Newsflash! Childfree Man Doesn’t Hate Kids!

If you follow this childfree thing much at all you quickly realize that there are a multitude of reasons for why people choose not procreate. There are the kid haters, the world savers, the hedonists, the volunteers, and the ‘I’m waaaaaaaay too busy for that’ types just to name a few. To be fair, most people probably claim some combination of reasons; I know I do. But knowing why a person chooses to be childfree tells you absolutely nothing about how that person actually feels about other peoples’ kids.

Ok… if you’re a kid hater I can probably make an educated guess.

Vulcan Proverb: When You Assume it makes an  Ass out of U. Not Me.

Meme courtesy of http://www.quickmeme.com/

When You Assume It Makes an Ass out of U

My experience has been this – when the average person hears that I am childfree and that I don’t want, and never wanted, kids the next {il}logical step they take is to assume that I must hate children.

Now, clearly just because a person does not want x, it does not logically follow that the person must hate x.

Did you hear Spock rolling over in his future grave?

Anyway, what I’m here to do is correct this misapprehension about me and to save all you assumers from turning into asses…you’re welcome.

Kids Are People Too!

That heading about sums it up. My work here is done.

You need more? Ok. The fact that kids are people is at the root of how I think about kids, and more importantly, how I interact with them.

To give a little background, I discovered pretty early on that I like some people, that I don’t like other people, and am pretty ambivalent about the rest. I’m pretty sure that most of you figured out the same thing. Probably not as quickly as I did, but at some point you did figure it out. You’ve also probably cottoned to the fact that people come with a wide range of abilities and experiences and that these inform their personalities. Some are smart, some aren’t. Some are fun, some aren’t. Some are educated, some aren’t. Some are jerks – I put myself in this category before you can – and some aren’t. Some are young, and some aren’t…

See where I’m going here?

From each according to his ability,
to each according to his need

I put that ^ heading in for two reasons.

1) Amy’s a sociologist and Karl Marx is one of the fathers of sociology so I should get brownie points. Cue the slap bass.

2) It kind of has something to do with what I have to say next

To reiterate, kids are people, people have different abilities, experiences, and personalities, right? Also, to be clear, I don’t hate or even dislike people generally. My take is that you have to earn my dislike…sort of an optimistic approach. So, to bring it back to Marx (very loosely), let me paraphrase:

From each according to his ability, experiences, and personality, to each how much I like you

Frankly I don’t care if you’re 1, 2, 5, 12, 16, 25, 50, or 89 years old, I’m going to base whether I like you or not on what kind of person you are and whether or not we click. I’m also going to build in some allowance for where you are in your life. For example, all 1 year olds – and many 89 years olds – cannot control their bladders.  If you are at one of these life stages I will not hold wetting yourself against you.

BTW – I warned you…the Marx tie-in was tenuous at best.

What I {Really} Don’t Like

I know there are people that genuinely hate kids – and they aren’t only childfree people. I know some parents that seem to really despise children. But I digress.

I’m not here to judge but I think that many of you self-identified child-haters, if you take a minute to really analyze what it is you hate, don’t actually hate kids. What you hate is disruption…like those kids treating your favorite restaurant like a playground. Or maybe you hate the fact that you hardly ever see your best friend since he had a kid, and when you do, the conversation is never not about the baby. Or maybe it’s the kid screaming – Dear God! Please stop the screaming! – at the checkout counter for that brightly colored candy bar.

The way I look at it, none of these situations are the fault of the child. Many (most?) are the responsibility of the parent(s). The child didn’t ask to be born or brought to the restaurant or to become the only thing your friend can think about or to be tempted by the finely-oiled marketing machine that is the checkout line at your local grocery store.

What I really hate is bad parenting. This includes things like parents taking their children to inappropriate venues or not recognizing when their child is being unacceptably disruptive in any environment. I hate that many parents seem unable to discipline their children, or worse, themselves. I hate that some of my friends have chosen to lose themselves as the people they were to sink their entire identities into child rearing. I hate that many parents assume they get a free pass in various situations because they managed to procreate.

I choose to hold the parents accountable for the bad stuff. After all, they made the decision to have the kid, right? Meanwhile, I choose to treat children like people…little people that I just might like.

Bonus: Don’t believe kids are real people? Read a summary of some of Amy’s childfree research here and see the slide deck, specifically slide 7.

3 Responses to Newsflash! Childfree Man Doesn’t Hate Kids!

  1. Scott December 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    I am one childfree man who dislikes children. “Hate” is too strong a word, but it’s in the ballpark. I generally don’t like spending time with them, and I avoid them whenever I can. I strongly prefer places that do not allow children and prefer to hang out with people who can talk about other things besides children.

    I just don’t think “hating children” is an inherently bad thing, so I’m not all that insulted by the stereotype. I take a small bit of pride that I am not one of the many, many people out there who pretend to like children when they really don’t. I also take a small bit of pride that I know enough to know it’s best for me NOT to have children. If only all those parents who hate children would have been more honest with themselves and their partners…..

  2. Meg Maclaughlin October 26, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    As a parent with school-aged children, it seems to me that all children need: (1) unconditional love, (2) discipline and (3) to be taught personal responsibility/accountability. From what I’ve observed throughout the past 12 years of parenting, many parents, educators, and other “villagers” are failing to provide these things. It is for the children who do not have any of these that my heart breaks.

    My children have visited some pretty swanky venues, and, as a result, have learned what behavior is expected of them in various social situations. But this has required sacrifice and discipline on our part, because when the kids are in over their heads, we must surrender our desire for certain things and head home. There are, however, also plenty of times when we deem it best to leave the kids with a sitter (people in Las Vegas casinos at 2 a.m. with your baby/toddler/child under 21, take note) and enjoy a night out doing whatever the hell it is we feel like doing!

    Parenting, when it’s done well, takes a tremendous amount of time and sacrifice. For the most part, bad kids don’t just happen, and neither do good ones! Part of the challenge (I would venture to say especially for women) is maintaining your identity throughout the process. This is critical, as the children need to see who you are and what you believe in. With this knowledge, children develop their own identities and learn to establish clear goals for their own lives. While working hard to maintain our own identities, however, good parents must also invest tremendous time and effort in their children. This is a difficult balance, at best. There are many, many times when raising decent human beings is an all-encompassing task.

    P.S. I’m not aware of any procreation free passes … what are they redeemable for? Where/how can I get one? Why haven’t I heard of this before now?

    • Mrs Mupersan November 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      I truly wish there was a parenting test before people were allowed to procreate. Meg Maclaughlin, you would pass with flying colours! I truly wish that more parents thought this stuff through before having kids like you have. May your children grow to be wonderful human beings who you can be very proud of.

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