Starsight’s Weblog

December 25, 2007

Child-Free

Filed under: Uncategorized — by The Numenous Way @ 4:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

I am child-free by inclination. Ignore the fact that I raised 8 children. Most of them entered the world through other women’s wombs – selfish women who wanted to be pregnant but weren’t willing to cope with the consequences of that pregnancy. They were all about how holy and sacred it was to be pregnant, to bring new life into the world. It was a spiritual act. It was a “selfless” act and a “sacrifice”. But once the newness of having that baby wore off and the reality of raising a child struck them, it wasn’t so holy and sacred any more, and it had become a true sacrifice – one they weren’t willing to give. So, the children they birthed were left to raise themselves.

Sure, the children were showered with things – mostly clothes and shiny toys, but they were denied the things they needed most – guidance, teaching, role-models, love, care. They gathered in packs – and children with no manners are vicious things. They are frightened, lonely, and they pass along all kinds of wild rumours among them that, with caring adult presence, would have been calmed and corrected. But without adult presence, without adult involvement, the rumours grew and the cruelty spreads. Aggressive behaviour, selfish behaviour, becomes hte norm – and the bewildered parents who left those children alone have no clue what to do with the children they bred and abandoned.

Oh, they’ll say they didn’t abandon the children. They provided them with a roof, and food, and clothes, and gave them every toy they ever wanted – gave them TV and Nintendos and Wii, GameBoys and iPods and computers with internet connection. But, they left the children alone with these powerful toys – no oversight, no controls, no comfort. The children drown in this morass. Some find their way, but so many others flounder and withdraw into a world of impulses and fantasy.

Then we get the parents who think every anti-social behaviour exhibited by their darling toddler is adorable, but that same behaviour is frighteneing when the mannerless child is much larger.

Those children – the ones abandoned to electronic babysitters and the ones encouraged in their anti-social behaviours – those are the children born of selfish parents. We seem to live in a society of such selfish parents.

It is the ones who worry about the consequences of bringing children into this world, the ones who know the child retains its holiness and sanctity long after birth, the ones who see what happens when others mindlessly breed, when women are forced into mandatory motherhood that choose to be child-free. These are the adults who set standards, who set limits the children must reach before the limits are extended – the aunties and uncles, the teachers, the child-free who take over the rearing of the wild children who are birthed into the world and left to raise themselves.

Have you ever read <u>Lord of the Flies</u>? That’s a good description of what happens when children are left alone to raise themselves. Many of the adults who are child-free by choice were abandoned as children to raise themselves. Their parents were too busy pursuing theri own goals to pay attention to their children. Those parents thought all they had to do was get pregnant and give birth, and God would take care of the rest, that children naturally knew how to behave, how to deal with conflict, how to deal with the strong emotions pounding through them. They were amazed at the smart-mouthed, rude child they had and they retreated further away from the child they birthed.

I think people who have children are extremely selfish. The reason they claim the child-free are selfish is because they are envious of our choice. They see how well we deal with their unruly offspring, and wish they could exact the same obedience and love from their children that we, the child-free, elicit.

I am child-free because I never wanted to be like those aloof, uninvolved parents. It’s not children most of us who choose to be child-free dislike; it’s the parents. We loathe the parents with an intensity they can’t even imagine because we see the damage they do to their children, their saintly little angels on earth children who can do no wrong until that child shoots up their school, massacres their playmates, or murders the parents in their beds.

Getting pregnant, impregnating someone else with no thought, no plans on how to raise the child that will come from the pregnancy is a terribly selfish act, a far more selfish act than those who have considered the consequences of having a child and choosing not to.

Children are not commodities. They are not toys. They are not status symbols. They are not ornaments. They are not “angels on earth”. They are not born fully formed and fully informed. They are not blank slates.

Children are unfinished human beings, with needs, wants, desires. It is the obligation and responsibility of the parents to provide the finishing touches that will allow the child to mature into a self-sufficient, mature, confident, and capable adult. It’s not an easy process. There are plenty of frustrating times during it, and it seems endless. Part of the obligation means parents give up part of their lives to the raising of their children – that means maybe they have to forgo attending that concert if they can’t pay a babysitter and buy tickets. It means eating at a restaurant more suited to a child than for adults. Here’s a hint – if beer and wine are on the menu, parents should eat elsewhere with their children or leave the children with a reliable babysitter. It means overseeing the TV programs the children watch – watching with them. It means knowing what the children are doing on line, what games are in their GameBoy or Wii. It means knowing what music they listen to. It means teaching the children manners and behaviours that are appropriate to the social situations in which they will find themselves. It means teaching the children the joys of being productive and integral to the family.

Each child is a commitment of at least 18 years. The term starts when the first child is conceived and continues until 18 years after the last one is born. It is a job full of ups and downs, and filled with awe-inspiring moments of utter pleasure and utter dread.

There are adult things parents cannot do because they have children to consider. It is wrong of the parents to insist that the children enter adult venues or that other adults alter their lives to accommodate those children. We need a society that keeps adult things separated from child things simply because many children are not ready to deal with all that happens in an adult world – movies not-withstanding. Those children have script writers and producers and on-set tutors to help them, unlike the real world where the children are thrown into these situations unprepared and often left in the care of other children or adults who are reluctant to care for someone else’s child.

We need a world where it is the <i>child</i> that is wanted, not the pregnancy, not the birth. Those are nice enough, but it is the child that results that is the most important thing.

Each child deserves to be raised as well as to grow up.

And those people who choose to be child-free are brave souls who recognize the work involved. They’ve considered the consequences, they know the work involved and the resources needed to raise a child properly, and they don’t feel up to the challenge. They aren’t selfish, they are realistic.

I am child-free by choice. That doesn’t mean I am free of raising children. I have raised other people’s unwanted and abandon children. I couldn’t have done that if I hadn’t chosen to be child-free, hadn’t researched and understood what it meant to have children.

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1 Comment »

  1. Beautiful, thank you. I just wrote an entry about my child-free lifestyle and searched the tag to see what other people were saying about the child-free choice. This was only one of three results…it surprised me that more people aren’t talking about this. Loudly.

    Great entry. Made me smile.

    Comment by Tanya — January 27, 2008 @ 1:22 am |Reply


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