Is It Ok to Not Like Kids?

A response to I Don’t Like Kids. There, I Said It

I actually agree with much of what Nissa has to say on this subject. Many years ago I decided to never become a mother for the same reasons she mentions: a complete lack of interest in parenting, a strong preference for a quiet, orderly adulthood and a desire to not add to the seven billion+ humans already in existence. To be honest I don’t think life on earth is going to be pleasant for anyone in 50-100 years and I’d rather not be responsible for creating one or more people who would still be alive if and when ecosystems collapse.

It makes me cringe when other Childfree adults say they don’t like children, though. Let’s substitute a few other groups in that sentence. Is it ok to say you just don’t like black people? Bisexuals? Women? Mormons? New Democrats?

Any group will include members who do things others find irritating but it’s counterproductive and unethical to punish everyone for something one person said or did. Not all children are noisy or distracting. My favourite activity as soon as I learned how to read was picking a good book and curling up to read behind the couch or underneath my grandmother’s piano while the adults talked.

Occasionally new grown-ups treated me like a nuisance because they assumed I couldn’t sit still and be quiet. Nothing could be further from the truth and being treated differently based on their pre-conceived expectations hurt. Now that I’m an adult I see no reason to say, “I don’t like kids!” (Or the equally inane, “I love kids!”)

Specific behaviours may be annoying or endearing but there will always be children in this world who are nothing like your ideas of them.

A few years ago a romantic dinner with my husband was marred by a table full of demanding, shrieking…businessmen. Every man at that table was so drunk he didn’t realize how loud their table was or that not everyone found them amusing.

Kids are individuals. I adore some of them, like others, and have met a small handful that I never want to meet again but the same can be said for Christians, lesbians, bloggers, cyclists, and librarians . 😉


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0 Responses to Is It Ok to Not Like Kids?

  1. tammy

    I like your comparison to other groups of people. it would be equally odd to say “i don’t like eastern Europeans” as to say “i love eastern Europeans”. the fact that we talk about children this way exposes our prejudice against them as a people group.

  2. Hmmm, I left a note here — is it in your spam?

  3. It’s interesting.
    I have many people presume that I’m good with kids. (Probably because I’m good with my kids (and my son’s autistic) – and, I will honk my own horn, I AM a good, if not great, father).

    However, that shouldn’t translate into being good with children – or more specifically, other-people’s children.

    I don’t necessarily dislike children. They just aren’t really my ‘thing’.
    It’s changing now that by kids are 14 and 16. Their friends are really more like young adults – which is different from children.

    Would I believe that saying you don’t like children is akin to discrimination? (ie “I don’t like Black people”)?
    No. (Although I could be), I don’t think it is. I could be like me saying, “I don’t like stupid people” (which I don’t), or “I don’t like asshatic people” (which is also true). That doesn’t make me a racist or bigot.

    (On a side note, Lydia, I don’t agree with the logic of your (Nissa’s) reason for deciding not to have any children. It seems flawed at best. And no, it isn’t because it conflicts with my perspective)… but I’m not sure I want to get into that conversation.

    • I find it interesting that your examples mention specific behaviours.

      Do you expect kids to be poorly behaved?

      This is not a loaded question, by the way. 🙂 It’s hard to get a young child to sit quietly for a long period of time and there have been times I’ve felt annoyed by what is probably typical kid behaviour.

      But I think there’s a difference between taking a child to the park and watching them run around and taking them to, say, a bookstore or movie theatre and allowing the same antics. I think there are certain stages in life when small children just don’t do well in quiet places.

      It’s not their fault and this does *not* mean I think they should be kept out of public spaces…but I understand why some people cringe when they see a room full of small children.

      • I think there are places appropriate for young children and places not appropriate for young children.
        Having someone complain to the management that some children are being loud at a McDonald’s restaurant is simply crazy (I’ve seen thing once).

        However, having some young children ‘freaking out’ in a high-end restaurant really isn’t the place for them.

        Interestingly enough, often times it isn’t the children’s behaviour that’s the problem, but rather the parents’.

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