Presented at the 2012 meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society.
Based on interviews with 31 childfree adults (21 women, 10 men), in this paper I examine childfree people’s relationships with children. Specifically, I analyze the stories childfree people tell about the roles of children in their own lives, in the lives of others, and in our society and culture more generally. While the stories that childfree people tell about their relationships with children contain a number of intriguing contradictions, these stories also reveal important consequences and potential benefits of the relationships they describe. Those consequences and benefits are felt by the childfree themselves, by children and parents, and by their communities. I discuss the contradictions present within the stories and the consequences of these stories as well as the relationships described therein.
View the complete slideshow here: Blackstone ESS 2012.