Shouldn’t children be treated with the same amount of respect as any other group of people?
After a recent discussion with some of my peers on Twitter about people who choose to be child-free being vehement child haters, I felt compelled to write a more detailed rant on the topic.
The debate arose when one of the people I follow re-tweeted an article asking the childless of the workforce to help pick up the slack for people who choose to have children. Comments that followed from her child-free comrades included calling children “brats” and “mewling spawn.”
What is the deal with the child-free group hating children?
To clear up the meaning behind that statement, I’m talking about hating children loudly and in public, just because they are children.
Not every person who chooses not have children has such an awful attitude, so this is addressed to those who do; I’m talking about using lazy parenting and poor behavior as an excuse to hate all children. I’m talking about insulting and mean statements posted on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else about and towards kids and the people who choose to have them.
I’m talking about people who refuse to act like a grown up about their choice.
Yeah, that’s right: child-free child haters often act more like children than children do. I’m also directing this towards childless people who feel the need to make comments about how children should be raised, especially when the comments are extremist and closed minded.
So, you’re saying that if we had continued to hit our children, the world would be a much better place? That every single child is lazy and rude because we didn’t send them outside from sun up to sun down? That if we forced them to pull their pants up, we would have an end to war and hunger?
Yes, I’ve had experiences where a child has kicked the back of my seat during an entire movie. I’ve been on planes with babies that just won’t stop screaming. I’ve seen dirty and hyperactive kids leaving a trail of wreckage behind them in stores. Don’t think that because we’re parents, we are completely oblivious to the crap that some children are allowed to get away with. Neglectful and lazy parenting is the exception, not the rule. We don’t like it any more than you do, but we also don’t use it as an excuse for stereotypical and hateful behavior.
These kids are still human beings and are worthy of kindness and patience—any living creature is.
Crying babies grow up to be artists, athletes and world-changers. A child who’s having a tantrum in the middle of the produce section may one day be the person who makes the political decisions about your future as a senior. These aren’t just little pests that have been placed here to annoy—they will be you some day.
I’ve got to wonder why some child-free individuals spend so much time and energy expelling negative crap out into the world about kids and parenting. If you don’t want to have children and dislike them so intensely, why are you so focused on them?
Is this a maturity issue? Is your attitude a result of how much kindness and compassion you received yourself as a child? I can only imagine the inner turmoil that must take place to keep up that hateful momentum.
Believe it or not, most parents don’t like their kids acting like lunatics any more than you do. We are raising our children to be caring, generous and mindful citizens but that takes time and patience—from everyone. Your sneers and woefully obvious glares won’t change anyone’s behavior but it will change how the world views you. Let me repeat something you’ve already heard before: you will never completely understand unless you’ve got kids.
To the child-free child haters:
When a baby is crying, it’s in distress. He or she is not trying to annoy anyone within earshot. If the baby is somewhere a baby shouldn’t generally be (and there are many opinions on where a child should and shouldn’t be), your issue is not with the child but with who put the child in that situation. Keep in mind that sometimes, parents make mistakes just like anyone else. A little compassion can go a long way.
If the child is misbehaving, again, your issue isn’t necessarily with the child, but with the parenting—maybe. You should ask yourself if the child’s behavior is actually bad behavior or if it’s just that you’re allowing yourself to be overly irritated simply because you’re “child-free, damn it, and children just shouldn’t be anywhere public, ever.”
Lastly, no one’s asking the child-free to love children. Dislike them all you want, but please do it quietly, with respect to children and their parents. Replace “child” in your child hating statements with words like gay, black, women or disabled and maybe then you’ll understand why parents are so insulted themselves and on behalf of their kids.
The bottom line is that all humans should be treated with respect and dignity. You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be child free and you can be proud of your choice.
You can, however, be vocal about your child-free decision without being hurtful in the process.
Choose not to perpetuate hate of any kind towards any group of people.
Like I’m not “Spiritual.” I just practice being a good person on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise
hot on elephant
July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.”