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As You Slowly Slip Into Madness

By aristus in Culture
Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:26:36 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I don't have any kids myself. But I do have six nieces and nephews under the age of four. How that happened was all my bothers and sisters decided pretty much at the same time to move back to Texas and start breeding. Kind of like salmon. It made Christmas last year very interesting. There were babies everywhere -- on the rug, in the cupboards, swinging from the chandelier. Being the unmarried crazy uncle sitting in the corner, I got to watch all this happen. I discovered a few things about kids that I didn't know before.

The first thing is that kids are a lot smarter than they let on. I figured kids are learning how to think. Not true. They know how to think. They are learning to communicate, they are learning the hand-eye thing, but thinking they've pretty much got nailed right out of the box.

Another is that children are very, very lucky that they're cute. I mean that sincerely. A little munchkin will walk up, not knowing how much he depends on family resemblance and say

"Uncle Rusty, can I play with Rex the Wrecker?"

"Does he make noise?"


"Go for it."

"Uncle Rusty, can you help me find Rex The Wrecker?"

"Well, what does he look like?"

"He's Rex the Wrecker!"

You don't say. Ok, take my hand -- and we'll go around the house hunting for him. We'll come to the den where his cousin is already playing with the toy. He knows this, and I know it because Chris is suddenly lunging at the toy and I say

"Chris, no! No! Your cousin Trey is already -- Chris. Chris. Christopher. Look at me. Baby Trey is playing with Rex The Wrecker. Look, here's.... Dolly the Doll. Knock yourself out."

Peace at least? Heh. "Trey no! Trey -- Christopher! Tr--- look. If baby Trey wants to play with Dolly the Doll that means you can play with Rex The Wrecker, ok? Glad you could work that out, all right?"

"Uncle Rusty?"

No. "Yeah?"

"Can I play with Dolly The Doll?"

"No, Chris, you can't play with Dolly The Doll you're playing with Rex the Wrecker!" But what he's really playing with is my soft, little mind.

And it's not just me. My dad used to work for Headstart -- you know, teaching kids how to read and write and clap their hands -- getting them prepared for school which is what Headstart is all about. The kids would be drawing on these big pieces of paper and my dad would pick it up and say

"Emily, this is a beautiful drawing! This is your house, yeah? And that's your folks, eh? Great. Jorge, this is a beautiful drawing! That's your dog? What's your dog's name?"

But there was this one kid -- I'll call him Pepito. He was very quiet, very shy, didn't really talk much. My dad picked up the paper and it was all black: a square black thing there, something else with a tail, spiky black grass and a big black sun and he said ".... Pepito... this is a beautiful drawing! This is your house?" Pepito nodded his head. "And these are your folks?" Nod. "Ah, ok." Dad knew he had to be delicate here because children-- especially young children --often don't have words to express what they're feeling, and it can come out in other ways.  So he sat down and said

"Pepito, is everything ok?" Nod. "Nothing's wrong, nothing you want to tell me about?" Shake. "So why is your picture all black? Pepito?"

"Oh no, don't cry! No, don't cry, I'm not mad at you Pepito, this is a beautiful drawing. No, no.... you're not in trouble, no... look here, blow your nose, ok, it's a beautiful drawing, yeah... if there's anything you want to tell me, it's ok, ok?"

"So can you tell me why your house is all black?"

"Because... I ate all the other colors..."

They're lunatics, dammit! They're lunatics and they're going to drag you down with 'em. I'm writing this for those of you that don't have kids, maybe thinking about it, maybe listening to those love songs on the radio, getting a litle bit excited... I want you to think it through; remember where it leads.

Because when you become parents (and as you slowly, slip into madness) you'll start doing very strange things and you won't even notice. You'll be expected to form strong opinions about various cartoon animals. No matter how bad you were at spelling you will become a master talking about c-a-n-d-y and going to the d-o-c-t-o-r.

You will wake up one day and say to yourself "You know, it's been ten years since I've had sex in my kitchen." And then you'll realize you've got ten more years to go.

So just remember: cuteness is a survival trait. And they are out to get you.


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As You Slowly Slip Into Madness | 250 comments (243 topical, 7 editorial, 1 hidden)
Nice :-) (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by wejn on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:14:47 AM EST

Wonderful article.

Anyway, this one caught my eye:

"cuteness is a survival trait".

Hehe ... so can we think of it as ESS (evolutionary stable strategy)?

And not just for humans. (3.00 / 5) (#12)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 07:37:47 AM EST

The idea that humans are programmed to think babies are cute isn't a new idea. Some biologists have extended it to explain why humans get emotional about baby animals and why certain species of animals are considered "charismatic" and others are not - because their faces have similar proportions to the faces of human babies.

I don't remember this as being some sort of major breakthrough - just something biologists like to talk about in bars.


Could be worse. Could be raining!
[ Parent ]

it can get worse... (none / 1) (#46)
by h4ckintosh on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:05:56 PM EST

It sucks when small children and babies manipulate and strategize user their "cuteness factor" as a facade for their true demonic terror. BUT, when those cute chicks manipulate us, with their cute, sweet-looks so they can use us, isn't this a sign that they are no more intelligent and secure than a small child?

[ Parent ]
and speaking of cute chicks that manipulate (none / 1) (#72)
by crazydee66 on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:16:22 PM EST

And they are no more intelligent than a small child, that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richtie brats come to mind. Won't somebody please lock them away. Stop giving them permission to be monumental dumbasses.

I'm not totally evil yet.
[ Parent ]
Been there, done that (3.00 / 7) (#6)
by aldjiblah on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 04:18:00 AM EST

Bending down towards my son and taking a good sniff in the area of his bum to check for "leftovers" for the first time made me stop and think. The things we do for love...

uncle rusty? (2.33 / 6) (#7)
by noogie on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 04:38:50 AM EST

this some lame metaphor about trolls?

My name is Rusty (nt) (none / 0) (#16)
by aristus on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:23:06 AM EST


??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West

[ Parent ]
You wouldn't happen to live in Maine... (none / 3) (#21)
by wiredog on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:13:07 AM EST

would you?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
what a stupid name. (3.00 / 7) (#22)
by noogie on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:22:54 AM EST

[ Parent ]
They may be fucking with your head (2.75 / 4) (#9)
by nebbish on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:12:50 AM EST

But they also look up to you.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

this is a good thing? -nt (none / 0) (#40)
by coderlemming on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 01:44:23 PM EST

Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
Should they? (none / 1) (#80)
by rmn on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:12:44 PM EST

Yes, they drive you absolutely mad for the first three years or so, and then they use you as their role model.


[ Parent ]

and for those who don't? (2.00 / 3) (#10)
by dimaq on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 06:25:35 AM EST

have sex in their kitchens that is?


Then you are missing out (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by aristus on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 01:03:08 PM EST

Just having ice cubes handy is worth the trip.

??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West

[ Parent ]
the unmarried crazy uncle sitting in the corner (2.50 / 6) (#13)
by wiredog on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:03:02 AM EST

Uncle StinkyPinky?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

pretty much, yea (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by codejack on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 09:14:19 AM EST

This is about right. I have one, maybe two, kids, and they are insane. Just remember: Your kids will be twice as bad as you were, so mine will destroy the world.

Please read before posting.

Ha. (3.00 / 4) (#15)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 09:36:45 AM EST

Perversely enough, I have one kid who is a freaking saint. When he was four he said this:

"Daddy, I was messing with your camera and I dropped it and this piece broke off. Can you fix it?"

I nearly fainted. If I had done that I would have denied knowing my father owned a camera. But I have never, ever, caught him in a lie.

My daughter, on the other hand, is divine retribution with a pony tail.

Could be worse. Could be raining!
[ Parent ]

Lucky SOB (none / 1) (#17)
by codejack on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:26:25 AM EST

My son just turned 5, and he is hell on wheels. He's not too bad about lying and such, but way too smart for his own good. My daughter is only a month old, I'm not sure whether or not she is mine, I have only seen her once, and I don't know where either she or her mother are. Speaking of slowly going mad...

Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
a freaking saint (none / 2) (#20)
by wiredog on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:11:50 AM EST

Watch out! He's just trying to get you to drop your guard! Once you're no longer watching for hime to Be Bad, about when he's 13 or so, he'll be Just Like You Were at that age.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Heh. Actually, it could be worse. (none / 0) (#37)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 01:32:55 PM EST

He'll be Just Like I Would Have Been If I Had A Black Belt.

Could be worse. Could be raining!
[ Parent ]
Doesn't surprise me (2.50 / 2) (#58)
by awgsilyari on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:04:34 PM EST

If I had done that I would have denied knowing my father owned a camera. But I have never, ever, caught him in a lie.

I don't see why a child would lie about something like that, unless he believed that telling the truth would earn him a beating or some other punishment.

I can't understand why so many parents punish their kids too severely when they admit they've done something wrong. It just teaches them that telling the truth isn't worth it.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

That's just so damn true... (none / 0) (#156)
by Chakotay on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:23:49 AM EST

My wife's kids have lived with their father for a few years (from their 3rd to their 6th, thereabouts - they're twins, a boy and a girl), and when we finally won them back, they were completely screwed up by their father. Especially the boy has turned into a lying brat (like father, like son, they say...). He does all sorts of things he knows he shouldn't do, and even when he does something bad accidentally, he'll lie about it. The thing is, the boy simply can't lie. It's always ever so obvious that he's lying... And we just can't get this trait out of him anymore. When they went to their father, they were all clean, when they came back, the boy literally shit in his pants when somebody shouted and was afraid of everything, in the beginning he wouldn't even go into the bathroom alone, and the girl peed in bed every single night. Dammit, people like their father should be denied the right to have children... They're lovely kids, but they've been all screwed up by that asshole.

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]
Getting love (3.00 / 2) (#158)
by jadibd on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:43:54 PM EST

The thing is, the boy simply can't lie. It's always ever so obvious that he's lying... And we just can't get this trait out of him anymore.

Speaking from my own experience with - no, not with my kids, I don't have any - myself and after arriving at accepting external suggestions (which was no small feat, mind you), there are IMHO two different kinds of love/attention you can get.

The first is the obvious positive feedback you receive, if everything is fine and dandy for just being yourself and if you're educated along the lines of protestant mindsets for achieving something.

The second and often neglected one is the negative feedback you receive for doing "bad" things.

But if you're simply craving for feedback, anything your environment might give you, if you really can get along with being noticed for anything at all, you turn to evoking negative reactions. This is all subconscious, you don't do it on purpose. You just want to be noticed.

Your boy very probably doesn't consciously know he can't lie, but he knows, that if he lies he will definitely get some attention. That's what he is lying for, not to hide something he has done. That's what he learned while he was away, that a surefire way of getting attention is being a bad boy and that anything else will likely not be noticed at all.

Just a wild guess.

[ Parent ]

Speaking as a child of a broken home (none / 0) (#203)
by curien on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:55:43 AM EST

A custody battle plus the trauma of forcibly changing homes/parents is enough to ellicit the behavior you describe. The father needn't have done anything particularly wrong.

Actually, if the kids pick up on your attitude about the father, that may be doing more harm than slight neglect.

As for lying -- I had a problem with that all my childhood life (and I still struggle as an adult). I think the roots of it are in my parents teaching me to lie ("don't tell your mom I let you watch Alien", "don't tell your dad I picked you up from school on his designated day"). As I grew older, I wasn't afraid of the consequences of my misbehavior-- my punishments were never really that harsh, and I mostly ignored them if I felt they were unfair. In retrospect, the real issue is embarrassment: sometimes I'm so embarrassed about something I did, I can't bare to admit what really happened.

This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

That's definitely true in part. (none / 0) (#204)
by Chakotay on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:47:35 AM EST

But in this case, the reason for the divorce between my wife and her ex-husband was that he simply couldn't care for the children, and that he was violent and manipulative. A neutral comportemental psychological report even turned up that the father was not showing any love towards his children.

But the children were assigned to the father anyway, because a Christian child protection organisation claimed that an African (read: muslim) mother could not raise Dutch (read: christian) children... It took her, and later, us, three years to undo this blatantly racist decision. But unfortunately, the damage had already been done...

Oh, the father should pay alimony. But he doesn't, because he says he has no job. But once when he called us from a phone number we hadn't seen yet, we called back that number, and surprise, it was a company. When we asked for "John Doe" (the father's name (not his real one of course, to protect the guilty)), the reply was "John Doe is not in the office at the moment. Shall I transmit a message?" No job, my ass.

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

hahahah (none / 0) (#160)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:13:14 PM EST

yes my daughter is very much the child my mother wished on me...  I didn't think curses were real. :-)

She's my little girl though...  but I'm SO glad I only have one.  Two boys I can handle no worries...  the three of 'em are pretty damned good though.

[ Parent ]

Gak! You destroyed half the world!? (none / 0) (#186)
by kerinsky on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:22:37 AM EST

I didn't even notice. When was this, I'm guessing before 1981? How did you accomplish this feat and why isn't it in the history books?

Such a relevation, so many questions...

A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

+1 FP (1.00 / 3) (#18)
by bakuretsu on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:42:00 AM EST

Charming, hilarious, true.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
Dont talk about (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by Altus on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:47:43 AM EST

S-E-X in front of the C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N.

Sex cauldren! i thought they shut that place down!

so far out of all of my friends there are only 2 kids, one of them is just over 1 year old and the other is under 6 months.  My girl and I just got 2 kittens and frankly, they are enough trouble for me.  

im not sure I could ever willfully commit myself to raising children... Its not that I dont like them, its just the total man hour commitment is going to suck a significant portion of your life... and when I say life I dont mean the number of hours in the day that you spend on the kid to the exclusion of hanging out with your friends.... Im talking about the huge chunk of hours out of the total number of hours you are going to be alive!

its a little scary when you think about it...  it takes a huge chunk of your life to raise kids and its a full time job while you have it.

oh well... Ill end up having kids someday anyway :)


"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson

Hahah...nice. (none / 1) (#27)
by TheMealwormFarm on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:17:50 PM EST

"Sex cauldren! i thought they shut that place down!"

"Grandpa, didn't you wonder why you were getting paid for doing absolutely nothing?"
"Well, I figured the Demmycrats were in office again."
[ Parent ]
And now, a bad joke (3.00 / 3) (#35)
by nsayer on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:53:55 PM EST

Speaking of spelling things in front of the children.....

Two <xsl:value-of select="your favorite stupid ethnic group" /> parents are in the den. The father says, "Hey, let's send the kids outside to P-L-A-Y so we can fuck!"

[ Parent ]

I heard this version (none / 1) (#81)
by scoby on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:36:04 PM EST

Sitting on the couch, the dad says : "Mary, close your legs this K-I-D-S can see your cunt."
tús maith leath na hoibre
[ Parent ]
Eye of the Beholder (2.93 / 15) (#23)
by dcheesi on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:41:41 AM EST

Another is that children are very, very lucky that they're cute. I mean that sincerely.

Luck has nothing to do with it. It's not so much that they're unusually cute; we're just programmed to think that they're cute. Evolution has shaped us to see our offspring as adorable, 'cause that's the only way we'd ever agree to caring for the little bums!

Case in point, I know one woman who, against all odds, doesn't find babies cute. As a result, she (quite rationally) has no interest in having any. Her "baby-neutral" genes will die out, while the baby-lovers of the world will continue to multiply.

BTW, my personal theory about the "cuteness" of small furry animals (real or stuffed) is that it's a throwback to the days when our ancestors (and their offspring) still had fur. If we had evolved from reptiles, I'm sure that scaly lizards would seem "cute", while kittens would just seem weird...

parents are opium junkies (3.00 / 4) (#30)
by cryon on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:27:42 PM EST

Yes, according to studies, the smiling face of a child will induce a beta endorphin rush in 90% of all adult women and 60% of all adult men. Beta endorphins are similar to opiates. THat is why we tolerate them: they give us a rush. That is why all animals engage in reproductive behavior--they are hardwired so that it feels good to do so. We are not much more than slaves to our hardwired programming. Much of what we do is instinctual behavior that has been proved (over thousands and thousands of years) to improve prospects of sex and reproduction by improving social status. For example, by virtue of our large brains we are able to do such things as write clever essays on the internet. In the dark past, having good communication skills improved survival prospects, and so it enhanced social status, which enhanced chances of reproducing. So we who have a natural ability to write, do it whenever we can. It gives us social status, or at least it did in the past.

[ Parent ]
Whoa, you must know... (none / 1) (#39)
by Mystery on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 01:39:27 PM EST

...my fiance. ;)

I'm not kidding. She's so gender-neutral in her views on things that the idea of children makes her hair stand on end. Now, this doesn't bother me... Frankly, I'm content being an uncle and letting my genes leave the pool (there are a few familial diseases I'd rather not see passed on to another generation, for example)...

But yeah, this sounds like my future wife.

Case in point, I know one woman who, against all odds, doesn't find babies cute. As a result, she (quite rationally) has no interest in having any. Her "baby-neutral" genes will die out, while the baby-lovers of the world will continue to multiply.
I believe my fiance's views on babies run much in tandem with A Modest Proposal.

[ Parent ]
Cuteness (none / 0) (#77)
by anakata on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:56:23 PM EST

I find spiders and lizards cute. Does that mean I should participate in some very weird genetic experiments to produce some cute offspring?
Cogito, ergo infestus sum.
[ Parent ]
no kidding (none / 0) (#138)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 02:09:49 AM EST

I was eating out with a family the other day, and their kid looked at me, and I swear to god he looked just like Gollum, though a little less greenish. Give the kid a fish and he could be in a sequel. I almost hurt myself holding back a laugh.

[ Parent ]
Cuteness, etc... (3.00 / 2) (#141)
by Elendale on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 04:44:09 AM EST

Children frighten me. A lot. Babies are not cute. They're unpredictable, demanding, un-cute, manipulative, cruel, oh yeah: and also much, much smarter than most people give them credit. Even the dumb ones are probably secretly smart. What happens between childhood and adulthood that turns them into dumb consumer drones? I'm not really sure, but all i know is: children are scary.

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
well.. ah, no (2.55 / 9) (#24)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:43:54 AM EST

Children are most certainly learning how to think.

first off, babies have no words, so the only way they can think is through vague feelings that their body has. Words are the root of thought, and if one has few words, their ability to think and conceptualize is limited. this is evident in children. they have no ability to conceptualize abstract ideas or even concrete situations which they have not learned of yet.

read up on Vigotski to learn more on the linkage of language and thought.

eh (none / 1) (#26)
by Norkakn on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:16:32 PM EST

this is only one theory of development.  It has a lot of support, but so do others

[ Parent ]
it has a lot of evidnce as well (none / 2) (#31)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:28:32 PM EST

people who grow up with limited vocabulary have a limited ability to think and make distinctions.

people who's native language has much finer grain ability to describe situations and concepts (such as German) has a slightly higher ability to think than those who's language is coarse and broad (such as english though it is not by a lot it is measurable.)

sure you have Piage, but his theories have fallen out of favor because observation has shown them to be less accurate though relevant in some situations (just like newtonian Physics has fallen out of favor but is still good in some situations and there for is still useful)

[ Parent ]

therefore, (none / 0) (#33)
by pb on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:46:12 PM EST

we should teach Japanese and Esperanto instead?
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
did I not say (none / 0) (#41)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 02:11:57 PM EST

that it was a small difference? as in, no real world impact? yes, I believe I did.

[ Parent ]
"no real-world impact" (2.50 / 4) (#45)
by blueuna on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 02:58:35 PM EST

To me, saying something has no real-world impact is the same as saying something is unfalsifiable. And my good friend Karl Popper would have some things to say about that. You're running into some dangerous territory by stating your opinions as facts. You may believe that German is superior to English, that it is a more rich language capable of more nuanced expression that enables clearer and deeper thought, but I highly doubt you have anything to back up what is, in the end, your judgement. I just cannot believe that English would be a better language if we suddenly introduced a whole slew of compound words. Yeah -- bildungsroman might be a clever economical way of saying a coming-of-age story, or a spiritual awakening story, but does that mean that a person who doesn't know that word is somehow handicapped? And variation in the thought patterns and intelligence of speakers far outweighs what language a person speaks. If I spoke a language with only ten words, it's arguable as to whether my mental abilities would be any different. I just might not pass the Turing test, in your eyes.

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 1) (#43)
by trhurler on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 02:25:59 PM EST

When I was six, I thought I had invented basic algebra. You want to tell me I was learning how to think? Maybe I was quicker than most, but it is NOT a safe assumption that kids don't really think the way you do. Some of them do.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
exactly (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by Wah on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 02:26:39 PM EST

they have no ability to conceptualize abstract ideas or even concrete situations which they have not learned of yet.

Ypu, they can't, so they spend all of their energy and brain power getting the things they want now.

Just spent a week with 6 nieces and nephews, playing with their minds is fun, but takes a lot of effort to really confound them.

Also, because they know what they want, and you know what they want, you know where all the 'set up' questions are leading.

"Uncle Roy, did you bring your little red computer? (gameboy)"

"UR, are you using your lrc?"

"UR, can I use your lrc?"

Note, if the first two innocuous questions are true, and I love the little guy, it's going to be very difficult to explain why question #3 ends in a no.
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]

no (2.00 / 4) (#52)
by relief on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:57:44 PM EST

people who lose the ability to think in words are still capable of complex thoughts.

children most certainly have the ability to conceptualize abstract ideas.

words are the structs and the classes. thought is the running process and the memory state. language is but the interprocess packets, so don't confuse the localhost packet feedback with the thought itself, which resides in memory not in the packet buffer.

nobody sane has the ability to conceptualize abstract ideas or concrete situations that they have not learned of. the act of listening may be a learning process, however. chilren mostly listen through body language, facial expressions, and tonality. they do learn and understand what there is to understand in these.

furthurmore your later post about the type of language and mental capacity is absurd. humans have the ability to coin words for concepts that are used often, and even children have the ability to create their own language and grammatical structure if only little is given to them.

read steven pinker, read fmri research papers, but better yet have a baby of your own. i haven't read vigotski but if he's like the rest of the language-thought armchair thinkers who write in the genre of philosphy, he and you can eat my dickcheese.

If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.
[ Parent ]

Bleh. (none / 1) (#57)
by Count Zero on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:02:24 PM EST

words are the structs and the classes...

Ahh, the bad computer programming analogy. First sign of the person who things because they can program a computer, all other fields are trivial. Where's the old Adequacy.org crowd when we need them? :-)

read steven pinker, read fmri research papers, but better yet have a baby of your own.

No, it's better to read the actual research. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data". As for Pinker, there's plenty of other functionalists even who disagree with the sociobiology just-so story approach. And then there's general arguments against functionalism.

i haven't read vigotski but if he's like the rest of the language-thought armchair thinkers who write in the genre of philosphy, he and you can eat my dickcheese.

Yes, clearly you're far smarter than people who actually work in and study the field because you know what a struct is.

[ Parent ]

Uhm... Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? (2.75 / 4) (#56)
by awgsilyari on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 04:59:36 PM EST

Words are the root of thought, and if one has few words, their ability to think and conceptualize is limited.

Ridiculous. It's true that a child will not progress intellectually without learning language, but this is because without language there is no way for concepts to be communicated to the child.

A concept stands by itself. It is not dependent on the words used to express it in language.

To believe otherwise indicates a lack of introspection, I think.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Not so clear-cut. (none / 1) (#59)
by Count Zero on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:11:57 PM EST

A concept stands by itself. It is not dependent on the words used to express it in language.

We think in language. Without the word or words to express a concept, does it really exist in any comprehendible way? If things were as simple as you assume, would structuralism still be going strong?

[ Parent ]

If language was a prerequisite for thought, (3.00 / 4) (#60)
by Peter Trepan on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:24:14 PM EST

how could anyone learn it in the first place?

Truth is more of a stranger than fiction. -- Mark Twain
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ (2.50 / 4) (#61)
by awgsilyari on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:28:34 PM EST

We think in language.

I know from experience that's false. There are some cases where it is true, but I know that when I program a computer I do not think in language, I know that when I am turning corners on my bicycle I am not thinking in language, when I aim and throw a baseball I am not thinking in language, when I back a car out of a parking spot I am not thinking in language, etc.

Unless you're going to assert that none of those activities qualify as "thinking" I'd say the idea that all thought occurs in the form of language is patently false.

Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Helen Keller (2.50 / 4) (#69)
by kitten on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 07:29:04 PM EST

Helen Keller once wrote about her experiences before she learned how to communicate. At one point she was about to be led outside, and she indicated that although she was aware of what was about to happen, she expressed doubt that it could be called a thought:
She brought me my hat, and I knew I was going out into the warm sunshine. This thought, if a wordless sensation may be called a thought, made me hop and skip with pleasure.
It sounds to me like Keller was aware of her world the way a cat or dog is. But I wouldn't compare the thought processes of a cat or dog to that of a human. Without language, it's all just vague abstractations.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
*snicker* (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by zerth on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:53:51 AM EST

>Without language, it's all just vague

Odd, I thought language /was/ an abstraction...

I'd consider non-literate thinking to be /less/ abstraction since when Helen Keller thought of sunshine, she thought of the experience and not the word "sunshine".

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]

i disagree (none / 1) (#70)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 07:59:57 PM EST

seems to me that thought is possible without language, it's just that memory and recollection isn't.

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Inexpressable thoughts (none / 0) (#131)
by pyro9 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 10:26:27 PM EST

I most certainly have thoughts that not only are not, but can not be expressed in words ( and no,I can't tell you what they are :-).

A great deal of eastern thought and religeous thought in general revolves around the use of concepts and stories that CAN be expressed in words as a way to lead the student to think the inexpressable.

I'll buy that the structure of language helps to structure the developing mind, but not that language is the basis of thought itself.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Metaphors (none / 1) (#76)
by lukme on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:44:10 PM EST

Of all of the theories I have read about, I kinda like the metaphor people's notions.

I cannot buy into chomsky's notion that after hearing a key phrase, a child is able to construct a grammar to a language. Nor can I buy into the notion that people suddenly learn complex thought at a certain age.

It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
complex thought (none / 0) (#114)
by tetsuwan on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:13:09 PM EST

Not long ago, I heard someone claim that she remembered the exact moment she realized you could actually think in several steps. She was sitting on a bus, trying to lick at an armrest, when her mother commented "you know, people could have left traces of a lot of nasty things on that armrest, so you'd better not lick it". Suddenly she saw all these people in front of her and realized that her mother had thought that people not present could have done something with the armrest. She was impressed.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Language structures our thoughts (none / 1) (#78)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 09:52:01 PM EST

Language structures and molds our thoughts in not-so-subtle ways. There are a bunch of studies comparing the thought processes of Westerners and Asians, and there were some pretty dramatic differences in the way we think and perceive things.

[ Parent ]
i loved it (2.60 / 5) (#28)
by metagone on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:22:03 PM EST

i have been thinking the similar things for a long long time. every since i started telling myself whenever i saw a cute baby or kid that they were really parasites at that age. really intelligent parasites.

now i do not mean to offend anyone, children are children and they are wonderful. but if you take a step back and label their behavior, they are very parasitic until they develop a complex self and achieve greater degrees of autonomy.

it was also my opinion after looking into the eyes of one such baby that they all "know" but are still practising to express themselves which was why they did most of the things they do. they are testing use, probing use for information, and then putting it together in as dysfunctional enough a way so that they can deal with the madness of our society. just my opinion though but parasites feed in a similar way or so i thought.

Symbiotic, maybe, but not parasitic (none / 2) (#34)
by Sgt York on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:50:02 PM EST

Not really parasitic. A parasite gives no appreciable return. However, a child give the best returns possible. From a biologic (evolutionary) point of view, offspring is fitness, and therefore survival. Not just of the species, but of the indvidual.

From a emotional standpoint, well, that's pretty obvious & sentimental.

They are also beneficial from a spiritual standpoint (if you are religious, that is). Most religions laud family/parenthood/kids/etc.

They are only parasitic if you look at things in a small enough timespan.

You are right on, though, about the probing. Espcially at the age of about 2 or 3. They just start pushing; their curiosity really kicks in at that age, and they want to know everything. Especially the limits of what they can do. So they push. And push. And, oh dear, sweet, Lord do they PUSH. But you just have to remember that they are trying to satisfy curiosity, and that is a good thing.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

curiosity, or innate narcissism? (none / 0) (#153)
by misanthrope112 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:12:17 AM EST

I've always felt that when we're kids, especially babies, we feel that we're the center of the universe, and the sole reason for everyone else's existence. Growing up is the painful process of realizing that this isn't true. I don't think that kids are testing the boundaries so much as fighting against them. They feel they have an innate, unquestionable right to that candy, toy, or whatever, and only through socialization and conditioning are they convinced (we hope) that you can't always get what you want, and that the world isn't evil for not giving it to you.

I know adults who never have gotten this clue. Are they still testing the boundaries? Women who are extremely physically attractive are often this way, because they can be, and people often think of them as immature and childish. Men who as children got their way by throwing tantrums fall into this trap as well.

This ain't curiosity. This is the deeply-held conviction that the world and all the people in it are here for my convenience, comfort, and amusement. I'm sure you know plenty of adults who act this way, and I doubt you characterize their behavior as curiosity.

[ Parent ]

Partially agreed (none / 0) (#184)
by Sgt York on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:58:55 PM EST

You're right; kids do think the world revolves around them. No parent with any of the five sense still in tact would disagree. It's not just that they feel they have a right to the candy, toy, etc. It's more than that; they think that the candy or toy exsists solely for and because of them. Even if they don't want it, they don't want anyone else to have it, either. In a kid, this is normal. In an adult it is pathological (IMHO). And it is smaller than testing the boundries of rules.

The rule that "Not everything exsists for and because of you" is one of the rules they learn from this exploration. It's a big one, a critically important one, and probably among the first ones they need to learn, but it is still just one of many, many rules of society. I guess saying it's a willful exploration is waxing a little poetic; there is no way to know what's going on in their heads, they probably don't even understand the motivation themselves.

The exploration is something to nurture by showing them the good and bad consequences of the rules they stumble into. The parents that don't teach kids these things, that don't bother to feed the exploration, and, for instance, just give their kid a toy to shut them up whenever they cry...well, then you get a spoiled brat.

Sorry...I hope that makes some sense, I just had a few minutes, and now they're gone. Gotta go

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Yes, they are parasites! (none / 0) (#108)
by MatthiasG on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 09:34:49 AM EST

I have three kids, so I can say from experience that yeah, they're parasites! They suck up all my time, love, and compassion. Not to mention sleeping hours, money, and nerves. They generate an unimaginable amount of noise, chaos, emotional distress, and dirty diapers/clothing/dishes. They trick me every minute of the day into doing what I didn't want to do, saying what I didn't want to say, giving them what I never, ever wanted to give them. And the crazy thing is, I'm loving them for the privilege of going through all this! Weird, huh? It's because they're such lovable cute little devils, that's why. Oh, and sex on the kitchen table is overrated.

[ Parent ]
parasites! (none / 1) (#137)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 02:07:05 AM EST

I worked with a woman recently who thought of kids as vermin. She's a physician. Brilliant, well-read, undergrad degree in English. Chinese... god I had a crush on her. Hates kids, smart, reads Joyce... too bad she was already married. And wasn't interested. And was out of my league. Other than all of that, we were perfect for one another.

[ Parent ]
Channeling Bill Cosby today I see? (2.25 / 4) (#29)
by TheGreenLantern on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:25:30 PM EST

It hurts when I pee.
Bill Cosby's dead? (none / 2) (#48)
by edo on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:28:05 PM EST

Bill Cosby's dead? Oh my God!

I knew he should have kept his mouth shut about young black men who can't speak English...
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

Netcraft Confirms It! (none / 0) (#53)
by Kwil on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 04:29:32 PM EST

Or is that "Truly an American Icon"?

I always get my trolls mixed up.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze

[ Parent ]
Greetings from the slipped (2.96 / 25) (#32)
by Sgt York on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 12:28:45 PM EST

Too true...too true. The last time I had sex in my kitchen was when my oldest was still in a crib. Now, we have to do it not just in the bedroom, not just with the door closed, but with it locked. And you have to get up immediately afterwards and open the door. There is absolutely nothing like really getting into some good wife-wakes-you-up-the-FUN-way-sex and hearing your kid *knock* on the door and call out for you, loudly. Irritated. Like she's been standing there calling out for a few minutes. "I need some WATER, MOMMY!"

A few weeks ago, I got up to open the door afterwards, and there is my little girl, sitting on the floor with her arm around our dog's neck. She looks up at me and says "I gotta go potty, Daddy." I'm getting whiplash from the mood changes.

Ah, hell. It's worth it. I wasn't all that sane to start with, anyway. And they sure are fun. I can have the absolute worst day of my life, have everything fall apart at work and almost get run over on the ride home. Find nothing but bills in the mailbox, and get attacked by fire ants as I cross the grass. Then walk up to the front door, depressed, pissed off, tired, ready to scream and pound my fists into a wall....then as I open the door to see two little rugrats, faces covered in crayon, watercolors, and/or drool, unidentifiable stains on their clothes, toys scattered all over the living room. They see me, and charge, stumbling, half coordinated, screams of "DADDYDADDYDADDYDADDY!!!!" degrading into incoherent squeals......

It suddenly becomes a very, very good day.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

My Kids (none / 2) (#49)
by Xptic on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:39:35 PM EST

About to have my third...

Kids are definately what makes life worth living.  Even when I was getting up at 2am to change/feed/comfort our first two, just seeing them made it worth it.

[ Parent ]

young children are amazing (3.00 / 5) (#82)
by decon recon on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:38:27 PM EST

When my young son is not an utter pain, he is a joy and joyful. He gives me hope for humanity.

I never really knew until I had my own child how much it is that young 'uns aren't covered over by self consciousness and lots of clinging. Little kids are completely adorable and really challenging because of their innocence and spontaneity.

When sad, they're utterly sad. When happy, they're utterly happy. This is amazing. This rubs off a bit.

When our son first joined us, our friends told me I had lost 10 years and that I glowed. Along with romantic love and deep friendship, parenting is one of the most rewarding relationships. Period.

[ Parent ]

NIE (not in English) comment (none / 0) (#112)
by tetsuwan on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:04:20 PM EST

This reminds me of a song:

"Vatten, vatten, vatten vill jag ha, annars kan jag inte sova!"

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Children (3.00 / 9) (#38)
by Dyolf Knip on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 01:37:42 PM EST

Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids.

If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip

Was that Sam Levenson or Erma Bombeck? [n/t] (none / 0) (#176)
by rpresser on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:48:48 AM EST

"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
heh. (2.62 / 8) (#42)
by Kasreyn on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 02:21:51 PM EST

You will wake up one day and say to yourself "You know, it's been ten years since I've had sex in my kitchen." And then you'll realize you've got ten more years to go.


SO glad I'm going to be getting a vasectomy before going bareback... I don't need this hassle in my life. :P

The best financial planning a 20something male can make for his future is obvious. Investing, playing the stock market, getting a college degree, NONE of it can make as much money as you can save with the investment in a pack of Trojans. I work with a bunch of guys who've got child support payments, sometimes to 2 or 3 different women at once. They're the ones doing 60 and 80 hour overtime weeks while I go home and play. :P


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I agree really (none / 0) (#92)
by GenerationY on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:34:05 AM EST

I'm not saying never, but seeing some poor sod strung out because of the child support payments (not to mention the brutal effects of the games that  get played with access and so on) does make me question the whole deal. And of course, no-one thinks that they are going to be ones who split up and that if it happened they would behave impeccably. The statistics of the situation suggest otherwise unfortunately.

[ Parent ]
No kidding; that's the truth. (none / 0) (#234)
by crazyphilman on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 05:59:53 PM EST

I've got a bunch of married friends at work, and boy are they taking it in the shorts. For example, I'm single, and make a whole lot less than this one guy (he and his wife put together make almost 3x what I make). But at the end of every week, I've got a bunch of extra money left over. He, huge salary and all, can't even scrape together twenty bucks for a case of beer without his wife telling him what a bastard he is.

Feh. I LIKE being single. I feel like I'm at the top of my game. And I owe it all to the Trojan-Enz company -- they watched my back through my twenties, and saved me from the horror. (shudder)
The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist is afraid this might be true.
[ Parent ]

Nipples take on a whole new meaning... (2.91 / 12) (#47)
by Skywise on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:09:40 PM EST

A friend of mine with kids had this conversation with his wife while trying to feed his 3 month old son from a bottle.

"He's crying again.  Did you wash the fast nipple?"
"Not yet, but he's been taking the slow nipple the past few days without fussing."
"Well he's not taking this slow nipple."
"Well it'll take me a few minutes to wash the fast nipple.  Here try this other nipple."
"... I dunno, it has about the same hole size as the other nipple."
"Okay, okay, I'll try it... here"
"He doesn't like that one either."
"Do you want me to wash the fast nipple?"
"Yes please, woman!"
Me: [in a Beavis/Butthead voice]"Huhhuhhuhuhuhuhuh, you said 'nipple'."
"Shut up.  Nipples doesn't mean what they used to around here!"

Breast-Feeding (3.00 / 8) (#50)
by Xptic on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:42:30 PM EST

Definately the way to go. Use boobs for their intended purpose.

[ Parent ]
Spoken like a man... (none / 1) (#91)
by Skywise on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:28:40 AM EST

I don't know the particulars but she wanted to breast feed but was unable to.  I have another female friend who told me it took her 3-4 weeks to get past the pain and that she'd literally start crying when it was time to feed.  But eventually she got going.

Now whether the first didn't have the endurance or not, I don't know.  But it wasn't for lack of trying.

[ Parent ]

my oldest son (none / 0) (#162)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:37:36 PM EST

was tongue-tied -- he couldn't suckle properly which made him upset, caused incredible pain to my ex and otherwise made things bad all around.  Doc figured out what was going on, snipped that little piece of flesh that is under his toung back a bit and all the problems went away.

[ Parent ]
I'm a flake (3.00 / 6) (#51)
by debacle on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 03:57:09 PM EST

I have a son. I have found that being having a son doesn't have a high impact on my flakiness.

I think that everyone should think long and hard about having children. It's a rough world out there and if you're too sensitive you might damage the children.

If you don't fuck up as a parent, the children are usually alright.

Also, I had sex on the kitchen table about a month ago. It's one of our favorite places (Next to in the woods and on one particular couch that doesn't belong to us) to fuck, and so naturally naptimes are  a blessing.

It tastes sweet.

Good god (none / 1) (#115)
by Frequanaut on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:10:07 PM EST

Does your child eat on that table? How about guests?

[ Parent ]
So what? <nt> (none / 1) (#125)
by jadibd on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 07:20:45 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Oh, I don't know... (none / 1) (#185)
by Frequanaut on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:09:30 AM EST

How about the SPOOGE on the table? For christs sake don't EVER invite me over for dinner.

[ Parent ]
er... (3.00 / 3) (#197)
by kethryveris on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:45:10 PM EST

I don't know what your housekeeping habits are, but where I come from it's customary to wash all hard surfaces when cleaning house.

[ Parent ]
Children reveal your true personality (1.58 / 12) (#55)
by haydentech on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 04:57:51 PM EST

The comments attached to this story have confirmed what I always suspected. If you are selfish bastard, you will hate having kids. If you are willing to actually give up a bit of yourself to experience one of greatest blessings on Earth, you're going to love it.

BTW, I have 4. But I'm only 31, so there's probably time for a few more... :-)

intriguing (3.00 / 8) (#64)
by elotiumq32 on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 06:07:22 PM EST

That's a bit of an oversimplification, don't you think?

A little preachy too.

I'm fairly ambivalent about having children - so what do you think of me?

Perhaps I'm making some incorrect assumptions about you from your post - but people like you intrigue me.  I'm intrigued by your ability to think in such black and white terms - if selfish bastard, then child hater ... if selfless giver, then child lover.

I imagine you have no problem extending it so that if child lover, then selfless giver and so on. What do they call that in logic?  Both the converse and the contrapositive?

And don't get me wrong - I like children and perhaps someday will have some.  But I don't share your opinion (at least the opinion I think you have) that those who have children and who gush about children are somehow 'better' than those who don't.

Boil it down and it's just biology.  Loving children is probably biological - increases the chance that you will have them - spread the species around a little.

Maybe it's me, but when I think biology and instinct, I think animal.  I'd like to think being human is about rising above our animal impulses - consuming, breeding and killing, to name a few.

When I think about having children (probably because I'm hardwired to do so), I try to gauge what the chances are that I can create another human who will leave the world a little less fucked up then when they arrived.

I guess that makes me a selfish bastard.

______________ yeah whatever
[ Parent ]

You have that exactly blackwards (3.00 / 20) (#68)
by localroger on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 07:15:19 PM EST

If you are selfish bastard, you will hate having kids. If you are willing to actually give up a bit of yourself to experience one of greatest blessings on Earth, you're going to love it.

No bias showing there, eh mate?

The truth of the matter is that having kids is the default thing that happens if you don't pay much attention to matters. If you cruise through life without thinking too deeply about anything, and you're healthy, you'll likely end up with kids.

Not having kids is the difficult choice. It requires you to find a mate who is agreeable on the matter. It requires cooperation in the matter of birth control. It requires expense and sacrifice before you have happy time in the sack. It requires a constant level of attentiveness. And it requires a certain amount of luck, since all birth control methods can fail, if you have a problem vis-a-vis abortion.

The selfish inconsiderates are people who have more than three kids at all, since you are depending on someone like me to not have the kids who will kill your kids for the land they're standing on a few hundred years from now. They're the people who have any kids at all when they have no means to feed, clothe, and house them properly. They're the people who have kids even though they don't like kids, just because they never took the time to think things through and were too fucking lazy to make arrangements before surrendering to the happy time instinct.

The vast majority of children are "not planned." Although people cough and deny, that is a euphemism for "unwanted." Their parents get caught in a surprise scramble that ends up in privation, resentment, and too often abuse and neglect.

I was not wanted, and though my parents tried hard to hide and overcome that circumstance it shone through in many ways. My wife wasn't wanted either; she was the first of three failures of three different types of birth control, in an era when abortion was illegal. Her parents made sure she knew it, and she is fervently in favor of legal abortion as a result.

Sometimes it occurs that selfish and responsible goals coincide. This is such a case. No matter how cute kids are, if we have too many of them they will end up fighting one another for short resources. If everyone has eight kids, six of them will die prematurely either through disease or violence. The math isn't cute, sexy, or romantic, but you can't escape it. And what it says is that it's not the childless ones who are being selfish.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

Please answer this question (1.80 / 5) (#90)
by haydentech on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:59:18 AM EST

I was not wanted, and though my parents tried hard to hide and overcome that circumstance it shone through in many ways. My wife wasn't wanted either; she was the first of three failures of three different types of birth control, in an era when abortion was illegal. Her parents made sure she knew it, and she is fervently in favor of legal abortion as a result.

So she would rather have not existed? Please go ask her that. How about you? If you or she says "yes", then well, I'll shut up, 'cause I don't have any explanation for that line of thinking. If, as I suspect, you both say "no", then how can you can you hold a defensible pro-abortion position? I'm really curious about what your answer will be.

[ Parent ]
Tired "pro-life" argument (none / 0) (#101)
by o reor on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 06:04:26 AM EST

And I'm sick of those, trying to humiliate and/or make people feel guilty when they are pro-abortion.

First, if one was born an unwanted baby and has a pro-choice stance, this does *not* mean he/she would rather be dead instead. And I see no contradiction in this. They only wish their parents had had the choice not to have more babies, because it led them into a miserable life at an early age (either because of financial difficulties or parents being overworked with more children than they can take care of and so on). They believe that it is important that a baby should be born a wanted child in a loving and caring family, if only for the mental balance of that child.

Then ther is this interesting paper about the correlation between the legalization of abortion and the decrease of crime rate. Although it sparked heated debates, I still have to read a proper debunk of that theory rather than knee-jerk bigot statements aginst it.

[ Parent ]

Better Idea (1.50 / 2) (#179)
by haydentech on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:27:39 AM EST

Why don't we kill criminals on the first offense? That would certainly lower the crime rate faster than killing babies. My argument may be "tired", but yours is just sick. It sounds like a cross between "A Modest Proposal" and "1984" or something. That someone would suggest killing anyone to affect the crime rate is unbelievable.

[ Parent ]
Who said (none / 0) (#180)
by elotiumq32 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 01:53:45 PM EST

... anything about killing anyone?  Abortion is the destruction of embryonic material, a fetus.  A potential living human, but not guaranteed to be.  

I'll concede that I don't know when a fetus becomes a baby - but maybe folks like you should come up with a way to let all unwanted embryonic cell masses go up for adoption -and- also invest in the infrastructure required to remove those cells and let them grow without the aid of a uterus.

Don't tell me that it's absurd.  It's no more absurd than prosecuting women who've miscarried - I mean, that's the logical extension of the 'pro-life' argument, isn't it?  How do we know that she did all she could to avoid that miscarriage?  Men too should be dealt with if they waste their sperm.

I assume your attitudes about abortion are linked to your religious beliefs.  Forgive me if I am incorrect.

I wish there was a way to debate these things maturely, but no one seems willing to reason.
______________ yeah whatever
[ Parent ]

Begging the question (3.00 / 2) (#189)
by kerinsky on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 05:27:33 AM EST

That's begging the question, the debate is whether that fetus is a baby and as such possesses a right to life or just embryonic material, a fetus that is only a potential living human.

You admit that you don't know when a fetus becomes a baby, which seems reasonable to me as this is basically the problem of the heap, how can we identify a single moment when embryo finally become a baby.

However a line must be drawn somewhere both morally and legally and it seems incumbent upon all people and governments to think about and defend their positions.  If we are to act as moral agents in this world we must have some concept as to which entities we must act morally towards.

That said it has always seemed to me that the important question is not "when does a embryo gain the right to life" but "when do we as a society chose to grant governmental protection to a embryo".  It's as impossible to answer the first question as it is to answer when a child becomes an adult, but we still draw lines in the sand at pseudo-arbitrary points because we have to.

Basically in the US at 18 you become an adult, some things like driving and sexual rights are granted or partially granted earlier and some like being able to drink alcohol or getting full government college tuition assistance are granted later.  There are both costs and benefits to society for moving this line either way, and things pretty much work right now so we leave well enough alone.

As for abortion, if the line is drawn too late then babies who deserve the right to live are denied proper legal protection of life and perhaps pain/assault, whereas if the line is drawn too early then pregnant woman are being unjustly denied rights to freedom, and perhaps health, and wellbeing, as well as subjected to perhaps direct economic repercussions of carrying a baby to term, as well as the general unpleasantness of pregnancy.  We currently draw the line somewhere psuedo-arbitrarily and as a society are continually talking about moving that line to another psuedo-arbitrary point.

I think we should have some rational debate about this.  Not where the "true" line between embryo and baby is, but rather where should we chose to draw the line based on the costs and benefits to individuals and society as a whole knowing full well that somebody's deserved rights are going to get trampled on somewhere because we're not perfect.

To me that debate comes down to two issues in the end; Choice and Mitigation.

Choice.  The embryo/baby had no choice or say in the matter whatsoever.  The mother almost certainly did (aside from rape, more on that later) and as such any of her rights that get trampled on as a result of drawing the line in the wrong place are at least foreseeable and avoidable; barring rape they are a direct result of her actions.

Mitigation.  There is no way for society to mitigate the consequences to a baby if the line is drawn too late.  Baby is dead, full stop, the end, nothing else matters.  Society cannot totally nullify the negative impacts to mothers of drawing the line too soon either as nothing can make up for such a loss of freedom, but attempts at mitigation can be made.  Monetary and medical support can be given.  Laws protect the jobs of pregnant women and guarantee maternity leave.  Society can provide efficient and good adoption, foster and orphanage facilities at whatever level it feels is appropriate.  Furthermore there must be some natural upside to pregnancy as woman continually strive for this state, and refuse legal abortions whilst in it, in massive numbers continually, although of course it must be granted that any particular individual woman who finds herself pregnant may not realize or experience any of these natural benefits so we cannot assume them for all cases.  Also no matter what else we do we should make sure the young girls know about the potential consequences of their actions before they can possibly become pregnant, nobody should have to face the consequences of ignorance when they can be so profound yet also so easily prevented.

I haven't gone out of my way to prove the case that we can't draw the line between protoplasmic goobag and human baby for sake of (relative) brevity but I think it's fairly obvious that society must make a decision here and that this decision must realistically be inefficient in some manner so we must chose our tradeoffs.  The possible actions fall in 4 basic categories to me 1) Stick your head in the sand an pretend not to make a decision, see anarchy, plus this is just a special edge case of 4, 2) Set the line somewhere such that nothing that is "truly" a baby is aborted at the cost of some/many woman's rights.  3) Do the moral calculus and set the line somewhere such that some "true" babies are legally murdered but many less woman's rights are trampled upon.  4) Set the line somewhere such that no woman's right are abridged and many "true" babies can be legally murdered.

Case 2 could of course include the decidedly illogical cases of prosecuting masturbation, birth control, and miscarriages just as case 4 includes such ridiculous cases as eating unwanted newborns and allowing "abortion" at parent discretion up to age 6, or 13 or whatever.  None of these extremes are the "logical extension" of pro or anti-abortion stances however and it seems extremely intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise.  The cases in contention are all about deliberate actions aforethought regarding embryos/fetuses in a woman's body.

In the end the line is going to be drawn somewhere and I argue that the clear choice is from above case 2 on the condition that it is a close to case 3 as we can reasonably get.  If I have to chose between killing one "true" baby versus reducing the rights 1 to 1.5 million woman who choose to have abortions each year as the direct result of their own conscious and obviously selfish actions I will chose to protect the innocent baby and this is a worst case scenario, I think it hard to argue that there are less than 2 unjustifiable abortions per year.  There may be debate as to where this line is in actuality, but I'm not going to be easily convinced that this isn't the line that we should be looking for and it's also obvious that the Roe V Wade decision based on viability is not even close to attempting to find this line, and although later attempts seem to be at least not patently ridiculous they seem to err on the side of woman's right to freedom versus some babies right to life.

In the end I personally think they line should be drawn at implantation/the embryo's fusing with the mother's body.  Contraceptives and abortificant drugs are okay to me.  Deliberately performing a surgical abortion is not.  If the mother's life is in danger to a reasonable certainty it's tough but the world isn't fair and there is no reason to wait for the mother to die so that we can attempt to save the life of the child so in these cases abortion is justifiably arguable as the lesser of two evils.  As for rape quick research I've done indicates that there are about 32,000 rape pregnancies a year, with aborificant drugs being 85-90% affective in preventing pregnancy so this could be reduced as low as 5000 or as high as say 30,000 depending on what percent of raped woman are currently getting these treatments.  This is a harsh and unfair trade.  I could perhaps be argued into accepting surgical abortion for say the first 8 weeks of proven rape pregnancy (ie the woman pressed charges with possibly DNA tests), or perhaps immediately upon learning of such a pregnancy given that every attempt was made to learn of pregnancy as early as possible (ie home tests every 5 days or something, this being predicated on my lack of knowledge of how affective tests are early in pregnancy and needing to go to sleep now instead of looking up statistics).  Normally I have a long drawn out hypothetical situation that I use as a thought experiment in this case but I won't go into that again for brevities sake but feel free to ask if you dare.


[ Parent ]

Buy a clue. (none / 0) (#205)
by o reor on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 08:32:21 AM EST

And stop smoking the carpet. I'm not suggesting that abortion automatically weeds out potential criminals (how do you determine that a foetus is a future thief or a murderer ? It's not programmed in your genes), I'm suggesting that birth control in general reduces the risks of having families that cannot handle the education of their children properly because they were unwanted in the first place, or because they are overworked trying to make a living for all of them, or because they already have their fair share of problems (unemployment, alcoholism, extreme poverty). When the education of children gets out of hand, crime rate goes up, it is that simple.

So birth control (the pill, condoms, etc.) is a very important tool for the welfare of society at large. And since traditional birth control methods are not 100% efficient, legalized abortion provides a safety net, especially for those who are already in a precarious social situation and would not be able to bear the burden of an additional kid.

[ Parent ]

Answer (3.00 / 8) (#124)
by localroger on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 06:40:28 PM EST

The short answer to your loaded question is "yes."

Now before you advise me to kill myself, let me give the long answer.

Both of us would have preferred to be born to people who were better equipped or more interested in dealing with the arrival of a child. However, no amount of wishing can make that the case. What has happened has happened. The only thing we can do is make sure it doesn't happen to someone else in the future.

As for "but I wouldn't exist" ... so what? Making guesses about what would happen if we could go back in time is a waste of time. Most likely, if you went back to the time of my infancy and changed anything major, or quite a few minor and unnoticeable things about my environment, I'd have developed into a completely different person with completely different talents and beliefs despite having the same genotype. I am consciously aware of quite a few such pivotal moments and I'm sure there are many more I don't remember.

So to suggest that the world in general might have been a little happier place if my parents had waited a couple of years until they could be less stressed and freaked out by the whole thing is not unreasonable. Of course the resulting person wouldn't be me, but the person who would result if you magically made them more capable while preserving the genetic circumstances of my birth wouldn't be me in any meaningful sense, either.

I am very lucky; having survived the gauntlet of my miserable childhood I found a wonderful woman and made a place for myself in the world despite the dents I acquired in the botched process of my growing up. That I endured my childhood is not a good thing, but that I survived it is; many come out of the same meat grinder a lot more fucked up than I did.

To put it another way, if I was forced back in time and had the chance to cause myself to be aborted, knowing that if I didn't I'd have to live through my own childhood again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Without hesitation. Because it's now past and done with and I can mostly forget about it, but if it was the future I'd much rather die than face that miserable gauntlet of years again.

I hope this answers your question.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#178)
by haydentech on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:23:28 AM EST

To put it another way, if I was forced back in time and had the chance to cause myself to be aborted, knowing that if I didn't I'd have to live through my own childhood again, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Well, like I said, I guess that ends the debate. I have no answer to your response since that line of thinking is so far outside of any logic or reason around which I can wrap my brain. Doubly so, since you don't appear to believe in an afterlife.

[ Parent ]
+3 localroger, but... (2.50 / 2) (#105)
by bml on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 08:04:29 AM EST

I have to disagree with several of the ideas above.

The truth of the matter is that having kids is the default thing that happens if you don't pay much attention to matters. (...) Not having kids is the difficult choice.

Although this might be true in most third-world countries, in the context of middle-class population in present-day developed countries (which is, I think, the cultural frame of reference of this discussion) this is simply not true. Thanks to decades of sex-ed, the default thing that happens is that couples use contraceptive methods until they, consciously, decide to have children. Accidents do take place, of course, but they're hardly the norm.

The vast majority of children are "not planned." Although people cough and deny, that is a euphemism for "unwanted."

Same as before, in the world you and I live in this is false. Most children (the vast majority?) are "wanted" as they are the result of a conscious decision taken by their parents, normally once they consider they have achieved a sufficiently stable economic status. And they are normally conceived after a certain period of fruitless attempts, which require a (again) conscious, sustained effort.

I was not wanted, and though my parents tried hard to hide and overcome that circumstance it shone through in many ways.

You deserve praise for stating your particular bias so clearly. I'm in a similar situation: my parent's marriage was a failure, so I'm fervently opposed to marriage. It is a very personal thing. I certainly don't oppose to other people getting married, but I hope I'll never get married myself (I live with someone I hope to spend my whole life with though -- unmarried). I admit my position is the result of my own childhood (unpleasant) experiences so I don't try to impose it on anyone else.

What I intend to say is that your position is fundamentally biased, as you yourself admit. Although your decision not to procreate is probably the result of careful consideration, this can hardly be applied to the general population. I agree with hayden that the same decision is more often taken out of selfishness and immaturity, not because they share your (by the way, probably wrong) malthusian ideas about overpopulation.

On the other hand, a lot of people's reasons to have children are equally wrong: to overcome a sense of emptiness, to please the family, to be better regarded socially... and, rather common and worst of all, to try to save a sinking marriage. Which does not change the fact that they are conscious (bad) decisions.

As a side note, and as an enthusiast of your stories (and of this), let me say that I'm glad your parents made that one mistake :)

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]
About the default thing... (3.00 / 2) (#111)
by localroger on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:01:41 PM EST

Having worked in a service industry for ~20 years and dealing with a broad class of people from engineers to forklift drivers, I have to say that it is only a small set of mostly upper middle class people who fit your description. My experience based on talking to hundreds of people about it is that most children are not planned. And that is a not very rural part of the USA.

Oh, and I'm with you on the marriage thing, too although I recently did get married. Not really our idea so much as the health insurance industry's :-( But so far it's working out.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

No such thing as an unplanned child (2.33 / 3) (#230)
by trog on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 08:58:00 AM EST

Having worked in a service industry for ~20 years and dealing with a broad class of people from engineers to forklift drivers, I have to say that it is only a small set of mostly upper middle class people who fit your description. My experience based on talking to hundreds of people about it is that most children are not planned.

What, immaculate conception?

If you are having sex, even using birth control, then a child can happen. No birth control method is perfect. The trick is that you use birth control to prevent pregnancy, but accept the fact that children can still happen. If you can't deal with that, then you shouldn't be having sex.

Having sex = planned child, despite lack of taking responsibility for one's actions.

Of course, rape is an entirely different issue. This would be the case where a child isn't planned.

[ Parent ]

Unrealistic or troll? I can't tell (2.33 / 3) (#240)
by localroger on Sat Aug 21, 2004 at 05:57:53 PM EST

If you can't deal with that, then you shouldn't be having sex.

Here in the real world, for the most part that is the last thing on peoples' minds when having sex. Which may not be very smart, but it's the way we were created precisely because our genes think the children thing is entirely too important to leave up to our intellect.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

Birth rates (none / 3) (#109)
by NoBeardPete on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 11:15:40 AM EST

It's desireable that the fertility rate not fall far below 2.1 children per woman, which is the value at which a population will be stable. If the fertility rate is just slightly below 2.1, the population will slowly fall with time. If it is far below 2.1, the population will fall much faster, but more importantly, the population will become much greyer. As the elderly take up a larger and larger fraction of the population, there are fewer workers but there is more of a need for lots of goods and services, particularly medical care. This is bad.

Right now the fertility rate in the US is just about 2.1. If it wasn't for immigration, our population would be stabilizing. The birth rate in many countries is much lower than 2.1. According to the CIA Factbook , there are 95 countries with fertility rates below 2.1, ranging from the US at 2.07 to the UK at 1.66, to Japan at 1.38, to Italy at 1.27 to Hong Kong at 0.91. For the countries that have fertility rates far below 2.1, this is big trouble for their future. Immigration can help stave off the greying of the population, but many countries have a great inherent resistance to immigration. Japan, for example, cannot reasonably hope to get its population to accept immigration on even close to the scale needed to help their demographic problems.

In many countries, then, what is needed is for people to have more kids, not for them to have less. You assert that having children is selfish, and that not having children is altruistic. In some places, this may be the case. In many places, you have it exactly backwards. Most of the people in this discussion probably live in countries with fertility at or below the replacement level. In this sort of situation, having children is at worst morally neutral, and at best a great service.

Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Maintaining (none / 1) (#128)
by localroger on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 09:34:02 PM EST

You assert that underreplacing the current population is a bad thing. But it seems to me that there are too many humans for the comfortable carrying capacity of the planet. I would rather live in a world where there are wild untamed places than in a world packed like cordwood with my brother humans. As a species we could stand to take a deep breath and step back. A single billion humans is a huge number, and not nearly such a strain on the other species we share the world with as the six billion plus we have now.

And not to be a PETA sap about it, we need those other species to keep the ecosystem in balance. A billion people is more than have ever shared the Earth at the same time until barely a hundred years ago; to assert that we need more than that is madness.

A world with 20 or 30 billion humans in it might be sustainable with high technology but why torture ourselves like that? The best way to reduce the population to a pleasant level is to not breed. Make life less hectic, make resources go further, and more people will feel like voluntarily taking the plunge. Of course it has to happen everywhere, which means introducing a high standard of living everywhere; we are not safe until Bangladesh has the same problem Japan does. When that is the case I will listen to arguments about needing to breed more people.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

The timescales are important (none / 0) (#159)
by NoBeardPete on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:02:00 PM EST

It'd be fine for the population to fall to a billion people. What'd be problematic is for it to fall to a billion people in too short a period of time. Even if we spread it out over, say, three human lifetimes, we're looking at about 200+ years of there being twice as many people in their seventies as there are people in their thirties. Having an age distribution like that in the population is going to cause a host of problems. The slower the population falls, the less extreme the demographic problem is. If your ideal target is a population of a million, you'd probably be best hoping to achieve that over the course of 500 to 1000 years.

Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Not very true in Italy, Japan, etc (nt) (none / 0) (#110)
by tetsuwan on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 11:56:00 AM EST

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Future generations (none / 0) (#127)
by kahako1 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 09:19:44 PM EST

If all the intelligent people would stop having children children then morons will inherit the earth. This is good because my children will have an easier time manipulating their way to the top. The one downside is that if they choose to have children, finding a suitable mate will be difficult.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
This comment (2.90 / 10) (#71)
by godix on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:00:08 PM EST

comfirms what I have always suspected. Some people think that not being able to figure out how to use a condom is somehow noble or admirable. Here's an idea, you want a few more kids why don't you adopt some? It's the height of selfishness to ignore children you could help just because you want to spawn your own. Hate to tell you but your genes aren't so wonderful that you need tons of broodlings to pass them on.

"Kerry's brother, Cameron, remembers their father's putting down John's "sophomoric" ideas while discussing foreign affairs around the dinner table." - New
[ Parent ]
You misunderstand me (none / 2) (#85)
by haydentech on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:29:21 AM EST

Some people think that not being able to figure out how to use a condom is somehow noble or admirable.

Yes, in fact I'm one of those people. I have no idea why people would want to use a condom. The only rational reason I can think of involves people who ought not be having sex in the first place.

Here's an idea, you want a few more kids why don't you adopt some?

You lost me here. You seem to act like I would surely oppose this. This is great idea. I hope to do this one day.

[ Parent ]
why people would want to use a condom? (2.25 / 4) (#88)
by stormie on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:45:21 AM EST

The only rational reason I can think of involves people who ought not be having sex in the first place.

..like you, Mr. Overpopulator.

[ Parent ]
Re : You misunderstand me (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by CorwIn of Amber on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 08:12:16 AM EST

I'm happy that you wish to adopt children.
I really do think it is a better idea than making them. On top of that, you could probably care real well for them, what with your previous experience with your own and the fact you simply love children.

But for me, I'm twenty-three, and I vowed never to have kids when I was, what, six years old? And I never, ever saw anything that could make me change my mind.

-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

[ Parent ]
Condoms (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by CorwIn of Amber on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 08:26:38 AM EST

Sorry, I forgot to put this in previous comment...

Here are Real Good(tm) reasons to use condoms :
  • When having sex with someone you don't want to get involved with (like when it's just for one night)
  • When you don't want AIDS, or, worse, kids
  • When she forgets her pill
  • When you're not sure you'll stay long with that person. Sex that feels good for BOTH people is MANDATORY for a long-standing couple, unless the relationship is Free (like "do whatever you want with anyone you like as long as WE are still together"); even in that case it is still important. Maybe even more.

I use condoms with my new girlfriend, until we both get tested for every known STD (even though we both know we're both clean). We will then both use pills (yes, ther ARE pills for men) until I get my vasectomy.

-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

[ Parent ]
Wow that was arrogant, and backwards... (2.85 / 7) (#83)
by skintigh on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:28:22 PM EST

One could argue having more than 2 children leads to overpopulation, further stress on the Earth and resources, and thus is the ultimate selfish act and downright irresponcible.

One could also argue that those people with large amounts of children are invariably mooching off of people with less children, and I don't just mean wellfare.  I'm talking schooling, financial aid, tax breaks, never mind work benefits that get subsidized by the childless.

[ Parent ]

Without fail.. (2.88 / 9) (#86)
by stormie on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:40:32 AM EST

..every conversation about children features some smug, arrogant prick who is convinced that his choices are the correct ones, that what he wants is "one of greatest blessings on Earth", and anyone who doesn't want exactly what he wants is just too stupid to realise how good it is.

And then on top of that, you spawn FOUR kids into this overpopulated world, and call us selfish bastards?? You selfish bastard.

[ Parent ]
Your right... (none / 0) (#238)
by kahako1 on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 11:28:55 PM EST

Thats just what I was thinking about those who claim they choose not to have children.

Except, the last sentence would read: and you refuse to share your life with a child, and call us selfish bastards?? You selfish bastard.

But seriously, I am glad that people choose not to have children. I respect your choice and wish you well. In the long run it won't make much difference anyways. In the short run, it result in less people to compete with my children for resources.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]

The earth needs a lot of things. (none / 1) (#236)
by xtal on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 06:30:28 PM EST

..and more people isn't one of them. Do the earth a favour and don't have kids, or do so below (1) or at (2) replacement levels. Who's the selfish bastard? Do know know how much energy your (n!) children will consume over their lifetimes? One good thing about having kids now, is that there will be cannon fodder to fight in the desert in 20 years. Giddy up.

[ Parent ]
Is that bile ... (none / 2) (#62)
by elotiumq32 on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:37:20 PM EST

... I'm tasting?

Sorry to interrupt the lovefest over children, but I thought maybe we could exchange old Ziggy cartoons instead ...
______________ yeah whatever

Very True (2.70 / 10) (#63)
by Kiskaana on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:40:55 PM EST

I'm 22 and married, and no way I'm ever having kids. I have a dog and a kitty and I love them to death, but I find kids disgusting. I see my friends with kids constantly changing diapers (the smell is horrible), wiping puke of their faces, and trying to prevent them from swallowing just about anything. For comparison,it took me about 1 MONTH to teach my dog not to poop on the carpet. I am so tired of people telling me "your motherly instincts will kick in" soon...and that somehow I will love those creatures...NOT GONNA HAPPEN! My friend, who has 2 children 1 and 4 years old, is actually jealous of me coz I get to keep my normal weight body, my freedom, and my life. We need more articles like this to make people wake up and smell the diapers!
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
choice (none / 0) (#89)
by juju2112 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:56:16 AM EST

Whether you want them or not isn't usually relevant. If you have sex often enough, they'll come.

Condoms break, pills can be forgotten, etc.

[ Parent ]

Vasectomy (none / 1) (#98)
by Kiskaana on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 03:23:39 AM EST

Vasectomy (operation for men) works pretty well. I don't want them and my husband does not either. Best decision to prevent my life from going down the hill...;-)
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
Re : vasectomy (none / 0) (#104)
by CorwIn of Amber on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 08:03:19 AM EST

I'd happily to for vasectomy if I could ever find a doctor who agrees to do it without my having 8 kids and being over 64... (or something that far away from me)

-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

[ Parent ]
Vasectomy (none / 1) (#121)
by Kiskaana on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 04:02:59 PM EST

We (my husband and I)were refused about 3 times before they realized we were serious about this. (I'm 22, he's 26, no kids)I know it's extremely difficult to persuade people you are an intelligent adult capable of making a choice. Good luck!
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
Mellow (2.14 / 7) (#100)
by mcrbids on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 04:35:15 AM EST

Kids have a way of smoothing off your rough edges, of keeping you flexible, and a way of making you see value where you don't now.

I've noticed that people without kids tend to go off on petty things - like whether or not somebody shaved their legs, or whether or not their couch cover was smoothed after somebody sat in it. Give me a BAG.

You think the value of kids is in their diapers? Well, yeah. Sorta. Like so many things, you get out of kids what you put into them.

Diapers are sorta like "boot camp" - ugly but if you you pay the price, you get to the fun stuff. And, like money, you can't really appreciate it's value unless you've earned it.

There's nothing in the world like seeing your own habits reflected in your children. They mimic you, parrot you, and in the process, you learn alot about yourself. Good, bad, and otherwise. You learn quickly how ugly profanity sounds on a 3 year old.

I have 5 beautiful children, and 1 gorgeous, passionate wife to boot. Most times, I'd tie for first place in a happy contest. Doing kids alone often hurts. Doing kids as a couple is challenging, but so incredibly worth it. Nothing beats the satisfaction you experience when something you value truly is reflected in one of your children.

My 12-YO daughter said a few months back: "I don't get why anybody wouldn't like science. I mean, It's just how the world works. I mean, even if you are a psychologist, you still have to know the science of how the mind works!"

I shed tears at this statement. I was quiet - I don't think she ever knew. But to me, the value of intelligence, the sciences, engineering, reigns supreme. This is what separates mankind from the dust from which we originate. Intelligence and respect for the sciences - It's one of my most treasured values. And, in a nonchalant way, my daughter, subject to years of agony, hard work, and emotional expense on my part, "got it".

What an incredible reward!

BTW, my daughter is not a "nerd chick". She's punk - in chains, listens to Avril Lavine, (sp?) wearing black. She seems to be the center of the neighborhood. She's also incredibly bright, compassionate, could make an incredible engineer, but wants to be a naturalist. Did also I mention she's as beautiful as my wife?

You sound like a boy. A man is willing stand up, and is able to be responsible. A boy just can't hack it.

This is not a cliche. Being responsible is one of the definitions of manhood. I spent years telling everybody I'd never have more than 1, maybe 2 kids.

So, there's nothing wrong with boys - better to be what you truly are then to pretend to be what you aren't. If you can't hack it... don't. Grow some first. It's better for the screwed up, neurotic kids you don't raise.

But, I'm a man, and I'm damn proud of it.
I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse
[ Parent ]

Happy parenting (yeah right...) (none / 1) (#122)
by Kiskaana on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 04:21:09 PM EST

I'm glad I sound like a boy...because I am a woman...Funny, I've been told before that I think like a man. I've noticed that the only people who truly love kids are the ones who have them (not on purpose most of the time). I love my freedom, and I'm all for liberation of women from being "barefoot, pregnant in the kitchen". If you have kids (at least for women a lot of the times) you give up your other dreams. I'm graduating with my associate's degree this summer. I'm gonna go for bachelor's as soon as we move. Would I be able to do any of this if I did not have a supportive husband and had a bunch of kids? I'm glad you're happy, but ask your wife if she is. Is she happy giving up her life, dreams (unless her dreams were to get married and have 5 kids) and possibilities? I am not against people having kids if that's what makes them happy, but to me...it's giving up your freedom and life. Why would I want to hear somebody say she wants to be an engineer if without kids I CAN BE an engineer. Also, if today at 11 am I feel like going to movies, I will. I don't have to find a babysitter in 15 minutes and I don't have to ruin somebody's day by bringing my family with me. Diapers are not the worst things about kids. To me, when you have kids you start living just for them...and forget yourself. This is why when they leave (at 18 if you're lucky)a lot of couples get divorced. There is nothing left in their lives. According to my psychology teacher, childless couples are happiest.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
I'm the wife (none / 0) (#130)
by mcrbids on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 10:16:00 PM EST

BAHAHAHAHA!  Okay, that was my first response to is your wife happy.  Lest you get the wrong idea, that's because I'm sooo happy.  But that's okay, I don't understand your life either.  I just can't find pets interesting enough to be worth the trouble. And although I enjoy college (both before and after motherhood), I've always felt like having kids gives me more depth to view the world with, and made any education or experience in other parts of my life more full.

You absolutely should not have kids if you feel like you can live without that experience.  They certainly are not a trophy, and people that have children because it's something to do or some sort of outside pressure either change radically when the kid actually comes, or make lousy parents.

Have you ever talked to a genius 15yo?  Have you ever been awe-struck at their insights into the world?  Can you imagine how exciting and even humbling it would be to be part of that?  If I wasn't going to have kids, I sure better have something major to take it's place.  It's not something in a diaper.  It's a human being, and you are responsible for that real person.  Wow!

As for dreams outside of children.  What, you don't know any mother's that are engineers? And even if you did or do dedicate all of your days to raising kids, it's a long life.  You still have time for things before and after.  I know for us having kids has given us drive, determination, and an increased flexibility in our intelligence that has made other parts of our life work better than they would have without that experience.  

So be happy for your friends with kids.  If they're lucky and truly awake to it, they are experiencing something wonderful.  That experience may not be for you, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate that it is that for them.  And if you are going to forego the experience of having your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and life affect others down through generations, you better have big dreams to make up for that lack.
I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse
[ Parent ]

Why wait till kids leave to start living again? (none / 0) (#148)
by Kiskaana on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:48:06 AM EST

I see too many reasons not to have children (other than my dislike for them).My friend who has kids, wishes she had my life, which is really sad, since I don't consider myself a perfect role model. The fact is she has two kids that she does not want (she thought she did when she had them). I see too many people being excited about children only to realize it is not for them (but it's too late! the child is born!)THEN they say it's worth it. If we had a child right now, I would have to quit my job and drop out of college to take care of it. My husband,my pets, and my career mean everything to me--a lot more than a possibility of raising someone. I'm glad to hear you did not give up your dreams, but I know too many people who did. I live on the airforce base and it seems like a fashion to have children right after you get married here (if not earlier). It is unfortunate for all these young women that did not experience what life has to offer before signing up to have kids for 18 years of their lives. My other friend (who likes children and just had her second one) says:"I want to have them young, so when I'm 40, they are out of the house and we could travel and see the world." I CAN DO IT NOW. My human relations teacher(older woman) said the best age is 50, because that's when your kids leave and you have time for yourself.My question is why have children if you end up waiting for them to leave so YOU could start living again?
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
I'll field this one... (none / 0) (#164)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:46:47 PM EST

Ask yourself what you'd prefer to do:  Have kids early, raise them and get on with your life at age 40-45 or get your career started and get the travelling and whatnot out of your system and THEN try to raise kids at 40-45?

For me the choice was simple.  I wanted to be a father before age 25.  I was a dad of three three months before my 25th birthday.  When you're young you have the energy and body strength to work two jobs and spend time with the kids and wife...  You can't do it when you're older.

Now my life didn't end up quite the way I expected (divorced) but I still maintain that it's far better to have kids young so you can relate to them and run and wrestle and spend time with them...  travelling, skiing, programming, owning a business...  all these things can be done when you're old the same as they can when you're young... at least for the most part.  Raising kids is very very very high energy work.

My wife and I both agreed that she should stay home and raise the kids until they were school-age.  She's now RIBO-licensed and working at an insurance company.  Taking 5-10 years off your life so that the kids are raised by a parent instead of a babysitter seems like a great tradeoff to me, and it's a hell of a lot easier when you're young.

It seems you have to make a decision.  money/career/fame now and kids later, or vice-versa.

[ Parent ]

I did not say "kids later"... (none / 0) (#169)
by Kiskaana on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:35:43 AM EST

I already mentioned I don't want to have children at all!!! It's just that if people say "I'll do all I ever wanted once the kids are gone" are obviously missing out on life. I would like to travel now while I'm 22, not when I'm 45 and all I want to do is cuddle up with a book! You may not make it to be 45, and as a result spend your whole life raising children and missing out on opportunities for yourself.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
I disagree, but that's okay (none / 0) (#181)
by tzanger on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:58:42 PM EST

I don't think anyone is missing out on anything if they decide to travel later and have kids now.  That's an opinion you have, and from your point of view (not wanting kids) it would certainly appear that that person is putting their life on hold to raise kids.

In my opinion raising kids is not putting your life on hold; it is doing something I wanted to do for as long as I can remember; I can travel anytime, putting it off a couple decades in order to raise kids while I have the energy and strength isn't "missing out" it is just time management.

[ Parent ]

selective perception (none / 1) (#136)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 01:59:27 AM EST

I've noticed that people without kids tend to go off on petty things - like whether or not somebody shaved their legs, or whether or not their couch cover was smoothed after somebody sat in it.
I've noticed that parents and non-parents are about equally likely to go off about petty things. I know both nutjobs and stoics in both groups, and the distribution is probably about even.

Parents give up a profound amount of freedom, time, and money, so of course they have to conclude that they've grown immeasurably psychological and spiritually, otherwise it's a net loss. I'm not saying that you haven't grown or learned from your experience, only that I think you're a little predisposed by your situaton to think that you're better off spiritually than non-parents.

[ Parent ]

One question... (none / 1) (#139)
by mcrbids on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 03:37:35 AM EST

How many kids do you have?

Really. I'm curious.

I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse
[ Parent ]

I'm not falling for that one... (3.00 / 5) (#140)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 04:23:20 AM EST

If I don't have kids, then I don't know what I'm talking about. Magnanimously, you won't blame me for my ignorance, but you'll wistfully say that I just can't speak of things of which I have no experience. "I used to feel the same way, but once you have kids, you understand things you didn't before."

If I have kids, then I'm bitter and mean, and undoubtedly a bad parent and horrible role model. You will no doubt express your pity for me and my kids, and maybe a little hope that I can outgrow my selfishness before I do them irreparable harm.

What do I have to do to get someone to address what I actually said? I never said that all parents were nutjobs, only that they are predisposed to think that having kids increases their mental health and makes them less likely to freak out over the little things.

For 8 years I worked in an ER and all the time we had women sign in at 2 in the morning for anxiety, depression, etc, and the vast majority were parents. Children are stressful, expensive, demanding, and time-consuming, all qualities that can cause people to basically freak out. Most child abuse occurs where? In the home. Most murdered children are murdered by whom? Their mothers. Most molested children are molested by whom? Their fathers. This is mostly due to opportunity and proximity, but I can't help but attribute at least the non-sexual abuse to the fact that sometimes you just want to shake the hell out of a kid because they won't shut the hell up. Most people (I hope it's most) don't do it, but the impulse is there.

I'm only addressing what I've seen. If you personally have attained buddha-like calm from living with a screaming toddler, great. You are a higher form of human being, and I applaud you.

But I'm still not going to answer your question. If you don't agree with me, I can live with that. I don't mind when people disagree with me, but I know that question leads either to A) making my opinion ineligible for consideration, or B) labeling me as a bad parent.

[ Parent ]

Only one path... (none / 0) (#154)
by localman on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:24:03 AM EST

You know, just about everyone who is a parent has been a non-parent at some point in their adult lives.  So it really is fair for them to say that you don't know what you're talking about.

That said, I've never taken any mind-altering drugs and many of my friends have.  They all tell me that it's great and I should try it (well, they used to -- they've given up now).  But even though they've seen both sides of the coin, as it were, I still prefer to choose my lifelong path of being unaltered.

So I can definitely understand where you're coming from not wanting to follow someone just because they've been on a path you haven't been on.

I think it comes down to this: if you want to be a parent, you'll probably enjoy it and it probably will enrich your life.  If you don't want to be a parent, you probably won't enjoy it and it probably won't enrich your life.  What a surprise, eh?


[ Parent ]

It's useless (none / 0) (#157)
by ConsoleCowboy on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:37:11 PM EST

If one can't see past the noise and diapers, it's useless to try to explain the (quite intangible) benefits of parenthood. Let them stay ignorant, they don't miss it anyway (and let me have kids without feeling too guilty about surpopulation).
[ Parent ]
Marriage (none / 1) (#126)
by kahako1 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 09:06:11 PM EST

The only reason too get married is about children. Why tie yourself to one person if you are not going to share the work of raining a child. Insanity is inherited, you get it form your kids.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
The reason to get married (none / 0) (#150)
by Kiskaana on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:10:18 AM EST

Children are the reason to get married???? Then we would marry not the ones we love, but tall, beautiful people with high IQ and good financial situation, and no family history of chronic deseases:-). (Not always the people we chose to be our life partners).I got married because I wanted to be with a person I loved, not because I wanted children. If I wanted to have children, I could have done it without the actual person (in the lab). Marriage is not directly correlated with children. Just because married people have children does not mean that's why people get married.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
Proclaim your love (none / 0) (#202)
by kahako1 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:29:19 PM EST

Then proclaim your love. Proclaim it to your friends, your family, your church and your God (if you are so inclined). But despite what you think ( and the presence of your license) the state does not care.

As for chronic diseases, if you contract one you have my empathy. I hope that no individual should experience slow suffering and death. An afflicted persons ability to survive and reproduce is greatly enhanced by modern medical science. Before modern medicine most ill people would die and therefore not be a choice for mate.

If you are concerned about diseases of the elderly, they exist because they do not afflict people until after the child rearing years. In fact it is likely that the high rates of such diseases exists only because more people are living long enough to suffer from them.

Your notion of romantic love overpowering lust is nice. But generally they work together. Lust bringing you together then romantic keeping you together. "tall, beautiful people with high IQ and good financial situation," do seek each other out. If you chose to go a different way, good for you.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]

Wow how wrong can a person be... (none / 0) (#165)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:50:18 PM EST

You don't marry to have kids.  Kids are a small but significant part of a lifelong union.  You marry because you want to commit to someone and want to do it in a way that is recognized by the church and state.

[ Parent ]
be thankful that you're the female (none / 1) (#135)
by misanthrope112 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 01:49:20 AM EST

so you get to choose whether or not you have kids. I didn't want kids, and neither did my fiancee, until we got married, she did a 180, decided she wanted kids, and stopped taking the pill. Instant parenthood. I ended up hating her for trapping me and lying to me (or maybe she was just a flake) so now she's my ex-wife. I get to feel like a Nazi because I wouldn't rearrange or redefine my life because of her decisions, but the alternative is to give up what I wanted in the first place, my privacy and my freedom. We both learned, or so I like to think. The only thing is that what she learned made her a better person, whereas what I learned makes relationships difficult at best.

[ Parent ]
Sad but Fair (none / 0) (#149)
by Kiskaana on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:01:51 AM EST

Sorry about your experience... I hate women who manipulate men with pregnancy before or after marriage. I don't think I'd be able to forgive this either. Children are couples' decision. We knew before we got married (and we've been married for 3.5 years) that we did not want kids. It should definitely be a mutual decision. And if it's not that's when you have a big problem.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
same deal (none / 0) (#241)
by skmch on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 01:39:10 AM EST

I had almost the same thing happen to me.

My fiancee became unexpectedly pregnant (drug interaction caused the pill to stop working). I didn't want a baby. She didn't want an abortion or adoption. So she had and kept the baby against my wishes.

Some memorable quotes from early in her pregnancy:

"Babies aren't that expensive. We can afford one easily"

"Nothing will change in our relationship"

"We will still be able to go out, my mother can babysit."

"Babies don't require that much time from us. They sleep a lot"

Any of that sound familiar to you?

Here I am and our daughter is now 1.5 years old. We go out maybe one Saturday night every two or three months for a few hours. She has been 60 or 70 pounds overweight since having the baby and simply has no energy (or money) for anything. We have had sex twice in the past year - and only that much because I was attempting to get her motivated and interested in our former life again (didn't work).

I'm still here, living with her, unmaried. I often think about moving out, but I still love her somewhat, although I'm not attracted to her anymore. And at any rate, living here is cheaper for both of us. If I move out, she will file for child support which will cost me more overall than living here. The decision to have the baby was 100% hers, but the costs & responsibilities are 50% mine.

[ Parent ]

The thing about kids is (none / 1) (#65)
by Trevasel on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 06:21:30 PM EST

Evolution makes you really, really love them a whole lot, because otherwise, you would kill them.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
missed this in voting, (none / 1) (#67)
by kpaul on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 07:14:54 PM EST

but a belated +1fp.

nice job. made me smile. ;)

2014 Halloween Costumes

oh yes, christmas is always a blast (none / 0) (#73)
by wobblie on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:16:28 PM EST

My family is full of horrible kids. Not that I don't like kids (I adored my last girlfriends kids), but these little cretins are just puke faced whining snots.  Thankfully I only have to see them on Christmas.

Christmas. Right around the end of football season, when you can still get a dozen or so of those loud ass airhorns they sell to fans for cheap.  Add a few five pound bags of sugar and some cheap plastic spoons.  Watch the nightmare unravel.

oh yes, christmas is always a blast (none / 1) (#74)
by wobblie on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:16:52 PM EST

My family is full of horrible kids. Not that I don't like kids (I adored my last girlfriends kids), but these little cretins are just puke faced whining snots.  Thankfully I only have to see them on Christmas.

Christmas. Right around the end of football season, when you can still get a dozen or so of those loud ass airhorns they sell to fans for cheap.  Add a few five pound bags of sugar and some cheap plastic spoons.  Watch the nightmare unravel.

Children and Happiness (3.00 / 13) (#75)
by phriedom on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 08:30:05 PM EST

I remember hearing a report on a scientific study about children and happiness. The results shouldn't be surprising, but here they are: The strongest correlation was between people who wanted to have children but couldn't, and unhappiness. They felt they were missing out. Slightly less unhappy were people who had children accidently or because they thought they should even though they didn't really want to. They felt they were missing out on the freedom of childless life. In a statistical tie for happiness were people who wanted children and had them; and people who didn't want them and didn't have them. If you want children, then you accept the loss of freedom and the extra work. If you love the freedom of not having children, you won't regret it later in life and wish you had children. So you see, if you are one of those parents who really, really loves your children and goes around telling your childless friends that they just have to have children and it will be the best thing that ever happens to them: STFU. Only people who want children should have them. And if you are childless and get a lot of grief from friends and family, ignore it. You'll be fine without them. Only people who want children whould have them. I say this as a proud, happy father of a two-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. I'm glad I have my two children, but do whats best for you.
I don't ask for much, I just want a lot of it.
children are the spawn of satan [nt] (1.33 / 3) (#79)
by the77x42 on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 10:11:56 PM EST

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Well, Satan's kids are, anyway... (nt) (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by aristus on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 11:35:12 PM EST


??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West

[ Parent ]
My brother... (none / 1) (#99)
by Insoc on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 04:15:11 AM EST

has made me not want to have children. I love him, but at the age of 12, he's a compulsive liar and steals things from people in the house (not money, mind, but other things). He's also dyslexic, something that I don't really want to accidently pass on to my offspring, as it's caused numerous fights between my mother and the school system since they had no idea why he couldn't read for the longest time (they didn't find out he was dyslexic until approximately 2 years ago). I still think I'd like one child, though, when I'm older (around 32-ish) if only because I want to name something.

Then get a pet. [nt] (none / 1) (#166)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:53:01 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Or buy a star, or discover a new species.... (none / 0) (#190)
by kerinsky on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 05:44:26 AM EST

en tea

A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
NO way (none / 1) (#103)
by CorwIn of Amber on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 07:58:55 AM EST

that I'm ever gonna have kids. I don't need to waste most of my $ on some parasite for twenty years, then realize by the time I'm 50 that I wasted my life (life == fun, time, money, except for religious people, where life == martyrdom). The world doesn't need me to have kids either. There are enough as of now.

-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

Good, don't have kids. (none / 2) (#117)
by dotThink on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:16:58 PM EST

You're right, the world doesn't need you to have children! You would probably make a horrible parent.

For me, life=fun. Fun= coming home to a house with 2 adorable little girls jumping up and down yelling "daddy's home! daddy's home!" and then packing them up and taking them to the playground. That's fun, for me anyway.

[ Parent ]

Sure. (none / 1) (#224)
by CorwIn of Amber on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 11:34:28 AM EST

You are right, I would be an horrible parent. That is one of the reasons I don't want to have kids, too. I don't have enough patience, either.

But my primary reason stays "I want my time and money to be mine and stay so". Selfish? Yes. So what? Better to know it than have a child, then...
My mother wanted a child, my father didn't. So she raised me alone. She could, and was willing to invest the necessary time, money and effort. I'm happy she did, and she's happy I'm there, too.

I understand very well the people who want children. I know what emotions, feelings, thoughts and motivations they have. I don't want that for me, that's it.

And for the idea of overpopulation, that's stupid. With a better economic model(*) there would be enough resources for way more people than there are now.

* = You want to tell me to come up with one, right? Gotcha! I wrote one. Send me an email if you want to discuss it.


-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

[ Parent ]
Funny (none / 0) (#167)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:55:32 PM EST

When I'm 50 I'll have raised three (maybe more?) humans and contributed to society (positive or negative, that is still to be determined).  The results of my actions these next 22 years will last for hundreds of years.  Your "fun" (attained status and wealth) will die with you.

[ Parent ]
Build a damn pyramid then <nt> (none / 1) (#170)
by GenerationY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 04:00:13 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Unfunny (none / 0) (#175)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 07:31:49 AM EST

The results of my actions these next 22 years will last for hundreds of years.

As if it makes any difference to you what your results were after you're dead. Hell, your results don't mean anything to most people even now even if you were Dubya.

[ Parent ]

It means a lot to my genes. :-) (none / 0) (#182)
by tzanger on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:00:37 PM EST

Seriously though -- the things you do today can have an impact long after you're gone.   It doesn't matter to me what happens to the world when I'm not enjoying it, this is true, but if I can give something to the world that makes it a better place (even if that betterness is just localized)... well then I feel I have given back more than I have taken and that's important to me while I'm living.

[ Parent ]
Gene Off (none / 0) (#194)
by chaoticset on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 01:09:48 PM EST

If you actually cared about the world, why are you trying to help overpopulate it? If you're actually concerned about your genes, why don't you have samples at a sperm bank?

[ Parent ]
Gene off? (none / 1) (#196)
by tzanger on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:33:11 PM EST

Why would they keep my sperm samples at a bank?  It's more than just my genes I am trying to put forward, it's also my ideals and so on I suppose...  

Your comment on overpopulation is a red herring; I'm not in the slightest concerned about overpopulation; as the CIA factbook shows the reproduction rates in North America (where I live) are not causing overpopulation.

[ Parent ]

Wow (2.50 / 2) (#113)
by pkalaher on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 12:09:48 PM EST

I've been lurking on k5 for years now, and thought I had a lot in common with people here. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to see the subtlety of some of the comments, but the overt hostility towards children and parents is kinda surprising. Yes, I'm married, with two kids, I love all three of them dearly, and it really hasn't been *that* difficult. In fact, I'd say its been a really positive experience, one that has really helped me grow in many ways. I agree with one of the comments above; as two people who really _wanted_ children, my wife and I are as happy as can be about it. Of course, we respect people who don't want kids, and totally understand that choice. What I don't understand is the spite and anger I'm reading here towards those of us who *do* have children, as well as the children themselves. Can someone help me here?

Fear (none / 2) (#116)
by aristus on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:14:41 PM EST

I was surprised myself at the even split between chuckling parents and 20-somethings trying to make face. I tried to write something wry and ended up poking some deep fears.

I'm not all that old (or that young) but I remember many things I said I'd never do that I ended up doing soon after. I suspect in time the 20-ers here will either have kids by hook or crook, or become more comfortable with their choice.

Kids are wonderful. But for me, right now, kids are most wonderful when they are someone elses'.

??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West

[ Parent ]
I'll help you (2.14 / 7) (#118)
by slaida1 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 01:28:57 PM EST

Most simple reason to hate breeders is despite overpopulation on this planet already, they happily chose to ignore that fact.

Second best reason for hate is breeders' inability to even try to think of some better/new/original way of life. Instead they "choose" the standard life with standard loans, kids, and other basic stuff. I hate'em because I chose life without kids and they aren't helping me, they aren't interested, they only talk about kids and how wonderful they are. They won't even begin thinking about the possibility of what to do about their lives without kids.

That brings me to the third best reason: because they won't or can't thinks of other meaningful purposes for their lives, they just multiply without telling (because they have none) their children any better reasons to exist than multiplying some more. They breed on same principle as any other organism on this planet thus making them no more human on that respect than bacteria: multiply for the sake of itself.

Last but not least, something that borders religious matters: extinction would wipe us if we stopped breeding. I say: so what? I'll be dead anyway in 70 years or so and there isn't any grand schemes or afterlifes or other places for me after that. I'll be gone, and then it won't matter if there ever was race called humans on some place called earth in some bigger place called solar system in some bigger place called milky way in some bigger place called universum... and it'll be same for us all.

"What is the point of all this?" is what I'm asking and what they're happily ignoring despite it concerns them as much. They throw their privilege to think away, choosing easier life, that same life their parents and countless generations before them chose. They choose life without meaning or at best, with meaning that isn't their own.

I feel anxiety, for the emptiness ahead and now is entirely up to me to fill with meaning and reason, I chose not to have kids because that would've been the easy way out. And I hate people who chose the easy way without even thinking about other options.

[ Parent ]

A response (none / 1) (#119)
by dave114 on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 02:50:12 PM EST

Most simple reason to hate breeders is despite overpopulation on this planet already, they happily chose to ignore that fact.

Overpopulated, or just a poor distribution of resources?

breeders' inability to even try to think of some better/new/original way of life

Perhaps they've considered it and choose this as the best way? Just because someone's choice disagrees with yours doesn't necessarily make it wrong.

extinction would wipe us if we stopped breeding. I say: so what? I'll be dead anyway in 70 years or so

Well, on a practical note, have you considered the collapse of pensions and other social programs?

[ Parent ]

Overkillpopulated (none / 1) (#171)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 04:26:32 AM EST

Overpopulated, or just a poor distribution of resources?

Overpopulated. We have poor distribution of land area also, but even if people could be distributed evenly over habitable areas, we'd still have overpopulation.

Perhaps they've considered it...

Yes. I've been waiting to hear one good reason other than "it makes/made me happy". It's a good reason but only for so many, after that it gets boring to have lazy, unoriginal and predictable happy-seekers everywhere.

People better save for their own pensions and not rely for somebody else to force them save money.

[ Parent ]

Good reasons. (none / 0) (#212)
by RangerElf on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:33:04 PM EST

Maybe, just maybe, it's a good reason for them, and not a good reason for you. Other people don't have the responsability to think using your values, they have their own.

Just maybe, they did think it through, and arrived to a different conclusion. It doesn't have to be your own conclusion, to be valid in their own eyes.

Another thought. Having, and raising, children is a very emotional issue, and activity; so, don't think less of others just because you don't, or can't, understand those emotional answers you get, because you really cannot understand them. You're not a parent. It doesn't make you any less or any more than them (people who are parents), but it does close you off from a certain perspective, and it's only natural that you can't "get it" regarding those "emotional, happy-seeking" answers.


[ Parent ]

Good reason for them? Or everyone? (none / 1) (#213)
by stormie on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 07:38:29 PM EST

Maybe, just maybe, it's a good reason for them, and not a good reason for you. Other people don't have the responsability to think using your values, they have their own.

That's a fair response to someone who is unpersuaded of the joy of parenthood, and doesn't expect to ever be so persuaded. But there's just one problem: for every parent who understands that their good reasons are not good reasons for everyone, there are fifty smug, arrogant, "you-just-don't-understand", "you-don't-know-the-joys-of-parenthood", "you'll-want-children-when-you-grow-up!!" types. That, pkalaher, is the root of the overt hostility towards children and parents, I think. There's certainly been enough of it in the comments to this article, and that's what has made me hostile. I'd take a much more "live and let live" attitude towards people using their own values rather than mine, if they were willing to extend the same courtesy.

[ Parent ]
Nice Troll (none / 1) (#120)
by dotThink on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 03:50:29 PM EST

You're absurd. You have justified your own desire to not have kids, and that's fine, but you are being completely ignorant about other peoples' reasons for wanting to have kids. There are plenty of reasons to have kids that have nothing to do with "choosing the easy way" (and btw, choose has 2 o's). I assure you, having kids is by no means the "easy way". When you grow up (I assume by your statement of "70 years or so" you are in your early 20s if not your late teens) you too may find yourself wanting children, so don't knock it. You have a lot of growing and understanding in front of you. I too was of the belief that kids were the end of your life and I wanted my freedom. Now I'm a happy father of two and I wouldn't have it any other way. And no, it wasn't the "easy choice" it was just a choice.

[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 1) (#151)
by Kiskaana on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:16:56 AM EST

Why do *you people* always tell us childless people in their 20s that we'll want kids so much when *we grow up*. I am 22, and I knew I didn't want kids since I was 7 or 8. My husband is 26 and he is positive (after babysitting his sister through his teen years) that he does not want children. It's not just something you grow out of for some people, it's a big decision to keep our sanity throughout our lives.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
I'm absurd for venting my opinion? (none / 0) (#172)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 06:18:32 AM EST

Yet another "plenty of reasons to have kids" without revealing any.

It is the easy way because it "oops, just happened" and because all parents, grandparents and most of relatives are highly supportive. It's easy "because everybody else does it, too!" and "it's weird and there must be something wrong with you if you don't want kids? Are you gay, it's ok, you can tell me?". And, yet again, it's easy to delude oneself and chicken out from thinking the meaning of life.

Laugh away, you've probably ran away from that big question, made kids and think that's all there is to life. Ignorance is bliss. Could you tell me, how it's not the easy way? Yeah, physical labor and mental stress and all that.. Don't get me started.

I'm in my late 20's, if that means something special to you, I'm grown up and waiting for other people to grow up to the question: "can I do something else with my life than copulate and breed? ..or am I just killing time here, waiting for time to kill me?"

[ Parent ]

Yes, you are absurd, (none / 0) (#177)
by dotThink on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:07:43 AM EST

but not because you don't want kids. You're absurd because your argument is that we all (parents) went into it blindly ignorning the overpopulation problem (which is political, not due to sheer numbers) and that we no longer want to have anything to do with non-"breeders". Using the term "breeder" in and of itself is highly insulting. Breeder is a derogatory term used by the gay/lesbian community (of which I have many friends) towards people with children. It is not a friendly term used in jest.

If you yourself don't want children that's fine. Don't have any. But don't assume that the rest of us will see the logic of your argument which is based on nothing other than suggesting that we're just following along with what society expects from us. I've never given society what it expects, and I didn't decide to have kids because of peer pressure. I was the first of most of my friends to have kids (and I'm not young). I think most parents are horrible and are creating little monsters due to a lack of parenting.

I chose to have kids because I wanted to and I think I'm a good father. That's all. Nothing else. If you don't want kids, that's fine. I have many friends without kids. I don't see them very often 'cuz my days are taken up with kid stuff, it's a fulltime job. But I still love my childless friends and I don't think any less of them.

[ Parent ]

Problems! (none / 1) (#188)
by slaida1 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 04:46:30 AM EST

I chose to have kids because I wanted to and I think I'm a good father.

You know, I'm constantly torn between two different sides of 'me', the unconsious, instinct driven animal and rational intellect. I made my mind up long ago that "whenever in future the urge to have kids rise within me, I will know that it is the animal demanding me to follow set patterns and that has nothing to with 'real' me or my real desires."

I despise the animal side of myself and maybe that makes me hate the animal side of other people. Well, can't live without it either because then I wouldn't understand art or motives behind irrational behaviour at all.

And to think that some people in this world have real problems.

[ Parent ]

Animalize (none / 1) (#207)
by hondo77 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 03:23:33 PM EST

What do you do when your animal side tells you you need food? Give in to your base instinct and eat or resist and feel smug about your rational intellect beating out your animal side? I bet that latter option works for a whole few hours. Eating must really make you loathe yourself.

[ Parent ]
Instinct or the Id (none / 1) (#218)
by kahako1 on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 08:18:27 PM EST

Hatred generally arises from ignorance and fear. Your desire to avoid all things instinctual can result in sever negative consequences in your life. I am not advocating that you choose to have children. But I highly recommend that you reexamine your animal side. It plays in a lot more of your choices then you might care to admit. My opinion is that only by understanding my base self can I control it and choose my path. Hatred closes the mind. If you close your mid to yourself you will not have the control you think you do.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
I don't know (none / 1) (#222)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 04:31:03 AM EST

I can't avoid instinctual urges because as I said, I wouldn't understand most art forms or irrational behaviour of other people (or myself) anymore. ...as if I could avoid my instincts, pfft.

I've been thinking where this hate comes from and best reason I've could think of is: it's a defence against manipulative marketing everywhere pushing their ideas about how life is and what I should like or dislike. I'm afraid that I can't completely ignore those subtle messages and that I'm too weak to keep my ideals intact.

Manipulative advertizing targeting our basic instincts, showing attractive representatives of opposite sex, cute animals, kids, scenes of safety and occasions of fulfillment, etc. is outright evil, seeking our weak spots for profit. It isn't informative anymore, it's abuse.

To be fair, we/you/them (whoever) aren't procreating because ads told us to. But ads are all about demographics and target groups and ads try and cement those once discovered traits and stereotypes onto us again and again, keeping us where we are, immobilized. I mean, we could change, think indpendetly and make our own destiny but there comes diaper ads and shampoo ads with shiny happy unrealistic examples of ideal consumer families. There's flowers, eternal sunshine, joy, laughing kids and smiling people...

Problem is, they're tainting those basic instincts, turning me against them, against myself. Who likes to get hit in their soft spots repeatedly without protecting them? Soon or already I don't have those particular soft targets for ads anymore. I can't make ads stop but I can protect myself better.

Don't you tell me to "let go and relax" or something like that, ads affect you as much as anybody. How do you know if what you want is something you really want or just artifical need planted into you by an ad? How do you know if/how your decisions in life are affected by ads?

[ Parent ]

Ads? (none / 0) (#223)
by CorwIn of Amber on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 11:09:05 AM EST

What ads? I don't watch TV, don't read much more news than articles whose headlines look interesting (RSS is a wonderful thing and no-ads plugins for Firefox do do their job), don't listen to normal radio (they don't play anything remotely related to what I like to listen to anyway), and when in town I'm always doing something that prevents me from watching ads (listening to music, chatting, drinking, reading, whatever).

There is advertisement I can't avoid anyway (like brand names appearing in movies), but then I never buy anything without having a good reason not to buy another product...

...and about children, I'm still looking for a clinic that will agree to do a vasectomy on a guy that's 23, has no kids, and has known he never wants any since the time he can think at all.


-Do you realize the suicide rate we'd have if people killed themselves just because they're stupid?
-Yes, an acceptable one.

[ Parent ]
Go and Relax.... ;) (none / 0) (#237)
by kahako1 on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 11:18:01 PM EST

Couldn't resist.

I don't believe in "letting go." Only by holding on can I control my actions. I do not attempt to control my instinctual urges. I take them as they are, examine them, attempt to understand them, embrace them and then choose not to follow them.

The same can be said for advertising. By understanding the methodology used to create marketing, I have a better chance to choose my own path. I also passively avoid advertising. I do this by not participating in traditional entertainment mediums. It is easy not to participate, there are so many things one can do with ones time.

When I was younger I adopted the idea that the care and feeding of ones mind is critical to life. Be careful who is washing your brain. Just don't adopt the illusion that it is not being washed. As such, I am fairly confident that I know what I want. And it does not bother me in the least that sometimes what I want is influenced by instinct, or even advertising. I am not letting go. I am holding on and steering my life.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]

Bah! (none / 0) (#219)
by SlamMan on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 09:46:01 PM EST

Yea, my family's also supportive of me paying my taxes, and eating healthy.  Doesn't make it a wrong thing to do.

If just about everybody else is doing it, ever think there's something you're missing?

[ Parent ]

Something quite different (none / 0) (#221)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 02:34:26 AM EST

If I'm missing something there, then I'm gaining something else here. It's inevitable trade, we're always making choices, gaining and missing stuff all the time and that's just what I'm counting on. I bet that if everybody else is doing it then they all are missing something else and I'm going to find out what that something else is.

Sounds stupid? It is. ;p

[ Parent ]

I remember the first time I read Kafka too... (none / 0) (#123)
by pkalaher on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 06:18:18 PM EST

Hey, you seem to be lumping a lot of issues and existential angst together, and you're probably a really sad or depressed person, (or a graduate student) so I'll forgive the troll. I despise thoughtless consumer-robot people too, but as someone once said, don't hate the player, hate the game! Also, by judging *me* when you only have a limited amount of information, you're doing exactly what you say you hate, not thinking. You sound like you could use someone to talk--really talk--to or more importantly, listen to you. In the real world.

[ Parent ]
Troll? (none / 0) (#173)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 06:58:14 AM EST

I don't troll, I only write like I feel but if categorizing my post as a troll makes it easier for you to process, go ahead.

Doesn't existential angst relate with making kids without knowing what to say when they ask: "dad, mom? why did you made us?". I want you to know that if I knew perfect answer to that question, I'd be breeding like there's no tomorrow. I've thought about it many years now without reaching conclusions.

As for hating the player/game, intelligent life is open ended without rules and it only becomes a game with rules if one decide to make it so for himself or... chicken out and go with the wind (let hormones and instincts guide, throwing away his human capabilities to reason and choose intelligently, becoming animal again).

"You sound like you could use someone to talk--really talk--to or more importantly, listen to you. In the real world.

Don't get lazy and pass this talk on to someone else, I'm here, you're here and we're talking. I understand you don't take issue with me about making kids but using the word 'hate'.

I told reasons why I dislike people with kids because original parent asked and I knew I can answer truthfully. It wasn't trolling, he asked and I answered as well as I could.

This is touchy-feely issue for many, I can tell but I'm not the one standing on shaky, poorly reasoned ground here. This lady tells it differently, enjoy.

[ Parent ]

Might as well kill yourself then. [nt] (none / 0) (#168)
by tzanger on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:57:35 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Would you do it without kids? (none / 0) (#174)
by slaida1 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 07:11:47 AM EST

I'd appreciate better responses than one-liners. Were you insulted or offended by my post? Do you think this subject doesn't need more talk?

Maybe you know something this conversation needs, a new reason to have or not have kids, perhaps? Tell about it, please.

[ Parent ]

Not insulted or offended at all (none / 0) (#183)
by tzanger on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:10:46 PM EST

Your post basically gave me the impression that you have nothing to live for, no reason to exist...  may as well kill yourself then if it's such a shitty existence.

That's all -- you have reasoned your opinion on not having kids well enough... you think that breeders (I think you use this term derogatorily, is this intentional?) haven't come up with a better reason for existing except to fuck and procreate and that's fine... I disagree with you wholeheartedly but you seem to have your mind made up on this, as is evidenced by the rest of your post.

You seem to have this kind of passive-agressive attitude towards breeders.  Not sure how it helps you but hey, it's your life.

[ Parent ]

'Breeder' isn't intentional. (none / 1) (#187)
by slaida1 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 04:26:45 AM EST

I'm sorry, english isn't my native language and I picked that term because it's one-word description that most understand. 'Parents' isn't descriptive because I wanted to point out my dislike towards procreating (thanks, I forgot that word), not parenthood.

Would 'procreator' be less derogatory than 'breeder'?

[ Parent ]

"Parent"?? (none / 0) (#211)
by RangerElf on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:16:18 PM EST

There is no "parents" without "procreation". There's is no "parenting" without "breeding", even adoption is moot, because somebody needed to "breed" the child.

"breeder" was a quite poor choice, since it's quite derogatory, you equate people with cattle, or chickens.  Unless you're accustomed to live in a coop, or a corral (on the wrong side of the fence).


[ Parent ]

I refuse to use 'parent'. (none / 0) (#214)
by slaida1 on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 07:34:56 AM EST

I the context of discussion about overpopulation, irrational behaviour and animal instincts, I refuse to use 'parent'.

[ Parent ]
re:Wow (none / 0) (#143)
by pyro9 on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 01:09:00 PM EST

I can't speak for all, but there is a tendancy for those who have or want kids to pester those who have consciously chosen not to as if their choice is somehow inferior (or makes THEM inferior). The rest is likely a backlash against that, and tends to come out even in more reasonable discussions.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Touche (none / 1) (#163)
by pkalaher on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:55:51 PM EST

I can understand that. I'm sure I've done that, unconsciously, or even semi-consciously, made people uncomfortable with some stupid presumption about having children, not having children, or the superiority of one thing over another. Well, I for one believe that when it comes to kids, YMMV, and I respect all choices relative to possible parenting. I will say this-- we should strive for a world/country/whatever where there are no more unwanted children. It ain't a Harley, its not trendy to have kids.

[ Parent ]
A Plate Of Understanding (none / 1) (#193)
by chaoticset on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 01:06:48 PM EST

Of course, we respect people who don't want kids, and totally understand that choice.
And that is great. You seem to be in the minority of vocal parents, however.

Let me explain where the spite and anger come in.

Ever seen a baby shower at a workplace? Ever had a screaming child in a workplace? Ever had someone take their screaming child into an R-rated film?

Have you ever, ever, ever seen someone get a tax break for not producing another mouth to feed? I'm hoping to contribute things to humanity that are more important than merely another person to pay Social Security when I'm supposed to be in my 'golden years'. Yet when you look at the comments going through this thread, most of them say one of the following:

  1. You should continue your genetic heritage.
  2. You could raise your kids correctly, in defiance of everyone else's poor judgment.
  3. The wonderment of watching someone completely unfamiliar with the world easily outstrips the time and effort invested.
The first one is kind of pointless these days -- evolution in the future isn't going to be driven by meat. There's some opinion about this, but I personally don't care where my genes go. I'm not here to make sure my genes go somewhere -- I'm here to be a maximum human being. If that includes having kids for you, fine -- but it won't for me.

The second is also an interesting point, but it's lost on me. I think raising children, like having a government, is either futile or morally bankrupt, and sometimes both. As far as I can see, there's not a right way to do it. If I can't do it well, I don't want to do it at all.

The third is questionable. Why don't you just work at a home for the mentally unstable, then? "Wow, there's a door here!" "Jerry, there's been a door there for years." "Oh, right. *pause* Wow, there's a door here!" These people aren't saying Oh, Gee, The Wonderment, they're saying Heh, Wow, I Get To Shape A Human Mind Ever How I Want.

That's called a power trip. Educating someone is one thing -- liking the fact that they're helpless and stupid is another. (Louis CK sums this up perfectly: "My father told me I'd never feel like a real man until I held a baby in my arms. He was right -- I could rip that little bastard apart! RAR!")

It feels like a great responsibility. It is. But if that's such a great responsibility, why not run for public office, where you'll be responsible for much more than the well-being of a single individual? Why not work as a social worker? You can be responsible for whole batches of families. Why not adopt? Why not fly to Rwanda and take care of orphans? Why not enhance the lives of more than just one child? Why not enhance the lives of children that already exist? Because those things are all hard. Harder than making a kid. Making a kid is a cinch, but raising them is a cast iron bitch. You could go to some third-world hellhole for five years, help kids learn how to live minus their arms because they were blown off by land mines, and then have a baby. But, hey, that's hard. Remember?

I'm assuming you're telling the truth, that having a baby was a wonderful thing for you but you respect other people's decisions. Fine. There are a lot of people who managed to crank a small child out because they wanted a little living doll in their home to play dress-up with, who feel the need to defend their decision and what they see as "their property", because the selfishness of what they're doing hits them in the face every time they turn around.

I can agree there are, probably, unselfish reasons to have a new child. I just haven't seen them yet. Wasting a shit-ton of money on fertilization drugs and then having fifteen kids in one whack just means the community feeds your ass after that point, showering you with gift after gift. You don't see people doing this on that level with the homeless shelter, because those are adults, and they don't matter.

You also don't see long, hopeful lines to adopt the 5-and-up kids. It's because they no longer look like babies. I mean, they're not as cute. They're clearly irrelevant.

If you sense vitriol here, you're right. It's not directed at you, but it's here.

You wanted to understand. I hope this helps you.

[ Parent ]

hidden value (none / 1) (#129)
by Bobby Orr on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 09:39:55 PM EST

As a father of afive-year-old son, I have something to add about the hidden value of children. Children make the simplest things mean so much more. NO NO NO - I know it sounds sappy - but it is true. Yes, you miss out things that cost money and that aren't friendly to children. However, the absolute delight from the kid's head to his toes at watching his first sea monkeys or eating an ice cream on a summer day, etc. cannot be matched. Period. Kids truly add an enjoyment of life that you cannot buy with money.

"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." -- Thomas Jefferson

The real problem (none / 1) (#133)
by Anonymous Hiro on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 01:00:31 AM EST

The real problem isn't with people who have children coz they love children nor is it with people who don't have children because they don't love/like children or don't want to take care of them.

The real problem is when people have children without thinking and find out they don't like their children and are unwilling to learn to like/love them or find they don't want to take care of them.

Compare the 1st and 2nd cases over many generations.

[ Parent ]

re: hidden value (none / 1) (#243)
by mrwalrus on Wed Aug 25, 2004 at 05:21:17 AM EST

watching puppies develop and explore their world provides
this pleasure.

...with far less risk and embarassment.

frankly, i believe those who *have* kids are the
selfish ones.

[ Parent ]

People that don't think (2.60 / 5) (#132)
by headius on Fri Aug 06, 2004 at 11:17:29 PM EST

It's amazing how wrong some people can be without even knowing it.

For those that don't want to have kids because kids they know are so awful...that's the point of having your own. I'm proud of my son because I believe I'm raising a net positive influence on the overall human race. I'm trying to raise a kid that won't be a suckass consumer jellyfish more concerned about who wins the next Survivor than who wins the next election. Angst is trendy though, and people love to show it off by showing their base negativity. It's easier to be critical than constructive.

For those that just think kids are a big time waste...kids take time and effort, that's true, but so do all great projects. To raise a child into a well-adjusted adult that can contribute to his world and maybe make life a little better for his fellow man is not easy. However, the benefits are remarkable. Imagine if all those smarties who have a good grip on technology, politics, the arts, science, mathematics...imagine if all the non-idiots in the world decided to have more kids and raise them well. Perhaps we in the US wouldn't be a nation of soda-swilling, cheeseburger gobbling couch potatoes. Perhaps we'd be more concerned with advancing ourselves and our fellow citizens instead of watching the next big season finale or buying the latest plastic consumer toy.

For those women who say they'll never have kids because they want to do something with their lives...In the three years since my son was born, my wife has taken her final two years of undergraduate school, and will graduate this fall with honors. She'll be taking a break for perhaps a year to work for the DFL and local campaigns, while we may possibly have another child, and then will be entering into a graduate program in public policy. I fully expect her to run for public office by the time she's thirty, and probably have two kids and myself cheering her on. You don't have to give up anything unless you allow yourself to give it up. Like I mention above...sure it takes some extra work. Maybe turn off the damned TV or spend a little less time reloading K5 and Slashdot and you'll find some time you never knew you had...

In all honesty though, the impression of kids is grossly incorrect. Kids are really only difficult to manage while babies. If you play your cards right, from 2 or 3 on you don't just have a kid...you have a friend and companion that will stick by you for years, and maybe you'll end up inserting something good into the world instead of child and parent-hating vitriol.

Classic (none / 1) (#142)
by GenerationY on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 05:12:39 AM EST

The vitriol isn't really because of the choices, its because of the rhetoric associated with them. Something you've bought into wholesale unfortunately. As you accurately point out, its always other people's kids that are the problem. Funny that. What does that tell you? Also, you are utterly failing to read between the lines as regards a few people here. Use your imgaination a bit.

[ Parent ]
Childhood is more than a training period. (2.75 / 4) (#192)
by jolly st nick on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:42:36 AM EST

I think making the world a better place through training your kids to be a good adult is a laudable goal. But I have a theory which is a counterbalancing guide to my parenting as well, and it goes like this.

Remember how long ten minutes was when you were a kid? Ten minutes waiting for your show to come on was an eternity. Summer vacations lasted went on and on. A grade year seemed to stretch on forever.

As you get older, the subjective experience of time becomes shorter. I'm in my forties, and my thirties seemed to last much, much shofter than my twenties, which in turn seemed much briefer than my teens. My child's grade year is like nothing, barely a blink of an eye to me but to them it's practically a lifetime. Granted, maturity manifests itself as much greater patience, but it also reflects the fact that experience of pleasure or pain is much more fleeting.

My theory is this: even if you expect to live to be in your eighties, you have lived half the subjective experience of your lifetime by the age of fifteen.

This guides my parenting this way: each moment of my offsprings' childhood is valuable, not only as preparation for the kind of adult they are going to be, but in itself. Parenting is not only preparing kids for their lifetime, it is a huge fraction of their lifetime.

[ Parent ]

The trends (none / 0) (#144)
by bradasch on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 03:53:43 PM EST

It's quite interesting to see the two main trends here: it's either "I don't want to have kids, it'll consume my freedom, my time, my life", or "having kids is a wonderful spiritual (or emotional) experience".

I'm in the second trend.

And what I can't understand about the first one is that, in one's life anything consumes your freedom and time. A girl/boyfriend consumes your freedom. Working hard and building a career too. Also, having "fun" endlessly gives you that warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishing... nothing.

People who choose to have kids (like me) just choose. It's just that.

And I fully endorse the idea of the exceptional non-material experience that is raising a child. Listening your kid go "papa" after a rough day at work is, simply, wonderful.

But you have to be a parent to understand the value of a kid. I'm convinced it's impossible to learn how great it is having children. You have to be a parent.

Not having kids is selfish (2.00 / 3) (#145)
by onesidedview on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 04:01:02 PM EST

How quickly you forget you were a kid once yourself? Why don't we sterilize the whole planet to get rid of this "kid problem" and hold a contest to find the last man/woman standing? You benefit from kids every day... they grow up to serve your fries with that burger when you need a bite in the fast food drive thru... they grow up to check your ticket stub at the movies and give you your overpriced popcorn and drink.... and they bag your groceries at the supermarket. Or, are you saying, let everyone else have kids so you can reap the selfish benefits by not having any yourself? Or, you could advocate that people not have as many without careful thinking and planning because God knows we raise them only slightly better than chickens. That's my one-sided-view. -<Take me seriously, but don't take any apparent personal attacks seriously.>-

Benefits of kids? (none / 0) (#146)
by jadibd on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 05:28:32 PM EST

they grow up to check your ticket stub at the movies

Not around here. And what harm would it do if the ticket was checked by a grown up?

they bag your groceries at the supermarket

I can bag my groceries myself and do so all the time thank you very much.

Is that all you can come up with in favour of having kids?

[ Parent ]

Selfish? (none / 0) (#201)
by abouttooperate on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:29:46 PM EST

I follow if you want to argue that having kids is good/rewarding/sweet.  But it's ridiculous to suggest that it's somehow inherently selfish to decide NOT to procreate.  Exactly what "selfish benefits" does one reap?  

If the number of fucked up, abandoned and abused children is any indication, the selfish ax swings both ways.  You seem to suggest that yourself.  If contributing to society/ humanity is your gauge of a worthwhile life, there are plenty of ways to do that without popping out yet more people.  

[ Parent ]

Having kids is selfish (none / 0) (#215)
by dibbe on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:39:25 AM EST

I'd argue that not having kids might be the utter act of self sacrifice. Why? Ask any parent. They'll all claim that having kids was the best thing they've ever done, and that they have never been as happy as when they first saw their new born. How can giving up ultimate happines be selfish?

Now, why would you want to do that? And for non selfish reasons? There are several, and I'm not going to list them all, but the most obvious point is that the human population causes extreme damage to many, many other living organisms on the earth - and there's a direct link between the number of people and the damages done.
I'm not having kids because I want to save the world. Is that so selfish?

Please have a look at VHEMT's website for more discussions on the issue.

[ Parent ]
WTF??? (none / 0) (#245)
by Wain on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 03:36:20 PM EST

Your only interest in children in this world is to essentially use them as slave-labor??  and someone is selfish for not wanting to contribute to the cause of kids doing shit jobs for minimal pay in  the world??  You realize this is essentially what your argument presented here boils down to right?

Have you considered that your only arguments for having children are in and of themselves selfish??

Kids are for some and aren't for others...get the fuck over it.

[ Parent ]

People (none / 0) (#147)
by ShiftyStoner on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 11:04:37 PM EST

It's weird to me that people think kids are stupid. Am I the only one who remembers being a kid? The kids who stick crayons up their nose are stupid, they will grow up to be stupid and keep doing stupid things until they hopefuly one day acheive the darwin award. Well acctualy most kids are stupid because most people are stupid so never mind.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
I see a lot of this kind of humor (2.50 / 2) (#152)
by drquick on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:43:07 AM EST

I don't know exactly what it is. You are projecting adult traits onto the kids. This us and them thinking is the basis of many jokes about children. I don't think it's accurate. Kids simply are extremely unexperienced, they are clever fast thinkers I agree, but unexperienced. An another thing: You didn't see how much kids try to please. Your humorous attitude is somehow the distant view of the uncle.

The Word (none / 0) (#155)
by pHatidic on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:14:59 AM EST

The word you are looking here is anthropomorphizing. It means giving human traits to something non-human. Well technically it's not quite the right world because kids are human, but they don't have adult human traits.

[ Parent ]
Not having sex in the kitchen? (none / 2) (#191)
by jolly st nick on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:23:19 AM EST

Well, this only goes to prove my theory that all your problems are in your mind.

Maybe some young folks feel they need to have sex in the kitchen to "spice things up", but once you have kids, you'll realize pretty soon how lucky you are to be having sex at all, much less in a place where it is uncomfortable and unsanitary.

What I really miss is the ability to, on the spur of the moment, decide to go out for dinner and a movie without having to plan days or weeks in advance. Being parents means being responsible and thinking about somebody else's interests first on a 7/24 basis. Having more money than I needed was nice too, but to tell the truth I don't miss it that much.

And there are compensations too. For example, you'll never forget the time toddlers walk into a room and see a Christmas tree. Their eyes bug out and you can tell their young brains are saying in some pre-linguistic way, "Holy shit!, There's a friggen' tree in the house!" That's well worth twenty years of banishing sex to the bedroom.

So so so true!! (none / 0) (#195)
by dotThink on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 01:10:35 PM EST

Haha! That's so right on. But of course, kids do sleep an awful lot, so you can still have sex in the kitchen when the kids are sleeping. But it just doesn't have the same appeal when you throw the wife down and she crushes a lego train...

[ Parent ]
Kids and sleep. (none / 2) (#199)
by jolly st nick on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:09:44 PM EST

I have two kids -- one is a lark and the other an owl.

The lark is up at the crack of dawn and ready to go. By 5:30 AM he's expended more calories bouncing on the bed and off the walls than I will get to do today if I'm lucky.

The owl is owl-like in two ways: she likes to be up late and sleep during the day of course, and when she's up after hours she likes to sneak up and watch you, silent as a ninja. I'll be working late on the computer or reading a book and I'll get the uncanny feeling. It's hard to describe, but it's the feeling that you haven't seen or heard anything but you'd better pay attention because something is going down. The feeling I imagine the vole gets an instant before the owl plunges her razor sharp talons through his spine.

So, kitchen hanky panky would for practical purposes be limited to between 2 and 4 AM. However, I would hesitate to lay my naked body on any of its surfaces without cleaning it first, supposing I could clear off such a surface without ruining the mood.

I can't speak for others, but when we became parents standards I didn't even know existed began to slip.

[ Parent ]

Indeed!! (none / 0) (#209)
by RangerElf on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 03:56:03 PM EST

It's incredibly educating, to be a parent.  I'll never, ever forget watching my (2-year old now) girl notice that things can be "close" and "far": first, she looks at her little hand, then she looks at a picture on the wall, "wierd" she must think, so she looks at her hand again, then at the picture again... "whoa, something's strange here"... repeat. Really enlightening.

Or "Whee!!! My fingers can move!!!", and other stuff.

And the most endearing, having her return from her grandparent's house after vacations (she left not talking much) and the first thing she says is "Papi!".


[ Parent ]

Try LSD (none / 0) (#228)
by Nursie on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 05:53:52 AM EST

It's like that, but for adults :-)

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
were these things not apparent to you before?? (none / 0) (#244)
by Wain on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 03:32:09 PM EST


[ Parent ]
There is always more to explore :) (none / 0) (#225)
by Ashalind on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 11:35:50 AM EST

A couple of days ago I was cleaning the kids room (in its usual, unattended state, it mostly remains me of the Zone from the picture of A.Tarkovsky because of two unpredictable creatures inhabiting it), and then I've found a draft of a love letter written by our 11-year-young to a girl 2 classes higher... THAT was an astonishment I gonna tell... and actually, it is not unlike when you see the kids walking themselves for the first time :D

[ Parent ]
Ok, now, you pointed out one major problem. (none / 0) (#239)
by crazyphilman on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 03:53:25 PM EST

"...once you have kids, you'll realize pretty soon how lucky you are to be having sex at all..."

See, here's where I have a problem with this whole "kids" thing.

Hypothetical Situation:

Girlfriend? Check.
In love? Check.
Horny? Check.
She wants to have a baby? Consult manual. Page 666: "Upon the birth of a child, the sex rate shall be reduced to a small fraction of its previous value, such that one should feel lucky to have sex at all."
Hmm... Condoms? Check...

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist is afraid this might be true.
[ Parent ]

about some of the above comments, but not personal (2.66 / 3) (#200)
by kethryveris on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:10:46 PM EST

I theorize that parents glorify parenthood so much precisely because, like anybody else, they want to minimize cognitive dissonance. Who on earth would go through the physical, mental, emotional, and financial ordeal that bearing and rearing children entails without convincing themselves that it's worth it, if not before the fact then certainly after? Nobody wants to say, "I gained fifty pounds and stretch marks and haven't had a full night of sleep in five years and haven't seen so much crap since I visited that farm in grade 3 and can't so much as go out for dinner spontaneously, let alone take a vacation, and I chose this situation and can't/won't leave it, but it's not worth it."

Then Don't Become a Parent (none / 1) (#206)
by hondo77 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 03:12:07 PM EST

If you can't figure it out then don't become a parent. It's simple, really.

[ Parent ]
so eloquent (none / 0) (#227)
by tid242 on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 05:06:26 AM EST

If you can't figure it out then don't become a parent. It's simple, really

i love the eloquence of your statement; if you don't think a certain way then don't perform such actions manifest in an individual who does.

if you can't "figure it out" don't: be gay, christian, a Ford-driver, eat pasta, live in a mobile home, et al. - simplifies more than whether or not to have kids.

i believe what the original poster was attempting to convey was simply that people attempt to justify whatever choices they make, whilst simultaneously justifying his own.

and this post is more-or-less without a point, i agree, but it's o4oo, and slow at work.


information wants free beer.
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 1) (#208)
by Kiskaana on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 03:34:34 AM EST

I agree, I've seen people with deep dark circles under their eyes, with signs of exhaustion, with dirty clothing and dirty houses(covered with toys, baby bottles and so on),people who complain about gaining 50lbs and not being able to lose it, people with general signs of unhappiness and the "what do you want from me now" look. And they say it's basicly hell, but then by the time their children are 5 or so, they are "brainwashed" enough to say.."sure, children are great". Do I believe them? No. I think it's the way of justifying their life going down the drain for the next 18 years.Of course their are some people who really planned to have children and are happy to have them maybe because they are crazy enogh to do it, or maybe because they have nothing else to look forward to in their lives.
"Bad people are punished by society law, and good people are punished by Murphy's law"--George from "Dead like me"
[ Parent ]
Your theory.... (none / 1) (#226)
by bradasch on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 05:11:03 PM EST

is amusing.

I could theorize that you put innocuous things like "gain fifty pounds", "stretch marks" and others as unbeareable because you are too afraid to commit to the responsability of having a kid.

But I don't.

Let me guess: you are in your early 20's, like parties a lot, enjoy having sex with strangers anytime you find a strange person up to it and think that wasting yourself with booze sometimes is fun.


Then you just don't know what you're talking about!

Cheers ;-)

[ Parent ]

Selfishness (2.71 / 7) (#210)
by GabrielSix on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 03:58:09 PM EST

I'm 24, and I decided long ago not to have kids. I've met plenty of people who think it's a selfish decision, but in my experience I've found that most decisions regarding to have or not to have children are made for selfish reasons. We've already heard plenty on the topic of why those who choose not to have children are selfish, but let's take a look at the flip side.

I decided not to have kids because I believe it's morally wrong. In order to morally bring another conscious being into the world, I would have to be able to guarantee them at least an opportunity to find happiness. Unfortunately, life is unfair. Even if the child were born free of defects and able to live a normal life, it's very possible to do everything you can to the best of your ability and still wind up getting screwed over in life. Even if you do well for a time, you still end up in the dirt. On the other hand, not having a kid means they won't be around to miss or endure it, depending on your point of view.

While there are some people that truly love life and feel that it would be wonderful to share the gift with someone else, the reason most people have kids is because they 'want' kids. Most children are brought into the world either by accident, or for the selfish (yes, selfish) purpose of bringing joy to their parents, and perhaps lending them a false sense of immortality.

If you want kids, may I recommend adoption. There are already buttloads of kids in the world that need care - why not share the gift of life with them instead of going the selfish route of bringing a new being into the world for your own amusement?

Furthermore, if I had a kid I'd feel a moral obligation to provide them with every opportunity and resource possible to grow, develop and pursue happiness. Morally, I would have to make them my first thought in all things.

The point was also raised that the babies of today grow to fill the working world tomorrow. Aside from this also being a selfish point (people should continue to have kids so I have someone to cook my food), suppose everyone stopped having kids. Yes, the human race would become extinct... and? No one would be around to miss it.

Throughout time there have been many individuals and groups, religious and secular, that have held the belief for one reason or another that procreation is wrong. Of course, they're always in the minority because they don't procreate and produce new generations of like-minded individuals. Nature breeds people who breed more people. Like it or not, many of the warm fuzzies you feel from time to time are programmed in because they make you better suited to pass on your genetic material.

It's not a one-sided argument - I'm just mentioning the other side. There are selfish people in both camps, and either way, would someone who wants or doesn't want kids for selfish reasons make a good parent anyway? Which is the worse situation - a selfish person with a kid or a selfish person on their own?

Exactly! :o (none / 1) (#216)
by fuchikoma on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 04:35:44 PM EST

Wow, I thought I was pretty much alone on this one, but you summed up my POV perfectly!

I'm 22 now, but I'd long since determined this world was no place to force someone to exist in. Not that I'm melodramatically depressed or anything, it's just a harsh place to live that shouldn't be forced on someone.

[ Parent ]

Sorry, (1.50 / 2) (#217)
by kahako1 on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 08:06:18 PM EST

It really sucks for you. Your parents were so selfish and morally corrupt they forced this unwanted life on you. At least you have found solace in your the moral righteousness of your choices. May you live no longer then you find it desirable, and face the grave with the certainty of your convictions.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
Re: Sorry (none / 1) (#220)
by GabrielSix on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 09:50:17 PM EST

If it didn't come across in my post, dying and not having been born are not quite the same in my book. I neither referred to my parents as selfish nor implied that I hate my life. Actually, I'm enjoying my life quite a bit and consider myself to be a happy person. However, my stance on procreation remains unchanged no matter how good or bad my life continues to be.

That's my personal stance, and my aim in posting was not to condemn parents or to convince anyone of my particular point of view regarding procreation.

The intent with which I posted my original piece was merely to point out that not having kids is no more selfish than having kids - people can do either for selfish reasons. Just because someone chooses not to procreate doesn't make them selfish, nor do I blindly charge any parent I come across with making a selfish decision.

We each bear the individual responsibility to do what we determine to be right, to the best of our abilities. Furthermore, as with all moral issues on which I must take a practical stance for the time being, I reserve the right to learn and grow, and change my mind based on new discoveries.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough. (none / 0) (#232)
by kahako1 on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 12:21:01 AM EST

Morals like fashion change. No one in the entire history of humanity could guarantee their child even that they might live through birth. No one will ever be able to guarantee their child even a glimpse of happiness. Thats the the good thing. Without struggle we would not enjoy the pleasures.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
Taste (none / 0) (#235)
by GabrielSix on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 06:24:36 PM EST

I suppose in this case as in many others, it all boils down to a matter of personal taste: whether or not you think it's a good thing.

[ Parent ]
We are Getting low in numbers !! (none / 0) (#247)
by baran on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 01:24:41 AM EST

Being a fairly educated open-minded person, I see people like me chosing not to have a kid or no more then two. I can see the reason behind it; we want to give a good life and good education to our offsprings. We want them to be successful, and to be good members of the society and even lead the society. However, all around the world, people who are uneducated, or who are willing to fight for religions, or who are fighting against liberal people are having lots of children and getting crowded. They start taking high places in the system. They are surrounding, and they will squeze us. Low in number, we will just watch those people getting in power, and destroying the society, our rights, and the environment. The life speeds up nowadays, and every 10 years is like a century. May be our "selfish" choises of not having kids will bring us a very uncomfortable, unstable retirement, if we still can.

[ Parent ]
the paradox (none / 0) (#248)
by GabrielSix on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 08:59:22 AM EST

Send an evil person into the world and it will most likely make the world worse for everyone else that inhabits it. Send a good person into the world and it will most likely make life hard on that individual. Such is the choice...

And again, deciding to have kids to ensure a comfortable, stable retirement for myself would be, in my opinion, selfish.

[ Parent ]
No kids for me (3.00 / 2) (#229)
by Nursie on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 06:16:20 AM EST

Let me add my voice to the choir of "No kids for me" people out there.

I just don't want children. I'm 26, I'm reasonably well educated and have a decent career. I have friends. I don't want kids. Ever.

I don't see myself somehow growing out of it either. Whilst the idea of bringing someone up in the way I think would be most beneficial to a new individual is quite appealing (IE absolute freedom from religion if I can help it, teaching them to question things and look beyond the surface wherever possible), I don't want to give up the larger part of my younger life to do this. That's the problem. Having kids is not something you do for a week or a year, it takes two fscking decades.
When you come out of the other side you're basically old, looking forward to retirement and the gradual slow down of life. I want my thirties and forties, when I'm still relatively vital, to be a time of exploration and enjoyment. Travel, good times with friends and freedom. Not nappies, baby crap, feeding times, then PTA meetings and never being able to go anywhere without planning a week in advance.

On some level, yes, I just don't want the responsibility. I'm sure I'd make a decent parent, I'm not a total flake, but I don't want to commit to that lifestyle for 20 years. So It's not that I lack confidence.

I'm also going to agree with other posters and say that parents are annoying as hell. They expect everyone to find their offspring cute and entertaining. "Look, she's smiling!". Great. And they look at childless people with a sort of pity in their eyes. I'm sure they find it fulfilling. Really. They must do or so many people wouldn't do it. But I wish they'd give some consideration to the fact that I find my life to be fulfilling. Breeding isn't the only choice, neither is it the one that suits everyone.

Meta Sigs suck.

A lot of angry parents or parents-to-be (none / 1) (#231)
by vanseedy on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 03:02:00 PM EST

From many of the comments, it seems like people are actually angry at those who choose not to have children. Do we all have some sort of moral responsibility to procreate? If so, where does it come from? I don't HAVE to have kids if I don't want to, just like I don't HAVE to own a vehicle if I don't want to - so why all the angry rhetoric directed towards those who simply have decided the parenting life isn't for them? Does the decision not to have children means I am somehow letting down the rest of society? Sorry, I'm not that egotistical to think that it will make one whit of difference whether or not I procreate. IMO most people who have decided NOT to have kids have undertaken this decision very seriously. This can't be said for most parents.

I don't hate kids; I just avoid them. Utterly. (3.00 / 3) (#233)
by crazyphilman on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 05:45:53 PM EST

Ugh. Kids.

NO, ma'am, I do NOT want to hold the baby. No. No, really, I'm not afraid of breaking it, I just don't want to hold it. No! Stop trying to push it into my arms, I'm not accepting it. I said no. No. Look, I mean it. Ok, what if I drop it? You're gonna want my head on a platter. Fuck that, if I even get out of the house alive, you'll sue my nuts off. I'm not being hostile. Just leave me alone, ok? I'm not holding the baby. Period.  

What's that? You're going to go change the diaper? OK then. What? Wait, you're asking me if I want to change the diaper? Are you serious? Oh. NO, I do NOT want to change the diaper. Yes, I'm sure. Quite sure. Oh, sure, I'm sure it is quite an amazing experience, but I think I'll pass all the same.

Huh? Say hello to the baby? But it doesn't even speak English yet. No, it doesn't understand it either. Yeah, right. Look, leave me alone with all this baby stuff already. I came here to hang out with adults, not... Aw, come on guys, not the baby talk, don't you know you're stunting the baby's intellectual growth with that nonsense? Speak to it in normal tones so it learns the language. No, it isn't going to learn anything from "goo goo". Oh, fine, whatever.

No, I'm not dating anyone. No, I'm not going to have any kids anytime soon. Yeah, I'm sure it's the most wonderful thing ever but I just don't want to. No, I'm not going to change my mind. No, really. Look, maybe when I'm 40, ok? When I'm 40, I'll marry a thirty year old who looks good in a bikini, and I'll start breeding like a mink, alright? But until then, I'm going to have fun, travel, and hack around on my computer. Agreed? Ok.

And, THAT is why us single guys can't stand to be around babies.
The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist is afraid this might be true.

Children are... (none / 0) (#242)
by cbc on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 07:55:30 AM EST

...short versions of the mentally ill. Their parents are the adult versions. And like the mentally ill, they will make up anything to justify their delusions that it's "worth it" and nonbreeders are "selfish."

You young people who say, "I'm 2x and I've decided not to have children,"... You are sure to run into so many who will tell you how you will later change your mind. I'm here to tell you, the passage of time will only confirm to you how right you are now. Stick to your guns.

The worst part of it will be how you will be surrounded by insane parents. But it could be worse. You could be one of them.

An Ironic Victory (none / 0) (#246)
by cirbaris on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 05:20:39 AM EST

...is in the works for the "breeders". By choosing not to breed, the ability of nonbreeders to pass their ideas of nonprocreation on to others is greatly diminished. There is no more receptive audience than one's own children; both in desire to listen and in sheer amounts of time to impart those ideas. This is not to say that this philosophy will die completely, but it has no long-term sustainability. While this group of childless intelligensia swills its wine and "maximizes its life", it will be oblivious to the growth of power in India, China, and South America due to the larger and superior workforce. Essentially, emphatic nonbreeders will remove their degenerate and selfish ideas and/or disfuntional genes from the pool of humanity without any help from us poor schmuck breeders.
ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.
victory (none / 0) (#249)
by GabrielSix on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 09:22:08 AM EST

Breeding is natural, though nature is merely what works, not necessarily what is right. Naturally, the majority of our population will breed, since non breeders tend not to pass on the tradition.

There are plenty of reasons people may choose not to breed. "Maximizing one's own life" is but one. There are many altrustic reasons as well. Likewise there are also many selfish reasons to breed. I would consider breeding in order to ensure a superior workforce to be one of them.

Throughout history there have been many groups that have abstained from breeding for various reasons. Certain buddhist sects, for instance, believe that procreation merely perpetuates the wheel of suffering (google it) and therefore choose not to breed. However, these groups remain relatively small since no new members are born from existing ones.

If you consider passing on your genetic material before you end up in the dirt a victory, that's your choice and you're welcome to it.

You mention academe in your signature. If you're after something closer to immortality, a better bet might be to contribute intellecutally to society. The ideas contributed by Socrates, for example, are still a powerful influence on society whereas his descendents, if any, can likely trace their roots no longer.

[ Parent ]
singularity... (none / 0) (#250)
by xaphod on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 05:47:16 PM EST

Age twenty I decided not to get married or have kids. Some fifteen years later I'm happily married with two wonderful kids. And I wouldn't have it any other way. It's not all a bed of roses. Far from it. But unless you've experienced it for yourself you simply cannot undersand. So I'll not bother to explain. But I'll just share one lesson with you. If you believe parenthood will consume your freedom, your time, your life, then you will be right.

As You Slowly Slip Into Madness | 250 comments (243 topical, 7 editorial, 1 hidden)
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