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

Updated Oct 20 2017
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.

Image by Open Cages, used by CC license.

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?

  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!

      • Why do you keep putting this article in this comment thread? No one here has said anything this drastic.

      • 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

        • If you think that's what Peter Singer is saying, you don't understand what Peter Singer is saying.

          • 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"

      • Yes, I was once a child. And someday I'll be a corpse too. That doesn't mean I want one in my house.

      • 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".

        • It's literally a coined term not an opinion. Child-Free and Child-Less are different. No hate, just letting ya know!

      • 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.

        • If my breeder friends don't want to hang with me because I don't like kids, there's a certain symbiosis there. Everybody wins.

          • 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

        • Are you seriously comparing saying "I don't like this type of food" to "I don't like this entire class of human beings?"

          • 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.

    • My coworker likes to use the phrase "ugh, other people's kids." 🙂

  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.

        • STB did nothing of the sort. I have seen you comment on several posts. You are not maybe getting the point of this whole discussion.

        • 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.

        • Isn't that the point? I don't like children so I would never have them or take on a career like kindergarten teacher?

      • 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.

    • No no, saying you don't like kids is like just like being a racist. Kids can't change being a kid!

        • Fat people can lose weight (at least temporarily, but that's a whole other issue). Does it then follow that it's okay to dislike all fat people because the condition can be changed to make you more comfortable?

          • Fatness is a physical attribute, not a behavioural one. It would make more sense to say 'loud people' or 'drunk people' or 'hyper people' or 'tinfoil hat people'.

      • Not liking =/= discriminating against or believing yourself to be superior

        Not liking = My personal preference is not this thing

      • Absolutely not. Children are not an oppressed group in our society in the same way that racial minorities are.

        • You're kidding right? Children have no rights in our society – they can be hit (spanking); have healthy, functional body parts removed against their consent (circumcision); cannot own property; if they work, their parents can keep their money; they are forced to go to school; they can't even walk around alone these days without the cops picking them up and calling CPS on their parents; they can't vote or drive (well at least in some states even 16-18-year-olds are severely restricted with their driving); they are not consulted in custody hearings as to which parent they are given custody; and don't get me started on medical issues. Start here: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/13/nyregion/princeton-bioethics-professor-debates-views-on-disability-and-euthanasia.html

  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.

    • All of this, a million times. Nowhere did Elle say that not liking kids means she actively hates them or would do anything to harm them, and I'm (perhaps naively) surprised that anyone would read that far into it.

  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.

      • Nailed it. Thank you 🙂

        Particularly "We have two totally different perspectives and opinions of the same behavior."

      • 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)."

    • 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"?

  26. Here's a fun game: take the comments on this article, and replace "children/kids" with "disabled people" or "black people".

    Enjoy discovering just how terrible everyone sounds when they think it's okay to categorically dislike X group of people.

    • As I stated above, that is really not a valid comparison. Children are not discriminated against in our society the same way disabled people and racial minorities are. Additionally, children will eventually stop being children and become adults, whereas disabled people and racial minorities will not.

      • Can it be compared to saying, "I don't like the elderly?" Just curious, because what\how to make these distinctions interests me.

        • Yeah, sure. Like Sarah Elizabeth said above,

          "Not liking =/= discriminating against or believing yourself to be superior

          Not liking = My personal preference is not this thing"

          An argument could be made that there is a greater spectrum of differences with elderly people. For example, a 90 year old could be perfectly lucid and able to hold a conversation, or they could be completely in the grips of dementia. No one month old is going to be able to have a conversation, ever. So saying "I don't like elderly people," is a little bit different in that respect; elderly people can be a lot of different ways.

          • You don't even realize how ageist and ablist you sound, do you? Someone is only worthy of your approval if they are lucid and able to hold a conversation? So a deaf person, or someone with an intellectual disability, is below you and not worthy of consideration?

      • I don't agree that children are not discriminated against in our society. The prevalence of child abuse and neglect speaks to our culture's failure to respect children's rights. Also, people are literally making arguments that children should not be permitted to occupy public space. Tell me that's not prejudice against children…

        I'm not sure what the relevance of your second point is. It's okay to discriminate against children because the state of childhood is temporary?

        • Children are not discriminated against in our society in the same way that racial minorities or disabled people are, is what I actually said. Additionally, not one single person in this post is saying that children should not be permitted to occupy public space.

          My point was that childhood is temporary, while race and disability tend to be permanent. Therefore, the two situations are not really comparable.

          • So if a black person could change their race, or a disabled person could somehow be cured of their disability, it would make it okay to discriminate against black or disabled people?

          • Yes, discrimination against children looks different than discrimination against disabled people, which looks different than that against black people, which looks different than that against fat people, which looks different than that against the elderly,and so on and so forth. That doesn't mean we dismiss the seriousness of any of those forms of discrimination, and in no case would it be okay to say "I don't like X people" about any vulnerable or oppressed group.

            Okay, there aren't any of the no-children-on-planes-or-restaurants people in the comments here, but there are a few in the comments on the FB post, and look at any article on how much air travel sucks and you'll see them out in droves, and for some reason this is socially acceptable, where you'd rarely see people condoning that argument about any other oppressed or vulnerable population.

            Re. the temporariness of childhood. Is it okay to discriminate against a depressed person because someday they may not be depressed? A person who's temporarily in a wheelchair? I don't get your point.

        • For me, part of the confusion in the posts is a result of not clearly defining "discrimination." The author of the original post is, I think, "discriminating" in the sense of recognizing "and understanding of the difference between one thing and another." (In this case, the difference between adult and childhood behaviors. She is not advocating "unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex." In other words, she is not saying that children as a class deserve to be treated badly. She is just saying she prefers adult company to the company of children. To Jennifer R, I'd say she is in no way indicating that it's OK, for instance, to euthanize children because she doesn't enjoy them.

          About the comparison to disliking the elderly, personally I don't find that necessarily advocating that the elderly are less than, worthy of euthanizing, or denying rights. I work doing elder care. There are a set of behavior traits and developmental stages that are common to the elderly. I happen to like older adults and enjoy my work, while recognizing some things in my work can drive me crazy. (I'm sure I annoy my clients hugely, too, sometimes.) If someone told me they don't like being around elderly people because they do not handle their behavior well, I'd say it's good you recognize your boundaries. Please don't feel obliged to work for or do primary care for older adults. The frustration it will bring is not good for either you or them. Better to leave it to people like me who are happy to be with older people.

          Why on earth would you want to force someone who doesn't deal well with kids to be in frequent contact with your own kids? Why on earth would you want to pressure them to have children? We really don't need to go back to a culture that just demands everyone become a parent and the good possibility that created more resentful, impatient parents.

          It strikes me as overly dramatic to accuse someone who knows he or she doesn't mix well with children of being a child racist or a eugenicist. Sheesh.

          The comparison to

    • There are NO personality or behavioural traits common to ALL disabled/black/elderly people. There ARE behavioural traits common to all kids.

      • @STB
        Such as?

        Some kids are loud; some are quiet. Some are forward; some are shy. Some are polite; some are rude. Some are energetic; some are lethargic. Some are highly observant & intuitive; some are oblivious & dense.

        The problem I have with this article is that it treats all kids as being essentially equivalent to one another, when the repeated failures of standardization show that to be patently untrue.

        If you say you don't like kids, that's fine; it's an opinion.
        If you say all kids are the same, that's not fine; it's a falsehood.

        • Jennifer, no one ever said children are Borg. Of COURSE they are all unique, they just share some basic traits inherent to the stage of development. No one is born potty trained, or with full language skills. It's learned. All children lack knowledge of the world and how it works, and cannot engage in complex, adult conversation – until they learn to. It's part and parcel of being still in the midst of basic development. Not their fault, it comes with the territory, but if you've no desire to be the one to impart that knowledge, it's very much a tedious undertaking to try to interact. I hate 'dumbing down' my conversation, so to speak. Don't get me wrong, plenty of adults fit into this same boat, but with kids it's all of them, because they are still in the human equivalent of 'puppy phase'. They can have different quirks and personalities and characteristics, but they are all still in basic learning. Most will grow out of it, and at that point I have no qualms interacting with them. Some won't, and well … you can't like everyone.

          • Lacking knowledge =/= Behavioral trait.

            Kids who learn very quickly = Still kids, even though you can now tolerate being around them because they've acquired the prerequisite knowledge, so it's *still* not "all of them".

            Al =/= Jennifer.

      • Mickey Mouse is a fictional character who doesn't have rights! Children are REAL PEOPLE AND PEOPLE HAVE RIGHTS!!! How is this so hard to understand???

        It's comparable to saying you hate the elderly or disabled people because children are PEOPLE, not dogs, not fictional characters, not bugs, not snakes. Not only are they people, with rights, but they are particularly vulnerable to abuse because they are new people with limited bodily autonomy, motor skills, and ability to defend themselves.

        • Ok, since joking doesn't work apparently, then just realize that this isn't about ageism or ableism or any sort of discrimination — it's just as the OP wrote it: one reason not to have children is because you don't like children.


          • Except it is about discrimination because people have been defending their dislike of children by saying it's different than disliking disabled people or the elderly because children don't experience discrimination the same way (and myself and others have replied to this point elsewhere).

            Not wanting to have kids and disliking kids are two separate issues! I have no problem with people being child-free if that's what they want, but categorically disliking children is problematic, just like it's problematic to categorically dislike disabled people or the elderly.

          • (No more nested replies, bummer.)

            "Not wanting to have kids and disliking kids are two separate issues!" — Except they're not. Read the post. It's the very topic of this post. It's crucial to the post & this whole discussion.

            YOU & others taking this into a free-for-all about ppl hating kids is what's making this crazy.

  27. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for this post. This is what I've been waiting to see at Offbeat! I really enjoyed reading these comments, because I can finally see that I am not the only one who feels this way.

  28. THIS POST ALL THE WAY. No shame in disliking children. They'll be adults eventually so it's very fluid; children by nature will continue changing demographics so it's kind of ridiculous so many people here are making assumptions about "people groups" as if kids stay kids forever. Kids will be kids? NO, KIDS WILL BE ADULTS.
    I also happen to think that too many people are raising children when they should be raising competent adults, but that's another rant.
    For me the general rule is the younger the kid the more I dislike them. My friends who have kids haven't convinced me otherwise. I can stand being around teenagers sometimes, so I think there's something about having an intelligent conversation for a period of time that makes people OK. Ironically in this instance I'm just like my mom: she hates babies & although she thought we were cute kids, she likes my brother & me a lot more now that we're grown up.
    The tough part of my disliking kids is that my spouse really wants to adopt in the far-off-ish future [thank goodness he doesn't want bio kids, either]. I'm giving myself time to warm up to the idea, since I like the idea of adopting even though I don't want to parent now. It could happen, as 3 years ago I was gung-ho about being single forever and now I'm all conjugally matrimonified.

    • If you do decide to adopt, have you considered adopting older kids/teens? Or maybe being a foster parent to older kids/teens? I know there's a great need out there for homes for older minors and it might alleviate some of the stresses you would feel as a parent to a younger child. Best wishes, whatever path you take 🙂

  29. I'm actually really concerned about how this topic will effect my friendships in the future. I'm on the opposite end wherein I not only love kids, but I plan to have several of them, and I'm really concerned that by fulfilling that lifelong desire I'll be alienating myself from friends that I love, but they don't love kids.

    • Personally I wouldn't bother to remain close friends with people who were not supportive of my big life decisions. I would not remain friends with someone who didn't support my marriage, my sexuality or anything else like that, so why would I want to keep being friends with someone who sees my family (in whatever configuration it is) as at best an inconvenience, at worst something they actively dislike/despise?

      I mean…I see quite a few "if only these people would stop doing something they love and really want to do, my life would be so much better!"comments. As someone who has several disabilities, both long-term permanent and shorter term fixable once, this is something I've dealt with on a different level, more like, " it would be much easier and better for everyone around you if you'd just stop being broken." "your disability is such an inconvenience to me"

      Those people don't get to be a part of my life because quite clearly they don't like me for who I am, they like me for the imaginary fully-able person I'm not, or in this case the childless/childfree friend that you don't want to be. In my opinion they can be friends with the nice imaginary version of me and I'll mourn the loss of a friendship that was maybe never what I thought it was.

      • Would you refuse to see your friends without bringing your children? I have plenty of friends with kids who know I don't like kids. They hire a babysitter or leave them with family when we hang out, the same way if one of my friends didn't like dogs, we'd hang out at their place vs mine, or go somewhere separate and I would leave my dog with my mom for the night/weekend. The same way if I don't get along with my spouse's parents, he interacts with them and me separately. The only friends I lost when they had kids were the friends who lost themselves when they had kids. It's not unhealthy to take time now and then away from your kids, to keep in touch with yourself as an individual (vs 'mommy and nothing else'), it's easy to spend some of that time with those friends who don't like children. The kids *will* grow up.

        In my experience, friendship is a two-way street and requires understanding – especially the understanding that you are not your kids, nor your spouse, nor your parents. You are your own person. If you are willing to ditch a friendship because someone doesn't want to hang out with your kids (or just doesn't like kids), I doubt it was ever a true friendship to start with.

        • Children aren't animals, sorry. Your friends are awfully accommodating – babysitters are expensive. You must bring a lot to the table to be worth the expense.

          • And some friends aren't worth the expense.

            Just like when ppl move across the country or the world. Travel is expensive — are friendships worth the cost? Babysitter, plane ticket, if the relationships matter, you'll figure out a way. If not, oh well.

          • I guess it depends on the value you place on your friendships. My friends are just family without the DNA, and if one of them needed help I'd drop everything to be there for them, and vice versa. We can go years without contact and pick right up where we left off without issue. To me, that's just part of what friendship is all about. If it wasn't, I probably would refer to them as acquaintances, and not friends.

            You sound to me like someone who would drop a friend without hesitation if maintaining the friendship became inconvenient for you. That's your prerogative, it's just not how it works in my circles.

          • Wow Jennifer, are you seriously having this much difficulty with reading comprehension?You are the EXACT reason as to why I don't like kids. You specifically, are the parent that refuses to teach your child how to be a gracious loser, you insist they deserve a trophy regardless. YOU refuse to see the big picture and realize the world doesn't, nor will it ever, revolve around you or your kids.
            YOU are the type of parent who refuses to discipline your kid because it's "cruel" YOU perpetuate the very behavior that makes people dislike kids!
            Even if I liked kids, I can tell you that, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, I would definitely not like your kids.

        • I am currently not a parent but I have many friends who are parents and do not have the cash or local support network to send their children or pets off to a babysitter or parents for even a few hours and I don't blame them for not being willing to spend cash on something like that for someone else and I wouldn't expect them to. What a family chooses to spend money on in regards to their kids, I would argue out of home childcare is probably not a priority unless it is a necessity. My friends are (mostly) very wonderful independent people who (mostly) don't define themselves by their roles as parents but they value their ability to afford formula and diapers and gas for the car over other optional expenses. Those who do choose to define themselves that way are people who have, for as long as I've known them put huge pressure on themselves to be parents and it's just a part of who they are, again that is their choice even if I don't understand it.

          Going off the dog comment: To be honest I'm of the mind that if you don't like my dogs, or they don't like you, we're probably not super compatible people. But again I don't have local family to pet sit, I don't trust other people to care for my dogs because they are special needs rescue cases and even if I did I don't generally have cash handy to pay for someone to come over to care for them. I made a conscious choice going into pet ownership that it would be a priority for me and I own that choice even if it means not taking that girls trip to Cuba with everyone or leaving every single engagement super early to make sure my pets are cared for properly.

          I may not be my spouse or my dogs or my hypothetical kids but I am a person who makes decisions for my own life and while I can take into consideration other people their personal likes and dislikes do not necessarily triumph over the daily needs of my personal responsibilities.

          Besides if I'm shelling out cash for a pet or baby sitter, plus whatever activity, plus gas etc every time someone who doesn't like my dogs/kids wants to hang out…and they don't want to even hear about some of the most important/recent/relevant parts of my life…I feel like that is significantly unequal as well. That is literally that person trying to pretend I'm not who I am, living the life that I'm living. Might as well call up that old ex-friend who feels that my disability is a personal insult to her and invite her to play rugby.

          I have dropped friendships over how people treat their pets and talk to/about other people, I wouldn't hesitate to drop a friendship that wasn't at least accepting of the major parts of my life. I don't expect my friends to love everything I do, and I don't love all of their choices but I do respect that they are doing what is best for themselves and their families for the most part and we all do our best to work around each others needs, even if it means we rarely actually hang out.

    • I think it's worth being optimistic that they'll sympathize with the complexities of your new life with kids, but there may be a few friends who just don't get it. I have a couple friends who have the best of intentions (i.e. still want to hang out) but who don't get why I sometimes have to place restrictions on hanging out (not too late, can't always go to bars, sometimes can't be on time or have to cancel at last minute) and get frustrated. It's not on you if they feel alienated. We all have life circumstances that change, and some friends just aren't up to weathering that. I've been pleasantly surprised that some of my friendships, with people who've expressed lukewarm feelings about kids in the past, have stayed just as strong as ever after having a kid. Hopefully, if your friends see you living your life the way that makes you happy, they'll try to be supportive of that!

      • As the childfree friend who (I imagine) sometimes does not get my friends with children's limitations, please don't be shy about telling us what doesn't work! Sometimes I feel like I'm flailing with my friends with kids, and have no idea what activities will or won't work for them and their kid at their current age. Sometimes I am afraid of sounding clueless for suggesting activities that are inappropriate, and sometimes I am afraid that I'm not initiating enough or am underestimating what my friends would be interested in doing. Sometimes friends who seem to have checked out will bounce back with some guidance!

        • Yes! Planning around kids if tough but possible. Sometimes it means hanging out in a messy house near the baby monitor. Sometimes brunch works. I am still trying to figure out how to see my parent friends regularly.

        • You rock JC! Being a parent is terrifying at first, and it's those friends who kept inviting us places, even if it didn't ultimately work out, who helped get me out of the house when doing so was really daunting. I've gotten better at expressing what works and what doesn't, and it's great having friends who are willing to roll with all the new (often-changing) constraints.

        • JC – You sound like a true friend and a really considerate person!

          And this folks is the difference: a positive attitude. Is that so hard? Kids are actually part of our society.

          If you are negative, as I said UP post, you just come across unhappy and insecure.

    • You probably will see a lot of friends disappear. But those people are dead weight and you will be better off without them. The good people (whether child free or with kids) will stick around because they love you and want to share your life with you even when it looks different than their own. The ones who are all "Eww, gross, she had kids? I can't stand how she talks about shit I can't relate to sometimes now.", you will be much better off without them anyhow.
      Those who choose to stay child free probably experience something similar in reverse, I imagine.
      In a way, making a final choice on kids, whether yes or no, is a way to weed out the intolerant assholes in your life.

  30. This post and many of the comments have made me very uncomfortable. Children can't control their age or abilities, and both ableism and ageism are very real problems in the USA. I'm willing to take it a step further, though, and say: Not liking children merely because they are children is straight-up bigotry.

    Anyone is within their rights to say, "Well, I just don't like black people/short people/disabled people/gay people/old people/fat people." Of course you can think that, and even say it. You may or may not be able to act on it, depending on the circumstances, but you have a right to dislike anyone you choose. However, we shouldn't act like it's no big deal to dislike someone because they belong to a "type" of human being, even if you haven't met them personally yet.

    If you think I'm being harsh… well, I don't know. I'm not sorry. If you have a strong, universal dislike of a group of people for reasons outside of their control, that's bigotry. Even if you "tolerate" them. You may not be ACTING like a bigot, but you're THINKING like one. And you're probably acting on it more than you think.

    To me, this isn't "offbeat." It's mean.

    I've read in the comments that children and their caregivers aren't discriminated against in our society, so calling it bigotry is invalid. As a person from a low-income and unstable family background, however, I can tell you that those commenters are wrong about that. Children have very few rights in this country. They have no control at all over their own lives, and their "best interests" are often decided for them by people they have never met. Their education and their health care can be hijacked by lawmakers and voters who are only trying to make a political point. As their guardian, you can legally hit a child hard enough to make them cry. You can do it as often as you want, as long as you don't leave a mark. In some states, caregivers can legally withhold lifesaving medical treatment for religious reasons. Children are indoctrinated freely, with no ability to agree and no repercussions for the caregiver if it ends up damaging the child. Their families–even their siblings–can be separated without their consent, even when they beg to stay together, and their caregivers can withhold even phone contact. They can be placed by the state in dangerous and scary care situations with absolutely no recourse to help themselves. They can be publicly shamed when they make a mistake, on the internet or on the street, by caregivers who are nothing more than bullies. These could be parents, or other family members, or legal guardians, or even coaches and teachers. In most cases, the only way for a child to live safely and justly is by luck of the draw–the right caregivers with the right intentions.

    And as for caregivers… ask the caregiver of a child who needs subsidized lunch whether they are degraded and discriminated against. Ask the caregiver of a child who screams on a plane. Ask the caregiver of a toddler who needs to breastfeed in a public place. I dare you.

    I've also read in comments that people think it doesn't equate because children will eventually grow up, whereas a disabled person can't become "abled" in later life. Actually, they CAN in some cases, and I wonder where that leaves this argument? Is it okay to universally dislike people who are temporarily disabled? Or is it okay to dislike all Japanese people in Japan, but not in the US? I also wonder how this will shift for the writer as he/she ages, especially because he/she already stated that this dislike has grown over time. Plenty of older people see 20- and then 30-year-olds as "children" as they age and their ability to relate to that generation diminishes. I suppose it is technically okay to say, "Well, I just don't like people in their twenties. They're all so annoying. I don't have much contact with them, and I wish I didn't have to spend time around them at all. I don't want to get to know them as individuals because they're all the same. I just force myself to tolerate them."

    You can say that, sure, but it doesn't make you a very nice person.

    The writer, and many of the commenters, are making a universal statement of dislike about an entire class of people. Human people. That's your right, but it isn't cool. And it really isn't kind.

    (This got rant-y. But ageism and ableism drive me CRAZY.)

    • Add to that that you can't bring your child to work with you, so you are forced to pay money for care for them unless you happen to have an understanding family member who is willing to trade with you. Also, children cannot work except as babysitters (they used to be able to do yard work but that's too dangerous now) until 16, and even then their work hours are severely restricted (and they money they earn and anything they buy with it can be confiscated by the parents with no repercussions).

    • Thanks for writing such a comprehensive post! Children are an extremely vulnerable population, and it really disturbs me to see so many people who either don't realize that or just don't care.

      • Of course children are vulnerable, but you don't see the child free or the child haters doing the abusing. Approx 1600 children in the US alone are murdered by their parents every year, and what about the abuse statistics ? 2.9 million reports a year and 80% of those are committed by parents.

        So while you want to put the people who dislike children into some category that we are the cause of their vulnerability simply because we dislike them, when in fact people who dislike kids tend to stay clear of them while is the people that "love" them that are taking advantage of their innocence.

        So again, it's about I don't want kids because I don't like them. And not liking children is not exploration of vulnerability as you seem to think it is.

        • The vulnerability discussion is trying to address the point made by people saying it's okay to dislike kids because they're not discriminated against in the same way that other vulnerable groups are. Nobody is trying to accuse all people who dislike kids of being child abusers.

          The same way that it's still problematic to say you dislike all, say, autistic people even if you'd never physically hurt them or actively try to support ableist norms, it's still problematic to dislike all kids even if you'd never actively try to hurt them. I don't know if you'd argue that categorically disliking all autistic people is inherently problematic, but if you'd agree, I hope you see the point I'm trying to make about disliking all children.

    • Bigotry: Stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigotry

      Kinda what's going on here. Not a discrimination against any particular group. But a stubborn intolerance for a different opinion (that of being childfree because you actually do not like children), yeah I sense that.

      No-one said they were working on anti-child, anti-parent laws & policies in government or workplaces. Nobody said they were banning your children from public places. All that was said & continues to be said is that here's one reason to not have kids: because you don't like them yourself. Sounds pretty simple — why would you have something you don't like? If other ppl like it, fine, enjoy, have at it. Kids aren't everyone's cup of tea. (That's a metaphor, btw, I'm not suggesting literally steeping children in hot water & drinking them; please don't read things in that aren't here!)

      • But it's these opinions that lead to negative views that lead to bigotry that lead to all that….look at history for some groups of people..just saying

        • No, the opinion that "I don't want to have kids bec. I don't like kids" isn't leading anywhere (other than this endless discussion). As has been repeated ad nasueum, nobody wants to talk away ANYTHING from kids or parents. I've pointed out how I always vote for local school bonds (even tho a lot of ppl statistically don't; meaning, a lot of parents must not be, since more ppl have kids than don't), & I support pro-child/pro-woman legislation 100x over. But being around children annoys me. Dichotomy to you? Yeah, well, newsflash, the world is not black & white.

          "Not liking kids" doesn't mean "I hate kids & discriminate against them in every way, all my life, in everything I do / say / think / feel / action I take."

          There is no slippery slope from "I don't like kids" to "I will eat children for breakfast, yum."

      • The reason the discussion of bigotry came up is because people have been justifying saying they don't like children by saying it's okay because they're not discriminated against (or not as discriminated against, or something) as other groups. Thus, people are responding with reasons children are a vulnerable group that experiences discrimination and rights violations.

        Sure you're legally allowed to dislike kids or old people or the disabled or whomever you want, but don't expect to not get called out for it. I'm not being intolerant for thinking it's not okay, I'm being a decent human being.

        • I can be a decent human being & not like kids. The two are not mutually exclusive.

          Plenty of really crappy people like kids.

          • I'm trying to be a decent human being by calling out ageism/childism is what I meant. Wasn't trying to accuse you of not being one.

      • If someone says they don't like dogs, as a species no one melts down. There could be all kinds of reason why people don't like to be around dogs – they smell, they drool, they shed, make noise, are needy, always touching you, make you feel unclean there could be hundreds of reasons why a person doesn't like a dog or feels uncomfortable around them.

        Dogs do not bother me at all, but like people that have reasons for not liking dogs, I feel that way about children. They make me uncomfortable. They smell, are sticky, wet, I don't like how they dart around aimlessly, they cry, they are needy, they make me feel unclean to be around them. I always reach for the hand sanitizer when I'm in the presence of a child. Whatever it is, I don't like them for a host of reasons and I'm not alone. Sure not every child is coughing at me, or screeching in my presence, but the majority are doing something near me that makes me uncomfortable and I don't like it. Therefore I don't like children.

        No one questions why people might not like an entire species like a dog or cat and yet people will not accept that many of us do not like children for whatever reason. Sure I tolerate them, I have to because they are everywhere, but like flying in a plane, I don't have to like it, I just have to get through it.

        There's no reason to judge people that don't like kids. I don't judge people that don't like pets, they have their reasons and I accept their reasons are valid for them even if I don't agree.

        • Dogs are not people. Kids are people. As has been argued above, you probably wouldn't (at least I hope not) go around proudly proclaiming that you don't like disabled people or the elderly, so why would you do so about kids?

          • Because I have a choice about having children. I can say "I don't want to reproduce." I can proclaim that loudly — while it's not totally acceptable in all places (& as a woman, I will get crap for it), at least I can say it. And if I need to or feel like giving a reason why, I can be honest & say "because I don't like kids."

            That's an entirely different thing than someone saying they don't like the elderly or disabled. A world of difference.

          • As I just said in another reply, not wanting to have kids and not liking kids are two separate issues here. One is not problematic, and the other is! Many people have already addressed the issue of why not liking kids is problematic.

          • Dog lovers tend to love dogs as much as people and maybe even more so, so I don't get your point.

            Elderly or disabled people aren't even the same as children, so it's no comparison. 99% of children act the same way, elderly and disabled do not. However if 99% of those 2 categories acted like children, then no, I would have no problem saying I was uncomfortable around them either and didn't like them.

            However I am not uncomfortable around disabled people or the elderly because they aren't children so what's your point

          • And as I said up-thread, tho' we've run out of nested replies, this discussion is INHERENTLY about why to be childfree + not liking kids. Reproduction / reproductive choice is the context for this discussion from the very start — it's right there in the original post. Go read it.

            This was never just some loony rant about hating kids & wanting to get rid of them from everywhere. That's not the issue at all.

          • There's nothing problematic with not liking kids. So you don't like kids. What's the problem ?

          • I don't have kids for the same reason I don't drive a 4 door sedan, have a neck tattoo, or a pet spider – because I don't like them. It is that simple. People are allowed to not like something.

          • SuzyQ, I don't know what to say if you can't be bothered to read all the comments about why not liking kids is different to not liking dogs, cars, rocks, whatever.

          • Here, try this: It's okay for someone to not want to work at a nursing home, but it's not okay for them to say they don't want to work at a nursing home because they hate old people. Do you get the distinction I'm trying to make?

          • Gillian, I can't reply to your later post about working in a nursing home. But for me, there is a huge difference between 'not liking' and 'hating'. I don't 'like' children. There's nothing about non-adult humans that makes me want to be around them. In fact, I'm uncomfortable around them, so I try to avoid them. Doesn't mean I hate them.

            I don't 'dislike' or 'hate' old people. But I don't like them right now either. Spending time around them makes me sad and resentful about losing someone before she had a chance to be one. Neither of these situations means I'm being hateful or ageist. I'm avoiding situations where I feel discomfort, not trying to take away their rights or ban them from public spaces. I don't feel that either group are any lesser, or deserve oppression or abuse.

            I find it much more wrong to say "you're allowed to make a decision (I don't want to work in a nursing home), but not to have an opinion (I don't want to work in a nursing home because I don't like being around senior citizens)"

            Not actively 'liking' something is vastly different from actively 'disliking' something. Not liking means it doesn't bring you pleasure or enjoyment. Not that you actively hate the group in question.

          • oh I've read your comments about how people aren't the same as dogs and that's YOUR opinion. What you fail to even attempt to comprehend is that someone just wouldn't like children, that not liking children has to mean something other than just not liking them. You are looking for meaning where there is none. You are trying to equate it to hating other groups of people and it's not even remotely the same. So I can't use dogs as an example but you can use the elderly as though they are the same. Okayyyy then. Carry on.

        • Suzy Q: For the record, I think people who say they don't like dogs or cats (as a whole species) should probably take the time to get to know a few. And then a few more. Because we know they are not all the same, right? The right animal really can change someone's mind.

          However–and I know my fellow animal lovers hate to hear this–the reality is that animals and humans are not equivalent when it comes to our moral obligations. A dog is not obligated to love and care for his human companion in the same way that he does his dog pack, and studies show that they do not. If he is hungry, and you are the only source of food, a dog will eat your dead body. They'd eat each other, too, if it came to that. If you're starving and you have no choice, you'll eat your dog's dead body. There's no moral issue at play in that scenario, because the creature in question is a dog. You are far less likely to do that to a human being– and if you do, you are far more likely to never recover psychologically. There is evidence from the historical record to support this. I'm not trying to be gross, but to outline the reality that humans and dogs are not equivalent in issues of humane treatment. What's "right" for a dog isn't always ethical for a human. I think that should be obvious.

          It doesn't mean we don't love them like crazy, or that we shouldn't treat them with respect. It means that we are not dogs, and they are not humans, and acting like we're all the same creature confuses the issue.

          You love dogs. Message received. I think people should give your dog a fair shot, and not just assume they won't like him/her because they "don't like dogs." And I definitely think we should extend that courtesy–and a whole lot more–to our fellow human beings.

          • But here's the thing. I don't care if someone doesn't like my pets. They have every right not to and their reasons are valid for them. I accept their feelings and I have no hard feelings if the don't like my pets.

            Be it an animal, broccoli, motorcycles or a child, people are within their right to dislike things and other people.

            I can't fathom not liking broccoli, but I accept that people don't and I won't try to force them to change their views " here try it, maybe you'll like THIS piece" and berate them for their choice because it's different from mine.

            So many people here just refuse to acknowledge that disliking children is valid. Yes I compared broccoli to children because it IS that simple. People don't like either one. There's nothing wrong with not liking something for whatever reason you have because it's a valid reason to you.

            No clue why people are making it out to be a such a big deal because it isn't.

            Not everyone, even those that like children will all like your precious snewflaques either. So many people need to get over it.

      • Bigot: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group) [Merriam-Webster]

        I'd say that children qualify as "members of a particular group." They also qualify as "other people." Let's not play the semantics game, eh?

        Look, lots of people are bigots, for lots of reasons. Most of us struggle with some degree of unease around people who are different from ourselves. It doesn't make you bad person, but it is a bad thing to be. It's an impulse that I believe we should try to fight, so that we can see each other for who we truly are. Most people (even children) are pretty amazing.

        Being willing to accept and work on our own prejudices is important. Maybe the most important thing we can do with ourselves. I will call out prejudice and bigotry when I see it–wherever I see it, including in myself. I won't apologize for speaking up when we try to justify why it's okay to "strongly dislike" (I won't use the word "hate" because, again, semantics) an entire class of people.

        It's not bigotry to call out prejudice.

        • I would like to play the semantics game, for one.

          The OP never said she "hates" or "refuses to accept" children. She said she doesn't like them. She didn't even say she doesn't tolerate them and she certainly didn't say she discriminates against them – she just doesn't like them. That just doesn't qualify as bigotry.

          And I can see how that is different from disliking everyone from one race or "all the elderly" etc. (which is true bigotry) because, honestly, although children are all different people, a necessary function of their development is that they will all hit certain developmental milestones that will influence behaviors that cannot be said to be true of any other group of people.

          And she simply does not like the behaviors associated with those milestones that all children, regardless of their individual personalities, go through.

          I really don't think it comes close to "bigotry" or "discrimination" to feel that way – that blows the whole issue out of proportion.

          I also find it somewhat condescending to say one "feels sorry" for her. Why should they? She hasn't done anything wrong.

    • You realize using the word crazy (or insane, loony, etc.) is an example of ableism?

      Not trying to knock you in a holier-than-thou kinda way, cause I also use those words all the time. But the irony was too rich for me not to say something.

  31. I must say, this is a very enlightening conversation. A lot of comments here have expressed concepts and ideas that I'm really not familiar with (ageism and ableism are NOT part of public discussions where I grew up, lemme tell you).
    This really gives me food for thoughts as regards my own dislike for children. And I love nothing more than challenging my own assumptions. Thank you guys.

    • Yes! I second this.

      It's interesting… when I got the submission, I was so overjoyed. Here is the one person who's not qualifying their choice to not have children with "but I like kids! I'm a great aunt!"

      I… am not a great aunt. I've barely seen my nieces, and a lot of that is by choice (the other part of that is they live in a different state). The thing is I feel love for them. I care about them. I just don't like hanging out with them. For now… Assuming they turn into kick-ass teenagers in 10 years, I'll be the "cool aunt" then.

      ANYWAY! So I was happy to read this article. Happy to publish it so that others who feel similarly don't feel alone. But the comments have blown my mind! I totally didn't even think about some of the concepts that some people have brought up. It's definitely made me think even deeper about my dislike of children, it's challenged me in a good and bad way. And it's made me love our readers even more.

      For the most part this discussion has been AWESOME. Even though not everyone agrees, and there have definitely been a lot of emotional reactions on both sides, I am constantly floored by how well everyone is communicating.

      Love you guys!

      • I so hate to pee on your parade, but I have relevant personal experience that might be generally valuable to other people in this situation.

        My mother's sister also never had kids and did not like being around kids. She would avoid seeing my brother and I when we were younger as much as possible and never invited us over to her home. And my mother actively tried to hide this from us. She did not want us to know that her sister didn't like being around us. But kids aren't stupid and they pick up on things. I knew my aunt didn't like being around me when I was younger.

        And you know what? When she tried to suddenly become part of my life in my later teens, I wanted nothing to do with her. I basically told her to go scratch. It was not okay with me that she ignored us for so many years and then all of a sudden wanted to be pals.

        It is totally okay for people to not want kids and not like kids and not like being around them. But remember, kids are people. Kids are perceptive. Kids can sense your distaste for them.

        So if you (anyone) is planning to avoid someone during their childhood and then enter their life when they get to a more enjoyable age, you better be prepared for that young person to shut you out. You need to be prepared for them to not be okay with the fact that you used to avoid them and now are willing to tolerate them because they're older. There is no way to make that not personal. If you don't want to be around me when I'm little, cool, but don't expect me to be around you when I'm older.

        • My uncle didnt like kids. We knew, and were uncomfortable around him. BUT in my late teen years (probs from the first time i asked him for a smoke/drink) we developed a great relationship that continues to this day. So it can go both ways. My Dad never tried to hide my uncles uncomfortableness around kids though, i think he told me straight out one day that "he's wary of kids".

        • This, exactly.

          My brother was like this. I have 10-20 years between myself and my siblings. My brother honestly waited until my mid-teens to have a conversation with me longer than "what grade are you in now".

          I get that he's just not a kid person, but I had about 16 years of rejection from members of my family who "don't like kids". For some of them, that's absolutely true. Others realized earlier on that for the most part, I COULD relate to them on an adult level.

          But to hear from my family that "You're older and worth my time now" feels pretty shitty. I used to dream that I'd find out I was actually adopted, and not just rejected for no real reason. I'm in my 20s now, and my oldest sibling STILL resents me for being born. As for the brother I mentioned… I went through some pretty big stuff growing up, and when he found out over ten years later, he felt pretty shitty about it too. He missed out on a huge part of my life, a bond we could have had, and had to come to terms with the fact that he wasn't there when his little sister needed him because "Ew, kids".

  32. Ok, I didn't read all the comments. And I can't say I agree entirely with the OP. But…

    I really, really don't like babies.

    Once a child hits age 2, I'm ok with them. But before that, they're… not my cup of tea. Everyone else is free to reproduce, and love their babies, and dote on other people's babies, and share baby-stories and baby-pictures and such, and that's cool. Rock on, parents of babies. But I don't want to hold them, or smell them, or sit around for endless hours watching the baby eat, puke, sleep, and poop. When somebody puts me in a situation where that is our only activity, I want to weep.
    Luckily, most of my friends know this and they're cool with it. They know I don't dislike their babies personally. I'm just waiting until that kid can hold a crayon and not cry because they scratched their own face with their own dang fingernails.

    Also, in case y'all are worried, I'm childfree and will remain that way, forever. So I'm not about to go neglecting a baby or anything.

    • I could have written this!!! I am in my early 30's, so so many friends are having babies! People share baby pictures and I greet them with indifference. When my nephew was born, I didn't want to hold him or have anything to do with him. Now that he's 2 and has a personality, I enjoy playing with him, and am happy to have him in my life.

      I decided long ago that if I even want to be a mother, I will adopt, because babies do nothing for me.

    • You'll find plenty of parents of babies who aren't mad keen on them.

      I liked my kid as a baby, she had some awesome moments. And they sure are cute, but they're cute for a reason. It's difficult to keep your santiy while having a small imperious person scream at you for unexpected reasons, at unexpected times, and torturing you with sleep deprivation. Being cute is an evolutionary trait, a defense mechanism.

      But, wile I didn't hate babyhood cknstantly, I far preferred my kid once she got to the walking and talking stage. 1.5 was pretty cool, and two was fantastic! My favourite age by far. Every parent has their not-so-favourite stages. And for a fair few of us babyhood isn't it.

    • Ha ha ha, I love this. I totally get you on not liking babies. Babies are gross. Really, really gross. I happen to adore them, but there is really no getting around the projectile fluids (unless you have fantastic reflexes).

  33. It is nice to see articles like these. I don't agree 100% (but what blog do you ever agree 100% with??) but I myself am child-free. By choice for the first 35 years of my life and not by choice due to a medical issue since then. When people ask me when I'm going to have children (which I find rude… is it really my duty as a woman??) I say "I can't have children" and they feel PITY for me. They pat me on the shoulder and say "It's ok, you can always adopt." I could never tell them I DON'T WANT CHILDREN because the get offended and it's not worth the discussion that always ensues. I didn't feel I was robbed of something when they shut my factory down, I was elated!

    Now some people on this thread have expressed dislike for children. This I understand. I don't really like being in places with lots of children or spending lots of time with people that have children but that's just me. Most kids are annoying to me, there are a few that are my family that I enjoy seeing occasionally but really I'd rather not hang out where kids hang out. If people want to have kids, more power to them. I'd rather not.

  34. I don't think being misanthropic would make you a bad person either, fwiw. I don't know why some people tie internal feelings so tightly to behaviour. You can feel all kinds of nasty stuff and still be an exceptionally good person, if you choose not to turn those negative feelings into abusive actions.

    And the more people are able to admit to themselves that they feel the negative things, the better placed they are to make that choice. Destigmatisation, partly by free discussion, will only help that. With appropriate trigger warnings that allow people to make an informed choice as to whether they read that kind of content, perhaps.

    There can be a real culture of compulsory positivity even in alternative cultural spaces and it can be very alienating to people who are already excluded from representation in the mainstream.

    • ^ That's all speaking as someone who is not going to have children and who does like some kids and some adult people.

    • Sure, but children are a very vulnerable population, and I tend to feel that normalizing dislike of children as a group is just going to make people feel more justified when they do things to harm children (see above for detailed descriptions of discrimination against children). Should we be patting people on the back for talking about how they just can't stand people who aren't white, who have autism, who are old, who are blind, etc.? We usually see that as problematic because it helps normalize racism, ableism, ageism, etc.

      • TW for mentions of violence and child abuse.

        As a victim of abuse throughout my childhood, by both adult and child perpetrators, I cannot agree.

        Firstly because the unacceptability of admitting to not liking children frequently leads to the negativity coming out in other, more destructive and less ethical, ways.

        Secondly because the refusal to acknowledge that people who were abused by other children have a very good reason to be averse to the presence of children even once they reach adulthood is itself ableist, and discriminatory towards adult survivors, who are already profoundly marginalised. Any suggestion that such an aversion on its own makes someone a bad person is nothing more than continued victimisation. Again, *as long as the person who dislikes children does not mistreat anyone*.

        If we were talking about those people who make jokes about beating children up for being annoying, for example, I would probably agree. But we aren't.

      • Conflating VERY different things here. Childfree people are not automatically child abusers. I don't think I should even have to say that, & I can't believe someone even went there in this discussion.

        People, we are talking about a reason not to have children (bec. you don't like them). NOT extrapolating that into all kinds of horrible accusations about others.

        • Thanks for your input Jan. I certainly wouldn't argue that someone who dislikes children is necessarily a terrible person, the same way that someone who is ableist isn't necessarily a terrible person, but as with ableism it's worth addressing that childism is problematic and unpacking why, rather than just applauding it or letting it go unquestioned.

          Trystan, where did I say childfree people are abusers??? When have I ever implied that being childfree is itself a problem? I have only been addressing the dislike of children and why I think it's problematic.

          • "I tend to feel that normalizing dislike of children as a group is just going to make people feel more justified when they do things to harm children" — your words.

            So much wrong with this. First, this post was hardly "normalizing dislike of children as a group." The OP stated that she didn't have kids bec. she doesn't like them — it's normalizing BEING CHILDFREE bec. you don't like kids. Maybe that's too subtle for you catch upon first reading, but it's a huge & important difference. I've read all these comments & don't see anyone saying "it's great to hate on kids! let's all make hating kids the new thing!"

            Second, you right there with your words connected dislike of children with abusing children. That was unnecessary & completely unsupported by this discussion.

            This idea that 'disliking children as a group = discrimination' is patently silly & downright offensive. It's making wild generalizations about ppl's beliefs & actions, & it really goes against what was originally written here (bec. frankly, the OP had to come out w/an "unpopular opinion" since she's far more discriminated against for thinking that).

            Just bec. a person dislikes children doesn't mean they hurt them, act against them, even think bad thoughts about them. They simply do not want to spend time with them or have children in their own lives — and each person should have the right to determine that for themselves.

          • When I say "people" I mean to say people who harm children (and that includes people who ostensibly "love" them but hurt them anyway). I'm sorry if I was unclear in my writing.

            You may hear people talk about how microaggressions contribute to things like racism, sexism and ableism, and that's what I'm trying to get at here by connecting bigoted language with the larger problem of ageism. If you write an article about how you don't like people with autism, that doesn't mean you'd ever touch a hair on an autistic person's head, or actively do anything to harm them, but a lot of people would call you out on being an ableist and a bigot and say that you're contributing to a culture that thinks ableism is okay, even though you're not actually harming anyone directly. Does that make sense?

            The article is in fact titled "Unpopular opinion, even for the child-free: I don't like kids." What people are objecting to is the not-liking-kids part. You can't really say the article isn't about not liking kids–it's in the title.

            I have not seen anyone successfully explain why not liking children is not comparable to not liking other marginalized groups of people. The idea that children are all the same has been refuted. The idea that dislike of all children is okay because of the perceived behaviors they have in common (as with not liking frat boys or the KKK…) has been refuted (kids don't have control of their behavior the way). The idea that they're not marginalized has been refuted.

          • "What people are objecting to is the not-liking-kids part. You can't really say the article isn't about not liking kids–it's in the title. " — which means they're taking it out of context & getting it wrong.

      • Normalization is an interesting word choice. I think the discussion is trying to un-normalize the idea that everyone enjoys being around children. People, especially women, who choose not to have children are (arguably) more marginalized by our society than children are. It's less about normalization and more about removing the taboo of honestly and openly discussing one's choice not to have children and the reasons for it (if you choose to share).

        As a parent myself, I'd like to see more discussions of the times when it's hard for even the parents of said children to enjoy the company of their kids. Sometimes having kids sucks. I find it easier to discuss this with my child-free friends than with parent friends – parent friends are pressured to portray parenthood as 100% rainbows and unicorns, which isn't fair to ourselves, the child-free, or people who are considering their options.

  35. It's probably best, if you don't like kids, not to have any. An alarming number of people who don't like children actually have children anyway, which rarely leads to excellence in parenting. However, I've noticed that a lot of the comments here aren't about not liking children at all, they're about not liking the parents of children.

    One question I do have for the people who are happy to make a blanket statement about not liking children: When does a 'child' become a 'person'? Does somebody become suddenly tolerable at 18? 16? 12? 25?
    I'm not crazy about 'children' as a faceless collective. However, as individuals I very much like most people who happen to be children. In fact, I frequently prefer them to people who happen to be adults. Although, admittedly, my tolerance for anybody of any age is limited – and this extends even to my own child (who, at 19, is no longer a child most days).

    • Considering most people's objection to children seems to be how they act at certain developmental stages, and each child progresses differently and passes through stages and behaviours at different times, it's clear that there is no universal age at which one stops being a child. Furthermore, a child can seem to reach an adult developmental stage but then regress to more childish behaviours. It's more a spectrum of adulthood than a clear cut-off point.

  36. I can't see any way that you could have anything approaching s strong relationship with your parent friends.

    If my friend just 'tolerated' a big part of my life, such as my husband, we just wouldn't be able to be close to each other. I would know that if I ever talked to her about my marriage that she would have a very biased. We wouldn't be able to spend couple time as I would feel like I was forcing someone unwanted on her. And, well, I would just intrinsically think she had bad taste, my husband is my favourite person in the world, I married him because I don't think a person can really get any better than him.

    Now, not absoloutely adoring my kid is ok. She's a fantastic four, but she is four. But actively disliking her, and just tolerating her? I could tell, and it would hurt. And we would not be spending much time together. Much of my life is spent around my kid, I think she's awesome. Why would I waste our awesomeness on someone who actively doesn't want to participate in it?

    • See, it makes me sad when old friendships need to end because new important people (spouses, children) enter your life. I have old friends that I knew long before either of us were married, where my husband really doesn’t fit into our relationship well—maybe Old Friend and I like to talk about conversation topics my husband doesn’t care for, maybe our husbands aren’t the best of friends. Having my husband around when we hang out changes the dynamics. But even though these friends don’t fit neatly into my relationship with my husband, I still love these friends and find ways to make our relationship work.

      I imagine many people commenting here feel the same way about their friends’ children. Their relationship with the friend predates the relationship with this child, and having the child around changes the dynamic. Children are obviously different than a spouse, since you of course can’t just leave them at home easily to hang out with friends. But it still makes total sense to me that a friend can love you and appreciate that your child is an important part of your life without loving the dynamic of your friendship when your child is also in the room.

    • When you give the example of a friend not liking your child as being the same as them not liking your husband, neither means your friendship would have to be over. It would depend on the reasons, but the closest analogy to not liking your child would be a simple personality clash with your husband, or them having nothing in common and nothing to talk about. They wouldn't choose to spend time together under normal circumstances.

      It wouldn't mean either your friend or husband were bad people, or that they were any less awesome, or that your friend thought you had bad taste. It would simply mean they didn't "click", and that sometimes people just don't get on through no fault of their own. Not everyone likes everyone, no matter how wonderful both people are.

      You could still talk to your friend about your husband and marriage, just as you could about your child. But you wouldn't talk about just those things – no matter how awesome, you wouldn't want to talk about only one topic all the time! Obviously not every circumstance is the same, but people with children can still be friends with those who don't like children.

  37. Mummy drama. I like to think on the old OBH the OP would be disagreed with without the drama. Not anymore. Now the OP is a bigot, a racist and it is assumed, despite her claims otherwise that she obviously treats all children as badly as she can. Not to mention the talk of eugenics and banning children from public which were never mentioned. Drama, it's like Facebook, very disappointing.

  38. I have a kid, and I think he's the most awesome thing since sliced bread (most other kids are pretty cool too), but I don't think you're a bad person for not liking kids and I applaud you for standing up for yourself and people like you. You recognize that it's just the way you are and you don't take it out on the kids. That's respectable.

  39. I really want to echo what was said so eloquently about this being an issue of ableism and ageism. Saying "I don't like kids" is actually pretty common – I hear people say it a LOT. I find it odd and as others have mentioned, like saying "I don't like human beings." I just don't buy the "behavioral/development/can't have complex conversations" reasoning given by some supporters of this article above, and if I *did* buy it, then I would expect you to follow it up and say you don't enjoy spending time with people with significant cognitive disabilities. I mean – really, that's the next logical step, right? Many children don't communicate with the speed and dexterity at which you do, in the way that you do, so you find them annoying. Which makes me sad because – and*yes* I'm going to be condescending here- I think you're missing out. Kids are incredibly varied, perhaps more so than adults because they haven't all yet learned how to conform to expectations. I talk to kids I'm not related to a LOT in my day-to-day life, though I'm an adult-ed teacher. Some of the things they say have blown. me. away. Some of their approaches to the world have made me interact with my world completely differently. I have certain things I notice in my neighborhood now because of one little neighbor girl's incredibly sharp attention to detail . My niece taught me how to be wacky again because of the charming (and loopy :)) way her brain works. I live in Baltimore and had a more layered/complex conversation post-riots with a 10 year old on my street – a boy who's seen and lived through a lot- than I did with any adult. Some people in their 90s speak more slowly, with more backtracking, than the way I'm used to speaking in my work and social life, but if I stop being frustrated by THEIR "inability" to adhere to MY "normal", I can really listen and experience so much more. Kids feel the same to me. It's not enough to say, "it's ok because they'll change and be adults soon enough" – because what does that mean about the kids who *remain* childlike in their conversations and worldview as they become adults? Spending time with them isn't worthwhile? You can't gain anything from them? I think I knew something was off when you said you didn't want to "humor a child". Neither do I. Perhaps next time, don't *try* to do anything, especially since that's what you find most frustrating – the "acting" part. Just listen and watch. It's a big world out there, with a lot of different ways to be.

    • ' I would expect you to follow it up and say you don't enjoy spending time with people with significant cognitive disabilities'

      I don't. I guess that makes me a bad person. So be it. Some people enjoy it, I'm not going to lie and pretend I am one of them. I don't like being a parent/teacher/mentor/caregiver to others in any faculty. If it is someone I know and love already (eg if my mother got Alzheimer's, etc), I would still do so, because she's my mom and I would just be glad she is around for the lucid moments she *does* have. But for random strangers in general? Nope.

      I know that's a very unpopular opinion, but I also know that not everyone works or volunteers with people with special needs for a reason, and that nursing homes tend to be full of people whose children suddenly don't enjoy spending time with them anymore and visit rarely (or never). There is a massive difference between tolerating something, genuinely enjoying it, and claiming to enjoy it for social approval. I don't 'enjoy' being responsible for taking care of other people, regardless of their age.

      • I think your opinion is a common one and I'm glad you expressed it so honestly. But importantly, I don't think spending time with someone/having a conversation with someone with significant cognitive disabilities = caregiving. Caregiving is super, super hard. Responsibility for someone else is super, super hard. I'd also say that instead of thinking of "bad" vs. "good" when we talk about this, I'd talking about "limiting." I think people who like to spend time ONLY with people who operate in their same mode of "normal" limit themselves and their ways of seeing the world. I don't think it's in any way "virtuous" to spend time with people who aren't neurotypical, or who are children, or who are elderly – I think it's expanding. I think it makes my world bigger. 🙂

  40. In complete agreement with this article. I catch myself having to lie about it all the time too. "I don't like kids… Uh, except yours of course friend, yours are delightful" and "children are just great, I'm too selfish to be a good parent though" yeah, no. It's because babies are ugly goblin wormy looking parasites (yes, even your adorable little Susie or Johnny) and older children are selfish and cruel (yeah, still yours too, just probably when you're not around). Kids are terrible creatures learning how to be competent adults. Some succeed and some don't. Sorry, not sorry.

  41. Thank you, OP, for putting this out there.

    The crazy discussion that has ensued is proof that being a woman, especially in the child bearing age range, and not liking children (in pretty much any capacity) is widely unpopular and will put others on the defensive.

    I could say much more on the subject, but I think we're in "beating a dead horse" territory. All I really wanted to do was comment so others in this small demographic can note the existence of another one of their own.

  42. Yeah, I HATE kids. I don't feel the need to beat around the bush and "be nice" for my friends sake. I feel it's rude for them to say things like "you'll want them someday" or "it's different when they're yours" or the ever so popular "You'll regret not having them". In regards to it being different when they're yours, no duh, of course you love them once they're here, that's no reason to have them, love isn't enough. Kids don't eat love! I am one of five kids, I am pro choice, I strongly believe that this world is heavily over populated and I just HATE kids! Good or bad! That's my opinion. Sure, I wonder what my fiancé and I's kids would look like and be like, but that is not a reason to have kids. I want to live my life, leave the house when I want without needed a baby sitter or having to worry about kids. I want to go on vacation and not have to spend the entire time do "kid friendly activities". I want to be free and live my life with as little stress as possible. Kids would ruin my life -.- Buuuuut, that is my personal opinion and what is best for me. If you want to have kids and that makes you happy, go for it! Enjoy your life and enjoy your human kids 🙂 as for me, my kids have paws and fur and they are all the children I need 🙂

  43. I don't like kids, I don't want them and I preferably avoid them whenever I can. It is the same as someone who doesn't like cats, doesn't want them and actively avoids them..
    I understand that it's part of human life and the continuation of our race, but kids are not my thing and it annoys the hell out of me when someone has the opinion I'm an asshole for saying it out loud.
    At 30 I know I won't change my mind about this, I've had this feeling since I was like 15 years old.
    Don't get me started on the lovely opinions my GP and the gynecologists seem to have when I request a sterilization and get denied. Fudge off with the idea that I might change my mind when I'm 40. It's funny how kids are a choice for everyone these days with medical options, but as soon as you explain that you don't like/want/need kids it's suddenly a problem for them.
    Maybe it's just me, but it's rude as fudge to say you don't accept the reasoning behind not wanting kids when the answer is the person doesn't like them. Kids, just like pets or food or climates or whatever the fudge, are not for everyone. It's about time people accept this.. I mean, the world is crowded enough as it is and the few women that decide not to have kids should be applauded as much as the ones that do.
    Meh, I just wanted to vent. It seems like I wasn't the only one 🙂

  44. I've been asked and condescended to and pushed and prodded so many times over the years, that I'm pretty much on par with this in terms of response now. I don't intend to be, but after 30+ years of people refusing to just accept 'don't want kids' at face value and insisting on prying as to WHY and feeling the need to try to convince you otherwise, it just comes out.


  45. wish this had any specificity. it is so vague it doesn't really seem to mean anything. i'm not feeling judgmental about the author's decision, i'd just like to know something about their actual thought process.

    • I don't mind the vagueness, because I feel like the point is that not why she doesn't like kids, but that not all child-free people need or can qualify their choice with "…but that doesn't mean I don't like kids! I'm a fantastic aunt!" or whatever. There are those of us out there who aren't the "good aunt" types. 😉

      But I'm now thinking about writing a bit more, over on my personal blog, about why *I* particularly don't like kids. I've talked it over in therapy a lot, and really ripped it apart. There's some interesting things there having to do a LOT with my relationships with my siblings, a long-term unhealthy relationship in high school, and my over-all control issues. Which lead my therapist to being like, "yeah, with all that, it totally makes sense why you wouldn't be comfortable around kids and would not want to become a parent."

      Hmmmm… *gets writing fingers limbered up*

      • I'd be interested to read that. However, I don't think that not liking to be around children has to stem from any particular issues with past relationships or our own childhood (although it certainly can, of course). Sometimes, it's just who and how people are.
        I don't like to be around loud self-centered adults with no filter, little consideration for others and very different priorities than mine. It doesn't mean I don't bear with it when I have to, but I'm not actively seeking it. The fact that the other person is 5 instead of 35 doesn't make much of a difference in how I'm not having that great a time hanging out with them. Of course it's all normal behaviour for a child, but again that won't change my experience much. That means a lot of things like: I won't rush over to see your new-born child. Other people are much more interested in that than me and they'll be happy to do it. If I'm inviting you for my birthday party, children are not invited (and my house is not child-proof at all). If I'm over to your place for your party? Then I am aware the children will be there and that's fine; I just won't seek them out.

        Can't talk for the OP, but as a person who doesn't like children much, all I want is for people to stop trying to "turn me". Forcing me to spend time with children, dropping a babe in my arms, won't make me like those experiences more.

        Honestly, I'm a bit put off by the hard-core negative reactions to this post. And I am greatly missing Scalzi's Mallet of Loving Correction right now, because there was a lot of off-topic and repetitive stuff thrown in there (and dare I say a bit insane?).
        There's also this "oh but you're going to be so unhappy" comments…I mean WHAT? Believe me, I don't need anyone being concerned about me "missing out" on life because children aren't a big part of it. I think that is intensely condescending and would encourage anyone tempted by that form of pity to use their energy elsewhere. Everyone's experience is different for everyone else's. Someone found their bliss in being around kids/parenting a kid? Great! That's not how mine came along. They don't need to share mine and I don't need to share theirs; it's fine, everyone found "it" in the end anyway.

        • AGREED! Dislike for children =/= want for eugenics or child abuse. And I LIKE kids.

      • I totally respect your choice and it probably makes sense, however, I've always been a bit bummed knowing that you're childfree because you're so pretty, and your kids would look so cute and, judging by your bathrooms, you would do the best themed nurserys! <3 🙂

        • HA!!!! Your comment made me actually laugh out loud. I have *actually* had a moment of going being sad and going, "aw man, I'd design a kick-ass kids room."

          Also thank you for calling me pretty. 🙂

  46. Correct me if I'm wrong. I feel like what the OP means to say, different than that they do not like all children, is that they do not like the implicit responsibility to parent that comes with being around children.

    I am child-free by choice, and I think I would be sad/annoyed if all my friends had children and I never, ever got to just hang out with my friends, the adults. For me now, it's not even disliking kids so much as feeling like the responsibility (of setting the right example, of making sure Jimmy doesn't eat things he shouldn't, of not swearing in the room) is weird for me. It's not that I won't do it. I'm not a dick. But I don't like it. I don't think I'd be a good parent, so being put in that role around other people's children to some extent–just because I am a fellow adult–is icky.

    Again–not because I hate them. Not really. But because I'm no good at that stuff, I'm not, and no one should assume that I am just because I have a job and stuff. Maybe that's not the point here. But maybe that'd be a good way to re-think about it, even for the OP.

    Maybe it's a bit much to say you hate all children, but rather that you hate the expectations of you around children?

    • I really like this comment, and I'm one of the people who is unhappy with this article and stated how it smacks of ageism and ableism above. I think you're reading the article with a generous eye, but perhaps it does, in fact, better reflect the heart of the matter in this case. I hope so! Personally, I enjoy getting to know/talking with some children, and others not so much – depending on the child, since they're all different, but also depending on the family/situation. I've lived in a couple of other countries and I think there is something that goes on with *some* families in the U.S. where everything is made super precious, and you feel constrained from being yourself the second you're around the child. Some things are easy enough – not swearing is a good example – but there is *something* I can't quite fully articulate yet that often doesn't feel quite as…natural. I feel like in the other places I lived 1) children were always around – rarely segregated from anything adults did and often running around, then coming back in, then running around again but 2) adults felt very little obligation to directly interact with them at any given moment, much like being at a cocktail party where you get to choose to talk to whomever you feel like. Things felt more fluid and less , "look what so-and-so is doing!", "So-and-so, tell Auntie X about how you feel about doing Y". There was less of an effort to entertain children. I really enjoy being around my closest friends and their kids precisely because the kids are SO incorporated into everything that they feel like one of many parts of our experience, rather than the main show. (I hope that makes sense.) Interestingly, I've always found – both as a nanny when I was younger and now just as the "auntie" to my niece and nephew and friends' kids, that many children tend to respond much better to you if you're just yourself – relaxed, kind of uninterested until they say something cool, and perhaps throwing in a funny comment once in awhile. Faking it/humoring people = exhausting, and I avoid it at all costs – with both kids and adults.

  47. Hmm, I didn't realise this was going to provoke such a discussion, I'm now feeling pretty naive! It has sent me off thinking a lot though…

    I had a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy session this morning and we were looking at my behavioural responses to overwhelming situations and interactions. One tactic I use is avoidance and we were trying to rationalise the fact that sometimes avoidance is a healthy way of dealing with issues and sometimes its not, depending on the circumstances and motivation. I'm working through anxiety and depression and there are some circumstances that I know will really trigger the symptons and make life difficult, but I think for most levels of mental and physical health there are going to be things that test you to your limits. Sometimes, at this point in recovery, my short-term solution is to avoid the situation and exit myself from it. In some cases that's the healthy response however I'm doing mentally (like when I was being physically threatened by guys on the tram the other day) but for a lot of things that only deals with the short-term issue and can even compound the long-term underlying problems.

    Honestly this will now start seeming relevant to not liking children. I know there are some situations and social interactions that I find very difficult and really pressure me even when I'm not dealing with any anxiety/depression issues. I'm very aware of sound and where people are in a space. I can try to build up my tolerance levels to these stimuli but they're things that will always be problematic for me because that's part of how I physically function. I could completely understand someone finding being around children as being really draining and difficult and something they actively dislike. Children tend to have less control over themselves than most adults (depending where they're at developmentally), for some of them their main means of communication is simply crying, they are less aware of social norms so are more likely to break them in ways someone could find uncomfortable. I don't think any of those tendancies are 'bad' at all, but I know they create behaviours that could cause people (including other children) difficulties. And if you know that being around children is going to actively drain you, discomfort you and possibly just drive you up the wall because all the children you've experienced push all of your buttons, is it wise to keep putting yourself in that situation? Through no fault of the children themselves I can easily imagine it being repeatedly problematic for someone to be around them.

    Back to the avoidance issue, I think if you've examined yourself and realised that that is part of how you function, and as part of your self-care you've decided not to enter into those situations, I think that should be seen as a valid choice. It's more complicated than when I'm using avoidance to deal with things that trigger depressive mindsets because while I know that I'm trying to 'fix' some thinking that has turned self-destructive there's nothing actually wrong with not liking people running about all over the place, crying, not understanding how they relate to others etc. etc. I don't know if avoidance is the most effective way to manage it in the long-run because it doesn't teach you to effectively deal with the problematic situation but I can fully understand why people would chose it. Ariel's comment about children being an element of life that simply isn't going to go away is very pertinent I think, as there needs to be some coping strategy that doesn't create a lot of grief for the person dealing with it, but I think there also needs to be the space to admit that it's a real issue. To be able to say that 'I don't like being round children' and that not be seen as something 'broken' in a person that has to be fixed. Although I would expect the person claiming that to be working out ways for them to manage that effectively, in a way that's healthy for themselves and those around them. I don't expect my autistic relation to ever come to love uncertainty and disrupted plans, and I'm learning not to expect myself to be positively enthusiastic about certain behaviour's in other people that I actually find really difficult but for some reason there seems to be a general impression that people who don't enjoy being around kids should make it imperative to change that. I'm not really convinced, I don't think some people are ever going to enjoy being around children and personally I don't see that as a problem, although it may prove difficult for them.

    This comment thread has made me really think about the idea of 'children' as a demographic though. I think it is a really odd group because it's the only one I can think of that actually does have near univeral similarities and yet also contains massive diversity within that. I feel it is reasonably fair to say that children will tend towards certain behaviours because of their experiences of learning and developing, whereas I would be incredibly wary of making blanket statements about, for example, people with a disability, apart from the fact that they probably identify as being disabled. It's really complex. Through reading the comments I've also realised that I personally feel ok with the 'not being a pet person' comparison because I don't expect children to take responsibility for the actions that people might find difficult. Dogs are going to bark because that's part of how they work, and though some people will find that difficult I don't blame dogs for doing it because they're not choosing to do so it's just how they are. In a similar way babies and toddlers are going to cry and children are likely to exhibit some behaviours that people might find difficult but I don't expect them to change that because that's part of how they function as children, they're not deliberately choosing that. So I can see the similarities of a friend deciding to meet you outside of your house because they find they dislike how dogs behave and a friend trying to meet you in a not so child focused place because they dislike/find it difficult to be around kids. I think there's an important differentiation to be made between children and their behaviour, I don't have to hate a child to dislike sitting next to a screaming toddler, but neither should I have to justify that dislike by saying I really like the child either. But is that me just playing with semantics, and would I feel differently as a parent of a small child? And if I felt differently would that matter anyway, as this isn't really about the parents' views of the matter? Still have too many questions!

    Btw has there been a deliberately lighter moderating approach to this thread to enable different people to express views? There's some bits, like how much people are accusing and almost attacking each other and the random link spamming someone's doing to a particular article, that have left it feeling a lot less life an Offbeat Empire conversation that usual, which is sad surrounding this sort of topic. I appreciate it must be a difficult call to make though!

    • Wow! I have to bookmark this comment and come back and really dive into it. SO much meatiness! I love it.

      But I want to address this: Btw has there been a deliberately lighter moderating approach to this thread to enable different people to express views?

      Not lighter moderation, but this is definitely a more intense discussion than Offbeat Home usually hosts. (This was more of an Offbeat Families comment thread, and those were way harder to moderate, as is this.) We've deleted a few comments, but the ones that remain are ones that don't exactly violate our comment policy (even if some of them made me squidgy) AND I've kept some iffies up because y'all are so smart that the discussion that ensued was FASCINATING.

      • I've just realised how flippin long my comment was, glad you found something interesting in the middle of it all 😉 There has been some really interesting discussion coming out of this; at least on Offbeat you know that if the drama levels are starting to rise there's usually a reason it's being let through. The response is probably a sign that we've still got a lot of thinking/working through these issues to do, so a good thing that the post got us doing so 🙂

    • Your "children as a demographic" paragraph is really spot on. There are behaviors that are inherent to a growing, developing brain that are no fault of the child, and to some people those behaviors are really difficult to be around. After all of these comments, I'm still not sure why that's so controversial.

  48. I'm of the belief that you should never have to apologize for not liking something or explain why you don't like it. If someone can't respect your 'no', they certainly won't respect your reasoning- screw 'em. If you're distantly polite to friends with kids, and you don't go around condemning everyone who has kids (because they have kids), it's not anybody's business.

    There have been years of my life where being around kids weirded me out, stressed me out, and put me on edge. There have been years where I couldn't stop holding other people's babies. I won't be having kids of my own (unless we're talking goats) because I don't think I'd enjoy being a parent, and I'm not willing to be responsible for that if I'm proved right.

    But after being pressed for years by my mother on the 'why' (and her not accepting ANY of the multitude of honest answers I gave), my response now is a smile and a firm 'No' (and if someone continues asking 'why not?', I say "it's private"; if they assert that I'll change my mind or don't know what I'm missing, I shrug and ignore their remarks).

  49. I too belong to this group. I do not like children at all and haven't since I was a child myself. I was about 9 and was forced to hang out with my 5 year old second cousin and every minute was torture. I attribute my kid aversion somewhat to my only child status. I wasn't raised around other children as my cousins are all either way older so I never learned how to "deal" with them. I find it hard to communicate on a kid level, I don't find playing with them fun, and their little voices just grate on my nerves. The cry of a baby is like the cry of a mandrake to me (except that I'm still alive.)
    I recognized a long time ago that I would never have children and thankfully found a husband to be who shares my views but for his own reasons, he actually likes children. I know that I would feel very resentful if I couldn't, for example, audition for a show because I couldn't find childcare for rehearsals. I would be annoyed if I had to decline invitations to parties or other adult themed activities. Not to mention the cost, the stress, and my crippling migraines that would make taking care of a crying child way more difficult than it would be normally.
    I also hate the way that having children changes people. All my friends who have had children in the last few years have become obsessed helicopter parents who can't have a conversation about anything other than their kids. My one friend explained it to me that it does bother her that she has nothing else to talk about but since she's with her kids 24/7 that's literally IS all she has to talk about. I understand that and that's her choice. If I liked children then I'd probably be a lot closer to her because I'd go over and hang out. But I don't, so until her youngest reaches an age where I can have an adult conversation with him we'll remain texting / facebooking friends who hang out when she needs to get away. That's cool, and it works for her. It wouldn't work for me. I wouldn't be happy with that life.
    Our child free decision has of course ruffled some feathers. My MIL loves children, wants more grandchildren, and can't accept that her only son won't be passing along the family name (he's a IV). But, it's our decision to make, and we do not feel that our lives will be less fulfilling because there won't be any children in them.

  50. I'm super late to the party on this, but what strikes me is that everyone seems to have been weighed down by semantics. I would have loved to see the discussion that would have been generated if this post had been worded "I dislike loud noises, sticky fingers, snotty noses, whining, crying, etc, and as such have yet to find a child whose company I enjoy" instead of "dislike children". It appears as though most dissenting arguments are centred around it being bigoted to dislike a group of people because said group is not homogeneous, and I would have loved to see what those commenters would have said if the OP had been centred around common behaviours rather than a quick and dirty classification like "children".

  51. Those of us who have kids, let's be honest, they're kinda assholes/jerks a lot of the time. Just because we love them doesn't erase the fact that they are rather unpleasant a decent majority of the time. Those that have chosen to be child-free I totally respect your decision (and envy your freedom:) but please don't NOT hang out with me because I have a child. I know he can be a jerk, but I seriously adore my friendships and our grown up conversations, and I flat out can't afford to hire a babysitter every time I hang out with my friends. Your tolerance of my child means the world to me, and I totally appreciate that your visits might be shorter than they were pre-mommy days, but for the love of all that is sacred in the world please don't let our friendship slide (and please bring wine when you visit).

    • I think part of what makes this a touchy issues for the childfree folks is that it's very easy to become defensive and/or resentful because we are constantly being told we're wrong. I absolutely understand and respect that you made the decision to become a parent, and that it has changed your life and priorities. But that choice now gives me choices: 1)spend time with you and your child, which makes me unhappy. Or 2) don't spend time with you and your child, which makes you unhappy.

      And if I choose option 2… I'm the bad guy. I'm in a catch-22 where no matter what, I'm not going to enjoy the outcome. Becoming a parent changes the terms of your relationships. And part of the price of becoming a parent is that you will lose some of them because people don't like the new terms of service, as it were.

    • Oh I love your empathy. I have spent time with my friends who have kids, and I get along really really well with the (calmer) 6yr old+ set, but with the young ones and babies, I get overwhelmed, utterly overwhelmed and stressed out, bear with it, and when they're gone, I need to take some time to be alone and de-stress afterwards. There has been the rare baby I've enjoyed.. maybe 2 in my life, and I gush to the parent: "Wow, I like your baby! I don't like babies, but yours? Yours I like! S/he is extraordinary!"

  52. Haha – loving this. I am child free and married. My issue is more specifically that I as a woman should not just like but love kids where as my partner (a dude) is allowed to be indifferent.

    Fun fact Dr Seuss did not have children nor did Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts). Couldn't resist throwing this in.

  53. I do have a kid and I think it's fine that you don't like kids. In fact, I have a friend who feels as you do. You can like or dislike whoever you want, no need to apologize for that. And I think too, that in your daily life you can arrange to avoid kids (i.e. do adult minded activities, like going to yout job, the gym, hiking adventurously, paragliding, going to bars, the list can go on and on).

    The thing is, why I commented, you sound quite defensive. You shouldn't, why would you have to like kids? The one thing I want to point out is that many of your friends at some point will have kids. And I do think you should own that, or at least come to terms with it. It means that in the next 10 years or so, your friends and you will sometimes have different priorities. And different interests. That means you could grow apart. Again, I don't think it's a big deal (just life, same thing might happen if you'd happen to like kids but treat them wildly differently), but it helps you if you acknowledge that, so that you can have no hard feelings and frustration towards your friends and their kids and at the same time be true to yourself.

  54. This is an important post and a completely valid view to have and to express. I'm also impressed by the number of thoughtful comments that the post has also inspired!

    I don't think you're alone in being uncomfortable and aggravated by children. I'm sure it's obvious that parents get aggravated at their own children, too! In the US in particular there is a tendency to let parenting over-ride all pre-child goals, motivations, and pleasures – exacerbating the problem and making it extra-understandable that many would opt out of parenthood.

    On the other hand, I wonder if discomfort with children may be a symptom of the disconnect we have between a professional/single life and family life. There is not enough balance between these two spheres, and, as a society that doesn't support affordable childcare, extended parental leave, or public education, we've made it obvious that we don't value community that includes family or children.

    In this culture, many people are left with very little opportunity to interact with children or to see the benefit both personal and social in watching and participating in the growth of the next generation before being asked to take the anti-autonomy hit of having kids of their own. This segregation makes the transition to parenthood terrifying and obscures the fact that, whether you are a person who is naturally drawn to children or not, they are an important integral part of humanity. One that I believe we all bare some responsibility towards just by virtue of the fact the we ourselves were allowed a childhood by a community that cared for us.

    In short, aversion to children is personal and valid, but I think it's possible that if we as a society could adopt a more extended notion of family that includes those that have and don't have children, involving the child-free in the process of raising the next generation, all individuals would not only be more comfortable and supported in the roles that they take (whether as parents or not) and, most importantly, the joys of child-rearing, those that allow many parents, care-givers, and friends to see beyond the annoying behaviors children outgrow to the innately beautiful soul underneath, can be enjoyed more easily by those who choose not to have children of their own.

    • I was going to take offence to "they are an important integral part of humanity", but I like that you expanded upon that with "it's possible that if we as a society could adopt a more extended notion of family that includes those that have and don't have children".

      I wouldn't want to ever tell someone they're missing an integral part of humanity (especially if the child-free status did not come by choice), but I can see you meant you want people to be free to have children to care about regardless of whether they "belong" to them.

      However, I don't know that I see children as being an integral part of every life. In trying to find an apt comparison, I thought of those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic. I might think having relationships are completely integral to life, but my viewpoint obviously does not encompass all of humanity, because ACE individuals exist and find happiness through life without that aspect. I don't think that which is integral to our lives can be decided upon without at least some degree of relativity.

      Unless you just meant integral to life as in "life will end if we stop having children" in which case disregard my ramblings, because yes of course, that is factual.

  55. My friends all started to have kids and stopped inviting me to almost any thing. I got the occasional 'lets get a drink with the child free friend for the night' invites. I don't get invited to child birthday parties even though all the parents there are(were) my friends. I feel like the woman on Problem Child. Like, I sort of want to have a kid just to have friends again. When I mentioned it to people several said "Oh? I though you dont like kids because you don't have any", but nothing changed. I mean, really, being ostracized because I practiced family planning ( and getting a higher education that was a "thing" too)… Fortunately, now Im in Seattle and not surround by moving back home to the small town after college drama.

  56. I'm late to the party but I don't like children and make no apologies. As to not liking a whole class of people – every murderer, rapist and paedophile is a person and I don't like them either (and they were all children at one point). I've got friends with children and when I see them, I have to see their children too, otherwise I lose a friendship, but I don't especially like their children and certainly don't want to spend long amounts of time around them. I am more used to my friends' children now but if I had a choice, I'd rather not see them.

  57. I don't think it's uncommon not to like children, or at least not to like them at certain times when they're constantly demanding and attention-seeking. I was never allowed to be like that as a child and was one of six siblings. While I might have liked more attention and recognition as a child, I think the lack of it made me objective, independent and self-sufficient.

    I am a bit bowled over by how children are pandered to these days. I firmly believe children need to fit in with adults and not vice-versa. I've never wanted children and get stressed, like now, when my sister-in-law is coming to stay with the two young girls who, while adorable in some ways, can scream their heads off if they don't get what they want and lack privacy awareness; like running into your bedroom when you've gone to bed or are lying in bed the morning. So these (infrequent) visits cause me high stress levels.

    But my main point is that no-one in this day in age should be questioning whether they are 'evil' or selfish for not liking children. If you don't have children and you're used to adult company, children can be incredibly stressful. I have a friend who loves her two girls to bits but openly admits she can't stand anyone else's children. Guess what? There's nothing wrong with that. Live the life you need to lead and try and give children a wide berth if they're bad for your health.

  58. I think children tie in really well with the whole "It's okay to not like things (but don't be a dick about it)" idea.

    I don't expect anyone to love my son just because I love my son. I don't expect to constantly gush over his existence- in fact, I'd prefer not to. However, I often hear "I don't want to hear about people's kids/ see their photos/ be around them, EVER". To me… that's being a dick about it. This is a big part of my life, and it will come up from time to time. I can't always get a babysitter- partially it's a monetary thing, and partially because I like being around my kid and miss enough time via school, daycare, etc.

    People keep saying that if you're a good friend, you'll leave the kid elsewhere. Otherwise, you don't value the friendship. To me, if you're not willing to be around my kid sometimes, then you didn't value my friendship overmuch. I've had friends with partners or family members I couldn't stand. I still bit my tongue and was polite when they were around, because I valued the friend and the friendship more than my dislike of certain people. Even if someone has an ethical issue with having children (overpopulation is a common one), they can set that aside. I am a pacifist, and have friends in the military. I simply accept that I am not Lord Emperor of the Universal Morality.

    I see often that the child-free are upset that their friends "disappear" after having kids. Being a new parent is physically and emotionally exhausting. I could barely stand for several weeks, and I was running on no sleep. It seems a bit unreasonable to expect much of anything from someone in that state. If you wouldn't expect it from someone recovering from major surgery, don't expect it from someone who just gave birth. After a while, the new parents should certainly be able to contact and hang out with friends and loved ones, but the baby will be there. It needs to be close to its parents at this point, and it's likely asleep anyways. Both sides need to maintain the friendship, but if the child free friend is putting a bunch of unrealistic constraints on the relationship ("Just get a babysitter" comes to mind. Even if one of the 3-4 people I could ask are free, it's a hassle and an expense that isn't justified if you're just going for coffee) then it's likely to fizzle out.

    What I find interesting is that while the child free say "My friends disappear after having kids", new parents often say "My friends all disappeared after I had kids". Likely it's on both parties. Being a young mom, none of my friends have kids. Some want them one day, some never want any, and some aren't ready to decide yet. I've never asked them to babysit or care for my son, who is now nearly five. I sometimes go out without him, but as a single parent that just isn't possible all the time.

    The friends who were understanding of this, kind to my son and I, and reasonable? We're still good friends, and I'm grateful for it. The friends who wanted to use words like "breeder/cow/udders/spawn", couldn't be kind to a small child, acted like pregnancy was a horrible moral failure on my part, or kept openly saying things like "I just hate kids, it ruins your body, so gross, loose vagina" etc… are gone, like any other friend who called me names and insulted myself and my family would be. You can go ahead and not like kids, but it's rude to say that to me and my son. Likewise, I think motivational speaking, militarism, and Dr. Oz are absolutely ridiculous and harmful- but it would be inappropriate to say that to people who work, follow, or dedicate their lives to those things.

  59. I know I'm profoundly late to this conversation, but I just read this article for the first time, and my husband was able to put a very important distinction into words. People assume when you say "I don't like kids" that you're making a blanket derogatory statement that is prejudiced against a group. They reference it to "I don't like this race" or "I'm against this stereotype". This implies that you hate them and want them all to cease to exist, which isn't the case. Instead, the correct phrase should be "I don't like the company of children."
    In reality, "not liking kids" is kind of like those who don't like smokers. It's not that you want all smokers to die or cease to exist, you just choose not to be in their company because you don't like the things they do. I don't like the company of children because I do not enjoy it. That isn't to say there isn't one or two kids for whom I'll make an exception, either because I love their parents or they're VERY different from the rest, but I would not choose to spend time with children the same way I would not choose to spend time around smokers.
    This isn't a blanket judgement on the group that says they're all bad, it's simply a preference of mine. It's not something that is causing me unhappiness or somehow related to an insecurity, it's an opinion. It's the same as saying "I don't like spending time with whiny people" or "I don't like the company of sexists". I'm not condemning them, just stating my preference to not spend time with them. I see no issue with having that kind of opinion.

  60. I am terrified of kids. Babies especially.
    I realize I am young and my perspective might change when I am within the 'childbearing' timeline. But I am not that young that you could class me naive. I have been around children and babies enough to realize that I could do without them. It's not the child's/babies fault, nor is it mine, I just can't interact with them for longer than it takes to say 'goodbye'. The thought of pregnancy, childbirth, and then the years after makes my stomach do continuous back flips, (Don't get me wrong, I admire all parents with the task they have set themselves and I don't mean offense by this comment in any way). The thought of a baby or child needing constant care and guidance from me (a girl how has been dragged kicking and screaming into the adult world) is gut wrenching. And recently I've been trawling the internet for comfort. Seeing this 'child-free' statement whilst being married has given me a little hope as my biggest fear (apart from children) is having to spend my life alone due to my 'child-free' wish.
    thank you for anyone who has read my comment, and I would once again like to point out I did not mean to cause offence by any opinion stressed in this statement.

    • A lot of people have asked me if I'm worried about "ending up alone"
      because my husband and I have decided to be child-free. My husband is 8.5 years older than me so the very real possibility exists that I may have a long widow hood. I'm not particularly worried about it. I'm very involved with the community theater world in our area. This group of people is like a second family. I've met many widows who stay involved the theater long after their husbands are gone. Recently, we held some benefits for a widower who's apartment complex was ravaged by a fire. Having this other "family" that's constantly receiving new members gives me comfort and hope that if I should face a long widowhood I won't have to go through it alone. Theater is only one example but there are lots of community activities one can get involved with before and after their spouse passes.

      I've seen it go the other way too. An aunt of mine was widowed about a year ago and because she and her husband were together 24/7 she is still very lost. I think that's part of why it's so important to have friends and interests outside a marriage. That way whoever lives longer is not completely lost when the first passes. This aunt has voiced her regrets about not having children so that she'd "have someone to take care of me."
      I found that statement to be rather selfish and also impractical. There's no guarantee that if she'd had children they'd have ended up living close enough or even wanting to take care of her. Children shouldn't be viewed as potential future caretakers.

  61. I'm so glad to have found this. I used to want a kid, just one of my own, and one adopted. I've had the womb-urges several times, but I've never been particularly broody. I've never ever been one to coo over babies, I find kids interesting from 6years old, onwards. A couple of years ago I said farewell to all hopes of ever having children, due to the requirement of taking a pharmaceutical to help heal me… ie. the drug wouldn't stop fertility, but would damage the foetus.
    Thing is: now I feel that being pregnant is like a disease, that babies and young kids are an absolute pain-in-the-ass. I still like the 6yr old onwards, and do volunteer work with 12yr olds. But the young kids and babies… get them the hell away from me. My eyes glaze over when people recount stories of young kids and babies. So often I hear horror stories about being a parent, ending with "oh but it's WORTH IT!". Gross. I'm actually now grateful to have never had a baby, and that I never will.
    I've been wondering what the hell's wrong with me, am I some sort of evil deviant to feel this way. This article helped. Thank you.

  62. "I’ll fully go against the “good” child-free grain and say it: I’m child-free": fine, just a little contradictory when at the same time you psot this anonymously. Anyway, I don't like kids either, although I don't hate them – maybe that's another intersting differentiation to discuss.

  63. THANK YOOUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I needed to hear someone else say this. NEEDED to. I read so many articles about not wanting kids, but loving them, but I just don't. I didn't even like kids when I WAS a kid lol. I might have my own one day (I hear "it's different when you have your own" but I doubt it, but that's a whole other story) but I just do not like children. And it is so amazingly excellent to hear someone else say it!!

  64. Well, children are people right ? So saying that one does not like "children" as a whole seems a bit shocking, I mean it would be like me saying "I don't like anyone over 50". How can you "not like" a whole age group ? Not liking some children I understand, just as much as not liking some adults, but not liking the whole population of children is in my opinion similar to not liking old people, or not liking disabled or black people… It just does not make sense !!! Children are as diverse as any other age group (especially because the article mentions them being especially annoying when they "become their own person"…) and starting any conversation with a prejudice that you're not going to like the person in front of you because of their age, looks, color… just does not appeal to me. I really hope I'm not coming across as judgy, I totally understand people not wanting children and not wanting their friends' children to be the sole topic of conversation or here at every event or even not liking their friends' children if they seem spoiled or just not likeable (some adults are not very nice and neither are some children) it is the generalization to all children that surprises me.

    • They may be unique in colour of hair or eyes etc., but all children of a certain age (I'm talking toddlers) have shared traits whether it be temper tantrums or high pitched ear deafening squeals and it's those traits that irritate me and I have no doubt as I was annoying as hell to some people myself at that age (probably still am at 52!). No, toddlers can't help it; but I can't help not liking it. A 50 year old has had those 50 years to become the person they are so are all very different. Once children get to a certain age, I can deal better and there will be some I like and some I don't like.

      • Very well stated. I was recently at a party at my in-laws and there was a two year old and I just cannot for the life of me understand why they shriek the way they do! It just sends chills down my spine, like nails on a chalk board. I'm not saying I never did that when I was two because I probably did and I probably annoyed people! But like you said I can't help not liking the noise, the incessant questions, and just the general behavior of small children.

    • Yes it is a prejudice but I feel that way about kids. It is a generalization but at the same time I have thought that about every one I met on an individual basis until I came to the realization that I do not like them period.

      It is not everything about them I dislike though. I have nieces and they are cute sweet kids but when I am just sitting there minding my own business and they come and jump on my back or ask a question that is followed by "but why" after every response it drives me crazy.

      There is something about every kid I meet where I have that feeling of "omg gtf away from me" and I wonder what is so fascinating about kids? My girlfriend is at the point where she is starting to bring it up quite frequently and I know she is making a play for us to have a family some day.

      I asked my brother once what is so great about kids and if he thinks I should have them and he said when he saw his daughter for the first time he instantly fell in love with her, so I think I really can't understand what is so special unless I have my own. Like the article however, i'll take his word for it.

      • "There is something about every kid I meet where I have that feeling of "omg gtf away from me""

        I hear this! I can fake it when I have to and I'm not rude or mean to children who I happen to come in contact with but I just don't like them.
        I'm so very uncomfortable speaking to them and I find them to be quite tiresome and annoying. In my 28 years I have never come across a child that I would voluntarily spend time with. It's just not part of my make up I guess and I'm fortunate to have found a husband who shares my desire to never have any. If he had wanted a family that would have been an absolute deal breaker for me.

  65. For me, a large portion of "not liking kids" is directly tied to other people's expectation of MY behavior around children. I shouldn't curse around them, I'm expected to engage with them and pretend to be interested in their inane questions and behaviors. If they throw tantrums and I make a face, I'm "parent shaming" or whatever. There are so many expectations of how one should behave around children, it makes it completely exhausting and not at all enjoyable for some, including me.

    • This is so true and I've never even thought of it before! Thank you for putting that into words. Part of the reason I don't like children is that I find it very difficult to come down to their level when speaking to them. I tend to speak with them like I would with an adult (that's how I was always spoken to even as a child) and parents (at least the ones I've experienced) are not generally receptive to that.

  66. I can very much relate to this post. I am currently 25 and ever since I can remember I have never liked nor wanted kids. These feelings still have not changed. Not liking kids doesn't make me a bad person. I do not wish harm upon any child and I think that people who hurt and abuse them are terrible excuses for human beings. I just do not like them and prefer not to be around them but I'm ok if I have to be. I do not plan on having kids and am proud of my decision. For those who like kids, good. For those who don't, good. No one says you have to like or dislike them. Everyone is different. I'm just one of those people who do not like kids and will not be having any.

  67. children are unevolved adults. That's why its normal not to "like" them. Theyre almost always in a life or death situation. (don't run into the street,dont jump up and down while chewing food,dont get in car with stranger) They also don't shut up. have zero social intelligence. rebel scream cry and protest all reasonable requests that are only for their best interest. without your help theyd die by their own self "nature" and we are aware of that.
    adults do not become children
    children become adults
    the interim is hell.
    they fight it every step of the way.
    that's not "natural"
    and maybe we are aware of a biological defect in childhood "nature"?
    it goes against it's own survival when in the animal world a baby pops out and stands up and walks in one day (just one example) they evolve super quick and do not go against it's own parents.
    even the bible says "children oppress you" one translation says "abuse"
    the children ARE ABUSING the parents as part of the nastiness of human nature (in childhood) that says if I annoy/irritate the HELL out of my own provider he/she will give me what I want.
    how is that a natural biological friend and not an enemy?
    some appeal to the larger collective society to go against their parents! "my mom/dad "hit" me please help" but in a manipulative and lying way. why bother?
    its not "yours" you are sadly mistaken
    it belongs to the collective and is well aware of it. and many of us in the collective are waking up and saying "I don't want you" "your "kind" because we grew up already. and can see clearly the disease/ahem…"defect" in human nature….its repelling
    one poster above said to try to tolerate what you hate..and gave the worst example
    a child saying "why?" 1000 times a day
    guess what? that's called bad behavior
    bad parenting
    I wasn't allowed to say why 10000 times a day.thats annoying as fuck to an adult
    they cant get their work done.
    children are NOT to rule the parents even by annoying their ears.
    its simple
    I have a lot more to say but…sigh
    I think you all know.
    your precious crotch goblin can ( and does often enough) grow up to be a rapist/porn watching/woman abusing/pedophile..or whatever….and the mother will still say "that's my boy! he's alright" it happens. so maybe us childfree are noticing these things (duh) and wondering whats going on biologically with breeders who choose this . stop calling kids innocent or a clean slate
    theyre basically for all intents and purposes a "retarded adult" being retrained how to function! how to even hold a cup is hard. it gets angry and screams and throws raging tantrums when it drops the cup because even IT knows that's fucked up. see?

  68. what I see in America is a new thing
    it didn't exist before
    children even as young as 3-8
    EXPECT YOU to "serve" them and if you don't they scream and cry
    they expect a full grown adult with an adult mind to get on the floor and "play" with toys all day long
    and if you don't it punishes you.
    ive seen it and millions have seen it.
    its like theyre demon possessed.
    they EXPECT the parent to obey them in their silly whims and beg more year after year when almost in tears you tell them 1000000 times you HATE to play with toys and why cant they play alone.
    if an adult did what a kid wanted at all times we'd all be homeless and third world . that's a fact
    (just based on the amount time they want to monopolize)
    I don't have children and at 45 never will and couldn't be happier. but this experience comes from babysitting
    the parents are zombies and fully controlled by manipulation I see right through
    believe me your precious little ones abuse you with cunning and smile and wink at me from the side.
    its not a surprise.
    I see this as a biological attack and with a scientific mind I have not only the right to,but the imperative.
    I am protecting myself.
    I do not "like" the nature I see in children but if anyone saw what I saw and liked it then even that adult better stay away from me.
    id say that adult is infected and its too late for them
    or theyre lying for their own agenda
    (societal constructs /economy/having children provides security) that will change

  69. I know of quite a few single women who have chosen not to have kids or theyre grown/women are divorced
    WHATEVER the case may be..our society set it up so the only way a woman could have a place to stay is if she as the childless one did daycare/babysitting
    because she has
    that parents do not have
    isn't that ironic
    I bring this up because these childless or otherwise free women (like I said kids grown/out of house/divorced/otherwise childless/GRANDPARENTS) are now seen as a commodity but theyre being abused too
    they feel stuck because the economy/affording your OWN place was never some easy thing..and these "breeders" who are oftentimes your own family members become bullies instantly
    they don't want you to know they need you
    they make you feel you need them
    so you better watch my kid for this roof over your head
    breeding is a captivity
    its been used by men for centuries in third world countries
    it just takes on different forms here
    under a guise of freedom
    I hope I'm resonating with any of you "free" women out there who find yourself forced to live with kids in the house due to economy/financial/SOCIETAL CONSTRUCT reasons
    of breeders
    we will turn the tides

  70. woe to you AND YOUR CHILDREN when "they" shall begin to call HER BLESSED who never gave birth

    it says woe to breeders
    when it says "and your children" not just "you" but those with children
    its clearly contrasting the ones with children and the ones without/NEVER had
    and it says its a "woe" to them (breeders)
    as she who never gave birth will be called blessed
    many women and men have admitted to using the womb as a weapon
    its all coming out now
    for control of economy/society. outnumbering even by race or worse yet religions that control your every move and even marry kids (young brides) and just breed breed breed (and usually starve/low iq/inbred/ etc)
    who is really in charge except the non breeders? or those who responsibly bred?
    not two teens in lust who actually HATE each other…(millions of people are bred from that)
    we all pay for it
    breeders kids don't belong to them
    which is why its a woe to them when non breeders are blessed.
    WE take care of them
    when two people have sex who don't even really so much as like each other
    and yet we get the bottom of the barrel in life.
    told we cant have financial help BECAUSE we aren't beat up/on drugs/not pregnant/childless
    that's tyranny and abuse by breeders
    and it will all come out
    all the talk they do now is only damage control
    using our own good hearts to call us selfish
    we all know breeders are selfish
    they often feel "entitled" the same as their hellspawns do
    to government $ programs
    just for breeding!
    why aren't non breeders given incentives for not breeding considering we even have the TIME to care for your offspring when you DONT. instead you feel we are FORCED to (financial difficulties) and lord it over us
    this cant really be forgiven
    and it makes you and your kids rightfully hated
    the parent child behavior is the same

  71. she who never gave birth
    will have all children run to her it says
    and she will say
    theyre HER kids
    as the non breeder
    for a reason

    the Bible is illustrating this
    "she who never gave birth/unmarried/virgin HAS MORE CHILDREN than the married woman says your God"
    this isn't a religious discussion
    its social and coming true
    didn't you see what hagar Egyptian slave (breeder) wife did? its same as many do today!
    it says sarah couldn't give birth so she used the slave girl as the breeder …so then the slave mother /breeder started to taunt her and her son that she did eventually have and was sent away…she wanted inheritance (money) for her breeding abilities
    realizing that she was an enemy. taunting her over her breeding "skills" lol
    so then this same "mother" threw her child into a bush so she wouldn't have to watch it die from starvation/thirst….
    even that well runs dry…
    stop breeding
    denying youre hurting others doesn't count for anything
    youre draining resources and benefitting from a construct that favors you
    that's called privilege
    based on zero merit
    oftentimes lust/fornication/drugs and more…jobless etc etc
    so..all your kids belong to the childless woman just as bible repeats again and again
    get used to it
    keep them in line or go away like hagar
    don't bully me
    all I want is well behaved kids
    well you know I wont say it
    I wont care what happens to ya
    the louder you cry the more my ears go shut
    like to a whining child

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