Why Do People Have Kids?

Neither me nor two of my sisters (I have three) ever felt the urge to have children. My youngest sister has a kid and is done having more.  We all cite the fact that our mother was so messed up that we didn't trust that we could be good mothers.  How can one acquire the skills to do something when a person has had no role model?  But I was wrong.  I ended up with a delightful son in my thirties because there came to be a time when either I had kids or it would be biologically too late and after 14 years of marriage my spouse decided he kinda wanted kids.

I was the oldest of five children and had no illusions about what kind of work went into raising a child. I also didn't much like the children I had been exposed to over the years. I never understood the women who loved babies and wanted babies. I never understood babies either. Why did people get all nuts with a baby around?

So, when it became clear there would be a child in my life I had come pretty well defined standards of what I would or would not tolerate in the way of behavior. My friends told me that it's all well and good to have these silly ideas, when you actually have a child that all changes and all your best plans go out the window.   

No.  No they don't.  Yes, I was fortunate to have a kid who was very verbal at an early age and I think that more than anything helps with the terrible twos. He could make himself understood. I wouldn't tolerate tantrums and when he tried it I would make sure he was not in danger and leave him to his drama. I would come back and ask him: "So, hows the tantrum working for you?  Have you gotten what you want yet?". I looked after children in my home so I could stay home with my son and at a very young age he came to laugh at other children when they were having fits. He saw the futility. Never giving him what he was tantruming about pretty much insured the death of tantrums. At least for him. 

Which is basically what raising a kid is about. Unless you have a special needs child, it's the same as raising pets.  Reward the behavior you want to continue. Don't reward the behavior you don't want. I told him if he didn't like an answer I gave him, I would be open to a calm, reasonable, discussion about why he thought it was unfair. If he made valid points I would reconsider. If he didn't have any reasons, then when I said "No" it was no. Conversely when I said yes, it was yes.

He was a pretty good little kid to have around most times. Happy, smart and a decent conversationalist. Now that he's a teenager there are rarely dramatic moments where tempers flare and angry words are tossed around. We still have calm, reasonable discussions when problems need to be addressed and he often responds with: "I can see what you're saying and you're right".  

Getting a kid like this is 75% luck.  The rest has been the fact that he was raised by 30 something adults who dealt with issues calmly and reasonably themselves, and who required that their child meet a standard of behavior or face the consequences.

I do not understand people who have children because they think that's what they're supposed to do, not necessarily what they want to do. Mandatory parenthood if you will. If you don't want kids, don't have them and don't let anyone guilt you into it. Chances are they're envious of your freedom. For a certainty they will not be raising the kid they guilt you into having. If you don't want kids, don't have them. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to be a parent and you can have a fulfilling life without children, don't let anyone tell you differently. I've heard all the bull shit from people who push children on you. Don't believe them.

You'll hear every normal parent tell you that they would never trade their kids. Of course not. Having a child changes you forever but don't think you're missing anything if you are not inclined to have them. It is a different kind of life not a better one if you do something likewise fulfilling with your life, that is. 

Having a child is a gamble. It's a gamble to invest so much emotion, expense and time in a project that might not turn out very well and you have control over a lot of that. However there are many things a parent has no control over. Like mental, emotional and physical disabilities which take a huge toll on parents and children.  The fact remains however that you can do everything right and still have child that turns out to be a monster.

I have no problem with people who think they will not be a good parent and opt not to have children. My mother should not have had children. But she did and her children have the choice to be good people or not. So far 3/5 have opted not to use her as an excuse to be defective humans. Me, and two of my sisters are productive adults and don't let how we were raised define us. Two of us have had children and are good mothers. It's a choice but it's a choice only if you recognize that the way you were raised was defective and if you educate yourself about what is normal and what isn't and then work consistently to stay in that groove.

I have a brother who is the worst kind of man.  He got married and together they bring out the worst in each other. They have three children they brought into their dysfunctional relationship and one of those has had two of her own.  My brother and his wife are prime examples of why I believe we should be born sterile and when we prove ourselves able to adequately provide for children, and pass the tests and get licensed and meet the minimum age requirement, we have our reproductive powers restored to us.

That will be the platform on which I run when I get into politics.


Angie said...

I'd move to Canada to vote for you.

Frimmy said...

And when I say "born sterile" I actually mean sterilized at birth.

Noelle said...

When I read the title I answered in my head unprotected sex.
Some people are scarred they will grow old and have no one to talk care of them sigh...who wants to be born with that job. There is no good reason not when you know what kind o world your bringing them into.

My kids are great but I'm scarred for their futures.

Angie said...

I'm in the group that always knew they wanted children, but not to take care of me when I'm old. I actually don't think I'd care for that. That's a relinquishing of power that I'm just not prepared to do.

I respect and applaud people that know they don't want to be parents and carry through with that. It's not for everyone and it's one of the few jobs that has little room for error in that regard. The only thing that bothers me and always has, is the people that feel the need to preach their views to others. If you don't want children, fine, but don't sit there and tell me how much you detest them and as your reward, I won't sit and bore you with stories of how wonderful they are. I've known a few people like this and it seems as though they are validating their choice by badmouthing innocent children. Just because I don't want a puppy, doesn't mean I don't think they are cute and sweet, I just don't want the responsibility of one.

Anonymous said...

Well written. I had one son, young. I think being an only child helped with behaviour issues, as well as being an involved parent. I don't understand how people don't get that aspect, the being involved part. I enjoy other peoples children - but not brats. And I have friends that have brats. And I parent them when they are around because it drives me nuts.

My friend with the worst brats, tried for a very long time to get pregnant. I was there for her through the miscarriages and the tears, and now I can't believe the mother she has become. Screechy yelling mother, ignores the kids, calls them brats and can't wait for her "days off" when they go back to their dad (yes she is divorced). She is a prime example of having kids because it was expected, not because she wanted them.



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