321. People Who Don’t Like Children

I know there are people who don’t like children. In a previous article, I wrote that my best friends have children or want them. At the time I wrote that, I was thinking of only five of my friends, and applying the phrase “best friends” to them. But there isn’t really such a simple hierarchy. I hope my other friends don’t read that article and take it too personally.
I recently spoke with a good friend who has never had children, doesn’t think she’ll ever want any, and doesn’t like to spend much time with children. I realized, as we talked, that though we don’t share love for children, I respect her, and am glad she knows herself well enough not to want and have children at this point in her life. A lot of people don’t know themselves that well. As for her prediction about her future wants, it doesn’t matter if she changes her mind later. To everything, there is a season.
I know of many people who have children or work with children for what I consider wrong reasons. Some think it’s morally good to like children, and so they try to like the “little monsters.” They fail, but some of them keep going as if they like children. They put on acts, and relate to children in toxic ways. Perhaps they do so because that’s how adults related to them as they were growing up, and they think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Some people seem to see children as slaves whose only reason for being on earth is to somehow improve adults’ lives. Whatever such children do had better make life better. If not, there are unpleasant consequences all ready to happen. I don’t know too many adults like that, but that’s because I’ve consciously avoided spending time with them. I know they exist.
And then there are the ones who thought they’d like children and found out, after the fact, that they don’t. Some of them take responsibility for that mistake. They know what’s good for children, or they work to learn it, and though
unhappy, they do their best to give their children good lives. They do lots of sacrificing, while trying not to send their children on guilt trips.
I don’t have an intimate understanding of this phenomenon; I love children. It was hard for my friend to tell me she didn’t like children. She wondered whether that would hurt our friendship. It didn’t. I had already suspected that she greatly preferred adults, and I congratulated her on getting to know that about herself in time. I firmly believe that people who, for whatever reasons, don’t like the way life starts should try to spend their time with people who are well past the beginning, and leave the novices to the rest of us.

Comments are closed.