Hating Kids Because of the Parents

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One of my favorite blogs on this web tubey thing called the Internetz is Unsuck DC Metro.  As someone who has had to deal with Metro just about every working day of my life and then some, it’s fun to have a place to vent my frustration with its life-force sucking inefficiency.  Yesterday there was a post about a woman who not only changed her child’s diaper on the bus, but also left the dirty diaper under her seat after she left.  As I said in the comments the first act is somewhat forgivable, but leaving the diaper behind is both disgusting and unsanitary.  As a parent I sympathize with moms who find themselves in, ahem, sticky situations and feel that they have to deal with the diaper situation immediately.  Diaper rashes are no fun, and having a kid stick up the bus with its filled diaper isn’t good for anyone.  The mother ought to have gotten off the bus to find a more appropriate spot to change the diaper, but sometimes we all do things without thinking.  But a dirty diaper left behind on a hot bus is truly repugnant.

About ten comments down someone named “KVM” defends the decision to change the diaper on the bus while condemning the leaving behind of the diaper.  What follows was one of those 30+ comment threads that makes you weep for humanity.  I think that KVM is wrong, but some of the comments were truly disgusting.  A sampling:

Attack of the Mombie! No one is safe except her f**k trophy!

Yes yes, you were the one who made the choice to become pregnant and now the world starts and stops for you? [In reply to KVM’s complaint about people not giving up their seat to her while pregant.]

Fine fine…you say that your kids are all professionals, but what is it that YOU’VE done? Did you mary rich and then pop out a few kids? Not impressed…

Most of the comments in reply were more respectful and I think they were right in chiding the mother, yet another posted a link to this website.  It’s a compilation of facebook threads involving parent comments that annoy the blogger.  Some of the threads do involve rather obnoxious comments, others, though, are of a much more innocent variety.  Perusing the blog a bit leaves one with the impression that the blogger just doesn’t like other people ever talking about their children.

What drew my attention to these comments was how much they bristled with hostility to children.  It’s one thing to get annoyed by parents doing stupid things, but these individuals seem genuinely contemptuous of the very idea of bringing children into this world.  The first comment cited above in particular is truly disgusting.  From comments like that it’s easy to see why we still have a long ways to go before we fully instill a culture of life in this country.  Children are seen as annoyances instead of blessings, or as a certain president once implied, punishments.

And as for the blog I just mentioned, I really don’t get it.  I only joined Facebook less than a year ago, but I don’t imagine that pre-fatherhood I would have been annoyed by my friends talking about their children.  First of all, if you don’t want to de-friend them you always have the option of simply clicking off their news feed so you don’t have to read any more of their status updates.   More importantly, don’t you kind of want to know what’s going on with your friends’ kids?

All parents run the risk of being overly obsessive about their children to the point that they sort of blot out other considerations.  I personally don’t feel the need to invoke my children* in every single discussion I have.  But my kids are pretty important to me, and they’re certainly a hell of a lot more to me than some “f#$% trophy.”  As a parent I do my best when out in public with my daughter to make sure she’s not a nuisance to anyone – which is pretty much why we don’t go to any public places.**  All I ask is that you don’t treat their mere existence as inconvenience to your perfect little world.

*-With due date approaching for child number two I feel comfortable using the plural.

** – I once observed that people generally smile when they see small children out in public, the solitary exception being airports.  There people avert their glances, presumably praying that you and your child will be on another flight.

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  1. Have you seen this video from Dodge? Your post reminds me of it. As one commenter said her daughter didn’t understand what the children were doing wrong. It disgusts me especially since it’s a minivan and who buys minivans…people with children. Has society become so selfish that children are horrible? Have they forgotten that they were children too at some point and somebody had to sacrificially love them?

    I suppose the best response to that nasty comment is that what “she did” was to raise her children to be model citizens. And as for pregnancy, the government says that all pregnant people should be treated as though they had a disability meaning accommodations need to be made for them. I suppose that poster wouldn’t give up his seat to a person with a prosthetic leg either. Just saying.


  2. As the owner of 2 Dodge Grand Caravans, I despise that ad, deltaflute. It blew my mind the first time I saw it, and continues to blow my mind whenever I see it subsequently.

    Here is the letter I sent to Dodge in response to the commercial:

    I am a loyal Dodge customer whose 2 most recent vehicle purchases were Dodge Grand Caravans, including one in 2010. I recently viewed with horror your ad that depicts having children as something to be avoided. Just who do you think buys minivans anyway (clue: people with children). Which raises the question of why you feel the need to go out of your way to insult them? Is it going to help you sell these family vehicles by making families feel like personae non gratae?

    Do you REALLY believe the childless and cynical Daily Show “smart set” to whom the commercial was obviously geared is going to buy a vehicle that averages around 20 mpg? Does it make you feel better about selling a vehicle that gets comparatively crummy gas mileage and thereby pollutes the environment more than other cars if you can make common cause with the sorts of people who view children as just another pollutant with a set of carbon footprints? Although the “smart set” may concur with the sentiment of the ad, they’ll be laughing on their way to buying a Prius.

    Meanwhile, you’ve just angered a loyal customer who, although considering buying a Sienna last year, instead relied on my good experience with the Grand Caravan I purchased in 2002 (and still drive) and decided to buy another one. In making that decision, my wife and I took our kids with us to the dealership – they, like the children you disparage in the ad, crawled in and out and all over the interior of the vehicle (and, gasp, may have been a little loud), but I’m sure the salesperson and the dealership were more than happy to have sold the vehicle, which we bought due in no small part to our kids’ enthusiasm for it.

    Well, I won’t be making that mistake again, unless I receive a written formal apology and Dodge makes a public statement of regret for running this abysmal ad. Believe me when I tell you that I am NOT the only parent who feels this way. You WILL lose customers over this unless you act to repair the damage you have done by gratuitously insulting those most likely to buy a Dodge minivan.

    Yours truly,
    James T. “Jay” Anderson
    Norwalk, OH

  3. Art,

    Yes it has gotten progressively worse, especially in the 3 years since the crash on the Red Line. There are seldom days that pass where there is not at least one significant delay. The Red Line used to be fairly reliable but has been a major source of frustration. I guess I should be thankful that I don’t take the orange/blue.

    Jay – fixed it for you.

  4. Paul,

    I think you have slightly missed the target with your title. You generously assume these people hate children because of their parents. I submit a lot of them just hate children. Period.

    Why? There are various reasons. Some never picture themselves as children who could be annoying. They were always as pleasant and enlightening as they are now. But I suspect a lot of them hate children because children are the enemy of their sex lives. Jen @ Conversion Diary wrote a piece on this topic awhile back, but I’m too lazy to look it up.

    I also read secular comment threads where the child haters come out in force sometimes. It really does make you want to weep for humanity.

  5. Bingo Jenny. There have always been selfish and obnoxious people, but lately our society appears to be producing an overabundance of them, and many of them despise kids and the people who have kids. Who they expect to pay the taxes to support them in their swiftly approaching declining years, or to tend to them as they become feeble as toddlers or infants, but without the inherent charm, is a mystery to me, but foresight has never been an attribute of those only out for number one.

  6. You know, I realize that talking about my kids all the time can probably be annoying. But I’m a stay-at-home-mom, so my kids are my job. Being with and taking care of them is what I do from the time I rise in the morning until the time they go to sleep at night; and even then I’m still on call for night time accidents, getting water, scaring away monsters, etc. So it’s inevitable that I’m going to talk about my kids. A lot.

    What kills me about this, though is that the same people who are put off by a discussion of children have no qualms about regaling others with work stories day in and day out. Like those aren’t boring? I put up with people telling work stories all the time, and I always put on my best face and try to be sympathetic. After all, I worked outside the home once, too and I know how it is. I just wish parents would get the same courtesy instead of having my kids be called something as horrendous as a “f&$@ trophy.”

  7. Oh, and the diaper thing. That’s pretty gross. You’d never catch me doing that and the lady in question deserved a bit of scorn for that.

  8. Many, many moons ago while trapped on an airplane I had to change a diaper. Not a pleasant task, espcially since the cramped little lavatory there didn’t have a pull down changing board. Most airplanes I’ve been on do. Not sure why that one was different. Anyway, I ended up changing the baby in the seat, much to the dismay of the woman behind us. Hey, at least I put the old diaper in a plastic baggie and put it in the diaper bag for disposal later.

    As to who these people think will be around to look after them in their declining years? I’m sure they’ve never thought about it. They probably think their Soc Sec. 401K, pension and IRAs will take care of them. I can’t count the number of articles I’ve seen that report on how having a child kills your career (if you are a woman) and can leave you penniless.

    I imagine the implication is that most people think parents are on food stamps and welfare types. An aquaintance of mine, by no means poor, but with several little ones, went to the store. When it came time to pay the bill, the cashier requested her food stamps card…

  9. Just saw the minivan commercial. Yeah, but I guess I’m a little willing to be forgiving for that one since I know the thought behind it. Couple months back, an internet news site came out with an article on the” Man Van”. Dodge is trying to beef up its imagine with guys with leather trim and a bigger engine. That article got me into the dealership and we did, in fact, buy the car, although the official “Man Van” version isn’t supposed to come out until July (its a trim thing they said; the bigger engine is standard.)

    Comments on that article basically said something along the lines of “It’s a minivan. Minivans are for moms. Real men don’t like them.” And frankly, I can’t see a unmarried w/o kids male getting one. A truck maybe. Or an SUV. There was a sweet Jeep or SUV (can’t tell the difference) that my sons and their friends (yes, I took my boys’ friends car shopping with me. One is a middle schooler…) begged me to get. It had the Black Ops logo emblazened on it and came with a headset! I personally liked the pickup with this awesome forest green paint job.

    But we got the 2011 silver minivan. First brand new car I have ever owned. Love it. The commercial, not so much. I hope Dodge fires the marketing people who came up with that ad. They’ve got a great product, and I want it to be available again in another decade, which it won’t be if they irritate their prime audience. I’m willing to be forgivable. But there are limits…

  10. *shrug* Selfish people suck. The net just gives them a way to show it off, and get positive reenforcement.

    <3 minivans.
    I'd offer the balancing point that my husband would be glad to buy a minivan even if he wasn't married with children…but he's practical and doesn't care about appearances*, and likes our van because it’s got as much room as a pickup, more comfortable seats, good gas mileage, parks like a car and it’s easy to get parts. It does everything he loved about his SUV, with better stability and lower insurance.

    * I think he may enjoy screwing with folks’ heads, too. Just a bit….

  11. A friend of mine as a minivan but does not like it. Too big. But she needs to haul both people and items around, so she is stuck with it. Her husband on the other hand likes it very much.

  12. Personally, I wonder if much of what appears to be contempt for, or hatred of, children stems more from fear than malice — fear that the children we see are inevitably going to be hurt and corrupted and messed up by the world and society around us, and there is little or nothing we can do to stop it, so why even bother. How often do you hear well-meaning people say “I can’t stand the thought of bringing children into a world like this”? How often are you tempted to think this yourself — especially since we as Christians have an even harder time swimming upstream against the cultural tides, so to speak, than our secularized neighbors?

  13. “How often do you hear well-meaning people say “I can’t stand the thought of bringing children into a world like this”?”

    Almost never Elaine. I normally hear that from juveniles in adult bodies who are doing their best to never grow up and accept responsibility for something a tad more important than themselves. The true crisis of our time is a mass flight from concepts like duty, responsibility and sacrifice by a literally demoralized society.

  14. I’ve, sadly, got to second Donald’s observation: everyone I’ve heard talk about how it’s not worth bringing children into such a horrible world, or some variation, soon make it clear that they’re focused on how it would hurt their own lifestyle.

    Some folks may very well think and believe it honestly, but they’re generally the sort that won’t even look into marriage in that situation.

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