Brief Views on Childhood and Parenting

According to certain communities on Tumblr (most notably the Child Free community) I will be an absolutely terrible mother; I do not need to reproduce because I hold “unpopular opinions” about child rearing and parenting that are not congruent with the ideals instilled into popular society- largely by none other than the dreaded “Motherhood Cult”.

If I am being realistic… Hands down, I think that the concept of Childhood (outside of the legitimate, Biologically identifiable developmental stages) is a created social structure with no legitimate purpose. It is an identifiable social structure, in fact, which largely originated in the Victorian era; a relatively recent invention in the grand scope of history.

What is more, is that I believe that its existence is detrimental to the actual growth and development of our Children. It is detrimental because it encourages us, as parents and a society, to place far too much importance on the protection and maintained innocence of children in a way that far surpases healthy levels of Parental care; it does so to the point that we effectively infantilize them- and we cripple them through that infantilization.

This mentality that we much unconditionally support our Children, protect them at all costs, and maintain their innocence regardless of reality, goes hand in hand with the idea that “we know what is best for them”. Indeed, it is often the driving force behind that sort of statement. But I absolutely abhor the idea that “the parent knows what is the absolute best” when it concerns our Children; I do not think that this mentality is ultimately a safe or righteous one; we don’t always know what’s best- especially not concerning their emotional and other needs, maturity, reasoning skills, and more.

This is blaringly true to me when we consider how, exactly, we tend to treat our Children in our society. Instead of respecting them, treating them as Human Beings and as equals… We tend to be incredibly patronizing of them; we are not genuinely uplifting or helpful, guiding forces in their lives- nor are we the true paragons of Education and preparedness that they need us to be. Instead, we are biased against their emotions, their desires and needs, and so on and so forth.

We do not treat them as our equals, allow them to make their own decisions (within reason), or even listen to them. Instead, we willfully ignore these things, degrade them, and (overall) don’t give them near enough credit for themselves… And we tend to do for no reason other than the fact that we have years of experience, past mistakes and regrets, that they do not and cannot have at that stage of their life. At least not to the exact level that nothing but age has allowed us to possess in this moment.

And if we are doing this- if we are not listening to them, respecting them, or treating them as equals- how can we honestly believe that we know what is best for them? We cannot; you cannot know what is best for someone if you do not know the person, their wants, their desires and needs, fully- and knowing this requires, fundamentally, that we develop this respect and consideration for our Children… Children who do not, in our current culture, often get this sort of treatment which is so integral to their growth and development.

As a result we ultimately disable, hobble, and sometimes even completely obliterate the chance for them to achieve the growth that “Childhood” is, according to our society, supposed to be giving them in the first place. That is all I am ultimately saying on the matter, and I am not sorry for having these views.

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