I have had it with these Adorable babies on this adorable plane!

I dunno. clover's a real stickler for details. You really need to get that percentage cloning bit right. I mean, 50%, 100%... ...what's a 50% difference between friends, right?

Obligatory childfree thread. also, what Jayhawker said.

1. I'd like to say for the record that I don't think anyone that doesn't want kids should have kids. Full stop. And really, no one is arguing that you should. The only exception are parents and relatives that have the same biological drive for grandbabies and nieces and nephews that adults get for having kids. And if you can't handle relatives wishing you'd have kids, then you doubly should not have them, because kids are way more intrusive and demanding.

We have a single daughter. Guess what. People tell us we should have had two all the time. Some even claim it was unfair to Jordan to not have a sibling. Somehow we manage to get by with out crumbling under the pressure of society.

2. I don't think having a child entitles parents to anything. I'll take the tax deduction, though, as it is like several other things we let people spend money on tax-free. It's not the end of the world it it goes away, though.

3. This thread was never supposed to be about 1 or 2.

4. Crying babies annoy everyone. Full stop. There is nothing interesting about saying that they bother you. It's as pointless as someone saying they really like sex. Yeah, we all do. If it is an issue you need to bring up, it does say something about your ability to function in the real world, where we are all in this together.

5. If you don't have kids, don't mention a single tip on how they should be raised. Having kids makes it clear that there is no actual way to raise kids, as they all handle everything differently. From the word go, parents are working their asses off to find the right path for their family. We try lots of different things and keep what works. Advice from someone that lacks the perspective of what being a 24/7 parent is often good for a laugh, but not much more.

6. Bad parents suck, but they don't define parenting. If a child-free couple are acting like a pair of obnoxious assholes, they don't define child-free couples.

7. If you have a problem with kids being allowed to fly, don't fly. There is not a single airline that is going to entertain your pipe dream of child-free planes. Again, welcome to the real world here we are all in this together.

This story from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits puts it in good perpective:

To see life through a different paradigm; to see through the vaseline on the lens of life, through the social and moral veils that layer our perceptions of life – paradigms can be hard to understand, but Stephen Covey gave a great example in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

One day on the subway, while quietly reading a book, Stephen was interrupted by two wild children that got on with their father at a subway stop.

The children were out of control, jumping up and down, running loudly through the subway car.

The father seemed not to notice or care that his children were misbehaving and disturbing commuters…

Stephen approached the father and wanted to scold him for not controlling his children and teaching them respect for others…

The father agreed, and sighed sullenly, saying “yeah, I just don’t know what to do or say to them. We just came from the hospital where their mother died from a random assault….”

Hearing this story immediately changed Stephen’s paradigm of the children and the situation. He went on to explore this and counsel the man who had lost his wife.

Damn, Jayhawker. Awesome post.

+1 on #5 Jayhawker.

Until you've done the 3am check to make sure your 2 month old is breathing because they've slept through the night for the first time. Or, until you've made your first (and not the last) trip to the ER because that damned fever won't go down, I'm just not interested in your opinion. And, until we can compare notes on the heavy lifting and what it's like to be running a quart low 24/7, you're not entitled to one.

I get to listen to over-educated yet child free 'experts' all too often, be they child care workers or sociologists or counselors about the 'right' way to do things. Thanks, but even on your best f*cking day, you could never be me.

I've had my kids on leashes in airports. I've endured long flights and short flights with them and made sure I've done my damnest to keep them engaged and pacified. I've spent more time on the Denver moving sidewalks than I care to recollect. And if you think I've done any of this on your account and not mine or my kids, you're high.

Granted, I pass judgement on a hell of a lot of people for various reasons, often without attempting to walk a mile in their shoes. But I keep my mouth shut about it unless I feel like I'm infringed upon, especially in the commons. Each of us sets that bar differently. There's a difference between a noisy child and one that's coloring on your sleeve. Speak up if you feel the need, but recognize that some of us might just shrug.

GioClark wrote:

Until you've done the 3am check to make sure your 2 month old is breathing because they've slept through the night for the first time. Or, until you've made your first (and not the last) trip to the ER because that damned fever won't go down, I'm just not interested in your opinion. And, until we can compare notes on the heavy lifting and what it's like to be running a quart low 24/7, you're not entitled to one.

I get to listen to over-educated yet child free 'experts' all too often, be they child care workers or sociologists or counselors about the 'right' way to do things. Thanks, but even on your best f*cking day, you could never be me.

Got it. Let's apply that policy across the board to every thread on GWJ. Unless you've specifically done exactly the thing in question (worked on Wall Street, been in Congress), you have no right to criticize or express an opinion on that subject. That would end a lot of threads quickly.

So following that rationale to its logical conclusion are we saying that if you're not childfree you're not entitled to an opinion on how we view parents and children?

DSGamer wrote:
GioClark wrote:

Until you've done the 3am check to make sure your 2 month old is breathing because they've slept through the night for the first time. Or, until you've made your first (and not the last) trip to the ER because that damned fever won't go down, I'm just not interested in your opinion. And, until we can compare notes on the heavy lifting and what it's like to be running a quart low 24/7, you're not entitled to one.

I get to listen to over-educated yet child free 'experts' all too often, be they child care workers or sociologists or counselors about the 'right' way to do things. Thanks, but even on your best f*cking day, you could never be me.

Got it. Let's apply that policy across the board to every thread on GWJ. Unless you've specifically done exactly the thing in question (worked on Wall Street, been in Congress), you have no right to criticize or express an opinion on that subject. That would end a lot of threads quickly.

So following that rationale to its logical conclusion are we saying that if you're not childfree you're not entitled to an opinion on how we view parents and children?

I basically agree with you here. One thing that always amuses me about #5 above is that while I may not have kids, I was one, so yes, I have insight on what can be good or bad.

I'm starting to get the War on Christmas, War on Christianity, and White-Males-Are-Really-Getting-The-Shaft vibe from this thread.

OG_slinger wrote:

I'm starting to get the War on Christmas, War on Christianity, and White-Males-Are-Really-Getting-The-Shaft vibe from this thread.

This is one of those depressing threads where I start to ask myself why I'm here. Do I make any contributions that are appreciated to GWJ writ-large. Do I actually have friends here or do my opinions in this thread mean that I'm largely disliked based on these opinions.

That's not some victim card nonsense. When it gets this heated I literally ask myself (and sometimes other people over PM) if I should just go away for a period of time. If I should go away for a long time, etc.

You won't see me saying people aren't entitled to their opinions or expressing them. There will be times when that expression is unwelcome, but I'll happily let the person know. Otherwise, advice is advice regardless of the source. If it applies and has merit, that's great! If not, thanks for trying.

DSGamer wrote:

So following that rationale to its logical conclusion are we saying that if you're not childfree you're not entitled to an opinion on how we view parenting?

With a slight change... Yup.

And to clarify, you're entitled to the opinion, and I'm entitled to give it the weight it deserves, as with any topic that we might discuss as fellow beings. My ownership and accountability in this particular role outweighs yours as does any expertise any non-insert role here might hope to claim, no matter said role.

Oh, we're to the dominance-peeing-on-things part of the thread now. Carry on.

DSGamer wrote:

This is one of those depressing threads where I start to ask myself why I'm here. Do I make any contributions that are appreciated to GWJ writ-large. Do I actually have friends here or do my opinions in this thread mean that I'm largely dislike and unwelcome.

That's not some victim card nonsense. When it gets this heated I literally ask myself (and sometimes other people over PM) if I should just go away.

My comment most certainly wasn't directed towards you. The only people pulling the victim card here are parents, who seem to think that squeezing out a kid is some kind of rare miracle that re-centers the entire universe on their spawn.

And, just for the record, I feel the same way. I (wisely, I think) sat on a reply to someone's post that had me seeing red last night and decided that it just wasn't worth it this morning.

clover wrote:

Oh, we're to the dominance-peeing-on-things part of the thread now. Carry on.

IMAGE(http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/21620264.jpg)

OG_slinger wrote:

The only people pulling the victim card here are parents, who seem to think that squeezing out a kid is some kind of rare miracle that re-centers the entire universe on their spawn.

I think this is sort of an unfair generalization. I've seen a number of really reasonable posts by a few parents (LouZiffer and JayHawker most notably).

Of course you're entitled to an opinion. I think that was probably a bit of hyperbole. The general point GioClark makes is fairly solid. It's very difficult for non-parents to truly empathize with how stressful public situations with kids can be. Personally, I think it's foolish to completely discount outside opinions. I also give them less weight coming from people who don't have kids.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

I basically agree with you here. One thing that always amuses me about #5 above is that while I may not have kids, I was one, so yes, I have insight on what can be good or bad.

I used to think this too, and I understand where you're coming from. I changed my mind about this though after I became a parent. It's hard to articulate why, but I'll do my best.
Being a parent has, by far, been the biggest challenge to my emotional intelligence I have ever faced. I have never felt so at conflict with my own emotions. It's really weird to see how this child has been a drain on my life, completely destroyed my sleep habits, and makes it difficult for me to be as flexible or available to my work and friends as I used to be. The weird part is that I'm completely, 100%, unequivocally OK with that state of affairs. I love my daughter so damned much that things like sleep cease to be important. And they will continue to be for decades.
Dealing with those conflicting emotions is a huge part of being a parent, and I don't think it's something you can really understand unless you've been there. Being a kid is challenging enough, but I don't think it's good preparation for understanding what it feels like to be a parent.

PhishPoser wrote:

Being a parent has, by far, been the biggest challenge to my emotional intelligence I have ever faced. I have never felt so at conflict with my own emotions. It's really weird to see how this child has been a drain on my life, completely destroyed my sleep habits, and makes it difficult for me to be as flexible or available to my work and friends as I used to be. The weird part is that I'm completely, 100%, unequivocally OK with that state of affairs. I love my daughter so damned much that things like sleep cease to be important. And they will continue to be for decades.
Dealing with those conflicting emotions is a huge part of being a parent, and I don't think it's something you can really understand unless you've been there. Being a kid is challenging enough, but I don't think it's good preparation for understanding what it feels like to be a parent.

I think that's one of those mile-in-someone's-shoes things though. no, I won't pretend to know what exactly it's like to be a parent, and I won't presume to tell parents how to raise their kids. But it's also insulting when parents tell me "oh, you'll change your mind eventually" or that parenthood is the pinnacle of experiences that force emotional growth.

Telling me I don't know my own mind, or that your life experiences trump mine somehow when you know nothing of the trials of my own life, is equally revolting.

(And I understand that you're not arguing that piece, so we agree. That's just the next place many people go after the point you're making.)

DSGamer wrote:

This is one of those depressing threads where I start to ask myself why I'm here. Do I make any contributions that are appreciated to GWJ writ-large. Do I actually have friends here or do my opinions in this thread mean that I'm largely disliked based on these opinions.

Don't think that. You make good contributions. Hell, you've made me change my mind on things at times.

I liked Jayhawker's post because it didn't invalidate anyone's opinion. It was a pragmatic, realistic summary of the issue that I mostly agree with. It didn't cast aspersion on people based on their status as parents or non-parents.

I don't agree with Gio's comment that the opinions of people who don't have kids are without merit. That's too much hyperbole to be reasonable; having kids doesn't make you any more an expert than not having kids makes you completely ignorant with regard to parenting.

clover wrote:

I think that's one of those mile-in-someone's-shoes things though. no, I won't pretend to know what exactly it's like to be a parent, and I won't presume to tell parents how to raise their kids. But it's also insulting when parents tell me "oh, you'll change your mind eventually" or that parenthood is the pinnacle of experiences that force emotional growth.

Telling me I don't know my own mind, or that your life experiences trump mine somehow when you know nothing of the trials of my own life, is equally revolting.

(And I understand that you're not arguing that piece, so we agree. That's just the next place many people go after the point you're making.)

High Five!

Farscry wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

This is one of those depressing threads where I start to ask myself why I'm here. Do I make any contributions that are appreciated to GWJ writ-large. Do I actually have friends here or do my opinions in this thread mean that I'm largely disliked based on these opinions.

Don't think that. You make good contributions. Hell, you've made me change my mind on things at times.

I liked Jayhawker's post because it didn't invalidate anyone's opinion. It was a pragmatic, realistic summary of the issue that I mostly agree with. It didn't cast aspersion on people based on their status as parents or non-parents.

I don't agree with Gio's comment that the opinions of people who don't have kids are without merit. That's too much hyperbole to be reasonable; having kids doesn't make you any more an expert than not having kids makes you completely ignorant with regard to parenting.

I was gonna say, this thread is making me sad because I thought I did a good job making the case for participation ribbons for kids over in the other thread, but I don't have kids so my opinion is meaningless? Gio mentions kid leashes and I think in one of these threads I defended that practice: it's not a leash, it's a manbilical cord! Earlier in the thread I asked the question if whether as a society we should encourage parents to fly with their kids because of how much more safe air travel is.

But I don't have kids, so I guess I shouldn't mention a single thing.

clover wrote:

Telling me I don't know my own mind, or that your life experiences trump mine somehow when you know nothing of the trials of my own life, is equally revolting.

Yeah. I didn't know where else to insert this in the conversation, but this might be the place. I thought about saying it when LarryC was saying "you're not pulling your weight", essentially. But my wife and I are very generous with the children of our relatives and friends. We have college funds setup for all of our nephews and nieces. Literally socking away thousands of dollars a year to pay for college for kids that aren't our own.

That's not bragging. That's to back up this point that you may think you know someone and you have no clue. I like kids. I think they're great. I just don't love them screaming on a plane (to return to the OP).

CheezePavilion wrote:

But I don't have kids, so I guess I shouldn't mention a single thing.

Shut your mouth and go back to that unpaid overtime at the office you don't mind because you have so much more extra time in your life.

ruhk wrote:
LarryC wrote:

The way you shirk your civic duty by remaining childless is neither nebulous nor nonsensical. You are not making new people to replace the people who are dying. It's really that simple.

Are we living in some weird alternate reality where there aren't enough people?

"SOYLENT GREEN CONTAINS NO PEOPLE!!"

"Where's the people?"

Here at McLarry's, we make sure you can taste the people in your Soylent Green. Real Soylent. Real People.

I know we're over the topic of population decline (not really related to the topic at hand), but I saw this interesting article in The Atlantic.

Just wanted to share

Grubber788:

That's a clarifying article! It clears up so much stuff here. I'd like to talk about it at length, but that seems like it should have its own thread.

For the sake of clarity, it seems as if some people read "you have an obligation to raise or rear a child," to mean "you must birth your own children" or "population increase is necessary." It puzzled me that people were reacting to things I wasn't saying - I seem to once again have tapped accidentally into sound bites that referred to things I did not mean.

DSGamer wrote:

This is one of those depressing threads where I start to ask myself why I'm here. Do I make any contributions that are appreciated to GWJ writ-large. Do I actually have friends here or do my opinions in this thread mean that I'm largely disliked based on these opinions.

That's not some victim card nonsense. When it gets this heated I literally ask myself (and sometimes other people over PM) if I should just go away for a period of time. If I should go away for a long time, etc.

DS, I remember one of our first disagreements here. You were sharing and eliciting opinions on gaming addiction or compulsion. If I remember correctly, we discussed the topic for a few posts and agreed to disagree. I also remember you claiming special insight of the topic based on personal experience and asked readers including myself to try and walk a mile in your shoes and let go of preconceptions. I mention this not as a gotcha moment, but to let you know that I appreciate and recollect your contributions and our history here.

My interest in this topic is multidimensional, and goes far beyond the scope of this thread. People here have touched on ideas of sexual and reproductive freedom and lifestyle decisions. Ideas around the public commons and shared responsibility. Ideas around privilege and entitlement. Duty to family and the human race. All from the idea of whether an individual has the right to travel with children, or whether an individual has the right to travel without having to deal with the externalized costs incurred by traveling parents. This is profound.

Anyone who knows me, on here or off, knows what I'm a fierce champion of the right to hold an opinion. That phrasing was ill-chosen. What I meant was, no one is entitled to have their opinion taken as expert or worthy of weight or consideration. That is earned. If I were seeking out advice on a topic, I would solicit it from an expert with experience and proven success. It doesn't make sense to seek advice in a field from someone with no background. I may take advice on how to pacify or entertain a child from a childless nanny. Or educational advice from a childless educator. But I would never take nor ask advice on how to balance the myriad demands of parenting from someone with no skin in the game.

To the actual topic, we're talking about shared common space and the externalized costs incurred by parents on the people around them. I would expect any person to respond according to their conscience and view of their own rights within that context. I'll state that crying babies in a common space is trivial, expected and not intrusive enough to ban children from airplanes and will stand by that position. As with any situation where you're being annoyed, whether it's someone who takes the last 2 spaces or someone who is talking loudly on a cell phone in a restaurant, make your play however you're going to make your play within that context. Own the outcome and expect that some of these people are going to tell you to go to hell.

I've never been shot a dirty look by someone while engaging in any of my various child wranglings, in airports or otherwise. My boogeyman in that context is imaginary and I generally enjoy the privilege of low expectations, being male. What I do deal with is people who give unsolicited advice with the implications that, if I don't follow it, I'm somehow abusing my children. Some of these are parents and some aren't. In most of these contexts I keep the peace, when what I should be doing is telling them to go cram it. This weighs on me.

To my retort to you, DS. In that moment, you represented every relative that threatened my child with hellfire because I refused to baptize them, every family friend that scolded me for raising my voice, my childless sisters who feel they can set expectations as to my kids behavior when they come to visit my house, my sh*tty in-laws that find oblique and stilted ways to remind everyone around them that they're mandated to call Child Services if they feel a child is being mistreated. Every. f*cking. Christmas. ... None of which is you.

I latched on to a small piece of a long post, felt validated, stated my view and beat my chest for good measure. My hostility to you was unfounded and unfair. I apologize.

LarryC wrote:

Grubber788:

That's a clarifying article! It clears up so much stuff here. I'd like to talk about it at length, but that seems like it should have its own thread.

For the sake of clarity, it seems as if some people read "you have an obligation to raise or rear a child," to mean "you must birth your own children" or "population increase is necessary." It puzzled me that people were reacting to things I wasn't saying - I seem to once again have tapped accidentally into sound bites that referred to things I did not mean.

I never meant to imply that you were talking specifically about giving birth or population increases/decreases. I think I was taking issue with the assertion that an individual has a responsibility to society to help replenish its numbers.

I do agree that this would need its own thread!

GioClark has buried that hatchet so deep I can't see the handle.