Fellow Child-free folk - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

That's an accurate way to put it, I guess, but I don't think this particular instance is all that egregious. It would be if his claim was that only parents could possibly have any understanding to that kind of emotional connection.

Sounds to me like one of those backhanded compliments, where because he's a dad he's not as capable of being as 'sophisticated' as he once was.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Sounds to me like one of those backhanded compliments, where because he's a dad he's not as capable of being as 'sophisticated' as he once was.

Ya. He's now far deeper and has more reflexive protective instincts than he ever could have possessed before.

It's easy when you're young and want to sound awesome to say kids in stories are cheap and manipulative, before you realize stories are all about manipulation.

clover wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Sounds to me like one of those backhanded compliments, where because he's a dad he's not as capable of being as 'sophisticated' as he once was.

Ya. He's now far deeper and has more reflexive protective instincts than he ever could have possessed before.

We are talking about the "dickwolves" guy, right?

edosan wrote:
clover wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Sounds to me like one of those backhanded compliments, where because he's a dad he's not as capable of being as 'sophisticated' as he once was.

Ya. He's now far deeper and has more reflexive protective instincts than he ever could have possessed before.

We are talking about the "dickwolves" guy, right?

I need a "droll" emoji, I guess.

Wembley wrote:

I'm confused. What relevance does that article have here?

Apparently a father saying that some games these days have more of an impact on him because his fatherhood has provided developers an additional button to push is somehow saying bad things about childless couples.

mudbunny wrote:
Wembley wrote:

I'm confused. What relevance does that article have here?

Apparently a father saying that some games these days have more of an impact on him because his fatherhood has provided developers an additional button to push is somehow saying bad things about childless couples.

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

This is actually a pretty nuanced issue.

What we have is, on its face, completely innocent. A person has remarked about how the birth of a child has greatly changed the perspective from which that new parent views the world. This feeling seems relatively universal - and even as a child free person I think it's a positive thing. If you're wholly responsible for the life and future of a human, it damn well better change your perspective.

There is, though, the unspoken follow up. "This child has changed me in ways you can't comprehend." it's that unspoken, quasi judgment that leaves child free people chafing. Like with many things we've been discussing lately in P&C, it causes offense despite no offense intended.

Not offensive. At least no more or less offensive/innocuous than when I say it is just silly to label something that is done 4-5 millions of times a year all that special or life changing.

Part of me is glad, the part that wants to retire with Medicare and Social Security benefits. Another part of me has a vested interest in people screwing up their kids, the part of me what wants to practice criminal law again.

Raise your kids right. Or don't, I kind of want to buy a seaworthy parasail.

I am even willing to bear that my life will never be effected this way, in much the same way I know my life has never been effected by growing up in extreme poverty or extreme wealth. I have never been the victim of a personal violent crime, have been burgled once or twice though. I will never know the feeling of being in combat, nor the thrill of saving a patient with an emergency open heart surgery. I will never have an album top the billboard charts.

I will never know it, but my life is no better or worse for my contrary choices.

DSGamer wrote:

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

Condescending, or is there some truth to it? The 36-year old with 3 kids is similarly unable to empathize with my child-free perspective, just as I am with his.

Jonman wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

Condescending, or is there some truth to it? The 36-year old with 3 kids is similarly unable to empathize with my child-free perspective, just as I am with his.

I think there's a difference between empathizing with a perspective and embodying it.

Tanglebones wrote:
Jonman wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

Condescending, or is there some truth to it? The 36-year old with 3 kids is similarly unable to empathize with my child-free perspective, just as I am with his.

I think there's a difference between empathizing with a perspective and embodying it.

Absolutely. I'm reasonably sure that having not been a parent, I'm spectacularly incapable of grasping the finer points of that experience. I can empathize with parents, but only from a distance - I'm making rough guesses at what their experience is like. To draw a possibly sketchy analogy, I could compare it with skydiving - until you've done it, you don't really understand what that experience is like.

Jonman wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Wrong. Parents often talk as if parenthood gives them a level of perspective and empathy that the childfree or childless simply couldn't comprehend. It's a bit condescending. I didn't take offense to the article, but it's relevant. It's so common, though, that I don't bat an eyelash, honestly. GWJ alone has posted a dozen+ front page articles in this vein so it's nothing new.

Condescending, or is there some truth to it? The 36-year old with 3 kids is similarly unable to empathize with my child-free perspective, just as I am with his.

Condescending, because of the way it was written: it wasn't just about perspectives, it was about how when he was younger and without kids he could have recognized all of this as "manipulative." Maybe he should entertain the possibility that it had nothing to do with being younger and not having kids. It could just be that he's overly cynical, except now he's got a weak spot they can hit for massive damage.

I mean, it's kinda weird to go on and on about how he can't gulp down this game because of its subject matter, and then bring up how he could "devour" Bioshock: Infinite like it was Luigi's Mansion.

I feel I'm in an interesting position regarding this thread. I have a nine year old son and yet I completely fail to empathise with a lot of things that parents say. I never felt different after he was born. Oh my life changed of course and I had different practical prioritys but I didn't feel any different and I didn't view the world any differently. I read over and over again that parents experience a special "bond" with their children. I have no idea what that's like. Don't get me wrong I care for the guy a great deal and would run into the proverbial burning building to save him. But I'd do that for anyone.

So when parents on this thread have been talking about how different they view the world now and how "you can't understand how it feels" I have to remind myself that they aren't aiming their comments at me.

If Jerry needed to become a father before pieces of art could illicit strong emotions, it says more about him as a person than anything else.

It comes off as if he's using the tired 'parenting has changed me, man' cliché as a shield against accusations of being a softie. He talks about 'refusing to feel' as if emotions are for dumbos who can't see the puppet strings. He lumps any attempt to elicit emotions and empathy into the 'manipulation' fold, with the only difference being how well its executed.

Here's how I read it:

Jerry wrote:

I couldn't binge on Last of Us because I had some silly feelings, but it's ok because I still rushed through Bioshock Infinite slaughtering hundreds. And I really can't help it as parenthood has left me weakened. Please don't call me a wussie!

After the PA controversies of the last several years I might have read it through my bias glasses. The blog post did confirm my image of Jerry as an emotionally stunted manchild.

edit: Strangederby: what you said took a lot of courage. Thanks for sharing.

dejanzie wrote:

It comes off as if he's using the tired 'parenting has changed me, man' cliché

So, I think that that cliche is at the heart of this recent discussion. It's a cliche for a reason. Parenting does change you. But here's the thing, so does everything else. That's the corollary that is usually ignored.

Every day I wake up, I'm changed from the person I was the previous morning. If I have kids, I'm going to change in different ways, because I'm having different experiences, just like I would if I were to get divorced (another change to my family structure which affects my daily life).

Jonman wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

It comes off as if he's using the tired 'parenting has changed me, man' cliché

So, I think that that cliche is at the heart of this recent discussion. It's a cliche for a reason. Parenting does change you. But here's the thing, so does everything else. That's the corollary that is usually ignored.

Every day I wake up, I'm changed from the person I was the previous morning. If I have kids, I'm going to change in different ways, because I'm having different experiences, just like I would if I were to get divorced (another change to my family structure which affects my daily life).

I don't think it's so much about the 'parenting changes you' aspect, it's that there's almost a trope here of people saying parenting has changed them in a way that, technically, is negative (or at least neutral), but the subtext is that we're supposed to regard it as a positive. Like the person who says "oh, I can't watch violent movies" in a way where they're not really trying to tell you about how they are squeamish: they're trying to tell you how much more 'evolved' they are than you, that you're not as 'civilized' as they are because you enjoy that stuff.

It's not that the corollary is ignored, it's that having children is presented as something that automatically changes you into a better person and that squeezing out kids instantly catapults you to a state of moral and emotional superiority that cannot be otherwise attained.

As someone who became an "insta" parent to an 8 y/o several years ago, I can talk to the changes that I gone through in the interim.

Becoming a parent doesn't make you a better person simply because you have short people running around the house. But to be a parent, at least a good parent, you need to think of the needs of others before yourself. Even to the extent where you sacrifice your wants and needs in the service of bringing up someone who will be a (hopefully) well adjusted member of society.

Most of the single people I know live for themselves. And why shouldn't they, there is nothing wrong with that. But it requires a shift in thinking to understand the limitations being a parent puts on someone. I can't go to the bar with the guys after work because I need to pick up my son from after-care. I can't go kayaking on Saturday mornings because I believe my son's development comes first and I have to take him to karate.

Childless couples have a better understanding because while they don't have children, they have someone else that they live for. But it is still different because, for the most part, adults can take care of their own needs. Children cannot.

The only thing I would add is that I am deeply I have a partner in this child-rearing adventure. I can't imagine how hard this would be if I were a single parent. Simply being a parent doesn't make you a better person, but give good single parents a lot of credit. Chances are that good single parents are better than the rest of us.

Nevin73 wrote:

Most of the single people I know live for themselves. And why shouldn't they, there is nothing wrong with that. But it requires a shift in thinking to understand the limitations being a parent puts on someone. I can't go to the bar with the guys after work because I need to pick up my son from after-care. I can't go kayaking on Saturday mornings because I believe my son's development comes first and I have to take him to karate.

Childless couples have a better understanding because while they don't have children, they have someone else that they live for. But it is still different because, for the most part, adults can take care of their own needs. Children cannot.

That's a really good post, but just one quibble: remember that "single" does not mean "family free." Child-free singletons sometimes have non-child relations that depend on them. The elderly or disabled are (sometimes) better at taking care of themselves than children, but even if someone is child free and single, that doesn't mean they can live for themselves. In fact, sometimes that's the reason they are child free and/or single in the first place.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

Most of the single people I know live for themselves. And why shouldn't they, there is nothing wrong with that. But it requires a shift in thinking to understand the limitations being a parent puts on someone. I can't go to the bar with the guys after work because I need to pick up my son from after-care. I can't go kayaking on Saturday mornings because I believe my son's development comes first and I have to take him to karate.

Childless couples have a better understanding because while they don't have children, they have someone else that they live for. But it is still different because, for the most part, adults can take care of their own needs. Children cannot.

That's a really good post, but just one quibble: remember that "single" does not mean "family free." Child-free singletons sometimes have non-child relations that depend on them. The elderly or disabled are (sometimes) better at taking care of themselves than children, but even if someone is child free and single, that doesn't mean they can live for themselves. In fact, sometimes that's the reason they are child free and/or single in the first place.

A fair point. Family structures can be incredibly complex today and talking in generalities inevitably ends up doing someone a disservice.

Nevin73 wrote:

Becoming a parent doesn't make you a better person simply because you have short people running around the house. But to be a parent, at least a good parent, you need to think of the needs of others before yourself. Even to the extent where you sacrifice your wants and needs in the service of bringing up someone who will be a (hopefully) well adjusted member of society.

Most of the single people I know live for themselves. And why shouldn't they, there is nothing wrong with that. But it requires a shift in thinking to understand the limitations being a parent puts on someone. I can't go to the bar with the guys after work because I need to pick up my son from after-care. I can't go kayaking on Saturday mornings because I believe my son's development comes first and I have to take him to karate.

You're essentially implying that childless people are entirely selfish and have no concept of--or ability to--subjugate their wants and desires and that parents are paragons of virtue and responsibility. And that is, of course, entirely bullsh*t.

Your theory would say that I, as a childless person, would always vote down school levies because I would want to keep that money rather than give it to the government to educate children that aren't biologically or legally related to me. But I always vote for school levies because I understand the connection between education and the quality of a society, something that a great number of parents can't seem to grasp. I also do it because I want to make sure that all the children that are in my life--my nieces and nephews as well as the children of my friends--benefit from a well-funded education system.

I also understand that there are limitations to life. I don't stay out all night because I have to go to work the next day and am expected to function. I don't spend all my money on video games or booze because I have to pay a mortgage and save for my retirement. In short, being an adult means I have to operate with limitations.

Put more bluntly, it's not an expression of your superior moral character when you don't go to the bar after work when you have to pick up your kid from after-care. It's simply part of being an adult.

OG_slinger wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

Becoming a parent doesn't make you a better person simply because you have short people running around the house. But to be a parent, at least a good parent, you need to think of the needs of others before yourself. Even to the extent where you sacrifice your wants and needs in the service of bringing up someone who will be a (hopefully) well adjusted member of society.

Most of the single people I know live for themselves. And why shouldn't they, there is nothing wrong with that. But it requires a shift in thinking to understand the limitations being a parent puts on someone. I can't go to the bar with the guys after work because I need to pick up my son from after-care. I can't go kayaking on Saturday mornings because I believe my son's development comes first and I have to take him to karate.

You're essentially implying that childless people are entirely selfish and have no concept of--or ability to--subjugate their wants and desires and that parents are paragons of virtue and responsibility. And that is, of course, entirely bullsh*t.

Your theory would say that I, as a childless person, would always vote down school levies because I would want to keep that money rather than give it to the government to educate children that aren't biologically or legally related to me. But I always vote for school levies because I understand the connection between education and the quality of a society, something that a great number of parents can't seem to grasp. I also do it because I want to make sure that all the children that are in my life--my nieces and nephews as well as the children of my friends--benefit from a well-funded education system.

I also understand that there are limitations to life. I don't stay out all night because I have to go to work the next day and am expected to function. I don't spend all my money on video games or booze because I have to pay a mortgage and save for my retirement. In short, being an adult means I have to operate with limitations.

Put more bluntly, it's not an expression of your superior moral character when you don't go to the bar after work when you have to pick up your kid from after-care. It's simply part of being an adult.

I think you are really extrapolating my words. I didn't say that single people are uncharitable, don't have inter-personal connections, or are otherwise terrible human beings. I was merely stating (and in general terms) being a single person means that your interests come first. There is nothing wrong with that. Being a good parent, on the other hand, means that your children's interests come before your own. It's a shift in thinking.

Nevin73 wrote:

I think you are really extrapolating my words. I didn't say that single people are uncharitable, don't have inter-personal connections, or are otherwise terrible human beings. I was merely stating (and in general terms) being a single person means that your interests come first. There is nothing wrong with that. Being a good parent, on the other hand, means that your children's interests come before your own. It's a shift in thinking.

And I think I'm clearly interpreting your words. You've stated that you think childless people are selfish and that parents are not. And stating such a thing carries moral connotations: selfish people are bad and selfless people are good. Ergo, childless people are bad and parents are good. It's subtle, but it exists.

First I said that they live for themselves. As in the primary person in their life whose needs have to get met is their own. And that it wasn't a bad thing.

Second, I emphasized "good" parents. There are plenty of parents out there that don't qualify for that descriptor.

Can't we all just get along? OG, come out and have a drink with me tonight, folks with kids can stay in and help with homework or try and find a sitter.

Seems to be a bit of confusion around the difference between implying and inferring going on around these parts.

Since the thread seems to be going in cycles of the non-childfree telling the childfree how selfish and lacking in empathy they are, I'm going to climb out on a limb and say the answer to the question posited in the thread title is a resounding NO!