Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Some people choose to have children for the most selfish of reasons and I find it fascinating.

Billy Joel singing "We Didn't Start the Fire."
As I've gotten older, a bubble has popped that insulated me from the myriad reasons of why some people have children. I used to think that two people who loved each other got together, got married, and kids just kind of happened as a natural progression of their relationship. Then this got amended when (at some point) I realized that kids sometimes arose that were unplanned or for that matter, unwanted by certain parents. Fair enough. That's a tragedy but it all made sense. But now I've come to understand an entirely different reason people have kids, and I gotta say, it's really baffling. Here it is: some people are having children because they don't have a good personality for making friends, so they get around this by literally "making friends" and calling them "family."

This is absolutely the oddest thing, and it's striking in that it never works. A person who has a personality that is incredibly toxic (due to narcissism or some kinds of mental illness) is going to drive those children out of their lives when they become adults and have the ability to choose. And I've seen this happen over and over and over. I've seen people who are unloved or feel unwanted figure out a way to have a couple of babies because sex is easy and bam, they've got someone obligated to them that they can exert 100% control over for 18 years (the need for control probably arising from some primal fear of abandonment). When I realized that this was a thing, I literally had a "WTF" moment. Not only is it bad for children in general, but it is a flagrant disregard of a certain message promoted relentlessly by our society.

What is that message? That there is someone for everyone. This simply isn't true. There are a lot of people out there who don't have a "someone" or an "anyone." There are a ton of lonely adults in our modern world...people who no one really wants to be friends with much less partner with...and people who are unwanted. They exist by the millions, and it's not a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" type of thing that you can solve with just effort. At least that's the way it seems to me. Sad, right? isn't fair. But I think (as a society) we do a disservice by ignoring the fact that there is NOT someone for everyone.

Do I offer any solutions to this? Nope. I'm pretty apathetic about people who make selfish choices. As long as they don't infringe upon me, I generally don't care. It's just not the hill I choose to (proverbially) die on, and trying to correct it seems an awful lot like trying to push the tide back with a broom. But what I am interested in is pointing out that I see this phenomenon occurring, and I find it interesting. It's in my nature to gape at something and say aloud, "are you seeing what I'm seeing? That's so messed up!" For example, I know a person that has done this exact thing, and I want to say to her, "Did you have children because you feel alone and just wanted to 'make friends' that were obligated to love you and would never leave you?" But I already know what she'd say, so there's no point to it. I'm pretty sure she'd own up to exactly that, and then she'd just shrug it off as a " was an option so I took it. It's a free country, right?" Fair enough, but it's really weird.

And I have so many questions regarding this choice. How does that child ever learn what a healthy relationship is? As the child grows, is the parent going to allow the child to make friends knowing that it will make them jealous? Could domestic abuse arise out of this choice that the parent is making? Will the child have a higher percentage chance of becoming a psychopath? Not that any of this matters because it is what it is, right? There's not anything that anyone can do about it until actual crimes are committed and then prosecuted through the courts of the justice system. Such is life.

As a man that has no children, I'm continuously stricken in the variety of ways that adults seem to weaponize them for their own selfish ends. It's no wonder that our society is a bit messed up regarding this issue. Maybe it's like that song that Billy Joel sang back in the early nineties/late eighties called "We Didn't Start the Fire." The choices that many people make start fires that just burn on and on and on.


  1. I would never do that. Kids are annoying. I suppose less so when they're yours but I can barely tolerate my nieces for a few hours on a holiday. That probably makes me a narcissist too. Lol

  2. I don't have kids either and think that's a really messed up reason for having them. The pressure of society to 'have kids' is also messed up. Not everyone wants to be a parent and certainly many people are lousy parents.

  3. there are lousy parents (I'm a teacher) and there are fabulous parents. The in-between parents are uncertain, what to do. They figure it out generally.

    I was one of the in-between parents, I had NO idea what I was doing. My memories of my own childhood then showed me that my folks didn't know either! We were winging along the run. Gradually we worked out how to be good parents, we made mistakes. Our love for our children was unending.

    Our now grown children with their own have figured that out, too.

    We are entrusted with the care of one of the greatest miraculous creations. No schooling, no licensing, just we walk out the hospital with that creation in our arms.

    Some parents should not be parents. It is their decision and no one should criticize them.

  4. I thought they figured out that most psychopaths are born, not made. That is, the brain is different. So, a psychopath born in those conditions would be a scary person indeed. But I doubt it'll cause a person to become a psychopath. (Although, a psychopath might birth another and...)

    Interesting observation. I think of life in terms of lessons. Those are some heavy lessons for both parents and children in that situation.

  5. I don't have a comment about this post. It's not a thing I've ever encountered.

    However, as much as I like Scalzi, I didn't enjoy his Old Man's War books, at least not the ones I read. I have reviews on the blog, if you want to check them.

  6. I never heard of this, but in general, to some extent there is some selfishness to having children if one analyzes the various reasons. Such as wanting someone to carry on your name, and to wanting a family, to wanting more than just friendships. All these wants, I suppose does equal some selfishness. It's like what's in it for the parent? But on the other hand it's a lot of work and worry. It's a sacrifice, and even the toxic person will find out raising kids is work. It's not just an easy fix. But the truth is there is something in it for the parents. Perhaps that is selfish. It's not a bad thing. Without some motivation to reproduce, the human race might die out.