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Old 05-07-2011, 09:54 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 90,709,442 times
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It really has nothing to do with kids of today compared to kids of yesterday.

I didn't like children when I was a young adult. I couldn't stand them. It has nothing to do with not remembering what it's like to be a kid. Most teenagers are annoyed by younger children. They can be very annoying---even decades ago. I surely wasn't interested in seeking out time with children when I was a young adult. But I know children who were in my life had no clue I didn't like chldren.

In my first marriage (19-22 years old), I had a neice via my sister and a nephew via my sister in law.

My neice was okay but I wasn't all gushy over her. We'd see her ever Sunday at my parent's house for Sunday dinner. I wasn't seeking her out but I was polite to her. I'm not the type of person who gets all gushy with children. I talk to them like adults. We might not have a huggy, kissy relationship when she was little. I'm not the fun aunt either. But I ended up being her favorite aunt now that she's an adult.

My nephew was more of a challenge. When we would go to their house for dinner, he'd beat my legs with a plastic bat. I remember saying to my husband on the way there in the car, "Oh, joy, joy. It's so fun to be beat with toys." His father abused their dog and him. When they were at our house one night for dinner, his father took him into our bathroom and beat him for something that didn't make sense. I called CYS on him the following week. Anyways, I ran into my exhusband years later. Turns out my nephew never stopped talking about me throughout the years. He remembers that I would read him stories and would tell everyone what a great aunt I was. Even though I wasn't huggy and kissy or fun, fun, I guess I was one of the few people who were nice him and treated him with respect.

My point in sharing this is to provide examples of how it's possible to not like children but to be nice to them when forced to spend time with them. I was very touched and surprised that my neice and nephew grew to view me as their favorite aunt. I guess consistency means more to children than anything else.

Just learn how to be tollerant and treat them fairly.

 
Old 05-07-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 35,538,806 times
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I remember what it's like to be a kid, back in the 1960's and 70's. I don't remember what it's like to be a kid in the 21st century, because I was already 40 years old in the 21st century. I don't dislike kids. I just don't have any interest in having long involved conversations with a child about why the sky is blue, or why people have bellybuttons, or whether or not green is the perfect crayola color for Big Bird's beak in the coloring book. These are just simply topics I don't care about. But I appreciate that children DO have an interest in these things.

But that doesn't mean I have to listen to it. When they start asking me about my favorite MUD, or whether or not Heinlein was the greatest political satirist in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, I'm all ears. But coloring books? Eh. Not so much.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 10:43 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 6,079,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
It really has nothing to do with kids of today compared to kids of yesterday.
It might not have anything to do with it in the case of the OP - but I will stick to my guns that in general, it does.

When I came to this country I was shocked to realize what a stark mental segregation there is between parents and non-parents in the American adult world. Singles or couples without children seem to make a point of staying away from parents of young children like Satan avoids churches.

People are expected to socialize with those in the exact same "life stage" as themselves because everyone departs from the premise that little Johnny's mom and dad are in that "stage of life" where all they will want to do or talk about is child-related stuff and only someone in their exact same position will be able to put up with such an intense focus on that topic and that topic only.

I have heard so many singles and childless couples clearly stating they can't stand being around parents because one cannot have a normal conversation or visit with them - as the topic of children (or the children themselves!) invariably end up at the center of everyone's attention.
As a result, parents of small children get ghettoized in "family friendly areas" where everybody will live and breathe child stuff and nothing else, without feeling weird.

Growing up, such lifestyle arrangements would have appeared grotesque to my parents.

They had a very tight group of close friends (4 young families, two of whom were childless and remain childless to this day) and one was single for a very long time. All these families (the childless included) spent week-ends together, vacations together, having the fun of their lives..while us kids, were expected to simply disappear off radar (in our rooms, outside, wherever) once we got our little "15 minutes of fame" (attention). The idea of disturbing the adults' conversations or card games with our presence would have been unimaginable.
They would all go into the kitchen, close the door and were able to enjoy endless hours of Canasta games - all while having small children!! We would only go in when it was time to get something to eat - and then we had to be quiet and quick!!
This would be virtually unimaginable in this country today.

Funnily enough, it was one of the childless guys who loved to pay most attention to us and spent most time with us on vacations. But then again, the other parents in the group never stifled their childless friends with "child-related" conversations or by giving us more attention or room than they thought we required (which, for the record, was very little when they all had adult visits going on). We certainly didn't suffer because the two other couples would often bring their children with them and we all had a major ball without one moment of adult attention.

The bottom line is that parents, non-parents and even singles co-existed, congregated and formed close friendships happily.

To this day, the childless families remain very close friends of my parents and almost like a second set of parents to us. Same applies to the other two families with children. The childless never left the group just because their friends had children and they didn't. It never occurred to any of them to express dislike, discomfort, etc with their children's friends.

I also remember that generally speaking, people without children (including the childless by choice) used to find other people's children adorable.
By contrast today's childless seem to have an actual aversion to children and appear to find most of them annoying and obnoxious.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 10:52 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 90,709,442 times
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But I think that is more a difference of American vs. European values than child rearing of today vs. yesterday.

I only remember one childless adult in my childhood, my Godmother (my mother's cousin). Aside from her, my parents didn't socialize with people who didn't have kids.

It can't be blamed entirely on people who don't have children.

Often friends stop inviting friends who don't have children or have children in different age group.

Parents seem to prefer socializing with people who have children the same age as their children.

I totally agree with you that it's important for people to be tollerant and kind to children.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:03 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 90,709,442 times
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syracusa,

Your post reminded me of my little sister. She is overwhelmed with three young children. She is the one who refuses to socialize with her children around. She'll arrange to have lunch or go shopping with me and her firends when her husband watches the kids (which is very rare). She doesn't like visitors at her house because she feels that they distract her from her children. When she's with her children, she wants to be 100% focused on them. She doesn't want to entertain family or friends unless they have children the same age as her children.

It's weird. I think it's America---this whole I only want to socialize with people who are in the same stage of life as me mentality. I don't think it's a new mentality either. My parents seemed to only socialize with people who had children the same age as their children---with the exception of the priests who came over to play cards.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:07 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 6,079,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
But I think that is more a difference of American vs. European values than child rearing of today vs. yesterday.

I only remember one childless adult in my childhood, my Godmother (my mother's cousin). Aside from her, my parents didn't socialize with people who didn't have kids.

It can't be blamed entirely on people who don't have children.

Often friends stop inviting friends who don't have children and chose to socialize with people who have children the same age as their children.

I totally agree with you that it's important for people to be tollerant and kind to children.
Oh, I NEVER blamed anything on the people who don't have chlidren.
The blame was directed to the parents - because they are the ones who start the vicious cycle of mutual avoidance!!

And yes, you make a good point, part of it IS about European-American cultural differences; but I can tell you that I was surprised to read quite a few American authors who pointed that only a couple of generations ago, many American parents behaved largely like the European model I described earlier.

There was an adult world in which children were not exactly welcome.
Mom and dad DID have a social life outside of kid-related stuff and children were expected to behave and find other kids to play with in the neighborhood without butting into mom-dad conversations or mom-dad-adult friends conversations every step of the way.
Yes, here in America...only a few generations ago.

Otherwise, I can confirm that the American child-rearing style is perceived as very weird on the other side of the ocean: parents create shrines to children for 18 years in a row acting like virtual servants for the them and at the end of the 18 years it is "Hasta La Vista Baby, raised you, fed you, pleased you...now don't let the door hit you on your way out, have a good life".
The latter part Americans call "allowing the child to be independent".
Europeans call both parts " you lost your mind".

Last edited by syracusa; 05-07-2011 at 11:30 PM..
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Clovis Strong, NM
3,378 posts, read 4,695,913 times
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Thank you all for your responses and not bombarding me into a corner.
After a nice, long bicycle ride through Vegas,. walking through the mall,. and then taking my bike for a bus-ride due to the seat bolt busting, I came to this thought.
I felt as though I didn't get enough time to truly act like a child when I was one due to being the de-facto oldest(three older siblings were born, raised, and still live overseas in Malaysia and such).
Anytime I tried to go out and do something childish, I was always put in charge of the younger siblings and had to act as more of a supervisor in a sense.
My stepdad didn't really care, but since him and my mom were divorced, my mom was always of this caliber that if I didn't show any leadership qualities towards the younger ones, it was "belt time".

This probably also explains why I'm keen on sticking to entry-level, blue-collar type jobs/careers as opposed to getting educated and getting thrown into a management position.
The mere sight and talk of children probably just brings up negative thoughts from my subconscious that reek of what was a tedious time for myself.
I've tried therapy, but like ones before, they tend to get tired of me.
So for now, I'll just have to treat it like I do my job.
Avoid the bad areas and stick to places where I'm certain I won't get tied up.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:21 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 90,709,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
There was an adult world in which children were not exactly welcome.
Mom and dad DID have a social life outside of kid-related stuff and children were expected to behave and find other kids to play with in the neighborhood without butting into mom-dad conversations or mom-dad-adult friends conversations every step of the way.
Yes, here in America...only a few generations ago.
That's definitely my childhood. I remember going out of town to funerals and walking around the strange neighborhoods with my siblings to find other kids to play with. I didn't even feel like we were being sent away. I don't think we were sent away. We were simply bored with the adultness of the atmopshere and left. LOL As a kid, the last thing I wanted to do was sit inside with my parents while they were comiserating with others over the death of someone.

I raised my children the same way, except sometimes I let them stay home instead of dragging them to adult events, like funerals. If they didn't know the person, I saw no reason for them to attend. But I definitely made sure they attended funerals of relatives and people they knew. They attended many funerals of their friends' parents too. I thought it was important for them to learn how to support friends during difficult times. It's amazing how many of their friends had parents who died. We did viewings at funeral homes and/or funerals depending on what was appropriate for each friend or our schedules. When I was a young adult, I went to the viewing of my girlfriend's grandmother. She was very touched---said I was her only friend who came or even acknowledged the death of her grandmother.

When I was growing up, I had friends who had never attended a funeral in their life. I wondered how they would handle the death of a parent when they were older. I think it's important for children to attend adult type events so they can learn how to be adults one day themselves!

My sisters and I didn't get along well as children and often in adulthood. I'll never forget when one of my brothers-in-law commented about being surprised we didn't fight at a funeral. My other sister was very offended and said, "We always knew how to behave at weddings and funerals!" LOL
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:28 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 90,709,442 times
Reputation: 30318
Quote:
Originally Posted by bentstrider View Post
Thank you all for your responses and not bombarding me into a corner.
After a nice, long bicycle ride through Vegas,. walking through the mall,. and then taking my bike for a bus-ride due to the seat bolt busting, I came to this thought.
I felt as though I didn't get enough time to truly act like a child when I was one due to being the de-facto oldest(three older siblings were born, raised, and still live overseas in Malaysia and such).
Anytime I tried to go out and do something childish, I was always put in charge of the younger siblings and had to act as more of a supervisor in a sense.
My stepdad didn't really care, but since him and my mom were divorced, my mom was always of this caliber that if I didn't show any leadership qualities towards the younger ones, it was "belt time".

This probably also explains why I'm keen on sticking to entry-level, blue-collar type jobs/careers as opposed to getting educated and getting thrown into a management position.
The mere sight and talk of children probably just brings up negative thoughts from my subconscious that reek of what was a tedious time for myself.
I've tried therapy, but like ones before, they tend to get tired of me.
So for now, I'll just have to treat it like I do my job.
Avoid the bad areas and stick to places where I'm certain I won't get tied up.
Yikes! I'm so sorry you're having trouble rectifying your childhood memories. There are a lot of terrible therapists out there. Use the experience you've had with therapists to assist you in finding a good one. Tell prospective therapists about your past experience with therapy---what worked and what didn't. I strongly urge you to continue searching for a good therapist so you can overcome your past so it doesn't cause you to avoid doing things you want with your life.
 
Old 05-07-2011, 11:28 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 6,079,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
syracusa,

Your post reminded me of my little sister. She is overwhelmed with three young children. She is the one who refuses to socialize with her children around. She'll arrange to have lunch or go shopping with me and her firends when her husband watches the kids (which is very rare). She doesn't like visitors at her house because she feels that they distract her from her children. When she's with her children, she wants to be 100% focused on them. She doesn't want to entertain family or friends unless they have children the same age as her children.

It's weird. I think it's America---this whole I only want to socialize with people who are in the same stage of life as me mentality. I don't think it's a new mentality either. My parents seemed to only socialize with people who had children the same age as their children---with the exception of the priests who came over to play cards.
Yes, it is - and I really do believe this mentality is not healthy at the end of the day.

In fact, read the "Why no kids outside" thread to see this mindset manifested in a different context.
One parent argues that it is better for children to play in organized activities than in generic neighborhood play because in organized activities they are with kids who share their exact same interest. Lord forbid should Johnny the soccer player have to play in any other way but soccer. Maybe the neighborhood kid would have liked to invite him over for a chess game or just to hang out and talk.
But then again, that would be a tragedy - to be flexible enough to try something that SOMEONE ELSE might be interested in, for a change.

If kids are raised like this, we should not be surprised that as soon as our friends cease to be in the "exact same life stage" as we are, we will drop them and look for our clones elsewhere.

Right now, I have a few friends in the "exact same life stage" as myself (one has a child who was born only 20 minutes ahead of mine, right across the hospital room where I gave birth).
But none of these friendships bring me the sense of bond, satisfaction and intellectual stimulation I get when we get together with a wonderful childless couple, much older than ourselves, from a different generation and in a completely different life stage than us (retirement).
They are beyond amazing and we love them immensely.
When we get together they are so sweet and constantly ask about our children, we fill them in... but then I often have to tell them that I need to NOT be talking about children-related stuff (unless it is in a generic, "social analysis/critical thinking" kind of context).
But I surely feel uncomfortable filling our conversations with details about what OUR kids do. They are so gracious that they would accommodate hours of such chatter on our part, but we certainly know better than that.

Then we go on and have the most amazing discussions, debates, dialogues I could ever imagine...far, far away from all the superficial chatter I often end up with when I meet with mothers of small children, in the "exact same life stage" with me.
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