No, I Don’t Have Kids!

However, don’t pretend that this precludes me from being able to criticize bad parenting.  Just because I never accidentally knocked someone up, and was prevented from having children once I met the person I wanted to have children with, doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to comment on instances of shitty parenting when I observe them.

No, I don’t understand how hard it can be.  No, I don’t feel the pressures associated with raising children.  That doesn’t mean I don’t know right from wrong.  And there are a lot of parents out there who are doing it wrong.

Besides, as a childless person, I contribute to the welfare of your children.  I do not get the child-care tax credit, the extra exemptions, the higher earned-income credit.  When you file your taxes every year, you may get money back.  The only way that ever happened for me is when I had payroll take extra from my checks as sort-of a no interest savings account.  (Not that a standard savings account gives you any interest anymore anyway.)  The money I paid in taxes goes to you, your children, their schools, etc, etc…  And I’m fine with that.  I understand that it benefits the society I live in and eventually, myself.  What I am not fine with is this chorus of “parents” telling me I have no business commenting on the way they raise (or don’t) their children.

We live in a society.  Our actions affect the lives of others.  It is time to accept that the line that “everything you do is nobody’s business but your own” is total and utter bullshit.  We all use roads or have goods and/or services transported on said roads, we all have a stake in QUALITY education of the children in our society, and we all have a responsibility to care for the basic needs of those unable to do so for themselves.  If that is something you can’t accept, then you don’t belong in a society,  Unfortunately for you, there is no way for you to escape to total independence.  Even if you go off onto some empty land and build a hermit shack and live off the land, someone owns that land.  If it is yours, there were title companies and banks involved, or at the very least the government.  And if you don’t own the land, then you are squatting and therefore still not independent.  Welcome to the reality, Socialism is everywhere.

So, accepting that we live in a society, shouldn’t we have the right to make observations about the things we see that are detrimental to the continuing function of our society?  Politicians make observations about things they have absolutely no experience in dealing with all of the time.  Yes, many times they are wrong, (such as the widely debunked myths that disabled people are gaming the system, and that all welfare recipients spend their money on drugs) but they can also be right, (such as seeing that far too many of our citizens live in poverty, or knowing that not everyone has the same opportunities).

Using the justification I have just described to you, I now present my little rant about people who should have never had children, or should learn to become decent parents, or even decent people.  I will do this in the style of Jeff Foxworthy, because, well, it is easy.

You Might Be A Bad Parent If:

  1. You were ever on the Maury Show.
  2. You yell at your child who is obviously tired for whining or being fussy at WalMart at 3 in the morning!
  3. You drag your child around a WalMart at 3 in the morning.
  4. You buy everything your child wants if they cry about it loud enough.
  5. You never buy your child anything they want.
  6. You leave you children at home by themselves while you are out at “the club”.
  7. You are more concerned with meeting people at “the club” than your child’s well-being.
  8. You were ever on Jerry Springer.
  9. You let your children under the age of 10 watch Maury and/or Springer.
  10. You attempt to sell/trade your child.
  11. You abuse your child.
  12. You never punish your child.
  13. You attempt to live vicariously through your child.
  14. You do drugs with your child.
  15. You send your child to a boarding school.
  16. Your child is raised by nannies.
  17. You name your child “North”.
  18. You constantly ignore your child.
  19. You constantly dote over your child.
  20. You expect your child to make all of their own decisions.
  21. You never let your child make any of their own decisions.
  22. You don’t let your child be a child.
  23. You try to keep your child from becoming an adult.
  24. You deny proper medical care to your child based on lies, myths, and unproven beliefs.
  25. You don’t teach your child.
  26. You don’t ever let your children discover and learn on their own.
  27. You over-structure your child’s time.
  28. You do not have any structure in your child’s life.
  29. You choose your lover over your child.
  30. You stay in a bad relationship that is bad for the child, using the child as an excuse for your fear of being alone.

Of course these 30 things aren’t the ony ways to be a bad parent.  We’ve all seen the horror stories on the news about the horrible things done to children by their “parents”.  Those sociopaths do not make the list because it is far beyond what the common, regular bad parents do.  These are just the things that I notice the most frequently.  They are behaviors that can be changed.  They are selfish or neglectful or just plain stupid; but they all can be corrected.

And us non-parenting people should be allowed to point this out.  We should no longer feel like it is none of our business, because it is.  These children will be running things before we even realize it.  Why shouldn’t we be able to comment on that?  Why shouldn’t we be able to attempt to correct the bad parenting when the results are forced upon us?  Will they listen?  I don’t know.  Will it change anything?  Again, I don’t know.  All I do know is that keeping silent won’t change anything either.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

22 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Have Kids!”

  1. What gives you the right to have an opinion on raising children? You were a child once and you remember how your parents raised you. Either you want to keep to that line because you are now a functioning ‘normal’ adult in society or you recognize they sucked as parents and want to break the cycle. Either way, we all have opinions and the right to have them. Anyone that says different is feeling guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right, but thee also seems to be a very sort of “club” feeling to people who have had a lot of experiences. Even in the cancer community, some people do not appreciate outsiders. I personally think that’s crap because who hasn’t experienced cancer in some way, be it them, a friend, or a loved one? So I try to let people voice their opinions even if I may not agree. I’ve been told by parents that not being a parent I should keep my mouth shut before. BS to that!

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    1. Well, I do acknowledge that it is easier when you aren’t in the middle of it, but some of it is so common sense. The WalMart at 3 in the morning thing is the most often display of bad parenting I’ve ever witnessed. I usually have to shop at night to avoid people, and seeing a parent yelled at their tired cranky kid who should be in bed just enrages me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure you understand shift work… There’s a reason that Walmart is open 24 hours. There’s a whole economy that is busy working and living while some people are sleeping.

        And if you can’t leave your child at home when you need to go grocery shopping, the cranky child comes with you. If you can’t afford a babysitter and you’re a single parent, the only other option is to leave the child at home or in the car, alone. So what you’re describing may be “bad parenting,” but it is also behavior that could be explained by necessity.

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      2. I do understand shift work. I’ve worked graves with plenty of parents. I’ve worked swing. You could wake up before your shift to do your shopping. You could break up your sleep into groups. There are so many different things that could be done to let that child sleep. Friends, family, there are ways. If you have no friends and family, there are still ways. You go once a week on your days off, if you don’t work 7 days. And bringing the cranky child is one thing, but not recognizing that the child is cranky because they are tired and yelling at them for it is quite another. There is no excuse that can justify that behavior from the parent.

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      3. You know, my pain can make me say and do things that I wouldn’t normally do. Stress can do the same. I have no trouble admitting that as a chronic pain patient, I was not the best parent. So when you condemn this behavior — something that lasted only a few minutes, which you witnessed but have no clue what came before or after — then you are condemning my past efforts at parenting, also. And while you may be right that every parent should always try to be perfect, that’s not always possible, especially for human beings.

        Just saying that a little compassion goes a long way.

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      4. Criticism does not equal a lack of compassion. In my post, I specifically stated that this type of behavior could be corrected. I excluded the sociopaths who torture or starve their children for a reason. I left in a couple obvious horrors for the obvious factor, but just because I call what I wrote about bad parenting, does not mean I don’t have compassion for those people doing the bad parenting. I am simply stating that it is bad, and I have just as much right to say so as anyone else.
        I acknowledge that my own mom made some mistakes but was still a good mom. Just because one person does something that is bad parenting, does not necessarily make them a bad parent over all.
        I think keeping silent on this might instill a false sense that this is acceptable behavior, when really, it is not.
        But we all make mistakes, and unless they are particularly egregious, that doesn’t necessarily make one deserving of condemnation. I am not your conscious, I am not a judge in a courtroom. I am simply an observer and my observations tell me that these are examples of bad parenting. And in this, I express my observations. My judgments, my opinions, are mine. I express them on my posts, not on some forum. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I am certainly not calling for some legislation or condemnation of bad parenting. What I am calling for is that those of us who recognize instances of it, should not stay silent about it so that maybe we can correct it. Not condemn, just correct.
        You have every right to disagree if you wish, but I have every right to state my opinions. So let’s agree to disagree now, because I have to go pick up some necessities.

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  2. I understand your frustration and anger, but I tend to blame the lack of support more than the parents themselves. Sure, tax credits are a type of support, but tax laws benefit the rich more than the poor (especially for the last 30 years). Since I was a single mother, I speak from experience.

    Many of the behaviors you’ve listed could be corrected if this country just had affordable child care. And adequate education, including sex education. If you teach kids that abstinence is the only way, well, you’re just asking for trouble. And the result is parents who aren’t ready to be parents; don’t want to be parents; and don’t know how to be parents.

    If your parents did drugs in front of you when you were a child, then as an adult, you might not think it was that shocking if your kids see you do drugs. How many kids watch their parents pop prescription pills? How many kids are prescribed anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety and ADHD medications?

    Of course, some of the items on your list are about obnoxious, wealthy parents — and I don’t travel in those circles, so I can’t comment on that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you to a point. I don’t think your economic situation, rich or poor warrants bad behavior. Most of these things are common sense. Growing up poor, being on a very small fixed income now, I totally understand how much more difficult it is for poor parents. However, birth control is widely available, and just because one doesn’t learn about it in school doesn’t mean one doesn’t learn about it. There is also adoption. There are other methods of unwanted pregnancy prevention, but I won’t go into that because I understand the cultural and religious barriers. (Even if I disagree.) Many community centers offer free parenting classes. The choice to act like a good parent is a choice. My mom raised us, basically by ourselves. We got free school lunch until I was in the 3rd grade, then things got really hard because she was just over the line to qualify for assistance, but didn’t make enough to make a difference. Without the assistance, it was a net-loss. She made some mistakes of course, but over all, she was a good mom. She didn’t have the support either. The things I speak of aren’t sending your kids to college, or using your connections to set them up with jobs, or giving them fat trust funds, they are simple acts of behavior that can change a child from a horrible person, into a good person, or vice versa.

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      1. I just have to say, I get this attitude a lot from commenters over on Bloomberg. And I try to explain to them that things aren’t like they used to be — when you and I were growing up or even when I was raising my son as a single parent. Families are splintered, which makes it even harder to support oneself. Especially in an economy with mostly unstable, low-wage jobs with no benefits.

        Let me just fill you in on my experience…

        I have five sisters — and we all married and had kids. Out of six of us, four of our children’s fathers left. And my ex-husband was the only father who (eventually) paid child support on a regular basis.

        One father left soon after he learned his son had a heart defect, never to be seen or heard from again (until the mother remarried and got him to sign away his rights). One father snuck off with a bimbo who already had a houseful of kids, leaving 3 sons and their mother to fend for themselves. One father is an alcoholic and never conquered his addiction, leaving a son to basically grow up without him.

        I just didn’t realize that you were so… judgmental.

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      2. I am EXTREMELY judgmental. That is what the majority of my posts have always been. I judge myself, I judge others. I admit that I do not have everything figured out, but I’m not afraid to call people out when they don’t either. Again, I was raised by my mom only. There was no child care tax credits or earned income credit, and yet, somehow, she still managed not to be a horrible parent to us. I get it, it can be difficult. But if you are a good parent, you do the best you can by your kids. If that means waking up before your shift to do your shopping, than that is what you do. If it means sacrificing to provide for your kids, that is what you do. Don’t pretend like I don’t know the struggles some parents have. I’ve lived it from the child’s point of view. But as I’ve been saying all along, your economic situation does not give you an excuse to be a selfish asshole of a parent.

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  3. When the baby’s head begins to emerge from the mother in the delivery room, so the parents own memory of their own childhood is deleted. They forget not only the mistakes their parents made – and by forgetting seem destined to repeat – but also how bewildering it was.

    Parents seem to think that by being able to successfully copulate it therefore qualifies them to raise the result.

    Just because I can kick a ball, it doesn’t make me a great footballer!

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  4. I’m a believer in involving the village. There are so many times I realized–either during or after a parenting situation–that I could have benefitted from an extra set of eyes and a few more brain cells. I’m forever seeking advice–not because I lack the confidence to do the job (good god my heart could not be more engaged in getting it right)–but because I figure I’ve got one solid shot at creating the best human beings I can. It’s effortful. And we all make mistakes.
    I make it clear to both my kids that there are plenty of times I have and will get it wrong, but I’m clearheaded enough to recognize that and determined to correct it if I can.
    I think there is a wealth of wisdom around us waiting to be tapped, and all to aid us in creating a future of thinking, contributing and loving people.

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  5. Opinion is judgment not based on fact. Opinion is based on our beliefs and values and how the behaviors and attitudes of others do not fit “our” mold of the way we think things should be. I have had the pleasure of dealing with many parents as a school administrator and teacher, and I am a parent. I am not perfect; I have made many mistakes with my kids; and, although I have seen some pretty awful parents out there, the reality is that there is a lack of resources and understanding for the others’ perspective. Some parents may struggle with undiagnosed mental health issues, and what you are witnessing is a result of that. Trust me, I’ve shaken my head a few times and get that good parents fall in between the lines that you have outlined. It’s not as black and white as you make it seem. This statement has nothing to do with you having kids or not; you’ve brought to light some great points about parenting. What do you propose as societal solutions to bad parenting?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My only proposal is to quit feeling like we can’t speak up about it. And yes, sometimes it is mental health issues, sometimes it is being overwhelmed, there are many reasons things happen, but that doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean that those people are beyond reproach. I want kids, even if I could have them, I wouldn’t because of my own mental health issues and my financial and physical health issues. But let’s pretend I did for a minute. Would those reasons be a pass to act in a way that is damaging to another person? Should we forgive the school shooters and mall killers because they have mental issues? More to the point, should we keep silent about the acts leading up to that? If we keep silent over these little annoyances, they become acceptable. If they become acceptable they can become worse. The whole point is that parents are not above reproach because they are parents and some are not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, I think speaking up is a good thing. I also think that more people should do it by offering some help or encouragement of some sort, on a personal level, when they are not treating children appropriately. Great discussion . . . and now for some Walking Dead:)

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  6. I can say I was quite the expert on parenting before I had kids. Oh my lord, and I embarrassingly recall how no one could parent like I could when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I studied education & multidisciplinary studies. I would watch moms & dads in my store with their kids and force myself to swallow my superior intellect on the matter. Haha! “I have it all planned out,” I told my first husband. This is how the children will be disciplined, ‘time in’ instead of ‘time out’, reasoning and conversation over spankings and time out. I believed in the freedom to explore the world instead of building a billion bricks in “the wall”. I was so wise then.

    Today, I have a daughter & step son. They are so different then they were supposed to be, they are so unique in mindsets. While reasoning works with my stepson, he craves walls. While my daughter still struggles with empathy and understanding of consequences she expands her reach to the entire world around her. They don’t fit the mold I thought they would. All my plans, all my brilliant ideas, just squashed! I can say I have so many moments in public that I look at a parent scolding his/her daughter or son, and I return to my old judgmental mindset before recalling how just last week I was in their shoes with my daughter on the verge of tears and resisting crying out for help. Some days don’t fit the mold like the others, some days I am weaker than others. Funny how life is. Although I can say when it comes to my personal life, I have many judgments of my step son’s mom. https://stepparentsanctuary.wordpress.com/

    I agree with much of what you have said, I just thought I’d voice how I see it now…so incredibly differently.

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