Friday, September 21, 2007
Who Hates Kids?
I am sure there are people out there who hate kids. I am not one of them. After reading the venting I do on here about our culture's obsession with children, you may be surprised to learn that I like kids! I genuinely do. I have two nieces and two nephews that I just adore with all my heart and look forward to my times with them - I hug and kiss them to death and give them the silliest little nicknames. I even like our friends' kids and grandkids. I've always been a natural with kids. When I was in my early 20's I worked in a day care center for a few years and I was the star teacher. I was the one who was crawling on the floor playing Big Bad Wolf with the kids and acting like a lunatic. I am still that way for the most part, although crawling on the floor isn't quite as appealing to me now that I'm in my 40s.
So why an essay about kid hating? Well, I want to dispel a big myth about childfree people. The myth is that childfree people are kid-haters. The truth? Most of us like kids. Sure, there are some kid-haters out there who find children repulsive and call them all kinds of meanspirited names like "sprogs" and "crotch dumplings" (I have to admit that one gives me a chuckle), but not all of us feel this way. In fact, I would venture to say the childfree people who hate kids are the minority. Most of us like kids alright - we just don't want the burdensome lifestyle that comes along with having them.
The interesting thing about kid-hating is that the most vehement hatred of children I have ever witnessed has been from parents themselves toward their own children! It never fails to shock and horrify me when I am riding the subway on my way to work, or waiting in line at the bank, and I witness episodes of seething hatred bordering on violence toward children - from parent to child. The hatred is so powerful, it freezes me in my tracks.
I have witnessed parents jerking their children and slamming them into their seats while threatening them with physical violence. I have heard parents call their children names that make me cringe in pain for the child (especially when I look into the child's eyes and see their pain). I have witnessed mothers dragging their kids down the street by their shirt collars and talking to them like dogs. But it's the seething hatred that eminates from some of these people that is simply stupifying. I look into their eyes and I just see hatred, pure and simple. It truly scares me.
Now I can already hear the voices of protest. "It's not hatred! Those mothers are just stressed out. They love their kids! You're misreading them!" or "You cannot judge a person until you've walked in her shoes!" (meaning the stress of parenting drives people to be this way). Well, whatever their reasons for behaving the way they do toward their children, it is simply not acceptable, PERIOD. I have days where I am pushed over the edge by people, but as much as I might like to smash their heads in, I have to control my base instincts and restrain myself.
It makes me want to go up to these mothers and ask, "Can I ask you a question? Why the fuck do you have kids???????!??!!!!!????" (Sorry for the profanity, but that is honestly what I want to say). "If you hate kids so much, WHY DID YOU HAVE THEM? Why do these poor children have to suffer because you are too lazy to use birth control or because you can't think for yourself long enough to ask yourself, 'am I cut out to be a parent?' "
It really upsets me. And when I see the hatred - the shoving, the cursing, the demeaning - and the resulting pain and sadness in the child's eyes - I just don't know what to do. Should I say something? What should I say? Will it do any good or will I just get my ass kicked? Should I call DYFS? Most of the time, the behavior is borderline violent, not breaking-the-law violent, but the long-term psychological damage that is being inflicted on these poor kids is clear as day.
And the kicker is - all this shoving, yelling and demeaning accomplishes NOTHING except to make the situation worse. The kids who are shoved, yelled at and demeaned act WORSE then if they were talked to calmly and treated respectfully, but firmly. The entire energy of a family is set by the parents. If the parents are angry, hateful, screaming and treating others in a demeaning way, so will the kids. And the cycle continues for generations.
I guess the thing that saddens me the most is the sheer stupidity of the human race. How much intelligence does it take to figure out that treating your kids like crap isn't good for them? Is it so hard to put two-and-two together to realize that just because you were treated like crap by your parents doesn't mean that's the way to go with your own kids? Do you REALLY believe your own words when you say, "well, my parents beat MY ass when I was a kid and I turned out fine?" Look me straight in the eye and say it. And just how many brain neurons need to fire before you can figure out how to strap a condom on?
No, the hatred of children doesn't come from me, and it doesn't come from most of the childfree people I know. But yes, there is hatred coming from this childfree person and it is aimed squarely at the people who have no business being parents.