When thinking about having a baby, it's obviously a good idea to weigh certain factors before making such a big decision. If you can, you'll want to look at things like finances and the stability of your relationship. But you'll also want to keep an eye out for any personality traits that might mean you shouldn't have kids.
While there obviously aren't any hard and fast rules, some personality traits can make the whole experience uncomfortable — and sometimes even downright toxic. "I would put [these traits] into two categories," San Francisco-based clinical psychologist Leslie Carr tells Bustle. "The types of traits that could/would make a person a bad parent, and the types of traits that mean having kids just might not be for you." If you're introverted, for example, you can certainly still be a great parent; you just might feel a little overwhelmed at first. But if you have a short temper, or are incredibly controlling? Well, it might be a sign you just aren't ready.
If you want kids and would like to change your ways, it's certainly possible. And knowing which traits aren't very kid-friendly is a great place to start. Read on for some signs to watch out for in yourself and your partner, should you be thinking about having a baby.
1. You Truly Don't Know How To Compromise
Having a baby means not always getting your way, so take note if you truly can't compromise. "If you just need things your way and you have trouble ... being flexible ... then kids might not be for you," child psychiatrist Scott Carroll, MD, tells Bustle. If you're very young, he tells me this might be an issue of maturity, which is a trait that can come with time.
2. You Are 100 Percent Focused On Your Career
While it's certainly possible to have a career and kids at the same time, you might want to consider putting off a family until things settle down. "If someone is a career-oriented person and puts [their] career first, this may be a problem raising children," says speaker and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport. Again, there are plenty of ways to work around this, so you just need to question if you really want to.
3. You Have Ongoing Problems With Addiction
Addiction can affect so many areas of your life, making it something you should definitely consider before having kids. "If someone has a problem controlling the amount of alcohol they consume on a regular basis, this can set things into motion [and] impact children in a negative way," Rappaport says. Same goes for drug use, gambling, etc. It all creates an environment that's unhealthy for kids.
4. You're The Worst With All Things Financial
A baby is obviously a huge financial decision, so think twice if you and your partner are riddled with money troubles. "If someone cannot manage their money in order to pay their monthly bills, and hopefully save money in the process" it will be harder to raise children, Rappaport says. This is another trait that can be changed, but you gotta put in the work.
5. You Have A Super Short Temper
Be honest. Would you be able to handle the demands of a crying baby? "Babies and young children are highly frustrating and demanding, so if you are irritable and react badly to someone screaming ... parenting might not be for you," Carroll says.
6. You Have A Hard Time Relating To People
If you have a hard time relating to people, for whatever reason, Carr tells me it can make parenting incredibly difficult. Not only will you have a hard time working with your partner to raise the baby — while handling all the stressors involved — you might also find it hard to connect with your kid. And that's certainly not ideal.
7. You're Very Particular About Your Living Space
This is one trait that shouldn't stop you from having kids, but it's definitely something you should consider. "A good rule of thumb is if you can't handle a puppy that isn't housebroken in your house, don't have a kid because the kid is even more of a mess," Carroll says. If your love of order is due to something deeper, like obsessive compulsive disorder, it may be worth it to seek therapy first.
8. You're Incredibly Impulsive
Raising a baby requires a cool head, so think twice if you or your partner is reactive or impulsive. "Research has shown that impulsivity is one of the biggest causes of child abuse, especially shaking babies and hitting a child (as opposed to neglect and more chronic abuse)," Carroll says. Scary, but true.
9. You've Been Told You're Immature
It may also be worth waiting until you and/or your partner knows how to better deal with you emotions, before you guys have a kid. As Rappaport tells me, not knowing how to deal with responsibilities in an adult matter means you won't be able to raise your kid properly. And that's not OK.
10. You Have A Total Lack Of Patience
Again, having a kids means putting yourself into some incredibly frustrating situations — like dealing with a crying baby, or a stubborn toddler. So take note if you lack patience, and start to work on it. "This is a hard one to develop, but psychotherapy (not so much meds) can help you develop patience," Carroll says. "Maturity also helps this as well."
11. You Have Other Goals And Aspirations
While not a personality trait, per se, you probably shouldn't have kids if you're hyper-focused on another goal, like starting a company. "You might need to wait to have kids because they can take every ounce of energy you have," Carroll says.
And that's totally OK. If you want to wait to have kids, or don't think you should have them at all, it's nothing to feel bad about. Everyone has different paths in life, and sometimes kids aren't meant to be part of the picture.
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