Unpopular opinion, even for the child-free: I don’t like kids

Guest post by Elle
By: doctorow – CC BY 2.0
By: doctorowCC BY 2.0

I don’t like kids. No, not even your kids. Not even good kids who mind their Ps and Qs, and put away all their toys. I don’t like any of them.

I’m part of a growing group of people who like to call ourselves “child-free” rather than “childless.” For me, the distinction is in the desire: someone who is childless might want children, but for various reasons doesn’t have any, or had children that were taken too soon from them. Someone who is child-free never wants children.

Yes, I am married, and I am still within childbearing age, but I don’t want kids. Not next year, not when we get a house, not ever.

Still, there seems to be some importance placed in the child-free movement to stress “I like kids, they’re just not for me.” “Kids are great as long as I can give them back to their parents.”

I used to be the same way. I’d occasionally babysit and even enjoy sweet moments with friends’ children. But the older I get and the older their kids get, the more I realize kids just get on my nerves.

I’m not even talking about those bad moments all kids have — those meltdowns or tantrums that make even their parents’ skin crawl. I’m talking just regular kid stuff — normal behaviors that any child psychologist would tell you are healthy. I’d say once a kid gets old enough to become their own person, that’s when that kid starts to annoy me.

As more of my friends start reproducing, I grit my teeth with the realization that it means forcing myself through more interminably tiresome growing pains, things that parents embrace as typical childhood milestones. I’m fully aware that I went through these same phases when I was growing up, but that doesn’t stop me from being aggravated.


I know even reading this, some of you are judging me. That’s okay. I’m not using my real name, and I keep this well-hidden from my friends with children — fully recognizing that it’s my problem, not theirs. I’m not outwardly rude to children, but in my heart I am counting down the moments till I get to have adult-conversations rather than humoring a child.

I’ll fully go against the “good” child-free grain and say it: I’m child-free because I don’t like kids. It might make me a bad person, but I think it’s better for me to realize my aversion now than after having kids out of some misguided attempt to like them.

You can tell me all you want “it’s different when they’re your own,” but I’ll just take your word for it.

Note from Megan: As Offbeat Home’s editor, I’ve written before about being child free. But I’m also one of the rare “child free because I don’t like kids AT ALL” people. Now I’m wondering… anyone else out there part of this under-represented sect of the child-free?

Comments on Unpopular opinion, even for the child-free: I don’t like kids

  1. Im the same way! As more of my friends have kids the more I’m annoyed by my facebook and instagram filling up with 100s of children photos. For example the other day my closest friend had her baby with and told me to stick my finger in her mouth to feel her first tooth coming in. Ok 1 gross, 2 not that I’m a dirty person but do you know where my hands have been?! lol She tells me sometimes that she feels like if she somewhat just forces her baby on me that I will eventually just start to love her as much as she does but honestly its having the opposite effect!! Please don’t think I’m an evil person! I love almost everyone I meet and seem to have a great ability to always see things from another persons point of view but its just something about all children under the age of 10 or so that basically make my skin crawl!

    • You obviously can’t see things from every other person’s point of view, or you wouldn’t make such a blanket statement as children under the age of 10 make your skin crawl – what a stereotype, and regardless, you obviously can’t see things from their point of view. Or do you not see children as people? Maybe you’re like this guy: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/13/nyregion/princeton-bioethics-professor-debates-views-on-disability-and-euthanasia.html

      • You do realize that saying “children under 10 make my skin crawl” is like saying bugs or snakes make my skin crawl. It is not a stereotype, it’s an opinion. Please use words correctly before you try to shove your opinions down other’s throats. Also good job trying to use a childfree stereotype on someone just expressing their OPINION of children (an opinion that isn’t even that radical), maybe you should be the one to look at things from another point of view.

          • No, it’s more like saying ‘whiny people make my skin crawl’. It’s behavioural, not physical. I know zero people who dislike kids because they are small.

          • @STB Just because YOU know zero people who dislike kids because they are small doesn’t mean there ARE zero people who dislike kids because they are small. I *do* know such people.

      • You are conflating, “I don’t like children,” with, “I want all children to die.” I don’t like horses either. They freak me out; you might even say they make my skin crawl. Do I want all horses dead? No, just far away from me. Same goes for dentists.

      • I’m saddened to see this link being made to be honest, Peter singer is about children with disability not being born, or having their life ended shortly after birth. Horrible thing and I’m ashamed to say he is from Australia like I am, linking a person’s statement about discomfort aroung young children and Peter singers eugenics approach is a huge leap on my view. I’m disabled and I don’t take my close friends views of not wanting kids to be in the same realm

          • Well maybe you would like to share more on your opinion rather than just saying I don’t understand, because there are a lot of disabled rights advocates that agree with me. I’m always open to a respectful discussion on other points of view, so maybe you could expand more other than just saying I don’t understand as this really doesn’t do anything other than try to shut down a valid concern/ lived experience of Peter singer academic views, fueling the fire of eugenics arguments that people with disability would be better off not born than to live a life with disability and the impact this has on the lives of disabled people of negative community attitudes towards people with disability as something to be pitied or a burden to society.

      • Haha! You’re so butthurt about it. I don’t like kids either and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not gonna pretend to make you or anyone else feel better. Fuck your dumb article

    • I don’t like children either. I almost had 2 of my own back in the early 70s when I was married, but for various reasons I had them aborted.
      Anyway, the more I see people banging out a kid every year, the more aggravated it makes me. It’s ridiculous how many children are made every year. Families with kids of all ages, especially infants to 4-5 years old. Enough!! I’m glad I don’t have any. They are loud and irritating and sometimes I blame the parents cause the kid will come on a bus or in a store and be quiet and before you know it, the parent has thrown the kid around so they can start screaming.

    • Oh how I agree with these sentiments so much.

      My wife and I (as well as a number of friends) never wanted kids.
      I dislike having young children around me, and always request not to be seated close to children in a restaurant. I can also understand why so many people say “no children” on their wedding invitations. I was at a birthday party the other night, and the whole afternoon was dominated by the antics of one little brat running around causing mayhem. I’m sure his parents love him, but I’m sorry, I don’t.
      One of the people there works as a doctor’s receptionist, at least a couple of times a week they get call from mothers, demanding the doctor sees their child straight away (quite common with doctors I am told). I suppose they assume their child is more important than anyone else ? . If it’s an emergency, go to A&E.
      Does that make me an uncaring person ? I don’t think so. Your child may be the most important thing in you life, but not in my life. When they get to be teenagers, I doubt they will care much about anyone themselves.

    • Remember, you were once a child, but you can dislike the presence and behavior of children saying children in general is stereotypical you could say some children, but not all are unruly, that’s like generalizing the perfect child, with many of the majority of mischievous children, some children who show a good impression a chance, but you don’t have to acknowledge every song child

      • LOL I hate that argument “well you were once a kid, too!” yes, but I didnt like other kids even when I was a kid! I never had any friends my age because their behavior annoyed the crap out of me, I preferred the company of older kids, or better yet, no company at all.

        • I always hate it, and find it very offensive, when people say: “Well you wouldn’t understand as you don’t have kids”
          As Bob Dylan wrote, ” You don’t need to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows”

      • This is actually one of the reasons why I don’t want children. I was once a child, you used to be a child, every person I know was once a child. Guess what, it doesn’t make them special, they are just regular people. I look around at people and think: which one of them I would like to sacrifice my life for, to give up my dreams and everything I love for? Honestly, none. The thing is, children are not special snowflakes and little stars by default, sure some of them may grow up to be special and perhaps even worth dying for, but this is extremely rare. The vast majority of them will grow up to be a regular person, one of those who you meet at a supermarket and don’t have the slightest urge to make special favours for. It’s not the children themselves that make my skin crawl, it’s the expectation that they should be treated in some special way, because they are somehow special. No, they aren’t. They are just people.

    • hi i sooo agree with all child free women. i was 17!! when i had my tubes tied. my mom had a lot of connections with exellent doctors .i was born in germany– i already knew i did no ever want kids! they already annoyed me as a teen. the crying, the drooling, teething, pooping, dipers and etc.. so after i met my soon to be hubby. the love of my life RIP my frankie. he was 4o years older than me and certainly did not want kids-he had 3 older than me. mom and i went to see the professor. he asked me if i was sure and i remember telling him , better cut, burn and tie– cause if somehow i get pregnant i’ll sue you. needless to say– it was done well. – now if your kid is smart, polite and over the age of 3- not in pampers , not screeming , crying or drooling. i can tolerate them. might even enjoy a real smart kid who is polite and loves to learn- but plz take them home.!. i get really annoyed going to a restaurant and there are loud kids close by, we own apartement buildings and have a NO KIDS LEASE
      . if you want to rent ,ill ask if you intend to have kids soon or are pregnant – cause you cant have that baby here. baby crying really gets on my nerves !!! turned my friend down when she wanted me to be god mother. no way- told her plz when you visit find a sitter first.
      i could not see myself cleaning snooty noses, get drooled on or change -GOD FORBID- diapers !! but i have 16 cats. i nurture them clean them ,get licked and dont care. i nursed my husband through cancer. am very caring and nurturing– to whom i choose. once you have a child-you are stuck.!
      glad there are others out there like me
      i do not hate kids- but dont want any , never did ,dont miss out on having any , and dont want them close

      • I was told that no one would ever perform any surgery like this on a woman who had no kids, because I WILL change my mind. There aren’t words for how angry this made me.

  2. I would describe myself as child free but I take slight issue with your statement that to be child free means never wanting children, although I totally respect that for you it does. I note that the editor’s note describes your position as a position within the category of child free rather than as espousing it entirely and I’d agree with that. I am child free (and very much not child less) by the choices I have made and lived, but it’s far far more nuanced then never having wanted children and knowing I’ll never want them. In that way I think that it’s maybe more about choice than desire…

    I do agree that it’s hard to talk about being child free, it’s frequently taken as a comment on the choices made by those with children. But I think that the thing behind this also makes things difficult for those with children, i.e, a general societal difficulty in talking about parenting as anything other than an overwhelmingly positive thing and a thing that surely everyone wants. It would be so much better if parents felt freer to be honest about the difficulties of parenting and non-parents felt freer to celebrate their life choices. The only thing I can think of to help this is being honest, whatever your position, so bravo!

    • No. You are not child-free. If you are child-free, then you do not WANT children. If you, in any way, want children, you are CHILDLESS, not child-free. Child-free is more than just the choice, it is the desire.

      • Firstly, with respect, it is not your place to tell me what I am and how I identify, under any any circumstances, but especially with precisely no information about me.

        Wanting something or having desire for something is not a permanent state, therefore is it problematic to base a category on it. I have wanted children in the past and my feelings since then have changed. Some years later treating medical issues brought up a choice that made it impossible to ever have children. Currently, this minute, I can’t have them and I don’t want them and I have no plans to become a parent in anyway. So I have been on both (many might be better) sides of wanting and not wanting children and for all I know it could still change. However, the choices I have made, that is, the manifestation of my intention, is I believe, a far better indication of the category I should fit in to. However, I’m not sure these categories are that helpful, the binary of of child free or child less is as limiting as the other binaries of gay/straight, male/female etc.

        • But having some people identifying as Child-Free who then go on to have kids is exactly why parents still feel entitled to use the line “But you’ll change your mind. Everyone does eventually”.

      • Agreed. I like a roof over my head so the lack thereof would make me homeless, not home-free. On the other hand, I don’t like smoking. That would make me smoke-free, not smokeless.

      • @David — I am child-free and I don’t want or not want kids. Childless seems like my life is lacking something if I don’t have kids. I am 34 and rather undecided about children, but I would never call myself childless.

        • Thanks for posting. I feel this way a lot about my choice to be child-free. No more apologizing. Just honesty. I have done nothing wrong-so too bad if I offended your conformist way of living. OOPS!

    • Childfree means not wanting children ever AND you take permanent steps to avoid such things. I got rid of my uterus using the childfree doctor system. Im never going to have children. I dont like them i dont want them i dont need them for religious reasons contrary to pop belief cuz of jesus. Eunuchs are also blesed in the bible….by jesus.

      Childfreedom is forever!

  3. I’m child-free because I don’t like kids. It might make me a bad person…

    I don’t think that makes you a bad person, I just worry that it makes you a person who’s setting yourself up for unhappiness.

    I’ve had this same conversation with Megan (Offbeat Home’s editor who wrote the outro on this post), where it’s like… you can dislike whoever you want to dislike, but it’s tough when you dislike a population of humans who JUST KEEP GETTING BORN.

    I’m not worried about the kids (they don’t care if you don’t like them), but I want my friends to be happy, and children aren’t going anywhere… so resolving to dislike them feels like you’re sorta doomed to a lot of frustration in life. And I don’t like my friends feeling frustrated!

    Then again, I support folks making their own choices, so as long as you’re accountable for the challenges your choices may cause you — it’s all good with me.

    PS: In case it’s not clear from my comment, Megan and I strongly disagree on this particular subject and this post. That’s part of the joy of the Offbeat Empire: we don’t all agree (even those of us on staff!) and that’s ok.

    • Ya gotta agree. My first thought reading this was like “sounds kinda like prejudice” (to hate a whole group of people.)

      My second was:

      What is the insecurity in yourself that is the result of this?

      For me, I don’t reaaalllly like dogs but I don’t mind a few (my sister’s and some others). It’s a preference and I see it is really because I am a little afraid of them – it’s my insecurity. But I certainly can’t say I dislike/hate the whole species.

      • It is quite possible to dislike something – even if that something is a group of people such as children, due to even the normal ways in which children behave – without it being tied to an insecurity.

        Not every dislike is tied to insecurity. Even if that dislike has to do with a behavior some people exhibit.

      • It is possible to hate the whole species! I actually dislike ALL spider species:) I also dislike ALL kids. Babies, toddlers, teens. They’re annoying, tiring, they smell with barf/sweat. They lie, they’re loud, they cost a lot of money and your time… The list is endless.

        • It gets worse when grandchildren arrive. Just when you thought you were free and clear, here comes another batch. If I could do it all over again, vasectomy at 16. I knew at a young age kids were not for me. Society convinced me that this thinking is not normal and “you’ll grow out of it.” That was a lie. Perpetuation of the species – sole purpose.

          • My husband and I were just discussing society making people with child-free instincts feel “not normal.” A cousin of his just had a second child and a photo was posted on social meeting of her brother-in-law holding the baby. Their father commented on the photo and said “See (older daughter) we’ve been telling you he’d make a great father.” We don’t think this couple has any interest in having children and I really hope they don’t just bend to the pressure coming from their family and society at large.
            Also, to perpetuate the species always seemed like a weak argument to me. Once I’m dead, what will I care if the species continues?

          • my mom told me by the time i was about 15- if you ever have kids-im not your free sitter. i had you . i wanted you—but i did not sign up for grandchildren.so if you decide to have any ,you can visit with them but take them when you leave.-mom still thanks me for not having any and she pitties many of her friends,who suddenly loose their free time and pension , helping to raise grands

          • I remember reading a blog article about resenting grandparents for not wanting to spend time with grandchildren. It was the best picture of how selfish parenthood can be. Why do you think your parents owe you looking after your kid, after all those years of looking after you? Are you starting to get ready for looking after your parents for a change? Did you ask your parents for permission before you had sex? Did you ask them in advance if they would be willing to spend their time with your children rather than on their hobbies (even if that hobby is watching television, they still have the right to choose that over looking after your kid). I remember how my (planning for a child) friend commented on the fact that me and my partner had his ill mother over for several months, helping her to bathe, taking her on trips in her wheelchair etc. My friend said: I don’t know how you do this. But why, isn’t it what being a family is about? Isn’t it what being unselfish and loving means? I took my partner with his joys and troubles, and I am not going to shy away from them. Wouldn’t you do the same for your mother or your husband’s mother? The thing is I just don’t think that kids have more right to be loved than adults.

        • I dislike a number of traits often displayed by children – loud talker, being clumsy, drooling, repetitive & mundane conversation, lack of personal hygiene or table manners… So I minimize contact with most young kids. I also minimize contact with adult equivalents.

          This doesn’t mean I’m a hater or bitter. I don’t dwell on these issues – I politely manage my preferences. (Yes I am also okay if someone doesn’t like one of my traits. Go talk to someone else then).

          Don’t cave into collectivist guilt trips. You CAN have preferences! There someone for everyone out there. Find your tribe & let others find theirs. It all works out.

          Being honest with yourself & making smart choices is a recipe for happiness! I know from experience that I’m most likely to enjoy the company of people 16+. Not a rule set in stone but a useful rule of thumb guide.

      • I dislike all dogs and I dislike all children. I don’t give a shit if that makes me Hitler. I’d rather be Hitler than have children, or dogs, in my house.

    • I don’t see the dislike of children as a continued source of grief. It’s like not liking loud noises or direct sunlight. We don’t go around grumpy that those things exist, we just try to avoid them if we can and if we can’t, we tolerate them as necessary. I’m sure every person has similar dislikes.

    • I’m another child-free person who doesn’t like kids, but it’s not really that I’ve resolved to dislike them so much as that I’ve met few enough that I DO like (one, so far) to feel comfortable making that blanket statement. So it’s not really a decision, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

    • On the contrary I am setting myself up for happiness. I am a huge emetophobe. Not being responsible for anyone else’s fluids makes me very happy. I like not having my meals interrupted by kids running around because it’s considered too much to expect them to sit at the table. I love my quiet car rides because I always seem to end up on flights with lots of deaf people. How else can people be totally unaware their kids were screaming for 6 hours straight? I like knowing I’ll never have to worry about getting walked in on during sexytimes. In other words, I know what I don’t like and I avoid it. You know, I don’t like dentists either. Nobody’s told me I’m setting myself up for unhappiness there.

      • This comment is precisely why the ‘I don’t like kids’ stuff raises my hackles. You are not just disliking kids you are judging them and their parents. If you choose not spend time around kids that’s fine but don’t then tell me how my kids ought to behave or how I ought to parent. You have chosen to know nothing of these matters (again, fine with me so long as you don’t start passing judgement). You have no idea of what their lives are like or what they are currently going through. I can think of many reasons why a child might scream on a plane and why the parents might struggle to quiet them. Pain, fear, tiredness, anxiety etc. None of which are easy to resolve in adults let alone children.

        • If it raises your hackles then it’s your problem not mine. I don’t have to have given birth to recognise bad behaviour in children or bad parenting. Give your six month old coke in a bottle, bad parenting. Kids in a park beating a homless dog with a stick, bad behaviour. Baby or toddler screaming on a plane, sore ears, not bad behaviour. Ten year old screaming on a plane and chucking things around the cabin because mum forgot their playstation, bad behaviour and bad parenting.

          EDIT: And for the record these are not made up examples I have witnesses every single one.

          • You’re absolutely right – you don’t always have to have given birth to recognize bad parenting. There’s really no excuse for the coke bottle parent, sorry.

            But also, not all kids are like that. The 10 year old on the plane with the playstaion could’ve been an autstic kid, and it’s not really cool to judge the mentally handicapped just because they’re children.

            There’s absolutely are bad parents, and parents/kids that I, as a mom of a kid, do not wish to be around. Every one of your examples is bad *parenting*. I don’t like to be around those kinds of parents – or their darling spawn – either.

            It kind of sucks for me, and a few of my friends who aren’t, you know, bad parents, who don’t excuse everything by “Oh they’re a kid, ha ha!”, because when you see us you raise your hackles, and we haven’t quite done anything wrong yet.

            Recently, a girlfriend and myself went out for coffee. We chose a busy local place on a weekday morning, and we both took our babies (who are 3 months apart). They didn’t do anything. We sat off to one side, and they were both worn. We talked about it a few days before hand and choose a time when they would likely, hopefully, be kinda chill, and they just hung out. Mine even got out of her carrier an stood (assisted, of course) on the table for a few minutes. Unless you looked over at us and saw “oh, babies!” you didn’t know there were kids. I know this because when we were walking out someone said “Oh damn, I didn’t even know there was a baby in here.”

            Obviously that’s ideal. Not every outing is going to be like that. We’re both blessed to have chill kids (so far). A mom of a baby or child with issues – GRED, autism, sensory input issues, etc – isn’t going to be that way, and even every outing with a “normal” (hahahahaaaa) child isn’t going to be that way. But god damn it, we tried. Some of us really try. Some of us realize that you, general random adult in life, do not want to have to make exceptions in public for children you did not choose to have.

            I like to think that I am the rule, not the exception. But consider that I still twitch a little when I see a large group of moms and babies, I’m starting to think that’s not the case. Do I totally see and understand where you’re coming from? Yes. Does it still make me sad, because it means Freya and I never even get a chance to show you we can be awesome? Also yes.

          • Lady Weaver, unfortunately, you’re not the rule. You are the exception. But you’re right that parenting is what it all comes down to, and parents like you are the ones I want to hug and congratulate. I’ve worked in a variety of customer service positions, and I’ve seen pretty much every variety of parent out there. I’ve been chewed out for telling a kid not to pull on the automatic doors because they could break and he could get hurt, and I’ve been charmed by a child who saw her dad after an hour apart and couldn’t wait to tell him what she’d learned while he was gone. Every once in a while, I see a parent who is just KILLING being a parent. That parent who reads to their kid on the bus. That parent who interacts with their kid in the grocery store and helps them learn to read labels. That parent who handles a meltdown like a champ. When I see them, I try to find a moment to quietly tell them that they’re doing a great job and I’m impressed. Literally every single time that’s happened, they’ve looked at me like I’m crazy. Because good parents don’t see themselves as good parents. They think they’re just doing what they’re supposed to do. Good parents are the exception, but they’re a beautiful exception.

          • This may come as a surprise but people without children are not stupid. Many of us have the ability to recognise a child with a disability as opposed to a naughty child. Like the autistic 10 year old who sat next to me on a plane only last week. Not that he was any trouble at all, he was a lovely boy. Some people are dicks towards children, that does not mean every person without children is a dick. Just like some tantrum chucking kids are badly behaved and others are having a sensory overload because they are autistic.

    • It’s not necessarily a choice to dislike kids, though. I could work towards liking centipedes all I want (and I have, even, because they live in my basement and they’re not going anywhere) but I’m just not going to get that far, they just plain rub me the wrong way.

      In my case I like some kids in small doses. Sometimes they’re funny. I like what they add to my friends’ lives and I try to look forward to the person that they’ll be when they’re older and less annoying. But I totally understand how they can just flat-out get on your nerves no matter what.

    • That’s what I love about Offbeat – sharing “unpopular” views helps other people in the same situation feel not so alone. And also, it gives people who have opposing views a little more understanding.

    • I don’t really agree with anyone saying that people who don’t like kids are “resolving to dislike them.” It’s sort of like saying a gay person is “resolving to not be straight.” This takes away the validity of an inherent state of being. I don’t choose to hate kids anymore than a gay person chooses to be gay. It’s part of who they are as a person; in truly anti-child people it is a part of who you are, it runs as deep in your bones and even if you wanted to wish it away you couldn’t. You just KNOW. For some people there is a complete neurological disconnect in some sort of patience/empathy processes of the brain that literally triggers the opposite response from most people when being around children, even well-behaved ones. It’s unavoidable in many places to avoid a child’s presence, that is true. But having a dislike or even deep hatred as I do, is not a decision you resign yourself to. I would literally be a lot happier if they didn’t make me grit my teeth and immediately judge and talk shit in my head about the conformist life-script abiding parent looking miserable with the kid screeching in the candy isle. You just know “This is not for me” when the 7th layer of Hell is preferable to spending even one hour around a squalling child. Remember, having a kid doesn’t make you special, it makes you like everybody else.

  4. I really admire your er… bravery. I don’t like very many kids, but the ones I do, I adore. I totally understand not liking kids though and honestly, it’s your deal. It is kinda sad to hear that you have to grit your teeth to hang out with friends. Not because “you should like kids, they’re the future” or some nonsense, I feel sad because there shouldn’t be things like that with friends. One or two of my friends have terrible children or are terrible about their children and we don’t hang out anymore because of it. I hope things get better and at least I think its okay that you don’t like kids.

  5. You’re not a bad person! You shouldn’t feel that way.

    Lots of people don’t like kids, and that’s cool. At least you’re honest. I don’t get it because I’m the opposite. My child gives me purpose. The great thing is, I don’t have to get it! It’s your life.

    Now if we could all appreciate each other for what makes us different, that would be great.

    • Not to be rude, but that sentence “my child gives me purpose” is such hallmark dribble to me. Really you need someone else to have purpose? What purpose is there really in creating more humans? Its what 99 percent of humans, and other species do.

      I wish more people would feel that way about contributing to the future of those kids. But I feel like many people have kids to fill a void because they’ve done nothing else remarkable – and somehow they think having kids will make up for that.

  6. I also don’t want kids because I don’t like them!

    What I do like are quiet evenings, sleeping in late on the weekends, traveling, and having money.

    Money that I spend on me. Selfish? You bet! I’m also happy.

    I’ve never really liked kids, not even as a kid. So no, I’m not just waiting until I get married or get a house and no, I won’t change my mind in a few years.

    I’m sure having kids can be a great joy to some (maybe most?) people, but I’m not one of them.

    • Ah this brings up something else that I as a happily child-free person have wondered.

      I don’t really think most people get great joy out of having kids.

      A lot of people in my experience have kids because they’re “supposed to.” Or it just sort of happened and they went along with it but it’s something they regret or feel that they should have done in a different time frame or with a different person. I think family, society and people’s own anxieties put undo pressure on people to have kids that may or may not be ready for them or even want them. I know more than a couple people that if they had to do it over again they would not have had kids. They just didn’t see that they had the option to not have kids. For me and my husband we made the choice long ago that neither of us liked kids nor wanted to have them and continued to check in with each other every year or so. Now we’re both in our 40s and the time is long past and we’re both so happy we stayed child-free.

      I think a lot of folks fake the “great joy” thing and again are just faking behavior that they think is socially acceptable. I think those that deep down and truly, honestly want kids and are excited to make a great life with a new little person or persons should totally go for it. I just wish everyone would give it that honest thought and make a good decision for themselves. But that could be said about pretty much everything, all the time, forever. 🙂

      • The “great source of joy” actually came from an article I read years ago where parents talked about having kids and the full quote was “[Kids]’re a huge source of joy, but they turn every other source of joy to shit”. I don’t really think that most people consider why they want kids, they just “know” they do or think they should.

        I think that once people become parents they find some aspects of having kids that bring joy to their life in spite of the downsides of having them. For me, I don’t like kids enough for it to ever justify having a kid. The “kid joy” wouldn’t outweigh the “every other source of joy is now shit”. I know I’d be unhappy.

        You might enjoy the original article: http://nymag.com/news/features/67024

        • I’m putting my perspective on here because this is not ALWAYS the case. My husband and I take immense enjoyment from our children. When he says a new word, when he hugs us, when she smiles at me, when they’re dressed up in adorable little clothes. But it also has increased our joy in everyday things. I love swings because my son is just SO VERY HAPPY to be on a swing!!!! They have absolutely enriched our lives and I completely delight in them.

          I say this with a smile on my face thinking about them. I KNOW that this is only my experience. There are some very difficult times, my children are also easy (great sleepers, very compliant, obedient and happy) so it makes it easier for us to parent and delight in them. I just wanted to weigh in on the “great source of joy” remark. Our children are a significant source of joy 80% of their awake time.

          • That’s good that you can take joy from your kids but I think you are increasingly becoming the exception and not the rule.

            My friends are all falling prey to the disease known as children and I can honestly say not one of the couples I know have both parents on board with wanting kids. It’s always the woman with either the biological clock ticking or wanting an excuse to sit at home and stare at the TV unfortunately. The guys are finally worn down into agreeing to have a child which they secretly resent for basically decades to come, perhaps not 100% of the time but a lot of it.

            I don’t wish to take anything away from your experience but I can say for myself, all the things you listed about loving from your children are basically things that make up my nightmares. Having to pretend to care about such trivial nonsense.

            I can honestly say and with a smile; I don’t like kids, I don’t want kids, I don’t like other people having kids and I don’t care if it makes me a bad person.

            That felt good.

          • “I don’t like other people having kids”

            In a roundabout way I kind of agree with this. I think everyone should do whatever makes them happy regarding children but I feel comfortable admitting that I don’t jump for joy when a friend announces that they’re pregnant. Far more often than not having a child completely changes people. I get that, I understand that, but it annoys me that some people seem to give up everything they loved in their pre-child life. I find it harder to relate to my friends who have children, they’re not able to hang out as often, they ONLY seem to be able to talk about their children, and their newsfedds on facebook … just ugh. I feel really bad for having these thoughts but whenever a friend has a child I can’t help but think “Well, there goes that friendship.” I do enjoy being the friend who gets the parent out of the house for a night but it’s just not an easy transition to make.

      • My husband and I put a lot of thought into whether to have kids. We specifically didn’t want it to happen on accident, or because we were “supposed to” after getting married and buying a house, or because of family pressure. Ultimately we decided that we were willing to make the changes to accommodate a child as part of our family, and we are so glad we did. We made a person – whoa! – and we think she’s pretty cool to hang out with most of the time.

        I have the utmost respect for people who take the time to consider this issue, no matter what they end up deciding. To those of you who don’t like kids – thanks for not having kids! You don’t deserve to be miserable because of society’s expectations or the fact that your parents want to be grandparents. You deserve to be happy – your way, and I’ll try to keep my kid from getting on your nerves. Those of you who were on the fence and took the plunge and now love your kids – I’m so happy for you! Not everyone is going to feel the same way.

        Just like many choices, your freedom ends when it starts getting in the way of my freedom. Choose not to have kids, but don’t berate me for choosing differently. Choose to have kids, but don’t force them on other people.

        • What a well-spoken, level-headed opinion in the middle of some very heated comments 🙂 I am also in the happily child-free camp, but I respect your (and other peoples’) thoughtful decisions to have them.

          I’ve always kind of viewed it the way I love having pets. LOVE it. They can be a pain; picky eaters, stepping in vomit, constant trips inside and outside, 4th of July is a two-week nightmare for everyone in the house, etc. It’s not all bubbles and rainbows, even though that’s how it FEELS to me when I think about it. But if someone told me they didn’t like dogs or cats and didn’t want to have them? Then I would encourage them to not have them! They’re a lot of work, not always perfect, and if you don’t want to go in with your whole heart, you shouldn’t.

          Anyway, thank you for a lovely response to this difficult topic!

          • sarah-you are so right. i have 16 cats —always had cats since im 11. but since my mom had connections in germany, where i was boern- i had my tubes tied at 17—- never regretted it. i am so put down from many people who cant believe when i openly say- i DO NOT LIKE OR WANT KIDS!!
            my boyfriend had 2 teens when we met-so he did not want more- but he often says that there is something wrong with me. most of my aquaintences pitty me not having kids. — i pitty them for having kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            iam by choice child free. do not miss it. give me my cats any day. i love them with all my life, i clean their hairballs, puke, occasional poop out the box, a nurse them devotedly, feed kittens evert 2 hrs—-i get licked and drooled on -just wipe it off. kids? drool? pee ,poop id faint. no way.

      • As someone who has friends on either side, both with kids and without, I find generally that both sides are generally happy with their respective situations. Most people I know who have kids really thought about why they wanted kids, when they would do it (some had to go the route of adoption, ivf, fostering), etc. Myself included. I think media polarizes the topic much more than it needs to be in order to create clickbait.

        Interestingly I was very much a child free person myself, I had no desire what so ever to have kids. Then I was diagnosed with PCOS and was told that I may not actually be able to have kids. My reaction was 100% the opposite of what I even expected myself. It was a reality check, suddenly it wasn’t really my choice anymore and it brought up something that I wasn’t expecting. I actually did want kids. Not a lot of them, mind you, but I did want a child.

        It was a big discussion with my partner, and we decided to try sooner rather than later. We got lucky, and my daughter was born. Is there unadulterated joy? No. But there wasn’t before my daughter either. There are ups and downs in our relationship just like any other. There are bad days and good days. There is just someone else to love now. I love watching her grow and change, I love when she comes up to give me hugs and kisses because she sees I’m sad, I love the cuddles, and I love who she is as a person. My daughter was my choice, and I love the choice I made.

        Everyone has a choice on the life they live and ultimately it’s up to the individual to respect the decisions of others.

      • Oh dear. I certainly hope that this isn’t true. I get a great deal of joy from being a parent, and I’m currently parenting a toddler, a category of children not known for their pleasantness. I get joy from simple things like watching her face light up when she sees a picture of a mouse, or when she likes my cooking, or seeing how gentle and loving she is with our pets even though she receives absolutely no love from them in return. Obviously there are things I hate about parenting, but the pros far outweigh the cons in my case and I know I made the right choice.

        That said, I’m glad that some choices are easy to make for some people. There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to procreate because you don’t like children, but those who feel this way should prepare to lose a lot of friends as a result. It’s nobody’s fault, but I know I could never continue a friendship with someone who really hated the fact that I have a kid – we come as a package deal, even when we’re not together.

          • I have many friends who aren’t especially fond of kids. However, they’re not ride to me as a parent, and they’re kind to my son when he’s around.

            You don’t have to like kids. You don’t have to be rude either. Calling us “breeders” is uncalled for and unnecessary.

      • What do most people get great joy out of?

        Most things in life have good sides and bad. Sure there are good sides to not having kids a little more freedom and ability to be selfish. There are good sides to having kids watching their joy and wonder, teaching them things, enjoying the freedom to play.

        • I’m not sure if you’re trying to make a case for the child-free having children here…but it sounds like it. The “wonders of children” spiel is generally not a great tactic when trying to convince people who don’t like kids that they should have them in their lives and be responsible for them all the time.

          I’ve already made the decision not to have children. For me, that’s based on a number of different factors (including time, money, free time) but most importantly: I don’t like kids. I don’t want to teach them things or watch their joy and wonder. It isn’t something that brings me joy and it certainly doesn’t outweigh the less-nice things that come from parenting.

          My life is better /for me/ without children.

          This isn’t the right path for everyone, but it’s not even a contest for me.

        • “Ability to be selfish” seems a little harsh. I’m not a selfish person but I get no joy out of spending time with children. No, I don’t have to consider the needs of a child when figuring out how to spend my time, but I do have to consider the needs of my husband, my friends, my pets, etc.
          I’ve never understood the view that people who choose to be child free are inherently selfish.

          • I don’t think it’s selfish to decide what you do or do not want to do with your life. That’s absolutely something that every person should have the ability to do.

            I can understand people who have children thinking it’s selfish of me to spend my time/money/whatever on myself…but that’s my decision to make. It’s not anyone else’s job to decide that my time or my money would be better spent on a child if I want to spend it on fancy vacations and amazing food. Those things make me happy (children don’t).

            If they want to call me selfish because of that it doesn’t bother me (though I don’t think not having children necessarily = selfish).

    • I’ve personally never understood the ‘selfish’ argument. What, exactly, are the zealot-type parents expecting? A medal? I can see it now:

      “Would you like that in silver, gold, or platinum?”

  7. Thank you for saying this!

    Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with not liking children. We are not (or shouldn’t be) judged for not wanting to live in one kind of community over another, for example urban vs rural. That is a lifestyle choice that can affect our lives every bit as much as choosing to have children. Even visiting the city/country (the equivalent of babysitting) means exposing ourselves to very specific kinds of stimuli. But no one suggests you’re misanthropic if you don’t like NYC, nor do they call you self-centered or shallow if you can’t stand farm country. Preference is a spectrum, and falling at one extreme or the other is just as valid as being somewhere in the middle.

    I’m also childfree. I don’t dislike all children, but I have a definite time limit on how long I’m willing to spend with them before I’m just DONE. This even applies to children that I personally like. When it comes to strangers’ children, my tolerance is even more reduced. And that’s ok! It means I can focus on being an Awesome Auntie when I have the energy, and otherwise I get to live my life as I see fit.

    • This is exactly me, with the time limit! There are some children who I know and love, but after a relatively short period of time, I am just done.

    • Time limit thirded! I actually get that way with most people, but adults are much better at recognizing when I need to just sit quietly somewhere, so kids are more difficult and more likely to get on my nerves. I do make sure I don’t snap at them, and with teenagers, I’ll just tell them I want to have some quiet time. It would make being a parent very difficult, though–you have to be “on” when your kid needs you, sometimes when you really don’t want to, and the responsibilities just seem endless. There are other reasons, but that’s part of why for now I’m on the childfree side of the fence.

    • I have this limit with people in general, not just kids. Some people’s limit is longer than others, but no matter how great you are, eventually I just need my space.

  8. FUCK YES. I’m so 100% on board with this, except with the guilt this writer is feeling. Fuck the guilt. It’s OKAY not to like kids even a little and it’s okay to own that as your reason for not wanting any. My family and friends all know I don’t like kids. I don’t even like to hear “cute” stories about kids. Not liking kids is only a small part of why I’m child-free, but I so appreciate seeing a child-free post that doesn’t include things like, “I love kids, but they’re not for me.”

    • I understand what you’re saying, but kids are still people. Instead of just accepting this aspect of yourself as part of your immutable personality, wouldn’t be beneficial if you attempted to improve your tolerance to kids.
      You would never say, “I can’t stand disabled people, and I don’t feel any guilt about it.” (I hope).
      Compassion and tolerance are not (just) innate; they are learned. You can learn to tolerate a kid asking “Why?” a thousand times a day. You can find compassion for a wailing toddler even if you’re initial reaction is one of annoyance. It’s part of becoming a better human being. I’m definitely not saying you should have children if you don’t want any, but that embracing your friends’ and family’s children will improve your relationship with those people who are close to you. And it might make you a more compassionate, tolerant human being.
      *I’m not saying you aren’t those things already. I said MORE. 🙂

      • Is it not tolerance to exist in a family where others have kids and just not want any yourself? You wouldn’t tell a vegetarian to try tolerating meat a little more to become a better human being, just to tolerate that others have different beliefs to yours and that’s ok

          • But there is merit in pointing out that there is a huge difference between dislike and intolerance. Being rude to a whole class of people is one thing, and disliking them is another. I don’t like children, but I tolerate them in public spaces because they are people that deserve to be there. It is fair game to police my behavior towards other people but not my preferences.

          • I was actually pointing out that you wouldn’t ask somebody to compromise what they believe in to “make them a better human being” in somebody else’s eyes and that tolerance is accepting that others will have different beliefs to your own, even if you don’t necessarily agree

      • Not on board with this, sorry. Not liking a certain type of person isn’t the same as not tolerating them – the writer stated quite clearly above that she tolerates kids, but just doesn’t like them.

        And why should she? I don’t like all sorts of kinds of people (mostly due to some attitude or other that I dislike). I tolerate them, though (mostly – if you’re a bigot I won’t tolerate you). Doesn’t make me a bad person. Liking or not liking something isn’t a comment on whether you’re a “better person” or not.

        That’s really all you need.

        One need not like everything to be a good human being.

        • True enough. But vehemently disliking something that is such a big part of the people you love’s life… I guess, I just thought it would be hard on everyone. I’m not saying that Cassie should have to listen to stories about her friends’ babies all day either. I’m just saying that it really doesn’t hurt you to TRY to like something more. You might end up liking it more.

          • It IS hard on everyone. And part of what makes it especially hard on the childfree is the fact that having children (or at least liking them) is the cultural norm.

            If your best friend ‘finds Jesus’ in an evangelical way, or becomes a vegan, or suddenly discovers the thing that has been missing all her life has been being a juggalo, and you are an atheist, an omnivore, or a straight-edge folk-music afficianado; you are not told that you need to ‘keep trying’ to like whatever it is that your friend now loves more than your former monthly Pagan/folk-music/BBQ fests. You can either try to find other common ground, OR let the friendship die. That search for new common ground requires effort from both parties. And in this case, it is not solely the responsibility of the childfree person to put in that effort!

            Becoming a parent necessitates a shift in your priorities. The problem comes when the new parent expects everyone else’s priorities to shift right along with theirs. If you want to be fully immersed in your baby-bubble, the price may be that some people refuse to come in the bubble with you.

            Over the past decade I’ve moved through the phases of “I might want children someday with the right person” to “If she wants kids, I’ll suck it up and deal” to “I don’t want kids, but I like playing with other people’s if I can hand them back when I’m tired of it” to “I strongly dislike children being around me in any way shape or form, and I hope that when my ‘sister’friends start having them I can learn to at least tolerate them”.

            In the meantime, when less close friends have babies, I just accept that we are no longer going to be a part of each others lives in any kind of enjoyable or rewarding way.

          • If she is ready to accept the consequences of not trying, then she is under no obligation to try and it doesn’t make her a worse person (which is implied by “it will make you a better person – no, it won’t, it will make you a different person. Not a better one.)

            I don’t like office jobs. I don’t have one. Office jobs are a big part of the lives of people I love (although I guess they are not as beloved as kids by those people!). I do not like them. I do not like what they require of people, I do not like their internal cultures for the most part. This means I miss out on or don’t get a huge part of the life experience of those I love.

            But it would be silly to say “well you could TRY to like office jobs”…why? Why should I? I accept the consequences of not liking or wanting such a job…so how does it make me a better or worse person not to try?

          • I vehemently dislike being around cats (because I’m horrifically allergic) and it IS hard when you feel a need to avoid something that is a part of so many people’s lives/homes, but no one would ever suggest I hang out at their house longer and suffer through physical discomfort to be a better person, so why should anyone have to suffer through extra mental discomfort? There’s a difference between politely avoiding something you don’t handle well, and being rude about it, and nothing anyone has said so far has made me think they’re being rude about it.

            I don’t really see children as a “whole class of people”… everyone is a kid at some point, and kids universally share the quality of being (to some extent, by their very definition) *immature*, which can be tough to deal with. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like that kid as a person just fine in 15 years. Being a child is not an immutable trait like race or disability, we are not out there trying to win the vote for children, y’know? It’s a totally different thing.

        • But she is describing her dislike for a whole class of people based only on one attribute: their age. Not all kids are the same, just as not all 80 year olds, or all white people, or all disabled people. And I can’t help thinking it’s because her childhood sucked – her childish behavior was constantly suppressed or criticized maybe, and maybe that’s why she abhors it so much in others.

          • Yes, I feel more sad for her that she can’t see the good in some kids or can open her mind enough to embrace what is good. It’s actually not all bad at all! It would be like me saying I hate all seniors or teens.

          • ‘because her childhood sucked’

            This is one of the most common (false) bingos out there. Many happily childfree people had great childhoods, it has nothing to do with that. I’m not a kid anymore, I want to enjoy kid and adult things with other adults. It makes me wonder if people who don’t ‘get’ the childfree/those who dislike kids are those who aren’t able to enjoy ‘kid’ things as adults, but rather need to do them with a child, to experience them as they did at that age, vs enjoying them at their current age.


          • Unlike with, say, disabled people, seniors, or a race or even gender or orientation of people, there are typical behaviors at that age – healthy milestones of behavior even – that she noted as disliking.

            She doesn’t dislike them based on their age. If an 8-year-old acted like an adult she probably would not dislike that 8-year-old. She dislikes behavior typical of people at that age. Behavior that is tied to their age in the way behavior cannot be tied to any other group of people.

            So I for one just don’t buy your constant attempts to tie this to racism, bigotry etc.

            There are behaviors I don’t like either. I don’t care for religious people on missions or who proselytize – even if they are lovely people otherwise, and I know that they can be, I dislike that behavior strongly enough that I will tolerate them (obviously – we have to tolerate all sorts of things we don’t like in life) but I do not like them and will limit my time spent with them.

            I see the author’s dislike of children to be along those same lines. It’s not directly tied to age so much as behavior. It’s not her fault that the behavior is due to the age.

      • “wouldn’t be beneficial if you attempted to improve your tolerance to kids.” — I don’t get this. Unless the OP or anyone who dislikes kids is actively harming kids, there’s no need for them to force themselves to be more tolerant of kids. I fully agree w/the OP — I’m not a fan of children. I find them overwhelmingly annoying, so I avoid situations where I’ll be around them. I don’t need to or want to tolerate them.

        I’m VERY happy to vote for local school bond measures & support things that improve the lives of children in the grand scheme of things. But I don’t need to have any children in my immediate personal life & see no need to tolerate them around me.

        • I think the statement about improving tolerance to kids is referring to when people who actively dislike children have close friends or family members with children. If someone feels so strongly about disliking children that they’re going to completely cut anyone with children out of their lives, that’s their choice entirely. However, if the child-disliking, child-free person wants to continue to have a relationship with a person with children it’s unreasonable for them to be completely intolerant of the child. Example: I don’t like cats. I don’t understand why people own cats. I will never own a cat as long as I live. That said, I am more than happy to hear stories of other people’s cats, look at pictures of their cats, and even spend time in the same room as those cats – because I love my friends and my family and I know that their cats are important to them.

          Essentially, what I’m trying to get at is that it’s unreasonable of anyone to assume that their friends or family should go out of their way to accommodate their dislike of children if they want to continue to have a relationship with those people.

          • Why is it “unreasonable of anyone to assume that their friends or family should go out of their way to accommodate their DISLIKE of children if they want to continue to have a relationship with those people” but it’s unreasonable of anyone to assume that their friends or family should go out of their way to accommodate their LIKE of children if they want to continue to have a relationship with those people”?

            Can’t ppl who are friends/family agree to disagree on topics, whether it’s children, religion, food, pets, etc.?

          • “However, if the child-disliking, child-free person wants to continue to have a relationship with a person with children it’s unreasonable for them to be completely intolerant of the child.”

            I disagree. I’m friends with my friends, not their children. I want to spend time with my friends, not their children. If my friends want to spend time with me, they will make other arrangements for their children.

            Insisting that I tolerate the presence of children in order to spend time with my friend is no different from insisting that we can only hang out at country music festivals when I hate country music. I get it, children/country music is something my friend enjoys. I don’t, however, so if my friendship is valuable to my friend, they will find or make time to spend with me away from their children/outside of their country music festivals.

          • Essentially, the gist I’m getting here is that 100% of the onus on tolerance and friendship maintenance is the responsibility of the person with children. Should the person with children wish to meet with a child-disliking friend the person must either A) meet with the child-disliking friend outside of their home, potentially paying for childcare or B) invite the child-disliking friend to their home after arranging for the offending child to be taken elsewhere. Then, the person with children must be sure not to talk about the child or anything to do with being a parent lest they bore/annoy the child-disliking person. For a bunch of people complaining about not liking children because they’re “entitled” this smacks of extremely entitled behavior to me. Why should the person with children be expected to accommodate the child-disliking person if the child-disliking person isn’t willing to meet them half way?

            To put this into perspective, let’s imagine a scenario in which my hypothetical sister doesn’t like my husband. Because she doesn’t like my husband, she requests that he not be at the house, family gatherings /outings, or holidays that she is present for. When we are together, she requests that I do not tell stories about him or mention anything about my transition to a married person – despite the fact that it was a major life event. She also complains when she sees pictures of him on her Facebook or Instagram feed, and requests that I stop posting so many pictures that contain him.

            In this scenario, I think most people would agree that my hypothetical sister is being unreasonable and that, should we continue our relationship, she’s going to have to put up with the fact that sometimes my husband will come to family gathers and sometimes I am going to talk about him. No one’s asking her to like him. No one’s telling her to go out of her way to interact with him. I’m just asking her to TOLERATE him.

          • I don’t believe the onus should be 100% on either party (the parents or the childfree) in a friendship. I have one set of friends in my social circle who have children; I do not like those children. I invite my friends (sans the children) to events that I host; examples include my wedding, parties in my home, and parties that I’ve arranged at other locations (whether or not they are typically child-friendly places). I do not feel bad for excluding the children; if there were other kids invited then I’d be obligated to invite these ones as well, but thankfully there are no others and I can simply call all events ‘adults-only.’ If the friends want to socialize with me at those times or attend those events, they must leave the children behind. But if I want to socialize with those friends or attend events that they host, then I must tolerate the children. I would NEVER tell them that if they want me to attend their BBQ then they’ll need to make sure their kids aren’t there! I understand and accept that they and their kids are a package deal out in the world. I have no right to expect differently; the only times I feel it is reasonable to expect them to conform to my child-free preference are the times when I am acting as host.

            It is my right to decline their invitations if I am uninterested in being around their children. It is their right to decline my invitations if they do not want to leave their children behind. But none of us have the right to shame the other – I wouldn’t hassle them over their decisions to stay home with the kids or have the kids present when I’m in their home, and I wouldn’t expect them to hassle me over my decisions to not invite children or to decline an invitation to an event where children will be present.


    Thank you so much. I’m in the child-free part of this world. I read a lot of lifestyle blogs, where child-free themes appear. And I cringe every time, because every time the child-free author feels obligated to make a statement along the lines of “I’m child-free, but mind you, I’m a terrific aunt/I love children to bits/I can’t live without my friends’ offsprings” and whatnot.
    I cringe because it really feels like a disclaimer: “beware! I may not want kids, but I’m a good person, don’t judge me plz”. Take 100 child-free posts out there, and 99 will have the stupid disclaimer. Just as there’s no obligation to have kids, there’s no obligation to love them. You can simply be indifferent, or not like them, as long as you respect them. That’s probably what makes the difference between a good and a bad person: respecting what/who we don’t like. So as long as you treat children with respect, there’s no reason to feel bad about not liking them.

    Anyway. More generally, it’s socially hard to admit you don’t like kids, because people will always feel you don’t like THEIR kids. You can say you’re unconfortable, or not familiar with children, but admitting you don’t like them? That’s tough. So thank you for this courageous piece. Same here. I don’t want kids because I don’t want the responsabilities, but also because I don’t like the company of children.

  10. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I especially agree with this part: “I’d say once a kid gets old enough to become their own person, that’s when that kid starts to annoy me.” I think part of it is that I just don’t like people in general, but most adults are better at not-imposing, having their behavior guided by the circumstances of our interactions, or at least being able to be extricated from. I say this having not spent tons of time around children of any age since I was one myself. However, I am not child-free. I am hoping to have children. I am banking on the “it’s different when its yours” phenomenon (which my mother tells me held true for her), the fact that at one point I lived in a family of five, with two younger siblings constantly, without being so damn annoyed, so maybe I can adjust again, and a belief in my ability to love my children enough to tolerate them even if they annoy me greatly. I don’t know why it’s so unpopular to dislike children. They’re still developing the traits that we use to keep our society relatively civil. I have met some people who obviously genuinely love being around children in general, but I honestly believe most adults who claim this are not being entirely honest.

    • Worry not, I was exactly the same. We now have a 3 month old and I’m having a ball. Yes it’s hard work, his crying is like fingernails on a blackboard, and yes I do sometimes mourn my lost freedom, but that is completely outweighed by my overwhelming love for him. I still find it hard to tolerate other children, but I am slowly finding it easier as I begin to understand what it is to be a baby or a young child and, more fundamentally, that they are people and it’s not their fault that they are young and lack the boundaries and control that adults have learned.

  11. I don’t know – something about this makes me uncomfortable. It seems to me that you are basically rejecting people (and kids are little people, as different from one another as adults are, not some homogenous blob) based on the category that they belong to rather than their individual characteristics. That doesn’t seem offbeat to me, that seems kind of ick.

    I can’t imagine someone posting something similar, except about old people, and getting a similar response. Or maybe it would, but that would make me sad, too. Old people are awesome. Or rather, SOME old people are awesome. Just like kids. That’s my point.

    I guess I just don’t think it’s ok to see someone as a category first. I totally, 100% respect the decision not to have kids, and to choose not to spend much time around the kids that you know, but I am uncomfortable with the idea that you reject someone based on the category they belong to rather than their individual self.

    • I think “dont like” in this article shouldn’t be taken to mean “they should be banned and wiped out from existence”. Its coming from the angle that most people without kids seem to have put some kind of clause to their preference by saying kids are ok if they’re somebody else’s. That clause is icky in my eyes, like everyone must display some adoration for children otherwise they face scathing judgement

    • This was hard for me to read too. And I’m struggling with the people in the comments who are claiming that a friend who has children should put up with them outright disliking children. I have a toddler and am pregnant. The wife of a long-term friend of mine dislikes children to the point where she thinks it’s funny to refer to her friends’ kids as “it”. We don’t really socialize with them anymore, because she’s made it clear that she hates someone I love for no reason other than the fact that my child is a child. I don’t expect everyone to adore my children, and we do not always bring our kids with us to social events (I need a break too, and my kid needs nights with grandparents and extended family). However, it makes me distinctly uncomfortable to have a child referred to as “it” for a whole host of reasons and yes, I have backed away from this friendship partially because of this behaviour, while I’ve found that I am still really close with other childfree friends and have no problem spending time with them.

      Personally, someone who closes themselves off to people because they belong to a demographic that they have decided they don’t like is not going to last in a friendship with me. I’m not going to get controversial about it, but if you’re that closed off, then it’s just not going to work.

      • I know several people who are child-free (including some friends) and the majority of them are kind, sincere, and positive about children. Yes, I don’t expect everyone to be overjoyed about my kids (just as I don’t have to love your dog) but I do expect a positive approach and kindness. Referring to a child as “it” — which is also how my old boss referred to kids — really reflects the negative qualities of a person. There’s a difference. Kids may not be for you but you are still kind and positive to others who do have them and to the children that exist, that says a lot about you as a person. If you are negative and hateful to an entire group, you simply show your colors and come across as remarkably unhappy and insecure.

        • I’m childfree and to be honest I hate loud noises so when children cry it can cause me pain (seriously). However, I can understand babies crying and even toddlers to a point. I always said I’d be a great aunt but no one I’m close to has given birth. I’m also the one that kids will talk to and be near. I will not be rude, and for a while I’ll play along. I even will talk to or smile at children in restaurants that smile or say hello to me. I don’t see the harm and if the child smiles than I’ll smile too.

      • Geez, that’s terrible. I hope my daughter doesn’t figure out (at least until she’s old enough to understand it’s not her fault) that some people dislike her just for existing.

  12. this is very likely going to be an unpopular opinion to many as well, but saying you don’t like kids is a lot different than saying you prefer an urban to a rural community, or even cats to dogs or something like that. Why? Because kids are human beings and have no control over their age or developmental abilities at that moment.

    Saying you don’t like kids is an example of ageism, and borders on ableism too, if your problem with kids has to do with their developmental abilities at the age they are at (such as their ability to hold a conversation at whatever level you deem to be not annoying).

    I think if we replaced this sentiment with a similar one, such as “I don’t like old people” or “I don’t like disabled people” it would be a lot less acceptable. For some reason, though, it’s totally cool with kids.

    But honestly, I don’t really care if you like kids or not. There are lots of types of people I don’t like either (though in general I tend to focus my dislike towards people who choose those unlikable traits). The problem comes up when people who don’t like kids start insisting that kids shouldn’t have the right to be in the same spaces as everyone else. There are legitimate movements to ban children from most restaurants, movies, mass transit (particularly planes), grocery stores, and public places in general. This is discriminatory ageism and it’s not acceptable.

    Furthermore, it has a lot of sexist undertones because when you ban children, you are by extension banning their parents, the burden of which tends to fall most heavily on mothers, who still do the majority of childcare in our society.

    Then these same people turn around and complain that kids aren’t learning social etiquette and respect. Well, how are they supposed to learn that stuff if you don’t let them participate in society in the first place?

    Honestly, I don’t care if you like my kids or anyone else’s, I don’t. I’m not living my life for you. But if you are shaming me or my kids for existing in society, or actively campaigning to get us banned from society, that’s where we have a problem.

    I think the child free movement is awesome, I’m glad it’s becoming more acceptable for people to make that choice and I hope it’s even more acceptable for my children when they are ready to make that choice, because I want my children to have the freedom to live the life that’s most fulfilling to them, whether that means having kids or not ever having kids.

    But I worry about how thin the line is between the proud child free movement and the movement to erase children’s right to exist in society. So when we write about how we don’t like kids, let’s be careful how closely we are navigating that line.

    • I don’t think anyone here is honestly suggesting kids be banned from society, though. You make a good point with the comparison to people wanting kids to be banned from restaurants, planes, that sort of thing–I struggle with that idea too–but Elle is just pushing back against the expectation that every person should at least like kids, whether or not they have kids themselves. Many people just don’t have the interest in or capacity for spending time with children, and that’s perfectly okay.

      • What is wrong with starting a child-free restaurant, airline, etc.? If you don’t want to fly NoKids, you still have every other airline to choose from. NoKids Air isn’t forcing anyone to take their flights, only offering an additional choice. If it’s a popular one, it’ll succeed. If it’s not, it’ll fail.

        • YES! I would love affordable child free restaurant options and child free airline would make traveling so much more pleasant. Why don’t these options exist??? Take my money!

        • Nothing’s wrong with offering an additional choice like that. But there are people (thankfully none in this thread) who advocate banning children from ALL airlines & ALL restaurants.

    • Do you have any idea how shamed you get as a child free woman? According to society women are only here to breed. Anyone outside that sphere gets ridiculed and pitied. I have personally been told
      1. I will never be a real woman
      2. I am a waste of space
      3. I am selfish
      4. My life has no meaning
      5. I will never know the meaning of love
      6. No man will ever want me
      7. My partner will leave me for a woman who will give him children
      8. I don’t really know what I want and I will change my mind

      Those are just the most offensive things I hear far to often there are the more mundane comments as well. The op never said she wanted to eradicate children from the world and while there are always fringe groups there are no real movements with momentum to ban children from society (from bars and pubs maybe). Children will never be banned from public transport or society.

      • Actually, I am aware of that. It’s sexist bullshit, and I think it’s wrong. The people who say those things are horrible people.
        But it does not justify the opinions of people who would like to see kids banned from public spaces either, or at least segregated into kids only spaces. If you don’t believe they exist, check out the comments on this post on Facebook, they’re rearing their ugly heads over there. They always do on articles like this. And there’s an abundance of articles just as bad as those comments being written and published in far more mainstream publications than this one. I’m sure if I scrolled through the full 111 comments now on this post, I’d find plenty of people expressing the same opinions here as well. The people who express those opinions are just as vile, and just as wrong, as those who express the opinion that anyone needs to have children.

        I do think this article is problematic. I don’t think it’s much different than an article that’s all about how the author doesn’t like fat people. Or disabled people. Or gay people. I’d be surprised if this publication would run an article that said that. But ultimately, as I said above, I really don’t care what group of people you have decided to judge based on your stereotypes and dismiss as unlikable as a whole. That’s your business. I’m a little disturbed when I see people express those sentiments publicly, but whatever. If you want to retaliate against the sexism that’s been directed towards you by directing ageism towards others, that’s for you to live with, not me. All I’m asking is that we keep in mind what lines conversations about not liking an entire group of people based on traits outside of their control tend to cross.
        And, for the record, it’s entirely possible to passionately believe that all people should have complete control over their own reproductive function (to include choosing not to have children) without facing stigma or shame for their choices, while at the same time believing children are human beings who deserve a place in society. I don’t think it’s too hard of a concept to grasp.

        • Kids are not adults, you speak as though they are. “Banning” kids from plafneflights, certain restaurants etc is not the same as banning an adult human being. As a child, my parents has adult time, and there were places and times where my brothers and I weren’t allowed to come.

          You know what? That was perfectly okay, never thought twice about it.

          Whats next, should they be allowed to come to work as well? Spa’s? the honeymoon?

          I really don’t think its a fair example, and I am tired of people who think kids should have every right as an adult – because they are KIDS. They are immature, they are not properly developed yet. No a handicapped or mentally challenged person aren’t either, but thats a case to case scenario. Kids aren’t. There is no way a 5 year old would ever benefit or behave without causing harm in an adult setting.

    • Whoa, when did anyone in this post or in these comments suggest that kids should not be in public places? I wish it wasn’t so hard to believe that someone can privately dislike children, but simultaneously believe that children belong in public places and feel compassion for parents with crying children on airplanes. This is the exact sort of belief the author is trying to counter—that people (and women in particular) who dislike children are monsters.

      • YES. I find kids annoying, but I’m not trying to get them banned from anywhere. I view it as my responsibility to walk away if I deem someone’s departure necessary.

    • Who is shaming kids for existing? The OP isn’t seeking to take away kids rights, she just doesn’t enjoy being around them. And that’s fine. Kids are still learning how to navigate social norms and niceties (such as, “don’t touch me without asking permission” or “don’t interrupt when I am talking” or “don’t yell a lot for no reason”) and some people have more tolerance for that sort of behavior than others. That’s okay. I don’t like it when adults do those things, and I don’t like it when kids do them either. I hold it against the children less than I do the adults, because they don’t know better, but *that doesn’t mean I’m any less annoyed by it.* As an emetophobe and someone who is very sensitive to loud noises and personal space violations, I’m sure I could come up with some -isms to throw at anyone who insisted that I should have to be around their regurgitating, crying, grabbing child. But I won’t. I manage my own time and company so that it’s within my comfort levels and I expect everyone else to do the same.

  13. I don’t like kids perhaps for a different reason than those expressed here.

    I don’t like kids because they come with fucking parents.

    Kids on their own as tiny humans are acceptable (although less so once they’re no longer mute). What bugs me is their holier-than-thou saccharine parents. Maybe I’ve had too many bad experiences of the “you’re not a parent so you don’t know” lines or seen far too many passive aggressive “being a parent is the best/hardest job in the world” type conversations online. I don’t like these parents and by extension I don’t like the kids who made them parents. By all means have kids if you choose to, I’m not going to be militant about not having kids but I am yet to discover one parent who will afford me the same courtesy back. I’m just one of those people that doesn’t see having kids as an achievement and this doesn’t go down well with most people

    • I HATE when people tell me: “I love my kids. They are the best thing I will ever do.”
      Really? You’re setting the bar pretty low for yourself, don’t you think? Making children is a biological imperative, not the Great American Novel or a masterpiece of art or successfully running a business.
      And the people telling me this? Their kids are never to kindergarten yet. Raise your kid into a healthy, happy, functioning adult and then maybe I’ll reconsider this statement as not complete B.S.

      • Disclaimer: I have one child- age 21- still living at home.
        HOWEVER: I could (have been) very happily be child-free as well. My daughter is an awesome, think for herself feminist and raising her has challenged me in innumerable ways. Yet I describe myself as “not kid friendly.” Growing up I had a difficult childhood and repeating a similar cycle was always in the back of my mind and makes me uncomfortable around children to an extent even now. I can never remember a time I liked kids even when I was one and playing house with other neighborhood kids I was always ” the neighbor lady visiting” rather than The MOM. Once I became a Mom, I quickly made it clear to other Moms “Don’t ask me to babysit for You and I won’t ask for Me.” bc that way it was out there in the open to avoid future awkwardness. Yes there were a few exceptions, but Very few. Also I’ve gotten similar judgements to what Lozza said but for only having One child. “She definitely NEEDS a little brother!” “But one is so lonely!” (She’ll beg to differ.) “Don’t you Want more/Can’t you HAVE more ?!” Even now with my daughter at 21 and myself 44 I’ve had people tell me “it’s not too late!” as if ANY of that and the above is their remote business. I wasn’t put here to populate the earth. While infants are lovely to snuggle and cuddle, I find the mass majority of children monstrous and their parents even worse. Yes I enjoyed my daughters small years, but being Her Mom has never solely defined me- I/people are much more complex than that.
        Kudos to the author for breaking the taboo silence. You have allies you’d never have imagined.

      • I can understand disliking someone telling you something personal, but who are you to judge the bar they’ve set for themselves. YOu don’t want them judge you but you feel fine judging them?

        • Judge away. Will more background make me sound like more or less of a dick?
          The three people who have told me that almost exact phrase: two were pregnant in high school, the other had a little college. It seemed to me, they were giving themselves a pass. “I don’t need to try to finish school or try to find a more rewarding job, because I made this kid, and he/she will do awesome things.” I just want to shake them and tell them you can still do great things. Making a baby (especially because you didn’t have enough self-esteem / confidence to make the guy you were with wear a condom, NOT because you came to a mature decision that you wanted a child right now) is NOT an achievement.

          • I’m surprised your comments haven’t been removed given how sexist and classist they are. Blaming teen moms for their partners not wearing condoms? Saying that women who enjoy raising kids are somehow selling themselves short or that their work isn’t valuable? Saying that certain levels of education are required to consider oneself successful? None of this is at all helpful to this discussion and smacks of misogynistic, victim-blaming, socially-conservative BS that women have to deal with constantly. Would love not to have to see it on this page.

            And you must not have kids, because I can tell you that being pregnant, giving birth and raising a kid is incredibly difficult, painful, and emotionally and physically exhausting, and I’d argue it’s a huge achievement just to be able to survive the first year!

          • To Gillian: I gave birth to my son almost 13 months ago, so… I get it. I know it’s not a breeze.
            And I really think these comments aren’t misogynistic or victim blaming. These (two of them) women have said that’s what happened. “I asked, but Douchebag X refuses to wear a condom.” If you can’t tell, I’m from teen pregnancy / Bible belt central, where abstinence is still the only thing taught. These girls lacked sexual awareness and self confidence. I want them to lose the mindset that motherhood is all there is for them to take pride in. Isn’t that the opposite of misogyny? Yes? No? Maybe? Please enlighten me.

          • I was just about to comment to nix where I said “social conservative” as that was totally the wrong use of words, a brain fart on my part, but the rest stands. I often see the things you said posited in response to the social conservative “a woman’s place is in the home raising babies” type thing, and I can see how it’s well-intentioned, but it’s ultimately harmful since it still devalues women’s choices (which often have to be made within constraints that aren’t of their making) and places the onus on them to fix all that’s wrong with patriarchal culture.

            Someone refusing to wear a condom after being asked is committing rape. Saying it’s a woman’s fault that she couldn’t make him wear a condom is totally victim blaming. We should be angry at the person who did that to her, since it’s ultimately their fault, not her fault for not “having the confidence.”

            So now she has a baby. Why should her pride in being a parent not be considered valid? As you’ve probably experienced, it’s back-breaking, heart-breaking work, and I can only imagine how much harder it is when you’re being shamed for being an “uneducated” teen parent. I hate seeing people devalue work that is traditionally considered “women’s work”–doing housework, raising kids, cooking, etc.–thinking they’re being “progressive.” All you’re doing is bashing women who sometimes don’t have a truly free choice about how they spend their time. Once you have a baby, it is awfully hard to continue school and become a “career woman,” not because you shot yourself in the foot by having a baby, but because we live in a patriarchal society where there are very few options given to women who want to concurrently have children and work or go to school, and for the most part society expects you to raise that kid and still do all the housework without complaining and without compensation. What good are you really doing shaming her for not finishing high school or college? The baby is here, there’s no going back–what she needs now is support, not blame. I’m speculating here, but maybe taking pride in being a mom is one of the things that helps her feel validated in the face of a lot of people who are probably shaming her for what they view as bad decisions.

            I feel like the things that are worth pushing for here are better sex ed, less rape culture and misogyny, making parenting and other “women’s work” become more gender neutral, more options for parents who want to go to school and work. Bashing women who are in all likelihood doing their best in what I can only assume is a difficult situation seems pretty counterproductive, and at worst is just perpetuating stereotypes that strengthen patriarchal culture.

            (and thanks for responding politely to what was a bit of a heated response on my part!)

          • And in any case, free choice or not (I know women’s choices are often severely constrained, and expanding those choices would be great), why is having kids less of a thing to be proud of than writing a novel or running a business? People can have different priorities in life, it’s not really for anyone else to judge what should make someone feel accomplished.

            (p.s. sorry mods for taking the discussion pretty far off topic!)

          • Gillian, I am a long time follower of offbeat and the amazing comment section, first time commenter, mostly because I find this fascinating and I feel like I’ve been on both sides of this: the awkward child free friend to a few of my good high school friends and now the child-having friend of many childfree/less peeps. I always learn a lot from these threads. My original comment that you took offense with does sound abrasive. It is like the rant I have in my head that I would never say to my HS friends (or anyone else out loud) but it’s there in my head because I see so much amazing potential in my friends who became pregnant as teens and I want more for them. I place the blame of their selfish dickhead baby daddies, but they did consent to unprotected sex, so… Some of it’s on them
            them? (I say in an apologetic questioning voice.) I agree with practically everything you’re saying, and you’ve definitely helped me see the hypocrisy in my frustrations.

          • I’m a bit late to the party here, but I have some input. I was a teen mother, and I do volunteer peer counseling for pregnant and parenting teens, to help them make a choice they are comfortable with, and support them through it.

            While you don’t seem to have entirely ostracized these friends of yours, the judgmental behaviour you’re displaying is quite possibly the largest barrier to the success of young parents.

            The problems we face are largely societal- despite being able to legally become head of a household at 16, this was extremely difficult. The housing laws say that it’s illegal to discriminate based on age- as long as someone is over 18. Even though I could afford several homes I toured, the only person who would rent to me was a horrible slum lord. We made it through, but it significantly increased our vulnerability and affected my health.

            Likewise, it IS difficult to go to school while raising a child. My son is nearly 5 now, and I am finishing college (and then on to university). However, it seems to me that we are approaching things backwards. Instead of saying “People are biologically ready to have children at younger ages. Let’s make schooling and work more accessible for parents” we’ve created artificial barriers, and then blamed people for having trouble with them. In many ways, it’s like telling someone LGBT who has experienced hate, “Well what did you expect if you came out? We don’t need to help or accept you in any way”.

            It’s also rather a squicky idea to me: Women are being encouraged to make a decision if/when to have children, to choose abortion/adoption/parenting, and to understand and take charge of their own bodies- unless they’re younger than others are comfortable with. Yes, my pregnancy was unplanned- but my child was not. I began planning as soon as I found out. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t this horrible waste of my life that people anticipate either.

            It had nothing to do with self esteem, “looking for love”, bad supervision, or my partner refusing to wear a condom. I was raised to accept and love my body, to decide when the right time for ME is, and to not wrap my value up in sex. When I became pregnant, I thought carefully about my choices, and I have never regretted parenting. I am not advocating that every woman become a mother, or that we should actively encourage teen pregnancy. However, it’s very discouraging to see so often the negative public image of my life- or what they assume about it. Have you ever seen a positive event in your life used as a negative indicator for census results? It sucks, massively.

            While your friends may genuinely be that way, I lost several friends who made assumptions such as those based on limited information. I support choices without shame- whether that’s child-free, waiting until your 30s or 40s, abortion, adoption or parenting- even if you’re a teen.

      • I fully respect anyone’s desire for whatever reproductive choices they make enthusiastically. Don’t want kids, that’s cool too. I think a lot of parents lose a sense of self, which bothers me even as a parent. It’s so important to value yourself, as an individual – this concept is also true of people in codependent relationships. I don’t particularly enjoy other parents that don’t value themselves outside of parenting either. I do consider raising my child a challenging but one of the larger accomplishments he’s special needs and required a lot of creative thinking, dedication and effort to increase his functioning level dramatically, while being a teen parent, while financially supporting myself and developing myself professionally, and personally. Do I think this is my greatest accomplishment ? No, but it is a substantial one. I think not enjoying children is different than some people that are child hating, which unfortunately I’ve experienced in public places all too often (especially having a mentally handicapped child). I do think tolerance and respect of fellow humans is not optional regardless of age , creed, disability, race, sexuality etc. I tolerate a lot of things that are important to my friends that make my skin crawl like extream Christian beliefs. Do I think having them in my life betters me, and do I enjoy the relationship ? Yes. Do I enjoy hearing about bible study and church get aways – not at all but I love them enough to listen and tolerate.

    • Hi, I’m Heather. I have and will continue to defend the rights of people to choose whether or not they want to have children. I’m a parent and I love being a mom far more than I ever thought I would, but I don’t believe it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done or that it’s the most important this I’ll ever do, or that it’s even necessarily the most fulfilling part of my life. So, maybe now you’ve met one parent who feels that way. However, what I’m about to say may mean you lump me in with the people who feel the need to brag about parenting or who feel the need to push you to have children.

      The fact is, that you’re not a parent so you don’t understand some of the things I go through as a parent (I promise not to rub that in your face) just as there are things in your life that I won’t be able to understand because I’m not going through them. That doesn’t mean we can’t be empathetic or kind to one another. Yes, hearing “you’re not a parent so you don’t understand” might sting – but it’s also possible that you’re saying and doing things that assume you understand something you’ve opted out of and the other person is responding with some annoyance.

  14. I never was very interested in children and thought they were annoying. Yet I decided to have children and have one toddler, expecting my second. While I do like my kid (most of the time), I realize more and more that having children didn’t turn me into someone who likes children in general. With few exceptions, I still think that kids can be hugely annoying and I don’t particularly like having other people’s kids around. It’s not something I tell people in general, and it’s not something that keeps me from being a good parent. This is just to say, there are also people with own (and very purposely conceived) kids who don’t like kids a lot.

  15. I’m childfree for several reasons. First is I have a severe phobia to becoming pregnant. Second, I don’t trust that I would actually be a good parent. I didn’t really have much parental influence growing up (dad was a deadbeat and I was a latchkey kid). I never played with dolls and never babysat. Third, I don’t like *most* kids and not because of their developmental stage or because of the group they are in but because more times than not their parents have raised them into being little entitled snots. The few kids that I do like have been raised by parents that know what the hell they are doing and have taught their kids to behave and be polite.

    I’m just not willing to buy into “it’s different when they are their own” because there are a lot of parents that resent their kids and it never did become different when they were their own (though they would never admit it) and I don’t want to be one of those people.

  16. There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t like or want children. Nothing at all. But often it doesn’t just stop there. It descends into also poking fun at your rapidly declining social circle as they all turn into ‘baby bores’. Being a parent can become consuming and inevitably spills over into conversations with child free friends, just as their issues that I can’t necessarily relate to spill over into our conversations.

    It’s about respecting the choices of others, and really should remain as simple as that.

  17. To each her own, I reckon. So long as “it’s my problem, not theirs” remains the explanatory model, I’m fine with the article. I can handle people who don’t like kids (even mine) so long as it’s not somehow the parents’ fault. After all, I don’t like people who don’t like kids, but I know that’s my issue, not theirs.

  18. Thank you. I agree with a lot that has already been said here. An additional point why I find kids mostly annoying is that I can’t hold a conversation with my friends anymore if their kids happen to be toddlers. Every second sentence they run off or scold their offspring and whatnot. It’s annoying and sad.

  19. I don’t think you are misanthropic at all! And it’s truly unfortunate that women can’t openly say that they prefer to be child-free. Women should be able to choose without judgement. Having children is not the crowning achievement of Woman. I understand not liking kids. Growing up, I despised babies. I would see a kid in a stroller and want to poke its eyes out. As a teen-ager, I babysat, but because it was the only way I could make money. I hated them and their parents! Before we got married, I told my fiance that I wanted no part of kids; I told him, “I want to be creative, not procreative.” He said he was fine with it. But once his siblings started having kids, he wanted them too. He begged me for years. I finally caved. And I have to admit: it was the best thing I ever did. I don’t say this to change your mind – not at all! I have friends who desperately wanted children, and after they had them, weren’t so thrilled with the job. My friends who don’t want kids are terrified of me because of the transformation I went through: from independent woman and hater of children to SuperMom. I know I am a better person because of my two daughters. They have taught me so many things: love, kindness, patience, service, grace, silliness, and strength. Parenting is not for everyone. The problem isn’t necessarily to have or not to have. The problem is, you’ll never know –either way– until it’s too late.

    • Hi Fiona,
      Congratulations on having two daughters and becoming super mom. I heard of many women who went through transformation like you did. But may I pose a question: Have you ever think of this situation, after you had the kids you still don’t like them but have to carry the responsibility. A woman can go on with it and still be a responsible parent, but just not too happy about them and I’m sure the kids can feel as well. I apologize if this is an offending question, but it seems like so many times people tell their friends who don’t like kids “once you have kids, you will love them” when I’m sure it is not the case.

      • This is definitely something that happens. I personally know women who made the choice to have children and then afterwards figured out it really wasn’t for them. I do have friends who’ve said if they could go back they wouldn’t have had their children because while they love their children they hate being a mother. They miss the freedom that comes with being child free. They made the necessary sacrifices but not willingly the way women who want children do. They do the best they can but those are hard feelings to combat and I think there’s a noticeable difference between their children and the children of parents who truly wanted them. It’s a sad situation for all involved because you can plan and plan and think you’re making the right choice but until you actually have a child I don’t know that you can be 100% sure that you’ll love being a parent.

  20. Hearing someone say, “I just don’t like group X,” makes me uncomfortable. Children are human beings. They have different habits and needs than typical adults, but they are still humans. This doesn’t mean that I think anyone is obliged to want children or to want to work with children, etc., but is there any other group of humans you would feel comfortable saying, “I categorically dislike this group of people”?

    • “is there any other group of humans you would feel comfortable saying, “I categorically dislike this group of people”?”

      If that entire group of people encompasses all the human behaviours I dislike, yes. I categorically dislike the KKK, for reasons which should be self explanatory. I am fully comfortable saying so. Kids are by their very nature lacking in knowledge and needy. Humans aren’t born intelligent and able to fend for themselves. They cannot feed or clothe themselves, need constant monitoring, cannot have unfiltered normal adult conversations about adult or complex topics, ask billions of questions, and are just all around helpless in many ways. They need to be taught and watched. Except I have no interest in teaching or watching, which is why I am not having kids. Unless they are essentially a miniature adult whom I can interact with like I would an adult, I absolutely will say I do not like kids. Is it their fault that they don’t yet have adult knowledge because they aren’t fully grown? No. Does that matter in regards to why I don’t like them? Nope.

      Someone earlier stated ‘saying you don’t like kids is a lot different than saying you prefer an urban to a rural community, or even cats to dogs […] because kids are human beings and have no control over their age or developmental abilities at that moment.’. The problem is that dogs have no control over being dogs, either. But if someone doesn’t like needy, furry creatures, and doesn’t enjoy playing with them or petting them, hates that they cannot converse with them, doesn’t like being licked, or barking, or how they have to modify their behaviour in order to interact with them, and just generally doesn’t like them around, it’s not wrong for them to say they do not like dogs. It’s not some immoral or reprehensible statement because ‘not all dogs are alike’, or because ‘dogs can’t help being dogs’. If what makes a dog a dog is what you dislike, saying you dislike dogs as a whole is just the truth.

        • No, I compared the situation of disliking a group of similarly minded/behavioured people. If I say having a fear of spiders is like having a fear of heights, I’m comparing the concept of having a phobia, I’m not comparing spiders to high places.

      • 1. Dogs are not human beings. We can debate whether or not dogs deserve the same rights against discrimination that humans do in another post.
        2. The KKK chooses the traits you don’t like. I’ll bet one of the main things about the KKK you don’t like is that they have decided for their own personal reasons to not like an entire population of humans based on traits those humans have no control over.

        Go figure.

        • I really wish people would stop comparing disliking a group of people due to physical traits and disliking people due to behavioural traits. I don’t like militant right-wing conservative gun nuts. Am I not allowed to say that because they are a group of people with similar behavioural traits? Or you’re saying it’s okay to dislike them, because they have control over it? I happen to dislike neediness, lack of knowledge, being asked a million questions, loudness, whining, repetitiveness, and being responsible for making sure someone doesn’t die in my presence by swallowing everything in sight. Kids grow out of that, it’s a learning phase. I get it. It doesn’t mean I have to like being around them while at that stage any more than I like being around the drunken idiots yelling down my street at 3am on the way home from bars. When they grow up (or sober up), it’s a different story, but until that point, I dislike them the same way I would dislike adults with those behaviour traits, whether they can help it or not. You don’t get a free pass to being liked because of your age or level of cuteness.

          • so much this.

            Also the high-pitched voices. I don’t find that cute, for the same reason I don’t like Taylor Swift’s music. I just find the pitch grating on my ears.

            So no, I don’t want to be around your kids.

            I have two dogs. Do you know what I do when I want to spend time with people who don’t like dogs? I leave them at home, or I put them outside.

            I recognize that’s a little more difficult with children, so I’m willing to tolerate them in small doses, provided the parent makes a small effort to to curb their child’s more annoying behaviors. I don’t think that’s so much to ask.

            I tolerate the screaming children who live over my back fence, becuase I know my dogs bark sometimes and that may be annoying to my neighbours (though i’ve never heard them yelling to their kids to shut up though i’m sure they’ve heard me yelling to my dogs to can it.)

            I also don’t think it’s so weird that we make this blanket statement. Yes, all kids are different in some subtle ways, but they are all going though the same (or very similar) developmental stages and so do, overwhemingly, display the same behavioural traits, which some people do find annoying.

            Also, none of us are saying some adults don’t display these behaviours as well. Most people do grow out of them, but the actual age of the person is not the overriding factor in my dislike for children. I know plenty of adults who are very needy, repetitive, inane and have high-pitched voices. I do my best to avoid those people too.

            To date, I have met maybe 2 children who don’t display those behaviours in quite the intensity that the majority of children do, and those kids I’m happy to interact with. I still don’t like kids, out of all the children I have encountered, two tolerable ones is not enough for me to change that statement from “I don’t like kids” to “I like some kids” cuz I don’t like some kids, I like two kids. My own brother was not excepted from that rule. He’s 11 years younger than me and I could barely stand to be in the same room with him until he was 13.

  21. The writer has fully acknowledged this is her issue yet is still being criticised. I don’t like people who are racist. I don’t like people who are obsessed with image and how they and everyone around them looks, who take it upon themselves to push workout advice unasked. I really hate people who insist there is something wrong with me because I don’t want kids because I like kids I must want kids. I just avoid this sort of people like the writer I am sure, avoids children.

    I am capable of admiting I am not perfect and I don’t get along with everyone. I can admit these things however, without fear of being jumped on because people don’t perceive the groups I dislike as being inherently ‘good’ like children. It’s just part of the ‘women must procreate to be real, whole people’ idea that is prevalent in today’s society.

  22. Ok, I guess that is where you and I differ. I don’t think I’d ever give myself a pass on disliking a group of people. I try my hardest to not dislike individual people because you never know what some asshole could be going through, but I’m less successful at that.

  23. Wow, calling someone who doesn’t like kids the equivalent of racist & saying it’s icky that she doesn’t like a group of ppl? Wow, no wonder the OP went anonymous.

    It feels like some ppl are reading different things into what she wrote, taking a slippery-slope argument. Not “liking” kids is a preference. It doesn’t mean hating kids, wanting to ban them, wanting them gone from public places, or any such thing.

    It’s pretty simple — I haven’t reproduced because I don’t enjoy being around children, yours or my potential ones. The end. I prefer being around adults (hi, I preferred being around adults when I was a child! that’s how I spent most of my childhood). I’m sorry if that’s very difficult for some ppl to comprehend, but preferring not to eat meat or preferring to live in a big city or preferring to never watch TV can also be hard to comprehend too.

    Yes, I have friends & family with children. Some of them are easier to be around than others, but none of them make me go “OMG I LUV KIDDIES.” I feel about them like I feel about friend’s dogs — I far prefer cats.

    That said, I always vote for local school bond measures (unlike a lot of ppl in my area, statistically, FWIW) & other things that support children & parents in the grander scheme of things. I want an educated population, & I want parent-friendly policies in workplaces & laws. I just do not like children.

  24. I don’t like kids either.
    I don’t like going to a friends place to hear endless conversation about kids.
    I don’t like to supervise kids and be all cheerful when they success to do a stupid single task, like shitting in a toilet, or putting they toys away.
    I don’t like the language people use when they are talking to children.
    I could go on and on.
    I’m no ashame of it, I don’t apologize for it. I’m just not too vocal about it cause I don,t want to hurt some of my friend who decided to have kids. But Gosh if they could stop breeding, I’ll be happier!

  25. While I definitely respect those who choose to be child free, I often am saddened when people can’t see the good things children bring to the table.

    I sort of look at it as a “glass half full” versus “glass half empty” mindset. Some people only seem to see the annoying questions, the crying, the self-centeredness, the obnoxious and rambunctious behavior of children. Others only see the innocence, the fervor, the unadulterated joy, the fearlessness, the awe at the fresh beauty of the world that children also exhibit.

    Reality is obviously somewhere in the middle, but I prefer to focus on the good rather than the bad. I really try hard to see the other perspective about children, and I, too, find poorly behaved children annoying, but I also see good things in almost every child and it comes across as curmudgeonly to me when people can’t. It’s your choice to not bear your own children, of course, but it seems like (not this author specifically, but other child-free discussions I’ve witnessed) the child-free community overwhelmingly sees only the bad in children and not the immense good. It doesn’t seem as simple as “I just don’t like them.”

    I also know plenty of incredibly rude, inconsiderate, and obnoxious adults, who are old enough to know better, and yet children often get the bad rap.

    • I thought I’d address this because I’ve given it a lot of thought. Literally every parent I’ve ever met has said that having kids was one of the best decisions of their lives, that kids made their lives so much better. I think that’s great for them, but I couldn’t understand it. Then I realized that there’s a huge difference in the types of things that are good and bad about kids, and the good things are only things you can experience when you experience kids and (usually) parenthood.

      For example, for the negative are sleepless nights, no free time, and huge expenses. For the positive are, as you said, “the innocence, the fervor, the unadulterated joy, the fearlessness, the awe at the fresh beauty of the world.” For someone without experience with kids, the negatives are much easier to understand. I’ve been SO tired and broke and busy that imagining how much worse it would be with kids is easy and a big NOPE. Trying to understand how I could take joy in someone else’s innocence and awe is much, much harder because I can’t just take my own experience and make it “more.”

      • Wow, I just wanted to tell you I think that’s really insightful! Thanks for articulating that. The upsides seem so intangible compared to the daily grind, and it sometimes feels like people with children, who want their friends/relatives to have them (hi Mom!), are asking those people to take a big risk that they’ll experience the same joys they will. And of course, if a parent doesn’t end up feeling it and regrets having kids, it’s so taboo to speak out that we rarely hear that side.

      • This this this.

        Maybe there exists this magical calm, bliss and understanding that comes to a person when they raise a child? Maybe it’s like an incredible proximity spell that keeps you feeling abundant, constant awe so long as there’s a kid in your care? Maybe watching a kid take his first steps is like climbing a mountain and getting high fived by a bald eagle that’s carrying a banner that says “AWESOME”?

        I don’t know.

        I don’t know because I’ve never experienced anything like that, and it’s really hard for me to imagine that being a real thing. In the limited time I’ve been around kids, I’ve felt tired, overwhelmed, worried and confused. My experiences around young children have been, at best, kind of awkward and filled with worry on my part.

        I assume it would be different if the kid were my own, but I also assume I’d be intentionally turning a blind eye to my kid’s obnoxiousness because I’d be so overwhelmed.

        But I’m guessing. Because I’ve never experienced that and I can only relate with my negative experiences and worries.

        • Imagine how tiring and exhausting and confusing being a child must be. That’s how I have to look at it. I’m not particularly fond of kids, I have my own and tolerate (even delight in him most days), but have found, much like in therapy, that the feelings I feel in the presence of others is probably more about that other person than about me. When I’m overwhelmed and exhausted by the children in my life I try to think about how overwhelming and exhausting it is to be at X age in life. To only have been on the planet for 2 years, unable to speak the language well, with desires that aren’t being met quite in the way I’d want them to, and all these expectations and energies from the Bigs around me. I think we’re tired/exhausted by kids because kids are exhausted by the process of growing up.

      • Seemed to me the author was pretty clear that her annoyance with children isn’t due to just when they are poorly behaved or doing things everyone finds annoying. She finds even their normal, healthy behavioral development milestones to be irritating. So, everything you’re suggesting she take joy in, she has already said she also finds irritating. Which leaves us at “jeez, can’t she just have her opinion without people feeling ‘sorry’ for her”?

    • I know for me personally, it’s not a matter of being unable to see the good, it’s about the good not outweighing the bad enough to change my mind about spending time with them. “Well behaved” vs “Poorly behaved” in either children or adults is also a judgement call. To me, one of the best things about children being children is that they grow out of so many of the bad things and into very interesting and cool teenagers and adults. And, many of the traits that make them interesting and cool are developments of traits that were seen as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when they were children.

      For me “I don’t like children” is shorthand for “I find that spending time with children is both physically and mentally exhausting for me. Their screaming and crying isn’t just annoying, it can actually trigger my migraines. And as much as I can intellectually acknowledge that ‘children are our future’ and all that jazz. I don’t find that investing my time and energy in their entertainment and development at all rewarding to me. I’d much rather do volunteer work or sit at home with a good book and a glass of wine.

      Also (as I do consider myself a bit curmudgeonly and misanthropic), there are plenty of adults I dislike too, and go out of my way to avoid. With an adult, all you have to say is “I don’t like Gloria’s behavior when she’s has a few drinks, I feel like I have to watch out for her all night because she makes poor decisions, screams at strangers in the bar, then gets into trouble and the whole night ends up being about her. Then I end up taking care of her and not enjoying myself, so I’d rather not get together with her.”. And people get it. They respect your autonomy to choose how to prioritize and spend your time according to your preferences and enjoyment. Someone else may say “I think Gloria is one of the most fearless people I know. It’s always exciting hanging out with her, and I love that she brings uncertainty into my life. It’s invigorating!” We have two totally different perspectives and opinions of the same behavior.

      With children, if you say “Well, toddler Sally is at that age where she’s mobile but likely to crash into anything she sees and has discovered screaming because it’s fun. We’re just going to spend the whole evening cleaning up after her and taking care of her, which I don’t find enjoyable, so I’d rather not get together with her.” Then you are an evil child-hater for making the exact same type of decision you made about spending time with Gloria.

      “But, Karen,” you say, “ALL kids do those things… not just little Sally! It’s part of being a child. Isn’t it magical to behold how they go from these awful little demons to productive members of society? And Gloria is an alcoholic, not a child, so you shouldn’t compare those two.”

      My answer… it’s not so magical for me. But I’m still happy in the abstract that it happens.
      And yes, childhood and alcoholism are two totally different situations for the people experiencing them. BUT, I’m still entitled to my autonomy to choose not to be around either. The upside? Sally will grow out of most of those things that I find tiring now. And I will probably enjoy hanging out with her when she does. Gloria may or may not still be a sloppy drunk/free spirit.

      • The fact that I find children, generally, to be exhausting is exactly why I don’t like them and why I choose not to spend my time around them. It’s also why I’m very careful about what adults I choose to spend my time with (I’m not anti-social, I’m selectively social). The traits that, generally, frustrate me with adults also frustrate me with children. I understand that children are not able to control a lot of those traits precisely because they are children, that doesn’t make me dislike those traits any less.

        As I said above, I’m sure children bring great joy to some people but I’m not one of those people.

      • No more nested replies above, and I just wanted to say that I ADORE your reply. I think I’m just being a hippy about it; more love is always the answer. I’m so close to some of my friends, I would totally throw some juggalo paint on my face every now and then if that’s the only way I could spend time with them. I respect your decision to not have kids. I respect your self-awareness that you realize you do not like children. I also have felt / do still feel uncomfortable around kids sometimes. For me, the logical next step is to work on that aspect of my personality. More experience = less awkwardness. Someone else replied that you wouldn’t keep trying to make yourself like an office job or broccoli. Well, no, I guess not. But my friends’ children aren’t going anywhere and I still want to be in my friends’ lives. I’m not saying that your friends with children shouldn’t meet you partway, but… Just everyone do their own thing and be happy, I guess. I’m not just trying to argue, I just put myself in the position and I just can’t imagine myself letting a friendship die. Not with my close friends. They are family. That’s all I’m trying to say.

        • I’m an introvert, and not a hugely outgoing person socially. So while I have lots of friends from all different parts of my life, there are really only about 10 that I consider my ‘close’ friends. So far, one of those has had a baby, and she moved 3,000 miles away to do it. I haven’t seen her in 18 months. We say hello on facebook, and continue with our, now very different, lives. We aren’t close anymore. Another 2 had kids already when we met, but they don’t invite me to kid-centric things, they let me know when they’ve handed off the kids to their dads and want a girl’s day because they know I’ll drop everything to fit in a museum or movie with them when they’ve made the time to be an adult, not a parent, for a few hours.

          Like I said in my previous post, I’m hoping that I’ll develop more of an ability to tolerate children when the 2 women who I consider my sisters in all but blood have their hoped-for children. On the other hand, in preparation of our friends having kids, my wife and I have decided that we want to start culturing/nurturing some new close friendships, looking especially at our other friends who are either child-free or have already grown children. (Community theatre is amazing for developing inter-generational friendships! My friends there range from 14-84, and we all have something in common that draws us together, our love of our art. Pertinent to this topic, the joke is that when someone at the theatre has a baby, you won’t see them for 7 years. New moms sometimes try to come back for one show when the baby is about 9-12 months old. But most people generally disappear for the better part of a decade. Babies just aren’t that compatible with weeknight rehearsals past 10pm and 3 week show runs.)

          Now, I’m going to be a bit more blunt than before. (and Cody, please know this is NOT directly to you… it’s kind of a general response to a lot of comments in this post.) Yes. If I made an effort to spend more time around children, I may eventually become desensitized to the things I dislike about them and my acute discomfort may lessen. BUT, I have no duty or obligation to do so. Why would I want to continually subject myself to something I don’t enjoy so that my friends feel better about it? That’s not a kind of friendship I’m interested in being a part of. To me, it speaks on the insidiousness of the prejudice against childfree people. “You’re the one doing the weird thing by not having kids. It’s your responsibility to become more comfortable around kids. I can’t imagine letting a personal preferences come between friends! You don’t like being around children? Clearly there is something WRONG with you. (Other posters on here have actually insinuated that therapy is needed for this dreadful condition… please tell me when “Not liking children” was added to the DSM-5)”

          As to kids not going anywhere… I disagree. They are going places, eventually: school, sleepovers, summer camp, college, and eventually their own residences as adults. If a parent can’t bear to be separated from their child (or isn’t willing to pay the price/effort it takes) long enough to spend time with someone they call a close friend, they need to own that. Not pretend like its my fault that they would rather stay at home and play candy-land than go to the late night comedy club.

          If a parent is unwilling to have any social life that doesn’t involve their child… well, I’m sure hoping I’ll still be alive in 18 years. Maybe we can hang out then. In the meantime, their decision to become a parent is not my cross to bear.

          • I know that you said this wasn’t directed specifically at me, but I’m seriously rocking the goofiest smile right now. I LOVE being involved in community theater. I actually hadn’t done anything in a couple years because I was working fulltime and going to school fulltime. So, when I was JUST a stay at home mom, I felt like I had so much free time. Totally took my four month old to almost all the practices and performances. Everyone helped watch him. Does that make me your nightmare?
            Every one said we were both welcome back any time, but becoming a home owner (of a home in need of TLC) and working and a mom is a pretty big time suck. Maybe I’ll be back in a decade or so 😉

          • Cody, I hope you can see this… There are no more nested replies below your last one.

            I don’t know if I’d say ‘nightmare’, but I know that wouldn’t fly in our theatre space. No one who is not a part of the show is allowed in rehearsals or the green room/backstage during shows. I remember one show where a new mom came back and sweet talked different people into caring for the baby during the performances, they had to just wait in the lobby with the baby during the 2 1/2 hour show and would have to take her outside if she cried.

            To each their own. I’ve always been open with my friends about not liking to be around kids. They seem to keep deluding themselves into thinking that it will be different with theirs, and then get angry when it isn’t. I’m just tired of being the bad guy because I don’t think a 6th birthday party is a fun way to spend a Saturday.

    • ‘Others only see the innocence, the fervor, the unadulterated joy, the fearlessness, the awe at the fresh beauty of the world that children also exhibit.’

      To those points (for me) :

      Children are inherently egocentric, and once they develop a sense of self, are anything but innocent in my eyes. Children can be as cruel to each other and other creatures as some of the worst adults. The world centers around them until taught otherwise (sadly many people still never learn that one, even into adulthood).

      Unadulterated joy I see when playing fetch with my in-laws 16 year old dog, who has arthritis and joint pain, but will run over and over for that ball to drop it at your feet even if it hurts. She’s not loud when she does it, she doesn’t squeal or scream. She understands what she is doing.

      I don’t consider fearlessness a positive thing, it’s just masked ignorance. Drinking bleach or jumping down hills because you don’t understand consequences and repercussions just isn’t something I think is fun or cute, and it goes for pretty much any activity.

      The awe at the fresh beauty in the world I see through the eyes of my friends, except they can also actually appreciate and understand what they are seeing. Every moment in life can be the Stand By Me deer moment if your mindset allows, the only difference is understanding it.

      I don’t know … so I guess for me it’s not that I ignore the positives, it’s that what others see as being positives, I don’t. I just don’t find ignorance about the world to be cute or amazing, so when others laugh at the ‘funny random questions’ kids ask, or think it’s so cute when they see everything as amazing or magic, I just see someone without knowledge or wisdom. That would be where the parenting comes in (to impart that K&W), I just personally have zero desire to do so.

      What people tend not to realise is that all of this stuff is irrelevant to age. I don’t find that lack of knowledge or ‘innocence’ endearing in kids OR adults, whereas those who like children tend to find it cute when kids do it.

      The non-PC version : Think of the stereotypical stoner staring at his hands in amazement. Some people laugh and think it’s the funniest thing ever. I groan and want to go home because I think he’s an idiot. That’s how interacting with kids feels to someone who doesn’t have that maternal/paternal adoration for them.

        • Check your sources. This is from the Oxford English Dictionary: idiot (n.): early 14c., “person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning;” also in Middle English “simple man, uneducated person, layman” (late 14c.), from Old French idiote “uneducated or ignorant person” (12c.), from Latin idiota “ordinary person, layman; outsider,” in Late Latin “uneducated or ignorant person,” from Greek idiotes “layman, person lacking professional skill” (opposed to writer, soldier, skilled workman), literally “private person (as opposed to one taking part in public affairs).”

          • And for comparison, eugenics was popularized in the 1860s in the UK (in case anyone’s not clear on the history).

    • Seemed to me the author was pretty clear that her annoyance with children isn’t due to just when they are poorly behaved or doing things everyone finds annoying. She finds even their normal, healthy behavioral development milestones to be irritating. So, everything you’re suggesting she take joy in, she has already said she also finds irritating. Which leaves us at “jeez, can’t she just have her opinion without people feeling ‘sorry’ for her”?

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