so idealized.

After Redditor BriquitteLait1 asked the online community, "Parents who regret having kids: why?" people shared their stories.

"While I don't regret rescuing her..."

We adopted a four-year-old who turned out to have severe issues. While I don't regret rescuing her from what could have been a bad life, the first 20 years were rough, especially the first 7 years. Her overwhelming needs blew up my marriage and left my slightly older son saying, "I want my childhood back." She's a lovely 28-year-old, and I love her, but man those years were rough.


"I was never abusive..."

I don't think I was ready at the time for kids, I was still figuring out how to be an adult and a husband.

So my kids' formative years I wasn't a very good father to them. I was never abusive or mean but I was very very career-driven and spent almost all my time working instead of playing with my kids who desperately wanted my attention.


"My mom wouldn't consent..."

I didn't get to make the choice for myself due to my age and state law. My mom wouldn't consent to an abortion after I was assaulted. I love my son dearly, but I never asked for this and I never wanted kids to begin with. I haven't gone to college, I have severe depression, no friends or support system to lean on, and I'm broke. It has ruined my life and I'm only in my early 20s.


"But the big one..."

Kids are a lot of work. I was never really excited about parenthood but agreed to adopt with my spouse. I miss sleeping in, not worrying about dinner plans. Freedom to do whatever I want, etc.

But the big one is my AM. We have a 1 and 3-year-old so diapers potty time and getting them dressed has ruined the morning for me. No more leisurely shower and grooming time.

Oh and I'm introverted and generally hate most conversations. Talking with children is brutal and leaves me drained.


"We romanticize families way too much..."

Because no one prepares you for those situations that are not perfect: special needs children, mentally ill children. We romanticize families way too much and downplay the difficulties and emotional pain that come with them. And no one talks about this before you have them— I was totally unprepared even though I was married and stable with a college degree. Yeah, you might get great kids that do really well, and you might not. I did not have the temperament to be a good parent and should have been encouraged to explore that before I had them.


This is true.

I am constantly in awe of my friends with special needs children. They are strong people. They are also unflinchingly honest about their struggles while striving to do the best they can for their kids.

"I miss the ability..."

I don't regret having my son, but sometimes I miss my life before I had him. I miss the ability to just do whatever I want whenever I want. Now I have to do it based on his schedule. I know one day it won't be as hard, but right now I miss my freedom.


This is a big one.

It's probably one of the major reasons why I wouldn't want to deal with children. I actually really like children––they're awesome and it's great to see them learn and grow. But I also know that I'm selfish with my time. I like to give children back.

"If I had known..."

I have two kids and they're an endless series of PTSD triggers. If I had known the extent and nature of my mental health situation I would have never had children. I love my kids but it is what it is.


"My oldest son..."

I caved when my wife got baby fever entirely too soon after our first. My oldest son had just been diagnosed with autism and I just kind of thought that everyone with very young children were miserable until they were 4 or 5 years old. I repeatedly told her that not at all ready to have another child but gave in. We weren't doing well financially or personally but I just wanted to make her happy.

She asked for a divorce soon after our youngest turned 1. It's becoming more and more obvious just how self-centered and selfish my ex-wife has always been.

I'm trying not to be bitter but I hate a lot of being a single dad of two young children without any help. I eat what I'd like to say often because I realize it wouldn't be productive. I grew up with parents who had a terrible divorce and I'm trying to make sure my kids don't live the same fate.

I'm lonely and terribly depressed, it feels like my life consists entirely of working and being a dad. It feels like no one will ever love me again and everything about dating sucks.

I don't blame my children. I love them more than they might ever know. My life would be infinitely easier without kids but I hope they'll never know how I feel.


"The only reason..."

I adore my children. The only reason that I regret having them is that I'm not very optimistic about the future in general. I don't want them to suffer through the decline of our nation/world.


More and more parents...

...are expressing concern about climate change and the impact it will have on their children and their futures. News outlets have reported for some time that climate change is shaping family planning.

"I still love him to death..."

My son has autism and I sometimes regret having him. I still love him to death but when I see that he's not like other kids and doesn't really socially interact, it breaks my heart. I worry about his future and what would happen when my husband and I die. Will he be independent and take care of himself? I worry a lot.


More and more people––particularly mothers, who bear much of the work that comes with child-raising––are speaking out.

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.

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Typically, I would write an intro about my own experiences with the weird kids at school, but I WAS the weird kid in school. Not in a bad way, more like a “I had a John Waters phase” when I was 16 and everyone knew it. So like, cool-weird. At least I hope so.

Schools aren’t always so lucky to have the cool kinds of weird kids though. The spectrum of weird extends even further than that, and can sometimes end up very disasterous.

U/Imaginary_East5786 asked: What was the weirdest thing the weird kid did at school?

​Let’s start with the grossest of the gross. Because why not.

Was it worth it?

peeing ralph wiggum GIF Giphy

He heard that you'd automatically get suspended if you peed your pants at school. He wanted to find out if it was true, peed his pants, got suspended.


Scientific method:

> Observation: 'I've heard that by peeing your pants you will be suspended'

> Hypothesis: If I pee my pants I will be suspended

> Experiment: I peed my pants and I got suspended

> Conclusion: If I pee my pants I get suspended


Uhhh what was the intention here?

He got mad that he didn't understand how to play a game at lunchtime so he started hitting and punching the nearest person to him, who happened to be me. When I shoved him away and asked him what the hell was he doing, he whipped his unit.out, charged at me and when I shoved him away from me again he started crying and ran away with his member still sticking out.


​Next ones up are the lowkey (or even highkey) disturbing stories. These weird kids can get a little scary.

Boom theret.

At my middle school, someone decided to get a little attention with a good old fashioned bomb threat. Except they thought that a bomb threat meant literally writing "bomb threat" somewhere. Worse yet, they misspelled the f*ck out of it, and wrote "boom theret."

So we had to go on a brief, very awkward lockdown while the police checked the perimeter for booms.


I hope there was no overlap in the columns.

Serial Killer Halloween GIF by GIPHY CAM Giphy

She wrote a list of all the girls and boys she wanted to kiss and murder and then casually passed it out on the playground.


2 separate lists or just the 1?


Same list 2 columns lol.


Holy crap.

Had the weird kid in high school ask the teacher to use the bathroom. She said no and this dude legit stabbed his hand with a pencil. Went all the way through then asked if he could*t was wild.

This was Pearl High School in Mississippi. This was the school Luke Woodham shot and killed his girlfriend and her friend at the school. This kid stabbed himself with the pencil about 2 months after that happened. This was late 1997.


​Most of the time, however, the weird kids are pretty d*mn funny.

Ok, but this takes a lot of skill.

Had a kid nicknamed "cheeseburger" in the grade ahead of me in high school. He got his nickname because when it was time for his class to go to lunch, he snuck into the roof and crawled his way into the cafeteria, dropped down and proceeded to steal all the cheeseburger put out for lunch. Unfortunately they caught him in the act and sent him to the principal's office.

A year later he was caught stealing a teacher's computer, and in the process of being arrested he bit the officers hand, getting him sent to juvi never to be heard of again.


Every school had the cat girl.

cat dragging GIF Giphy

The weird kid at my highschool tied a string around his pencil case and pulled out around the halls pretending it was a dog. He still lives in my hometown. I think unemployed.

Oh also weird girl in middle school acted like a cat. She would meow and hiss at people, lick the water fountain and rub her body on the teacher's legs. In 8th grade. I have no idea where she ended up.



Weird kid in elementary was a self proclaimed alien. Once, while waiting for the bus, she told me "On my planet we eat people like you" and proceeded to bite me. We later became friends in high school and she used to give me massages during lunch break in the quad. Just realized now she was likely tenderizing me.


I was exactly this kind of weird.

He didn't say much, but if asked, he would go to the front of the class and perform Tip-Toe Through the Tulips with all of the emotion and volume of Tiny Tim, holding nothing back.

The last I heard, he became an energy trader, made a ton of money and married well.


I can definitely relate to that last one. In middle school, my English teacher would let me go to the front of the class and perform monologues or songs from Broadway musicals. Weird, but that’s what happens when schools cut funding for the arts and the theatre kids have no outlet.

As long as you’re not hurting anyone, I say let your freak flag fly, man

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