Sunday Speculation: Parenting

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Why did you, or do you want to, become a parent?

Don’t answer me right off the bat with some soppy story about how you just always had that feeling inside you. Or that you just love children so much you wanted your own. I want you to really consider the exact reasoning that went behind your supposed decision to bear offspring.

What I’m asking is where did this idea of yours truly come from? Did it really come from a long process of deep thought and weighing of not just the pros and cons, but whether or not you even should have a child in the first place? What made you decide to bring a child into the world? How did you come to the conclusion that creating a small, defenseless, utterly dependent being who did not ask to be created was a good idea?

As I speak with people, both young and old, there doesn’t really seem to be a whole lot of thought that those who have, or who wish to, become parents put behind the decision.

The most thoughtful people are usually the ones who have made the choice to remain childless. For them there are many reasons. They feel it will be a tax on the environment, they had an effed up childhood and they don’t wish to take the risk of passing anymore dysfunction down, or there is a history of a particular birth defect in their family and they don’t want to potentially endanger another child. There are even people who are honest enough to say that their career is more important to them and they know that they’d have to sacrifice their dreams in order to have children and they are unwilling to do so.

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Among actual parents and those wishing to bear children, however, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of thought. Having kids, it turns out, is just something you do. It’s a part of the human process.

In short, it appears that we put more thought into which brand of toilet paper we will use than into whether or not we will give life to another human being who will be dependent on us the rest of their lives in one way or another.

I get the social reasons for this. There is extreme pressure on people to get married and have children. It’s an actual demand. Been there, acquiesced that. But have we not evolved enough to begin to ask this question? How have we not developed our consciousness enough by this point that we allow this question to go unasked?

I will give you that it’s a tough question to ask someone else. In our society it comes off as rude to question a person as to why they are getting married. (They’re in love, that’s enough. Sure they’ve thought through everything.) *cough*bullshit*cough* In our society it’s pretty abhorrent to ask a couple if they put any thought into whether or not they should even have offspring. Why do they want kids? (Oh, I’ve just always wanted children…generally said by the woman…almost never said by the man…and that should be a huge warning right there…but it’s not.)

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For most of our species’ existence, children have been considered a gross burden. They have been viewed as less than human, as good for nothing but slave labor, as a drain on society, etc, etc, etc. Even now, the vast majority of children in the world live in poverty and are often severely abused, even sold into the sex trade by their own parents because they can’t afford them.

So, why did you have children? Why do you want them if you haven’t had them yet? Is that supposed desire you have really from you? Or is it from the social pressure everyone faces from a society that will not be around to help you raise them?

The depressing fact is that the majority of children are born not because the parents think it is best for the child, but because the parents and/or society think it best for the adults.

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