Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do Childless People Have Valuable Opinions on Parenting?

If you have ever been told that your opinions don't count because you are not a parent, take comfort in the following article.
Your Kids
Really, it’s not so idiotic that parents consult me when faced with problem children. I’m not a competitor in the game and parenting is nothing if not a competition. . . . With no child of my own goosing their insecurities, parents can count on me for discreet, unbiased, nearly informed advice.

. . .I add encouragement: “Don’t worry, the beauty of modern child-rearing is that no kids are just plain stupid anymore.” Thus reassured, a segue can be made to the kind of adult conversations I used to have with these people, say, seven years ago.
. . .
[U]nlike parents, I can gain knowledge by reading, watching TV and leaving my home. Also unlike parents, I can observe kids like a sociologist as opposed to watching them like a hawk. Thanks to these advantages, I devised two overarching philosophies of parenting: 1. No one cares about anyone else’s kids. 2. Don’t let children change you or your life.

In an age where one of Britan's most noted (and controversial) childcare experts is childless, perhaps our opinions are not so worthless after all. But that doesn't necessarily mean we all have them. Some of us opted out precicely so we wouldn't have to worry about such things.
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Ann (bunnygirl) said...

My half-sibs were a great deal younger than me, so I grew up raising them and also babysitting most of the kids in the neighborhood. I'm often stunned at the lack of child-savvy new parents have, although by necessity, they quickly catch on.

Some of us opted out of parenthood precisely because we did that gig already as "junior mommies" and have no desire to take on the senior role.

This article makes some good points, though. There are times when the best perspective comes from an outsider who has no skin in the game. This doesn't negate the importance of the close-in view parents have of their kids, but we make a mistake as a society when we value only one perspective.

Anonymous said...

What she said. I raised my younger half brother, and now I'm a [childfree] stepmother; just because I never birthed kids doesn't mean I can't tell that the 4 year old is having a tantrum because everyone in the room panders to him when he does it. In fact, none of his bio relatives seemed to get it till I pointed it out and then they stopped pandering and...hey, guess what? No more frickin' tantrums. Duh?