Recently, I laid out a few easy-to-follow steps for How Not to Be a Dick to Your Childfree Friends. It struck a chord: Turns out, there are lots of kidless folks out there receiving clueless comments from friends and family about how they just haven’t met the right kid yet.
One of the things I asked people to stop assuming is that people without children of their own don’t necessarily hate kids. I’m one of those people –- I don’t have or want kids, but I get a kick out of babies and children of all ages. I don’t like all kids, much in the same way that I don’t like all people, or all giraffes –- some kids, like some adults (and presumably, some giraffes), really are just insufferable dicks. But some of them are really cool and fun. I make individual judgment calls on the regular.
But wait, there’s more. Apparently, there are plenty of people out there who do actively dislike all members of the smaller, less-good-at-spelling version of the human race known as children. They have no interest in being cool aunties or rad uncles, and they much prefer the baby-free corners of the grown-up world. My special ladyfriend, for example, is quite terrified of babies:
“They have disproportionate strength to their size, and no emotional knowledge or remorse,” she says. “So they can grab ahold of you with their intense baby strength and not even know they’ve done anything wrong. They’re like sociopaths on PCP.”
And there are others who don’t like kids of any age. Take reddit user tempestorion:
“I'm not going to apologize for not liking children. They're gross, I'm uncomfortable around them, and nothing is going to change that.”
And reddit user paratactical doesn’t even like their friend’s kids:
“… no, I don't want to hang out with you and your kids. I will gladly wait until a time you can get a sitter. Heck, I'll even chip in for a sitter or cover your cab or something, but I'm looking to spend time with my friend, not co-babysit.”
Some people who find that their dislike of children doesn’t go away (eventually, those "you’ll grow out of it" comments become less believable) start to question themselves and their sanity -– "can I really be a good person if I hate kids?"
User “Morgan” asks (on Yahoo answers, no less):
“Babies and children just disgust me. I can't stand babysitting … and I hate being around them, talking to them, looking at them, listening to them, and I even hate how they smell. So is there something wrong with my brain? Am I biologically messed up?”
Biological destiny aside, is it OK to hate kids? Hating entire subsets of humans -– even if those humans are given to spontaneous crying fits, screaming in public, and pooping without warning –- is generally frowned upon. But is an inherent love for children a biological or ethical given?
Is disliking everyone under the age of, say, 12, the same thing as disliking other widely varying demographics, like women or atheists or people who eat cantaloupe? Is it the same as hating everyone who believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or looking down on people who live above 125th street in Manhattan or past 82nd Avenue in Portland?
One point in the kid-ist column (is kid-ist even a thing?) is that our laws treat them differently. They’re not allowed to vote, drive cars, be left unsupervised, drink alcohol or see R-rated movies. They even have special juvenile courts. But our legal system has never been a particularly great bellwether for morality, so that’s not really a great gauge.
So what do you think, dear readers? Do you love or hate kids? Or find your feelings toward our young friends falls somewhere in between? And what of people who hate all children –- are they horrible, inhuman monsters? Or is it children who are horrible and inhuman?
No matter your stance on the toddler topic, the sagest piece of advice to our child-hating friends may very well be: Don’t worry. Kids eventually grow up.