Teenager Thinks Being Child-Free is Disliking Children to the Point of Pretending They Don’t Exist

From child-free weddings to childless marriages, life without kids is fast becoming a norm.

There are benefits to being child-free according to the Times of India:

Photo: Pexels/Anastasia Shuraeva
  • Plenty of Me Time. One of the major problems in parenting is that time is never enough to do everything, especially for your own self. Your schedule gets filled with child responsibilities and home chores. Then, if you’re a working parent, it’s even doubly hard to squeeze in some “me” time. No wonder some moms cry in misery and some dads are frustrated. But without kids, you have all the time in the world to enjoy life to the fullest.
  • No Responsibility Other Than Yourself. Parenting is a 24/7 duty, and it only ends when the kid is old enough to leave home. By that time, many years have passed and there’s just retirement waiting for you and your partner. But without kids, you can lead a life free of this kind of burden day after day.
  • Travel Anytime You Want. Without a kid to look after, you can go anytime and anywhere you want. You don’t need to worry about finding a nanny or a young one getting lost. You only have yourself to look after, and how easy is that!
  • Photo: Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk
  • You Have More Money for Travel. Since you’re not paying for a kid’s tuition fees and other child-related expenses, it means you’ve got a lot of savings for vacation trips and other things you want to do.
  • No Whining and Tantrums. No, you don’t have to deal with a child’s constant cries and tantrums, which often cause frustration and headaches to parents. You will enjoy lasting peace at home.
  • No Potty Cleaning and Other Dirty Stuff. Babies poop anytime, anywhere. You have to clean up each and every time. As they grow, kids are also a constant mess as they eat and play. Food gets strewn all over, along with toys, a never-ending test to a parent’s patience. Without kids, your home is always nice-smelling and orderly.
Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

But wait, there’s a catch. According to scientific studies, childless persons tend to have shorter lives than parents. More of them are also at high risk of dying from accidents, owing to harmful attitudes related to childlessness and health. When it comes to childless women, they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Meanwhile, moms and dads with two biological children enjoy longer lives than parents with three or more children. Even adoptive parents tend to enjoy more years than childless individuals. The more kids they adopt, especially from other countries, the more these parents are blessed with lower mortality risks.

Now, of course, these concerns are too early for this person who has decided to be “child-free.” In fact, he doesn’t seem to understand the real meaning of the word.

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Here is the story that’s been posted by this person’s sibling, who feels it is wrong for this teenager to treat their 4-year-old cousin as if she didn’t exist. With the username u/Spirited_Spare1177, the post was published on Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum: “My brother (Brandon) is 16 and decided he is childfree. Which basically just means he doesn’t want to be around our 4-year-old little cousin. We have dinner at our grandparents’ every other weekend together with all our aunts/uncles and cousins. Brandon never liked our little cousin, and recently he decided that that means he doesn’t have to talk to her or acknowledge her existence at all.”

According to OP, Brandon would totally ignore the young girl when she tried to talk to him. He would stand up and move to another room. The girl’s parents didn’t really care about the situation since they were often too busy talking with their relatives.

OP felt Brandon had to be reprimanded when another incident of this “child-free” attitude occurred at a recent family gathering. The little girl had approached Brandon again, trying to show him her drawings. Brandon ignored her one more time and went out of the room. His reaction made the four-year-old cry.

Photo: Pexels/Skyler Ewing

And so, OP had to confront Brandon about the matter as related in the post: “He said he was childfree and he doesn’t have to engage with children if he doesn’t want to. He is not rude or mean to her, so he is not doing anything wrong. I told him he can’t be childfree when he is a child himself and is being mean to our cousin. He then acted like I committed the most atrocious crime for ‘not believing he knows he will never want children’ and has been sending me links about people knowing really young that they don’t want children. But that’s not what I meant at all; I was calling him out on being mean to a four-year-old little girl just because, and I don’t care if he will ever have children or not. AITA?”

Most of the reactions of the AITA members who opined that OP was Not The A–hole were contrary to the view of the licensed clinical professional counselor whom Newsweek contacted when they published this story. According to Kyle Kunkel, who’s with the mental health company Thriveworks, Brandon has “the right to choose his response to his cousin . . . It is solely the responsibility of the 4-year-old’s parents to shape the space their child is in and regulate how their child is interacting with others and how others interact with their child.”

Kunkel further added that, “There is no hard and fast rule that ‘being a good person’ means compromising oneself for the benefit of others.”

This expert opinion is in contrast with the moral beliefs of the many Redditors who think Brandon’s behavior is wrong, such as the following:

Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio

From TheWardenDemonreach: “NTA, deciding you never want to have children is a completely different thing to not acknowledging children in general. He can decide he doesn’t want to have kids and still be a nice person to other kids, especially his own family.”

From itsrainingmelancholy: “Exactly what I was gonna say… ‘child-free’ isnt a magic word that means you have the Black Mirror people blocking feature applied to children.”

From haleorshine: “He’s sixteen, which is why I’ll give him some leeway. He’s an AH, but at that age, AH isn’t an incurable disease. It helps if he has people like OP to be like, ‘That’s not how the world works, and you’re behaving like an AH.’ It’s when people are sixteen-year-old AHs and everybody just lets them, say, ignore a little girl who’s just trying to show him her drawings, that AH can become a permanent state of being.”

From JazzyLizard27: “I’ve known since I was like 7 that I was childfree. I just knew I never wanted that life. That being said, he’s really misinterpreting what we mean. Childfree doesn’t mean that you can be rude to kids that are in your life.”

From KnittressKnits: “One of our kids has said that she doesn’t want to have kids since she was 6 or 7 years old. I have always told her, ‘you are under absolutely no obligation to have kids when you reach adulthood. You don’t have to do it because your mom wants a grandbaby or your dad wants a grandbaby or your siblings want nieces/nephews… they won’t be the ones waking up at 3AM night after night. If you don’t want kids, you can live a perfectly fulfilling life without. If you decide later that you want them, that works too.’ She’s studying Early Childhood Ed and works with kids.”

Photo: Pexels/Yan Krukau

Kunkel was incorrect in saying that society puts pressure on how a person should deal with children. Many societal norms are founded on the moral standards taught by religions. Among Christians, to love one another, including one’s enemies, is an unchanging rule. Racism and other forms of discrimination based on age, sex, abilities, etc. are forbidden, for “God shows no partiality.”

Children have qualities that we can all appreciate and that we must even emulate to inherit everlasting life. The Bible does not oblige anyone to have kids, not even to marry, but it obliges us to show love (agape) without partiality.

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