Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Non-Existent Kids are Thankful We Didn't Have Them

Here's a thought that occurs to me all the time.  I wonder if it occurs to other childfree-by-choice folks.  On a regular basis I think to myself (or say to hubby), it's a good thing we didn't have kids, for their own sake.

No, this is not because we would be bad parents.  It's not because we're not parent material.  It's because my thinking of how kids should be raised is a lot different than the way most people raise their kids today.

What got me thinking about this was an article I read recently in Philadelphia Magazine called The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men.  The article delves into the problem of men who never grow up.  Who live with mom and dad indefinitely.  Who sit around watching porn and playing video games all day.  Who have no drive to get a career, find a partner and establish an adult life.  More importantly, the article addresses the question of why this problem exists.

My opinion is that the problem exists because of the overly permissive, coddling, "I want to be my kid's best friend", "My kid is unique and special", "My kid can do no wrong", "I will give my kid everything" way that people raise kids today.  It's creating a culture of lazy ass monsters.  And this is why it's a good thing we don't have kids.  If we had kids, they probably wouldn't be too happy with us because:

1.  They would not have cell phones until they were 16.  And then, they would have limited minutes, and very limited texting.  Their texts and social networking would be monitored by us until they were 18.

2.  They would not eat meat in our household.

3.  They would not be given junk food in our household, except as an occasional treat on weekends and special occasions like birthdays and holidays.  In our household "snack" would mean fruits, nuts and other healthy foods.

4.  They would not have a t.v. or computer in their room.  The t.v. and computer would be located in a central place where they could be monitored.

5.  T.V. watching and video games would be limited to an hour a day.  They would be encouraged to read, draw, paint, play a musical instrument, exercise, or do some other enriching activity with their free time.  Or how about this - RELAX.

6.  They would be required to go outdoors and get fresh air and exercise every day.

7.  They would have a list of chores that they would be required to do as a requirement of being a contributing member of the household.

8.  They would be given a reasonable allowance for extra chores, above the required ones.

9.  They would be encouraged to participate in no more than 2 extra curricular activities.  We do not believe in the schedule-kids-to-the-hilt philosophy that today's families subscribe to.

10.  They would have to make their own "play dates" because I do not believe in parents scheduling appointments with other parents so their kids can have a social life.

11. If they got in trouble in school, we would not be bailing them out, making excuses for them, accusing their teachers or blaming other people. Our child would be held accountable.

12. They would be required to buy their own car and work their way through college. It builds character. I know this from first-hand experience.

13.  We would allow them to live with us through college without paying rent, but after that, they would be required to pay rent.  And under no circumstance would they be permitted to live with us indefinitely.  Go to school, get a career and out you go.

14. We would contribute 33% to our child's wedding cost and would expect that our child, and the parents of the spouse to be would each also contribute 33%.

So you can see why it's a good thing we don't have kids.  Their life would not be easy.  They would not be comotose in front of a computer or t.v. screen watching porn or playing video games.  They would not be handed everything on a silver platter and told they are a special snowflake.  They would probably compare us to their friends' parents and hate our freaking guts.

But more importantly, it's a good thing we don't have kids for our own sake.  Can you imagine having to be on top of all that stuff in my list?  Can you imagine having to monitor the t.v., computer, cell phone and texting of another person?  Can you imagine (on top of taking care of your own needs and problems) being burdened with making sure another person is eating healthily, exercising, pursuing enriching activities, behaving, being held accountable for bad behavior, completing their chores, their homework, finding and keeping a job, saving for a car and college and developing into a upstanding contributor to society?  And let's not forget about all the other worries and stresses that didn't even make my list.

Yes, it's a good thing for both our non-existent children and for us that we have chosen the path we have chosen.  I wake up every day and sigh a deep breath of relief that I don't have these stresses and worries in my life.  And I am sure my non-existent child - wherever her spirit may be floating in the spirit world - is breathing a deep sigh of relief too.

Although I feel this relief, it does trouble me that the infestation of coddled, video game playing, porn-watching, couch potato 30-somethings are going to be running the world in the future, instead of the well-adjusted, healthy, upstanding go-getters that we would have raised.  Oh well. Hopefully by the time the couch potatoes find the motivation to pull themselves away from their video games and porn and go out into the world, we will already be 6 feet under.


Serenity Yoga said...

you know, that's pretty much how I was brought up (although mobile phones weren't around til I was about 18) and it did me not a bit of harm.

I feel exactly the same as you do and cannot believe how badly brought up so many kids are these days.

Laura said...

With the exception of #2 (I'm a vegetarian, hubby is not, so our kids are flexitarians)everything you listed are actually our house rules, and our kids don't hate us. Now, granted, we homeschool, so peer pressure isn't as much of an issue. However, my kids' friends have very different (in most cases much more lax) house rules, and my kids understand that every family is different.

It's not hell for kids to grow up with boundaries. We explain to our kids why we have the rules, and that we're trying to look out for their best interests. While they don't always agree with us, they do recognize that we raise them the way we do out of love. They certainly don't hate us.

You are right that it's a lot of work for parents. I enjoy it, but I know it's not for everyone. I wish more people would take it as seriously as you have, and decide whether parenting is a commitment they truly wish to undertake.

sara star said...

Its sad, but true, for even the more motivated of the young men out there it is hard to find work and with a lack of work often comes a lack of sense of worth. I fear the repercussions for my generation to have had such a bad start.

I don't think it has to do with permissiveness or amount of computer use (I work on a computer all day at work, if my parents had kept me off of the computer, I would not be competitive in the workplace now). I know my parents would take me in if I was homeless. It has nothing to do with how permissive they were, just with the facts of the economy.

But there is a good reason not to have kids, right there. If I had a kid today, I could not have a reasonable expectation of a good life for him or her with a good job in 18 years.

Gail De Kosnik said...

I definitely think this (that our non-existent kids are lucky that we didn't have them)! I must say it's not because I worry that today's kids are being too coddled - even though I totally think/KNOW that is 100% true - but more because of really mundane reasons. I am a person that needs a lot of quiet time - our kids might think of me as "unavailable." My husband needs a lot of "us" time (and I really like "us" time but maybe don't *need* it to the same extent that he does) - and our kids might think of us as "never around." On top of that, both my husband and I have really time-consuming jobs that we (most of the time) feel pretty passionately about - and our kids would say, "Work always comes first with you."

In other words, if we had kids, I think our first choice would be to ignore them or be away from them a good deal of the time!! That's not fair to the kids, for sure, and I think they would know it!!!! The alternative would be that I (and let's face it, it would be me, as the mother, like 90% of the time) would give up a lot of my time to spend time on/with the kids. In which case the kids would say, "Mom's always so irritable/grumpy/stressed out/angry"!!!

Better for them, and better for us, that they have NOTHING to complain about in terms of how we are raising them :). And much better for us that we have NO GUILT about how much time we *aren't* spending with our kids!!!!

Jin's Blog said...

I agree with all your rules, but #2? Wow!!

Erin said...

AMEN!! Funny you wrote on this particular topic because I was thinking the same sentiments over the past few days. The entitlement children feel these days is reprehensible, and the parents are to blame!! My kids would grow up miserable, and while that'd be fine with me, I have zero interest in adding to the technologically dependent, lazy, "what would I do with myself if I don't have a text message plan!?" type of children that exist today.


Spectra said...

You think a lot like me. I would be such a strict parent that my kids would probably hate me a lot of the time. Oh wait, I'm sorry, they'd think of me as their MOM; not their best friend. I heard that's almost considered a crime nowdays. Heaven forbid you set rules and boundaries and discipline your kids. Heck, when my niece and nephew come over, my sis lets them do whatever they want and I'm the one telling them to respect my property and not wreck the place.

Arik said...

Very well said and there is a whole host of other reasons too. One big one that I think of often is that you're sparing them from a world where they'd be forced to deal with all these spoiled rotten kids as adults.

I also understand what you're saying about the meat thing for example I have friends that are Christians they say things like "my children will not be anything other than a Christian because that's important to my values and I believe it will enrich their lives." Just as an example I mean no disrespect at all. I do eat some meat but only certain types (off topic reasons) BUT I also know people that feel just as strongly about vegan-ism and vegetarianism they have a right to enforce this rule with their offspring as well. But dare I mention Christian parents would almost never say "but they can worship of other religions outside the home". Again just an example taken from my point of view not to be disparaging in anyway.

Ire said...

My boyfriend and I are vegans, and we don't see it as a problem, but an enrichment in our lives. Why would it have to be a nuisance for our hypothetical kids? They would eat healthier and much tastier meals than most kids do these days.

I am amazed at how obsessed kids and teenagers are with technological gadgets. Obviously, it is their parents' fault. It's unbelievable that a fifteen-year-old today can have had around 10 cell phones in their life. When were they bought their first one? At 5 years old?

Lady Fireglow said...

Hey now!

I love the post and have to agree with many of your points, but admittedly took a bit of umbrage at your disparaging of gamers.

Three times you bring up video gaming, and each time you equate it with negativity and laziness ("sit around", "comatose", "coddled", "couch potato"). I understand that gaming might not be your hobby, but there's no need to be quite so down on it. Sure, a lot of the young men in the article are losers who play video games. But, I think you'll find that's because a lot of young men (and women) play video games in general. I'm positive that successful young men play video games too, because it's a popular hobby. I enjoy gaming very much, so to see one of the ways I relax and unwind vilified for no reason (why not rag on 'sports-watching', or 'music-listening', or 'or 'Internet-surfing') just because you do not personally enjoy video games was a bit disheartening.

I game. I put myself through school (I have a Masters degree). I also work full-time, kickbox four times a week, am an avid reader, and have a happy marriage. Sometimes, after an exhausting day at the office or vigorous workout, I want to unwind with video games on the couch. One of the reasons I'm childfree is so that I can have uninterrupted time to enjoy my hobbies, couch-potato or not.

I realize that this wasn't the direct point of your article, but just wanted to point out that 'video-game-playing', strung along as a negative characteristic alongside such things as 'coddled' or 'couch potato' was a bit out of place. Lots of people game - we're not all bad. Some of us are even childfree. :)

Marina said...

I read the article you linked to and all I can say is WOW. That's horrible. The sense of entitlement from these young men is unbelieveable. I hate to see what the next generation will be like. I think there will be a backlash against this style of parenting soon. 40% of Gen Xers are childfree/less. It wouldn't surprise me if more than half of millenials never have children.

shell said...

Excellent post and I agree-! As another person posted, I also see veganism as an
enrichment of my life. My husband and I have been vegetarians for 20 years and vegans for 18 months.
I hope the day comes soon that eating meat is seen as disgusting as smoking and being drunk in public are now.
On a planet of 6 billion other humans, there are many reasons to be vegan: to not kill animals unnecessarily, to reduce one's impact on
the environment and to achieve optimal health. Healthy vegans are living proof that one does not need to eat animal products to be healthy.
Now, if you believe that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death
on nonhuman animals, then logically you should consider not eating them or their secretions. That is my view.
If you have never considered not eating meat before - boy now is the time consider it ! With all the info we now have on
cancer & heart disease being related to meat eating, getting off meat s one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Jennifer @noteasy2begreen said...

I was actually brought up with many of the boundaries you mentioned, and I didn't mind them. What I did mind was the constant sense I was a burden to my parents. I couldn't even ask for a ride to a friend's house without feeling like it was a major imposition on their time. I grew up into someone who also enjoyed my space, quiet, and privacy, and I realize that I couldn't have children without resenting the loss of independence and freedom. Unlike my parents, I'd rather raise no children than ones who grew up feeling that they weren't really wanted.

BCAinNC said...

Totally agree 200% I always said it is a good thing I would never have kids because I would be a total nazi as a parent. My parents were very strict and had real expectations of me and I'm thankful for that. It's made me te person I am today. There is not a single day that goes by that I don't say to myself how HAPPY I am that I don't have kids!

Kelly said...

As a teacher, number 11 is my favorite: "If they got in trouble in school, we would not be bailing them out, making excuses for them, accusing their teachers or blaming other people. Our child would be held accountable."

I wish more parents followed this rule. Their children would be better equipped for reality.

CF-PC Me! said...

Hey! Youre back! We missed you. Anyway, Ive had this type of thinking for awhile. I'm actually a little bit of an antinatalist. Every time a parent acts like I. Selfish for not having kids, I think to myself "yes, but my child won't be the one dying in World War III. That would be your child." but that's my personal belief.

Oh! I figured someone might want to know. I started my own CF blog! It's new but I think it's pretty good thus far. Check it out at: kidsareoptional.blogspot.com
Im one of those people who like to read all kinds of blogs at once, so if anyone's interested, there's more over there.

Zen Trekkie said...

Allowance? What's that? I got a roof over my head, clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, and food to eat. When I was growing up, there was no such thing as an allowance. I made my own money, by babysitting (VERY BRIEFLY), and then by drawing portraits for $10-$20 each. Make the little bastards work for their money by mowing lawns or helping an old lady clean out her gutters. Builds character.
I also don't think the wedding thing is necessary. It's rough for kids to pay for their own wedding, but mom and dad need some money to retire on. They can go to the courthouse and get the documents for $50 - that's what my husband and I did. It didn't hurt us one bit to not have a wedding. Besides, I think the marriage is more important than the wedding - and considering the divorce rate nowadays, HOW MANY WEDDINGS WILL YOU PAY 33% FOR?

Scene + Heard said...

Raising kids the way I believe (more the french way a la "Raising Bebe") would be like swimming upstream in this crazy world of hand sanitizer and where children are thought of as spiritually and emotionally weak. Coddling. Letting you kids control your entire life etc is crazy to me. I could not bring kids into the world for MANY reasons but when I look at other parents and how they raise their kids I throw my hands up and say NO THANK YOU. I'm not going to play that game.

Childfreeeee said...

I am enjoying all your comments, everyone.

I should also add that although my post sounds a bit harsh and Nazi-istic, there are some things I am firmly against - for example using any kind of physical punishment on kids. I am completely against that.

I do believe a child should have some privacy too. For example, although I would be careful to monitor computer, social media and the like (thanks to predators and the abusive ways those things are used even by kids themselves), I would encourage my child to keep a journal and I would NOT read it.

I also believe in treating kids with respect...showing interest in their opinions, allowing them to express how they feel and giving them reasons for things. I would NOT say, "because I SAID SO!" which frustrated me so much as a kid. I would give straight-forward answers and information.

I would also show them a lot of love and affection and I think this is really important. My parents were a bit stingy in that area.

Childfreeeee said...

Oh..and I should also clarify that I think there is a time and place for things like t.v., computer, social media and video games. Everything in moderation. But what I would NOT tolerate is having a kid who sits on his butt all day and night in front of a flashing screen at the expense of all other activities and interests.

Liz @ MaybeBabyMaybeNot said...

I totally agree - but man, am I glad I don't live with you! I'd never pass the junk food test. :)

shell said...

The 33% for the wedding - I don't get it? Why not make it 25% ? the bride and groom each pay 25% and the bride's parents pay 25% and so do the grooms. that's more equitable. but i think i agree with the poster who said they went to the court house and did not have a wedding. my wedding was a small backyard one with only 40 people - very simple.....but it all went by in a blurr and it would have been more fun to just elope.

Sherri.S said...

It's ironic that those of us who have chosen not to have kids would be better parents than the people pumping out litters these days.

Temujin said...

If I were a parent, I would like to be the kind who established those rules, but I suspect I would probably cave in all the time.

This may not be a commonly held view, but I think totally spoiling your kids or letting them run completely wild is just another form of child abuse. If you make them into adults who have no sense of self-control or boundaries then you're setting them up for failure and/or jail.

I also like the fact that this list shows that many people choose to be childfree because they take the question of having kids seriously, not because we're too busy partying to think about it, or because we can't stand any kind of commitment or responsibility.

Temujin said...

P.S. Actually, if you ran your household by those rules, your children probably WOULD thank you afterwards. Maybe not during their adolescence, but afterwards. Besides, if you children never hated your rules, you're probably not doing your job as a parent.

Happily CF said...

This post is so funny and so on target - I have thought the EXACT same things, and actually just thought it again the other day. My kids would probably be ostracized because they would be raised the way I was before the age of cell phones, the internet, helicopter parents, and out of control consumerism. Yes, I could home school them and maybe we'd find a community of likeminded people, but I wouldn't want to have to do that. I'd like them to be able to go to a regular school and have friends, but like I said, they'd probably end up being outcasts and miserable because all of the other kids would have and be going things they don't have/don't do.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, I get the sarcasm, you want to pat yourself in the back for knowing you'd be great parents... this is something all us CF people go through, but it's pretty childish. You can never really know how good of a parent you'd be. Unless you are 100% mentally healthy (which is extremely unlikely, unless you're part of a lucky 1%), parenting will always go sour.

Francois Tremblay said...

Also, I agree that I would hate you, if you were my parents. The role of a parent, if they are so irrational as to have children, is not to impose their values on their children, because your child IS A SEPARATE PERSON FROM YOU, and it is wrong to impose your values on other people. To quote from a recent entry on Better Never to Have LOLed:

"transformative justice is not molding your child to fit some dream that heals our past trauma—it is finally admitting that our children are their own little beings with their own needs and it’s not up to us to mold them into what we see as social justice warrior—but to mold this fucked up *world* into a safe place for them to become whatever fucking type of human being they need to become to actualize themselves as fully human and capable of receiving and giving tremendous love."

So yea, I guess we should be glad you're not parents! Instead of trying to make this world a better place, you would be trying to make your children "better" according to your own personal, subjective criteria.

Alexandra Ene said...

I would never pass the "don't eat meat" part. I'm an atrocious carnivore and I function poorly without it. As a child I hated all food except eggs , chicken and fruits. And sweets, of course. I was slender to the extreme because I seldom ate something I enjoyed, and I used to dread lunch hours as food I didn't like was being shoved down my throat.
Another point on your list I wouldn't like is the computer part. It is very important that a child knows how to use a computer, because almost any career he chooses, he will be dealing with one of those on his desk. The best way to learn is when you do it out of curiosity, instead of necessity. When I was a teenager I used to create programs that did silly things, for fun (I studied computer programing). I had no games on it, but I combined studying with having fun, and that worked out just great for me.

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

I think your kids would grow up way better than average, actually--kids who spend lots of time outside, are expected to contribute to the household in which they live, and are limited in terms of cell phone/TV/video game/other mind-numbing technology I would wager are happier and better adjusted than the majority who do not enjoy such boundaries.

But I agree that its good for *you* that you don't have kids! :)

It is great to come upon your blog and see perspectives that so reflect my own...childfree but with a deep concern for those kids whose parents saw fit to bring them into this world.

These folks http://www.vhemt.org/
share many of these perspectives too; you may enjoy them.

NoniWork said...

Another reason I could never bring a child into the world. I would hate for a child to have to pick up after everyone else, and get no rewards for it to boot.

That's a horrible burden for a kid.

Anardana said...

Great post! I'm childfree, married, with cats, vegetarian too!