I dont like kids

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I own a house with my mother. Her boyfriend, 75, made sexual comments to my 11-year-old daughter. My mom said, ‘That’s just the way men are’ — what can I do?

Dear Moneyist,

I live with my 65-year-old widowed mother and my two adolescent daughters, who are 11 and 13 years old. My father gave me half of the ownership of the house when he died. My mom is dating a 75-year-old man who lives nearby at a retirement home.

My youngest daughter told me that mom’s boyfriend had made repeated sexual comments to them. She said he has never touched them. I told my mom that he is banned from coming over at the house. She dismissed me as hysterical and said, “That’s just the way men are.”

Also see: I discovered through Ancestry.com that my biological father is someone else — can I claim an inheritance as his heir?

She continues to invite him over. My daughters are so creeped out by his behavior that they often leave when he is around. If I buy her out, she would be homeless or stuck in a retirement home. If I leave, my daughters would lose out on the great public schools and neighborhood.

What should I do?

A Mother Feeling Trapped

Dear Mother,

If your mother is old enough to have a boyfriend, raise a child and bury a husband, she is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I’m sorry you have to deal with this, and I’m sorry that these were the values you were raised with. Parents teach their children how to behave and act by word and deed. It’s an awesome responsibility.

Contact the retirement home and raise the issue that he has said some strangely inappropriate things and you are flagging this in the event that he has the early stages of dementia. One symptom can involve inappropriate sexual behavior. “It can cause considerable distress and put placements and people at risk,” according to the journal Current Treatment Options in Neurology.

Also see: ‘We’re in a happier place now!’ My husband wrote a secret will when our marriage was rocky — should I now write one too?

Back to you and your family: You gave me two options. Door No. 1: buy her out. Door No. 2: find a new place to live. Whether you realize it or not, you chose Door No. 3. There is no new home for you and your daughters behind Door No. 3 and nor is there a house where they feel safe. Behind Door No. 3 lies an empty room with no windows. It is a place where nothing gets done.

You have, whether you realize it or not, chosen inaction in the face of a man who makes your children feel uncomfortable in their home. You risk them being exposed to more aggressive sexual harassment or, worse, physical molestation. That’s not the responsibility of your mother. It’s not even the responsibility of her friend. This responsibility lies with you.

Show your daughters what I assumed your mother did not show you: the courage of your conviction. You’re telling the wrong person to go. At least, for now. Tell this man that he is no longer welcome in your home. If he doesn’t leave, call a friend who would be physically able to remove him, if need be. If he refuses to go, report him to the retirement home and/or the police.

Recommended: ‘What did he do with all the money?’ My dying husband cashed his $700K life insurance and emptied his bank accounts

Do this when your daughters are not in your home. The conversation might go something like this. “John, I would like to talk with you. I have been told that you made inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments to my daughter. This made her feel uncomfortable and it makes me uncomfortable. I would like you to leave.”

Then talk to your mother about red lines: “This is a red line for me. My No. 1 job is to make sure that my children are protected and feel safe. If you don’t understand that, let’s talk about a new living arrangement. I will move, or I will buy you out.” If you can afford to buy your mother out of this home, you can afford a smaller place in the same neighborhood.

Today is the day to do right by your daughters, and to do right by the other little girl who grew up in that house too.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

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Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook FB, -3.64% group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

Quentin Fottrell

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s personal-finance editor and The Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.

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I love my daughter, but I hate being her mom.

On single motherhood, resentment, and regret.

Anonymous PandaFollow May 11, 2019 · 6 min read

Author’s note: This might be a difficult article for some people to read. I wrote this because I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way, and I’m hoping to find comfort in the strength of this community. Content warning: brief mention of loss.

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

It wasn’t always this way. The resent, I mean.

I love my daughter. That’s why I cry every time I think about how much I hate being her mom.

Mother’s Day is a sensitive time for many people who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, or the loss of a child. At least one of the above applies to me. Yet still, even as I cuddle this sweet little girl to sleep and whisper bedtime stories into her ear, I am full of regret over my decision to bring her into this world. I can’t remember the last day that I didn’t cry.

I try not to think about it too much, but Mother’s Day is always a difficult time.

As a single mom of a daughter with a disability, I am on alert 24/7. I wake up before the sun rises, I take a brutal commute to bring her to school and myself to work, I work full time, and I take the same brutal commute in reverse as she bites me, kicks, screams, and scratches me, leaving scars all over my body. We get home, and I work again — this time, late into the night, so I can make enough money to pay the rest of the bills.

Being a full-time employee and a full-time caretaker of a child with a disability means that by default, every moment of my life is dedicated to her. When I work, it’s for her. When I’m not working, it’s for her.

I need to arrange for child care (and pay top dollar for it because not everyone knows how to care for a child with her needs) if I have to go to the store, the doctor, an appointment… forget about going out just for the sake of going out.

So this year, all I wanted for Mother’s Day was a night off.

Not even a day off — a night off. I wanted to put her to sleep and then go out to dinner with my boyfriend. The last time we went out together was 11 months ago. Before that, our last night out had been a full year prior.

My mom heard about this through the grapevine, and called me to tell me how inconsiderate I am.

“Why don’t you want to spend Mother’s Day with your DAUGHTER?!” she demanded.

“I am spending it with her,” I responded. “But after I put her to bed, I’m desperate for some human connection. I haven’t been out with my boyfriend in almost a year and we finally have a shared day off.”

“Well, too bad,” she said. “How dare you.”

I give 100% to her, day in and day out, I wanted to say. I give her my life. I just want one night to feel alive again.

I decided to keep my mouth shut.

I asked my dad if he could help out; my daughter loves sleeping at his house once or twice a month. He has a huge house and a big family, which makes my lonely, roach-infested apartment with no fun activities pale in comparison.

I shouldn’t be so upset that he couldn’t help, either. He doesn’t have to — she’s not his child. He already had plans.

Despite knowing that my only wish for Mother’s Day was to have a night off, my family decided that I HAVE to celebrate the holiday. They invited themselves over for “brunch”.

  • I don’t want to celebrate.
  • Now I have to clean my house and play host — Happy Mother’s Day to me.

And then it’s right back to my motherly responsibilities. So, I don’t get a break, but I get to host an event that I don’t want to participate in.

You know what I really want?

  • I want to go on a date.
  • I want to sleep next to my boyfriend — not my daughter — for one night.
  • I want to sleep for more than 3 hours one night.
  • I want to know what the future holds for me, and whether it will ever get easier.

Just one day. I just want one day to feel like a person again.

I adore my daughter, and I’m fully aware that one day, she’ll be my best friend.

But in this moment, she’s my responsibility, and I don’t have any friends.

Not one.

She prepared a few gifts for me, which I graciously accepted. It was short-lived, though; she told me a few minutes later that she decided to take them all back because she didn’t like my attitude. Apparently, I don’t deserve a Mother’s Day gift because I asked her to wear a seatbelt in the car.

Not Naughty: 10 Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren’t

Source: katarinag/

Here are 10 ways kids may seem like they’re acting “naughty,” but really aren’t. When we recognize kids’ unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, it lets us respond proactively, and with much more compassion.

1. Not controlling impulses.

Ever say to your kid, “Don’t throw that!” and they throw it anyway? Research suggests that the brain regions involved in self-control are immature at birth and don’t fully mature until the end of adolescence, which explains why developing self-control is a “long, slow process” (Tarullo, Obradovic, & Gunna, 2009, 31). A recent survey revealed that many parents assume children can do things at earlier ages than child-development experts know to be true. For example, 56 percent of parents felt that children under the age of 3 should be able to resist the desire to do something forbidden, whereas most children don’t master this skill until age three-and-a-half or four (Zero to Three, 2016). Reminding ourselves that kids can’t always manage impulses (because their brains aren’t fully developed) can inspire gentler reactions to their behavior.

2. Overstimulation.

We take our kids to Target, the park, and their sister’s play in a single morning, and inevitably see meltdowns, hyperactivity, or outright resistance. Jam-packed schedules, overstimulation, and exhaustion are hallmarks of modern family life. Research suggests that 28 percent of Americans “always feel rushed” and 45 percent report having “no excess time” (Robinson, 2013). Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, argues that children experience a “cumulative stress reaction” from too much enrichment, activity, choice, and toys. He asserts that kids need tons of “down time” to balance their “up time” (Payne, 2010). When we build in plenty of quiet time, playtime, and rest time, children’s behavior often improves dramatically.

3. Core conditions.

Ever been “hangry” — angry because you’re hungry — or completely out of patience due to sleep deprivation? Little kids are affected tenfold by such “core conditions” of being tired, hungry, thirsty, over-sugared, or sick. Kids’ ability to manage emotions and behavior is greatly diminished when they’re tired. Many parents also notice a sharp change in children’s behavior about an hour before meals, if they woke up in the night, or if they are coming down with an illness. Kids can’t always communicate or “help themselves” to a snack, a Tylenol, water, or a nap like adults can.

4. Expression of big feelings.

As adults, we’ve been taught to tame and hide our big emotions, often by stuffing them, displacing them, or distracting from them. Kids can’t do that yet. Early childhood educator Janet Lansbury has a great phrase for when kids display powerful feelings such as screaming, yelling, or crying. She suggests that parents “Let feelings be” by not reacting or punishing kids when they express powerful emotions.

5. Developmental need for tons of movement.

“Sit still!” “Stop chasing your brother around the table!” “Stop sword fighting with those pieces of cardboard!” “Stop jumping off the couch!” Kids have a developmental need for tons of movement. They have a tremendous need to spend time outside, ride bikes and scooters, do rough and tumble play, crawl under things, swing from things, jump off things, and race around things. Instead of calling a child “bad” when they’re acting energetic, it may be better to organize a quick trip to the playground or a stroll around the block.

6. Developmentally-wired to resist and become independent.

Every 40- and 50-degree day resulted in an argument at one family’s home. A first-grader insisted that it was warm enough to wear shorts, while mom said the temperature called for pants. Erik Erikson’s (1963) model posits that toddlers try to do things for themselves, and that preschoolers take initiative and carry out their own plans. Even though it’s annoying when a child picks your tomatoes while they’re still green, cuts their own hair, or makes a fort with 8 freshly-washed sheets, they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing—trying to carry out their own plans, separate, make their own decisions, and become their own little independent people.

7. Core strengths that trip them up.

We all have core strengths that can also trip us up. Maybe we’re incredibly focused, but can’t transition very easily. Maybe we’re intuitive and sensitive, but take on other people’s negative moods like a sponge. Kids are similar: They may be driven in school, but have difficulty coping when they mess up (e.g. yelling when they make a mistake). They may be cautious and safe, but resistant to new activities (e.g. refusing to go to baseball practice). They may live in the moment, but aren’t that organized (e.g. letting their bedroom floor become covered with toys). Recognizing when a child’s unwelcome behaviors are really the flip side of their strengths—just like ours—can help us react with more understanding.

8. Fierce need for play.

Your kid paints her face with yogurt, wants you to chase her and “catch her” when you’re trying to brush her teeth, or puts on daddy’s shoes instead of her own when you’re racing out the door. Some of kids’ seemingly “bad” behaviors are what John Gottman calls “bids” for you to play with them. Kids love to be silly and goofy. They delight in the connection that comes from shared laughter and love the elements of novelty, surprise, and excitement. Play often takes extra time and therefore gets in the way of parents’ own timelines and agendas, which may look like resistance and naughtiness even when it’s not. When parents build lots of playtime into the day, kids don’t need to beg for it so hard when you’re trying to get them out the door.

9. Reaction to parents’ moods.

Multiple research studies on emotional contagion have found that it only takes milliseconds for emotions like enthusiasm and joy, as well as sadness, fear, and anger, to pass from person to person, and this often occurs without either person realizing it (Goleman, 1991, Hatfield et al., 2014). Kids especially pick up on their parents’ moods. If we are stressed, distracted, down, or always-on-the-verge-of-frustrated, kids emulate these moods. When we are peaceful and grounded, kids model off that instead.

10. Response to inconsistent limits.

At one ball game, you buy your kid M & Ms. At the next, you say, “No, it’ll ruin your dinner,” and your kid screams and whines. One night you read your kids five books, but the next you insist you only have time to read one, and they beg for more. One night you ask your child, “What do you want for dinner?” and the next night you say, “We’re having lasagna, you can’t have anything different,” and your kids protest the incongruence. When parents are inconsistent with limits, it naturally sets off kids’ frustration and invites whining, crying, or yelling. Just like adults, kids want (and need) to know what to expect. Any effort toward being 100 percent consistent with boundaries, limits, and routines will seriously improve children’s behavior.

Copyright 2017 Erin Leyba, PhD

Parts of this blog post have been excerpted from the book Joy Fixes for Weary Parents (2017).

40 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kid

Parenting is an undeniably difficult job—one that can often push even the most level-headed individuals to their breaking point. Unfortunately, what may seem like an offhanded remark in a heated moment can cause serious emotional repercussions for children down the line. And considering that research suggests that emotional abuse can actually change the structure of our brains, it’s imperative that parents and caregivers start being a whole lot more careful with the language they use around the kids in their lives.

When you want to adopt a healthier, more peaceful approach to parenting, start by cutting these 40 things you should never say to your kid from your vocabulary for good. And when you want to be the best parent you can be, try out these 40 Parenting Hacks for Raising an Amazing Kid!

1 “You Don’t Feel That Way”

Kids’ feelings are every bit as valid as those of their adult counterparts, although many adults are loath to recognize this as true. However, even if your kid is saying something that you believe to be less than completely true, like, “I hate you,” it’s still important that you don’t try to dismiss what they’ve said they feel.

“‘You don’t feel that way’ is one of the worst things parents can say to their children,” says Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW, author of The Food and Feelings Workbook. “Parents should validate children’s feelings even if they don’t agree with them or wish they didn’t feel that way.” And when you want to want to be a better parent, start with the 20 Ways to Be a (Much) Better Father!

2 “You’re Fat”

While childhood obesity remains a concern in countries around the world, that doesn’t ever excuse a parent calling their child fat as a pejorative. Calling your child fat won’t do anything to motivate them to lose weight, but can be a catalyst for serious emotional issues, including eating disorders, in the future.

If you want to make your child healthier, teach them how to prepare nutritious food and get regular exercise with them, but skip the name-calling. And for a look at the lighter side of parenting, check out The 30 Funniest Tweets About Parenting!

3 “Stop Crying”

Have you ever been told to stop crying? Did it ever work? When you tell a child to stop crying, you’re making them not only feel bad for whatever made them start crying in the first place, but also their tearful response to it. And for more secrets of the parenting world, check out these 30 Things Only Moms With Daughters Know!

4 “I Could Do That When I Was Your Age”

While it’s always nice to feel like you can pass on your skills and passions to the next generation, telling your kids that they’re failing to meet your personal milestones can be harmful in the long run. Kids all develop at different rates, and expecting that yours will be on the same timeline as you will only make them feel like they’ve disappointed you if they miss the mark. And for some family-friendly humor, turn to the 50 Jokes from Children That Are Crazy Funny.

5 “Be a Big Girl/Big Boy”

Emotional maturity is both a skill and something that tends to develop with age, and not one that can be coaxed out of a kid before they’re ready. Unfortunately, telling a child to be a “big boy” or “big girl” assumes that it’s something they can turn on or off at the drop of the hat, and generally in already emotionally-heightened situations. And for more parenting advice, check out The Secret to Raising Healthy Kids!

6 “Why Didn’t You Get an A?”

If you’ve never asked your middle-manager friend why they’re not a CEO yet, it seems a little silly to ask a kid why they got a B instead of an A. While it’s fine to suggest that your child prepare better for future tests, asking them why they didn’t do perfectly is anything but motivational. And when you want to be a better role model, start with the 20 Ways to Be a (Much) Better Mother.

7 “You’re Selfish”

While children may exhibit a host of behaviors that come across as selfish, hearing that they’re selfish from a parent can have some damaging effects in the long run. If you tell a child they’re selfish, it seems as though it’s an unfixable character flaw, rather than a behavior they’re exhibiting at the moment.

Try working on their sharing skills and discuss how other people might feel in response to their allegedly “selfish” behavior instead. And when you want to raise more generous kids, this is How to Avoid Spoiling Your Child.

8 “You Don’t Mean That”

Hearing your kid tell you they hate their teachers, call themselves stupid for getting a bad grade, or say that they’d rather live on the streets than in your house can be tough. However, you shouldn’t ever let the words “you don’t mean that” pass your lips.

“‘You don’t mean that’ is another way of being invalidating that is damaging to a child connecting to his or her feelings,” says Koenig. And for more insight into childhood behavior, check out the 15 Dead Giveaways You’re Dealing With An Only Child.

9 “Don’t Be a Wimp”

We’d all like our kids to grow up to be strong, smart, and independent. However, trying to toughen them up by telling them not to be a “wimp” is no way to do it. Instead, all you’ll do is damage their self-esteem when what they really need is a boost. And for more parenting inspiration, check out these 11 Leading Men Who Happily Embraced Fatherhood Later in Life!

10 “My House, My Rules”

Of course, if you’re paying the bills, you should have plenty of control over what goes in your home. Unfortunately, simply saying, “My house, my rules,” without further explanation will only serve to shut down communication between you and your kids. If you want to make sure your kids know what your policies are and have them listen, you’d be well-advised to back them up with solid reasoning. And to find out more about your kid’s behavior, discover the 40 Lies Kids Say That Parents Always Fall For.

11 “You’re Making Me Sad”

Do parents sometimes feel sad because of something their child has said or done? Sure. However, this statement makes a child feel responsible for their parents’ happiness, putting an unfair burden on them in the process.

12 “That Happened to Me and I’m Okay”

Yes, some people have terrible childhoods and still turn out to be decent adults. However, this statement is all too often used to justify abusive behavior. At the very least, it tells children that you expect them to react the same way you did to a situation, setting a standard that’s nearly impossible to live up to.

13 “Why Can’t You Be More Like Your Sibling?”

Sibling rivalry is just another part of growing up in many families. However, when parents ask their children why they’re not more like their sibling, it fosters this often-unhealthy competition and can make a kid feel like nothing they do is good enough.

14 “You’re Perfect”

While it may feel like telling your kid they’re perfect is a good thing, it can backfire. Even if your kid gets straight As, is a model, and has never uttered an unkind word, telling them they’re perfect can lead to devastation when they feel like they’ve fallen short of the mark.

15 “Stop Overreacting”

It’s only natural for a parent to try to calm their child down during a period of heightened emotion. Telling them to stop overreacting isn’t the way to do it. While your kid’s behavior may seem like an overreaction to you, they clearly don’t see things that way. Instead, try to talk through what they’re feeling and find out why whatever is happening seems like such a big deal.

16 “You’re the Man of the House”

We tend to put an unnecessary burden on boys to grow up and act like men, even when they’re very young. Telling a boy that he’s “the man of the house” only reinforces this idea, and can cause undue stress.

17 “You’re Okay”

Saying “you’re okay” when someone is hurt or crying can often feel like an automatic response. However, whenever possible, avoid uttering this phrase to your kids: doing so diminishes their actual experience, demonstrating that you’re prioritizing calm above all else.

18 “Be a Good Girl”

/HTeam

The concept of the “good girl” is pretty deeply ingrained in our culture. Unfortunately, when you tell a child to be a “good girl,” you’re reinforcing this construct, which hinges upon a lot of unrealistic and outdated expectations of girls and women.

19 “I Can’t Say No to That Face”

It may be hard to deny your kids the toys and privileges they ask for because you love them so much. However, as an adult whose job it is to set boundaries, telling your kids that it’s impossible for you to say no to them can set them up for some seriously impossible expectations in the future.

20 “All of Your Stuff is Mine”

While yes, it’s probably true that you bought the majority of your child’s possessions, telling them that they don’t actually own anything be pretty traumatizing. The idea that you can and will take away their prized possessions on a whim can make any kid feel pretty insecure, if not afraid.

21 “You’re Lazy”

Do kids act lazy from time to time? Sure. However, telling a kid that they are just inherently lazy will only make them feel like there’s nothing they can do to change that.

22 “Finish Your Food”

Of course, you don’t want your kids to waste food. That said, enforcing the “clean plate club” rule at your house can make it difficult for your kid to know the difference between being satisfied and being stuffed, setting the stage for bad eating habits later in life.

23 “That’s Not Good Enough”

Parents will undoubtedly find themselves disappointed in their child’s behavior from time to time. However, telling a kid that what they’re doing simply isn’t good enough won’t do anything to motivate them, especially when they’ve already tried their best.

24 “Don’t Make Me Repeat Myself”

Since when is repeating yourself the worst fate a parent could encounter? Telling your kids that you don’t want to repeat yourself is little more than a veiled threat, and not one that’s likely to command better behavior in the future.

25 “You’re Ungrateful”

If you’re a parent, there will probably be thousands of instances in which your kid forgets to say “please” or “thank you.” However, calling them ungrateful as a blanket descriptor of their behavior will make them feel bad about themselves without giving them any guidance as to how to change. Instead, make it clear to your kids why gratitude is so important, and how they can better express it.

26 “You’re the Most Beautiful”

Praising kids on their looks can be a slippery slope. While, in an image-focused society, never saying anything about your child’s looks may feel unrealistic, telling them they’re the most beautiful can set a standard that’s impossible to live up to, as well as making your kid equate their self-worth with their looks.

27 “Stop Acting Like a Baby”

Generally uttered in moments of extreme frustration, telling your child to “stop acting like a baby” won’t actually do anything to help them change their behavior. Kids are emotional beings, and just like adults, sometimes aren’t in total control of their feelings, acting immature as a result. Instead, try talking to your kid about why they’re feeling a certain way and how you can help them work through it.

28 “You Can Do Better”

It’s nice to imagine that your kids will always do things perfectly. However, most parents know that’s virtually impossible to actually achieve. Sometimes, even when kids try their hardest, they don’t do things as well as others had hoped, and it’s important to be understanding when that happens.

29 “Practice Makes Perfect”

In a similar vein to “you can do better,” “practice makes perfect” sets up unrealistic expectations for kids. While practice does tend to make people better, most kids aren’t going to become prodigies just because you made them play the violin until their fingers bled.

30 “I’m Mad at You”

Yes, parents will get mad at their kids from time to time. However, it’s important that parents keep their cool whenever possible and avoid saying things like, “I’m mad at you,” which can make the child feel responsible for that adult’s feelings. Instead, try to distance the behavior from who your child is as a person, discuss how you’re feeling in response to that particular behavior, and how you can both work to a more peaceful resolution.

31 “I Do Everything For You”

Even if you are your kid’s primary caregiver, odds are you don’t do everything for them. And unfortunately, telling them that you do will only make them feel both indebted to you and resentful at the same time.

32 “I’m Not Mad, Just Disappointed”

It’s natural to feel disappointed in your children from time to time. However, telling them that you’re disappointed as an alternative to being mad doesn’t provide them a clear solution as to how they could do better, but does make them feel responsible for your feelings.

33 “You’re Doing That Wrong”

While you may be eager to guide your kids to do things correctly, telling them that they’re simply doing things wrong won’t be much help. Letting your kids try and fail is a major part of the learning process, after all.

34 “Do I Look Fat?”

Many of our food and body image issues start as children, and often because of the example our parents set for us. By asking your child if you look fat, you’re not only making it clear that being fat is inherently bad, you’re also looking to them for validation in a way that’s unhealthy for both parties.

35 “You Should Be Ashamed”

No matter what kind of parent you are, your kid is bound to feel shame from time to time. Insisting that they feel it, however, rather than simply explaining why their behavior was harmful and offering a remedy, will only make them feel bad and increase their chances of acting out in the future.

36 “Because I Said So”

Of course, it can be a drag explaining yourself to your children a thousand times. That said, telling them that something is true simply because you said so doesn’t provide them any real incentive to follow your rules. Whenever possible, give them an explanation for why you made that rule in the first place instead.

37 “Calm Down”

When you’re dealing with someone who’s upset, it’s natural that you’d want to de-escalate the situation. The bad news? Telling someone to calm down won’t actually accomplish that goal, and, in many cases, can make things worse.

38 “I’ll Give You Something to Cry About”

Frustration and parenting go hand-in-hand. However, telling your kid that you’ll give them something to cry about when they’re upset is emotionally abusive behavior, plain and simple.

39 “You’re Just Like Your Mother/Father”

Having a contentious relationship with your child’s parent is undeniably difficult. However, even when they’re exhibiting behavior that gets on your last nerve, badmouthing their other parent is never the solution, and is likely to make both parent and child pretty upset with you.

40 “I Wish You’d Never Been Born”

No matter how frustrated you are with your child, it’s never acceptable to tell them that you wish they’d never been born. “‘I wish you’d never been born'” is something parents should never, ever say to their children,” says Koenig. “I’ve known clients who’ve been told this and were scarred for life by the remark.” When you’re feeling frustrated enough to say something this hurtful, simply remove yourself from the situation until you’ve cooled down enough to respond in a more level-headed manner. And when you want to be a more peaceful parent, start with the 30 Easy Ways to Fight Stress!

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50 Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

Heather Weston

Set Smart Limits

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don’t clip your child’s wings. Your toddler’s mission in life is to gain independence. So when she’s developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!).

Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter — that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

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Create Your Own Quality Time

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That’s the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There’s no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad — early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals — like bedtimes and game night — that you do together.

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Be a Good Role Model

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right?

Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your job to set a great standard.

Respect parenting differences. Support your spouse’s basic approach to raising kids — unless it’s way out of line. Criticizing or arguing with your partner will do more harm to your marriage and your child’s sense of security than if you accept standards that are different from your own.

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Know the Best Ways to Praise

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, “You’re great,” try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, “Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience.”

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so he’s more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact: What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child “catch” you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

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Trust Yourself

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad parent.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something’s wrong, chances are you’re right.

Just say “No.” Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child’s school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.

Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life — your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter — to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

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Don’t Forget to Teach Social Skills

Ask your children three “you” questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, “Did you have fun at school?”; “What did you do at the party you went to?”; or “Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon?”

Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, “How did that feel?” and “What do you think would make it better?” Then listen to him. He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

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Raise Grateful Kids

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.

Don’t raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind: Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.

Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer: When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a “gratitude circle” every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

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Don’t Stress About Dinner

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it.

Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect — a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits.

Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.

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Always Say “I Love You”

Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely. They’re individuals.

Say “I love you” whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible.

Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.

Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now — it will be over far too fast.

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Boost Brainpower & Physical Activity

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean there isn’t lots that she’d like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you — a great way to reduce frustration.

Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P.S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often.

Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

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Health Advice All Parents Should Follow

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world.

Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

Be vigilant about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter.

Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid’s fever is caused by a virus, don’t push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid’s toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It’ll become as natural as brushing her teeth.

Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line.

Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty: He senses the urge to pee and poop (this is different from knowing that he’s already gone), and he asks for a diaper change.

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  • By Barrie Gillies

Parents Magazine

Why don’t I like kids?

I’m almost twice your age, almost turning 40. I still dislike being in the presence of kids. I tolerate them, especially when they’re my friends’, but I try to steer clear of them.

Why? Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. Kids tend to be noisy. I don’t like loud noises. For this reason I avoid concerts, crowds and clubs.
  2. Kids ask too many questions. I can only give so many reasons to the question, “Why?” When I run out of sensible answers, I start to make up ridiculous ones, at which point the parent comes along to take away the kid. Probably for good reason.
  3. Kids aren’t intellectually stimulating. I dislike making small talk, and all talk with small kids is small. Usually.
  4. I’m an observer and a listener. I usually ask questions and leave it to the other party to answer. With kids, I’m forced to be an entertainer, which I’m not comfortable with.
  5. When I’m bored, I spend a lot of time in my inner world which entertains me to no end. Kids need to be constantly monitored, lest they fall off a fence, swallow a coin, or poke their eye out with scissors.

Some people like kids provided they’re not theirs. Some people just don’t like kids.

This story is part of a week-long series on reproduction, from prenatal testing to male birth control.

Are you pregnant yet? Don’t you like kids? Well, it’s different when it’s your own child. Being a parent is the most important job in the world. You’re being a bit selfish. What if your parents had decided not to have you? Speaking of your parents, isn’t it cruel to deny them the joy of grandchildren? Besides, who will take care of you when you get old? You’re just saying that because you’re young. You’ll change your mind. Your biological clock is ticking! What if your kid cured cancer?

If you don’t have kids and don’t want them, apologies: You’ve heard this all before from well-meaning relatives, friends, coworkers, cashiers, taxi drivers, crossing guards. If you do have kids and you’ve said anything like the above, the childfree community would like to let you know that you’re not being as thoughtful and caring as you (maybe) mean to be.

See, all of those questions and statements are forbidden by the bylaws of popular subreddit r/childfree, where they’re known as “bingos”: “cliché phrases parents say in an effort to convince the childfree that their decision is wrong, and that they are shirking their societal duty by not reproducing.” The subreddit is a forum to vent about being antagonized by “mombies” and “daddicts.” More importantly, it’s a place for users to speak openly about choice, offer stories and support to others, and share advice about how to respond to bingos or convince doctors to sterilize them.

By now, some of you might be forming a hard nugget of disapproval for the snarky childfree redditors. You’re far from alone: Multiple sociological studies have found that voluntary childlessness often sparks immediate disdain and “moral outrage,” even from total strangers. The stigma knows no race, religion, gender, or border. Researchers have found similar negative judgements of childfree adults everywhere from India to Italy to Israel. (If you’re having trouble imagining the hostility, try typing “childless”—or even better, “childless millennial”—into Google.)

Emma Grey Ellis covers memes, trolls, and other elements of internet culture for WIRED.

Still, fertility rates in the United States (and everywhere else) continue to drop. And contrary to certain hypotheses, voluntarily childfree people seem to rarely regret their choice. r/childfree has nearly half a million subscribers, and similar communities exist on just about every social media platform.

For the childfree, the reasons to consider childfreedom extend beyond baby hatred, questions of bodily autonomy, or suboptimal finances. Concerns go broader, ranging from the economy to politics to climate. “We basically have 12 years until the planet is an apocalyptic hellscape,” says Justine, a longtime r/childfree member in her early thirties. “We aren’t as lucky as our parents, and they seem to have no idea how much more difficult it is to ‘get by’ for us than it was for them.”

When responding to crusading parents who might try to convince them out of their stance, many childfree people use prepared “scripts,” formed by years of entertaining the same inquiries. They know they’re working against ingrained biases: The childfree are keenly aware that they are prefigured in the eyes of most as a band of entitled, disrespectful millennials, trading tradition for self-interest.

Being childfree—they first want you to know—is hardly a millennial idea. “There have always been people who have made the choice not to have children, but we’ve never noticed them in that way,” says Amy Blackstone, a (childfree) sociologist at the University of Maine and author of the forthcoming book Childfree by Choice. Priests and nuns and other celibate ascetics spring to mind, but plenty of lay people throughout history have made the same call. Referring to somebody as a spinster or “confirmed bachelor” was a coy implication of queerness, but it’s also a signpost for the childfree of yesteryear. “What’s different is that we’re talking about it openly now,” Blackstone says.

Activists have been challenging the taboo of childfreedom since the early 1970s, when second-wave feminism (which focused on family-centric issues such as reproductive rights, workplace equality, and marital rape) collided with the overpopulation and overconsumption worries of the environmental movement. In 1972, journalist Ellen Peck founded the National Organization for Non-Parents with a simple goal: making more people aware that parenthood was a choice, not an obligatory life chapter.

According to Blackstone, the economic boom-time of the 1980s, along with its focus on women “having it all,” re-hushed the childfree—though it didn’t extinguish them. “I wish there was something like 30 years ago,” writes one redditor. “I am a 60 year old woman who has been happily married for 35 years. We are childless by choice and have never regretted it. I was always pretty sure I did not want children.” Other posters share their own experiences in the comments beneath. With over 300 upvotes: “I’m 55 myself and I can still remember being told by the gyno—at age 40!— that she wouldn’t sterilize me because ‘you still might change your mind.’ Yeah, that’s a negatory, ghost rider, damn satisfied with my decision, too.” (Many childfree people, but especially women, struggle for decades to get permanent birth control. Doctors’ concerns are seldom medical, so r/childfree’s moderators maintain an international list of childfree-friendly doctors and a guide to getting sterilized.)

The millennial-aged redditors seem to have a broader focus—as a generation, they’ve been shaped by third-wave feminism, acceptance of wider notions of family, climate change, and the Great Recession. “Since the recession, everyone is freaking out about lower fertility rates caused by women delaying pregnancy,” says Alison Gemmill, a demographer at Stony Brook University. But the childfree aren’t just delaying, and that’s started to show in the data too. “We’ve also seen a decline in fertility intention. More women are intending to have no children,” Gemmill says. She doesn’t foresee an imminent demographic apocalypse, but that hasn’t stopped political pundits and other commentators from preaching about society’s impending doom.

Parenthood was once thought to be inevitable — a destiny — for healthy fertile adults.

No more. Many people are opting out, a life choice that still provokes debate.

The number of babies born in the U.S. last year fell to the lowest level in 32 years, with younger women especially having fewer kids. Americans are now having fewer children than it takes to replace the population, a trend mirrored in other countries.

US women aren’t having enough babies to replace population

Jan. 10, 201900:29

It doesn’t surprise Amy Blackstone, a sociology professor at the University of Maine and author of the new book, “Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence.”

She and her husband Lance decided not to have children years ago after simply not feeling the pull towards parenthood. They check in with each other every year to make sure they’re still both on board about opting out. Famous women who’ve also made the choice include Ina Garten, Cameron Diaz and Helen Mirren.

Amy and Lance Blackstone got married in 1995. For years when people asked her when she was going to have kids, she responded, “I’m not ready yet.” But then she realized she just didn’t want children.Courtesy Amy Blackstone

For her book, Blackstone interviewed 70 child-free men and women and surveyed more than 700 about their experiences. She found women still feel the brunt of the stigma.

“Men sort of get a pat on the back and there’s more joking about, ‘Aren’t you lucky that you dodged this bullet?’” Blackstone, 47, told TODAY.

“Whereas for women, it’s the, ‘Oh, you poor thing, I can’t believe you’re missing out on the most meaningful experience that a woman can have. You must be so sad and lonely.’”

Here are eight more of her findings:

1. Many of the top reasons for skipping parenthood are especially true for millennials

Blackstone: The cost of living and having a baby — we know that’s a particularly difficult issue for millennials who are facing all kinds of college debt. Certainly, having a child has an impact on the environment and I know that’s a reason that millennials have shared for their choice.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Other top reasons include the desire for autonomy, spontaneity, freedom and the ability to travel.

2. Many child-free people want to focus on the relationships they already have

Blackstone: This quote from a 44-year-old married woman resonated for me: “I worry that if I had a child I’d become a terrible partner because I’d be so focused on being a good parent.”

This doesn’t mean child-free people necessarily have perfect relationships or better relationships than parents. But in my own case, I do recognize that I would be giving something up in terms of my ability to feel close with my partner and nurture that relationship.

3. It’s not a ‘selfish’ choice

Blackstone: In 2015, Pope Francis said, “The choice to not have children is selfish.”

If we’re going to put that label on the child-free, then it’s a label that needs to be shared across any group of people who’ve made a choice about the life that they know is right for them.

But isn’t that what we’re all doing? Even parents, if you ask them why they had children, would tell you that they wanted kids because that’s the life that they envisioned for themselves.

Alternatively, we can choose to abandon the “selfish” label and decide it’s OK for people to make a life choice that is best for them, whether that be parenthood or non-parenthood. Maybe neither choice is selfish.

There’s an impression that child-free people don’t give back, or aren’t giving to their communities or making a difference in the world. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. We know from research that the child-free are involved in their communities — they’re about as likely as parents to volunteer.

4. Many child-free people do like kids

Blackstone: A quarter of the child-free people I interviewed actually chose careers that require them to be involved and make a difference in children’s lives. Many of them are teachers, social workers, pediatricians. There are all kinds of ways the child-free are engaged in kids’ lives and made a choice to do that.

Some child-free people don’t like children and in that case, the last thing we want to do is push them into becoming parents.

5. Child-free people don’t have regret down the road

Blackstone: I have not talked with anyone who feels regret about their choice.

I have had family members who I know have been worried for me, but we should accept when people tell us they don’t want to have children. Parenthood is a role that is best fulfilled when it’s one that’s chosen. It takes a lot to be a good parent so if somebody doesn’t feel that pull, that’s perfectly OK.

6. Child-free people are fulfilled and happy

Blackstone: When people say we are missing out on something, that’s absolutely true. But I would also turn it around and say it’s possible that parents are missing out on some aspects of the lives that child-free people enjoy. We can’t do it all — it’s impossible to have every life experience.

So yes, we will miss some experiences, but I don’t think that because that is true, that it necessarily follows we’re unhappy. I’m very happy with my decision. My husband and I have a life that we love.

The Blackstones scuba dive in Roatan. “I doubt I would have been capable of balancing motherhood with the sort of connection with my partner that I desire,” Amy Blackstone writes in her new book.Courtesy Amy Blackstone

7. ‘Who will care for you in old age?’ and ‘Won’t you be lonely?’ are questions for everyone

Blackstone: These are questions that we all should be thinking about as we age, whether we have children or not.

In terms of the child-free, many have been creating a nest egg to help them be able to provide for themselves in their old age. And we’re seeing more and more examples of “The Golden Girls”-style living where older adults are sharing households with each other.

It’s a mistake to assume having children means one will have a person to care for them in their old age. Not every adult child cares for their aging parents, research shows.

8. A child-free household is a family

Blackstone: I would love it if we came to understand that the child-free have families. I count my husband and me as a family.

Child-free families fulfill the same functions that families with children do. We create households as a safe space that provides an emotional connection and an opportunity to recharge. We engage in “social reproduction,” which involves anything that people do to help rear the next generation. For the child-free, that means being mentors and friends to children.

As an educational and developmental psychologist, I am often asked by friends, family, and parents, why I have chosen to work with children.

When I get asked this question, my immediate thought is: why wouldn’t I like to work with kids?!

I love it! There are thousands of reasons why I think helping children and their families is the best job in the world, but I will focus on my top four.

1. Working with kids is fun!

I love that no single day at work is the same! Children come to see me for counselling for many different reasons. Even though sometimes the underlying difficulties are similar, the counselling approach for each child is always different. This is because we don’t only focus on the difficulties the child is having, we focus on the child’s strengths, and we also take into consideration their age, personality, what they like to do/play, and so on.

2. I learn from the children I’m working with every day!

I admire children’s:

  • Endless energy
  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Resilience

3. Children motivate me to be a better person.

Children make me a more knowledgeable person: Children are, by nature, very curious. With all the questions they ask, I constantly find myself looking for answers on books and on the internet.

Children make me a well-informed person: As kids often expect for me to know exactly what they are talking about, I also have to keep up-to-date on current affairs, as well as on the latest video games, cartoons, and coolest apps for iPads and phones.

Children make me a healthier person: I am a firm believer of leading by example, therefore I follow a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods and keeping active (which comes in very handy when I need to keep up with them!).

4. Helping children (and their families) is the most rewarding job I can think of!

When I ride my bike back home after a long day at work, I like to think of the children I saw during the day. I think about the progress they have made, how I can help them further, and I hope that when they leave my office, they feel better, stronger, empowered, and happier.

Knowing that my job is to help kids achieve their full potential and to help them feel happier and better about themselves, brings a huge smile to my face and helps me sleep better at night!

Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream? & More Kids Songs – DVD

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– Format: NTSC
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– Runtime: 47 minutes and 49 seconds

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Included Songs
1. Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream?
2. The Itsy Bitsy Spider
3. Hello Hello!
4. Walking In The Jungle
5. Who Took The Cookie?
6. Do You Like Spaghetti Yogurt?
7. Rock Scissors Paper #1
8. The Shape Song #1
9. I Have A Pet
10. Head Shoulders Knees & Toes (Speeding Up)
11. Let’s Go To The Zoo
12. Hide & Seek
13. The Shape Song #2
14. Wag Your Tail
15. We All Fall Down
16. 10 Little Airplanes
17. Rock Scissors Paper #2
18. How’s The Weather?
19. Uh-huh!
20. Bye Bye Goodbye

People Who Don’t Want Children Need To Read This Letter

I know there are a lot of parenting cynics out there. You guys come in a variety of packaging. I get it: You don’t want children.

One dude I knew, years ago, said he wasn’t sure about having kids because “the research” suggests parenthood doesn’t make you happy. I think he was referring to this, or this or this.

For more on the truth, but also BS of this, read on.

I also had a friend who is a philosophy fiend, and he told me he just couldn’t risk it. He did not know for certain he would be a great dad.

So how could he, in good conscience, bring an innocent, helpless life into the world, only to royally screw said kid’s life up with his own mess of baggage?

I have girlfriends who don’t want kids because it might interfere with their careers. Or they grew up in a dysfunctional household are were witness to and victims of terrible mothers and fathers.

They love their parents and think their mom and dad are “good” people. And yet, these “good” people ruined their childhood.

Occasionally, you stumble across those who lament the lack of “tests” for procreation. These tend to be inveterate snobs, but underneath that upturned nose is perhaps genuine sympathy for kids whose parents don’t take very good care of them.

I get it. Plus, being single is fun. It just is. I remember the days often and fondly (for the most part).

Even if you have an SO, being kid-free leaves millions of doors open. Everything from spontaneous midnight movies to hitting up Hotwire’s last-minute flight deal. If a new restaurant opens, you’re there. If a friend invites you over for a Netflix binge-fest, game on.

None of this is remotely possible with kids. So, full disclosure, up front: You will be saying buh-bye to lots of fun and freedom when you become a parent.

You will be saying buh-bye to lots of fun and freedom when you become a parent.

But “fun” is not the only measure we should apply to our lives. And prep yourselves, because my next proposition is perhaps more radical: simply achieving “happiness” is also not, necessarily, indicative at all of a good life.

WTF are you talking about, Jess?!

Let me explain: When my daughter was born, all my friends were single. And we went out. A lot. To dinners, bars, films, concerts, festivals, coffee shops, wherever. I was kind of never really home, except to sleep.

And it had been really hard, adjusting to pregnancy. Limited coffee, zero alcohol, added exhaustion, plus total body change? That was hard.

But it was nothing compared to taking care of an infant. Add to this the fact that my husband had to move to another country for work, and I happened to live hundreds of miles and multiple states away from family, and you know…

Those first eight weeks of baby girl’s life were not “fun” for me.

They were so, so much more.

I had never experienced that kind of euphoria, where I’d stay up just to watch her. It was love and bliss, and it was all-encompassing.

The world seemed like new, unrecognizable place — a place where the word “Mom” somehow applied to me, where a new soul now existed. And nothing would ever be the same.

Now, maybe that loss of independence sounds a little… awful. And there are times when it is.

There are times when that kind of dependence on the well-being of someone else while being simultaneously responsible for said someone else’s survival is just radically difficult to bear.

But it also changes you in extraordinary ways. It makes you aware of other children, for one. It makes you notice them and think about their well-being. Which is to say, it makes you less selfish.

Being a parent makes you think of other children, which is to say, makes you less selfish.

It makes you value the gift of a smile, of a budding personality. You see your baby giggle for the first time or sob hysterically, and from then on, you see everyone you know differently.

Because you realize they were all babies once, totally dependent, totally tiny, totally adorbs. You have sympathy, in a new way, for friends, exes, siblings, teachers, whomever has hurt you.

Which is even more proof parenthood makes you less selfish.

It also connects you to the future. Because after you’re gone, your children will live on. And their children will live on after them. So you begin to care so much more about what happens in the world.

You care about taking care of the environment, rescuing the children of Aleppo and ensuring peace, stability and a good economy, so they can have an even better planet to inherit.

This is all good, though perhaps not “fun,” and perhaps not the carefree definition of “happy” we tend to rely on.

Parenthood is so much more than “fun” and “happy.”

So, yes, I hope you have kids.

(And in case you need “the research” to help persuade you, check out this article: “Does Having Kids Make Parents Happy After All?” The answer researchers found: Yes).