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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Childfree Issues (long post)

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Author Topic: Childfree Issues (long post)
crazyhorseperson
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Member # 109011

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To start this off, I'm only 19, but I know *for absolute fact* that I won't want children unless something huge changes in my life in the next few decades. Let me explain...

I had a very sheltered childhood. Because I was the only kid my age in the neighborhood and none of my parents' friends had children my age, my first experience with the same age group was at daycare, at age 4. (Before that, my cousins briefly lived with us, but the closest in age is three years older than I am, so I don't quite count them as 'similar in age'.) I was the type of child who rarely cried (my parents were good about attending/anticipating my needs) and the most frequent play I did was by myself. I had loads of toys that I would play with, making up elaborate storylines, but being completely silent the entire time I played. My grandma liked teaching me things that I would need in school, and she taught me to read by age 4 and higher-elementary-age math by first grade.

I've always disliked the idea of parenting, mostly because I've had extremely limited experiences with younger kids (I'd play with dolls and get tired of them barely an hour later, because they were baby-ones and I didn't want to continually play at dressing them and changing diapers!) When my cousin's girlfriend had a child, they brought her to the house, and I'd hold her, but the moment she started crying, I'd give her back and leave the room, going to the opposite side of the house if necessary to shut out the crying. Once she got to the age where she communicated nonverbally but did not yet know how to talk, I liked having her around a lot more because she could get her point across without being loud. I have extremely sensitive hearing, so loud noises are a real problem.

Now that I'm in college, I find that any small-child noise is nearly unbearable. (My school has an extensive women-with-children program, so I hear anywhere from babies to toddlers very often, and with my sensitive hearing, it's physically painful, so I do anything possible to get away because I have a strange compulsion to physically stop the kid from crying, and I know that isn't helpful behavior.)

My boyfriend of three years also dislikes the idea of parenting, though he can tolerate loud noise much better than I can (he has a brother my age and is two years older, and lives around lots of families with children, and so has had more exposure to them.)

My career choice (vet tech) and his career choice (law enforcement) wouldn't leave much time for children as it is, and we much prefer pets (lower maintenance and easier to care for) to children, even now. Additionally, between our families, we have a lot of potentially heritable disorders that would make life difficult for future kids (along with the fact that my physical condition isn't conducive to anything overlarge growing in my abdomen - there isn't enough room for other organs as it is!). The issue we have is that other people don't accept our decision. My mom shuts down any conversation after screaming at me that I'm wrong and will change my mind someday; I've had strangers tell me that it's a woman's duty to God and her husband to bear children; and relatives (mine and his) have assumed we're having kids soon after we both graduate college and spoken to that effect.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to handle future encounters calmly and maturely? (I have trouble staying calm when others are yelling, and it's easy to reduce me to tears by yelling at me long enough, so that adds challenge. Also, I have trouble being coherent with my thoughts to speak, but I can write/type things much more coherently, and that adds some difficulty when dealing in person with this issue.)

[ 01-16-2014, 11:32 PM: Message edited by: crazyhorseperson ]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I am just passing through before bed, but I can kick this off with at least one suggestion.

The folks who aren't accepting your decision? There is likely nothing you can say to change their minds. Not anytime soon, anyway. I'd say you would be much better served by no longer discussing it with them. If and when they bring it up instead of you, you can say that is not something you want to discuss with them, as you know they know where you stand already, and they know where you do: you are accepting their view for what it is, and asking they accept yours, gracefully.

And if THAT doesn't work, then those are the times I'd say it is to leave the room, the house, grab your coat, go home, whatever. Wouldn't matter the topic, honestly, it's just not respectful for people to keep going at someone when they have asked them to back off.

With strangers, I'd just not share such personal information with them, honestly. If someone you consider a stranger is asking you about when you are going to reproduce, I think an answer of "That's private," is infinitely more gracious then them asking someone they don't even know that kind of question.

The mere passage of time is likely to have a bigger effect on some of these folks than likely anything you can say, especially given some of the particular perspectives they are voicing. I mean, "Well, I say..." is just not going to bear much weight with someone who thinks they knows what their god has to say about it, you know?

But over time, as they keep noticing you are not coming around pregnant and with kids, they're going to have little choice but to accept it. And if you're up for a bit of a giggle about all of this, the good news is that the window of reproduction for people with a uterus is not actually very big: only around a third of your lifetime, really. So, this too shall pass (and I say this as a childfree person at the end of hers). [Smile]

One last passing thought, is that sometimes, "I can't," -- just saying that, understanding that there are several kinds of can't -- can incline people not to push around this a bit more than "I won't," even though it does, of course, utterly stink that "I won't," is not seen as just as acceptable.

[ 01-16-2014, 11:07 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I do just ask, please, with discussions like this, for anyone who posts, that statements like "I dislike children," rather than "I dislike the idea of parenting," or "I do not want to have then," be something folks keep to themselves instead of voicing here.

I ask that for the same reasons we would ask that anyone do that with any population of people being defined by something they cannot control (in this case, age and development), be someone talking about children or about people of a certain ability (or disability), race or ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Thanks!

[ 01-16-2014, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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crazyhorseperson
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Okay. My apologies; I'll go edit my old post. (:
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Heather
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Thanks for that!

And happy to talk to you a bit more about this today, especially if you feel it would be helpful to hear from someone who felt similarly - albeit for very different reasons, but still - when young and who basically stayed feeling the same way about the choice not to parent throughout their adult life.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
crazyhorseperson
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Talking about it might be helpful...

I know part of my reason is because my parents parented me in a very overprotective way (I wasn't able to make mistakes at all, let alone learn from them, and that made college a huge adjustment) but my boyfriend's parents are the more trusting type (they think since he's a legal adult he doesn't need a curfew, I have one of 9pm and I'm also a legal adult, but my parents don't have any sort of trust...well my dad does, he told my mom it didn't matter what my curfew was so she reluctantly extended it to 9 instead of 8.) That would probably cause conflict between our parenting styles (I've already seen myself being overly cautious with my friends and things they wanted to do together, to the point of losing friends because of my cautiousness and their like for adventure), and I'd feel bad for a kid raised in conflict where the parents have completely different ideas/methods of parenting and can't completely compromise about things. All hypothetical of course, but I've been the really overly cautious one around friends because I'm afraid to do anything new, since I didn't have much of a chance as a younger kid. (Sorry, I know I'm rambling, this is just to help explain... -.-')

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