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  • Writer's pictureLance Blackstone

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.

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.

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