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  1. #11
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    How many people actually take honest stock of their personal limitations before having children? It is also taboo to discuss such a thing with most people.
    It's a fairly simple equation to me.

    Ignorance/irresponsibility + sex = children = unsuitable for raising a child

    Forethought + sex <> children = suitable for raising a child.

    In general, of course. In many cases, the child isn't expected and the parents are suitable to raise a child. And of course, those that wait for the ideal time doesn't exclude those that have a child early and feel it is suitable.

    The way I see it, if you are able to talk to your mate about having children (the big issues involved), if you talk about the financial and practical stress you are going to be under and if you actually do some semblance of preparation for the child, you are probably going to be a fine parent. The rest is just gravy - there is no ideal situation... but if you can't generate some sort of plan for the practical aspects of the biggest responsiblity of your life, chances are you aren't responsible enough to have it.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post

    The way I see it, if you are able to talk to your mate about having children (the big issues involved), if you talk about the financial and practical stress you are going to be under and if you actually do some semblance of preparation for the child, you are probably going to be a fine parent. The rest is just gravy - there is no ideal situation... but if you can't generate some sort of plan for the practical aspects of the biggest responsiblity of your life, chances are you aren't responsible enough to have it.
    Your theory is a good one, but it does not take into account those people who do not know themselves or do not allow themselves to see the truth about themselves and their situation.

    Two people can talk and plan a child and all the while ignore truths about their situation because they do not want the truths to be true. Planning is not the whole issue, there also has to be a willingness to see oneself and situation as it truly is and not how one wishes themselves to be.

    ETA. It is true that there is no ideal situation, but there is best situation where both partners have normal physical stamina, stable mental health and average emotional development and a desire and ability to refuse to slip into denial defense mechanisms when life gets tough. It also would help to have a relatively stable job situation, but that gets harder and harder, who really has a stable job situation these days. So the best many can do is just to have marketable skills and good work habits.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Your theory is a good one, but it does not take into account those people who do not know themselves or do not allow themselves to see the truth about themselves and their situation.

    Two people can talk and plan a child and all the while ignore truths about their situation because they do not want the truths to be true. Planning is not the whole issue, there also has to be a willingness to see oneself and situation as it truly is and not how one wishes themselves to be.
    I would also add a willingness to deal with whatever situations that come up -- i.e., a commitment to the children -- in order to cover the times when unexpected things happen. None of us know ahead of time what parenting is like; instead, we plan as well as feasible, then commit up front as best as we can to stick it out for the things we failed to predict.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #14
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Two people can talk and plan a child and all the while ignore truths about their situation because they do not want the truths to be true. Planning is not the whole issue, there also has to be a willingness to see oneself and situation as it truly is and not how one wishes themselves to be.
    While I agree overall, I would say that is a minority of unsuitable parents. Most parents that are outright unsuitable on the bellcurve simply lack the ability to talk or discuss their children. Almost every parent I know of has said that they had no idea how much work it is. No one really knows what it's like till they are in the middle of it.

    I guess implied in talking about is that they make a rational decision from the discussion, not a situation where they agree not to have children but she stops taking the pill/etc anyway, or a discussion where the guy is thinking "I can't afford it" but is saying "Yah, let's have one!".

    Hmm, the better way for me to put it is that once they are responsible enough to make a reasoned decision, they are probably responsible enough to raise a child. That doesn't exclude those that weren't given a chance to make a reasoned decision... more that if they were able to, they can probably handle having a child.

    ETA. It is true that there is no ideal situation, but there is best situation where both partners have normal physical stamina, stable mental health and average emotional development and a desire and ability to refuse to slip into denial defense mechanisms when life gets tough. It also would help to have a relatively stable job situation, but that gets harder and harder, who really has a stable job situation these days. So the best many can do is just to have marketable skills and good work habits.
    I see your point about people not really seeing reality for what it is.

    In my own little world, I believe that discussion serves rational means... but I know that's not really true. I don't (and my GF does so rarely) make decisions without weighing the costs... any decision really. I keep forgetting that isn't the norm... my brother, my GF's sister... hell, our entire families... do exactly what you are saying - they "talk" about it, but they are validating their view, not trying to determine the viability of their choice.

    <wanders off into his own thoughts regarding bias>

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I would also add a willingness to deal with whatever situations that come up -- i.e., a commitment to the children -- in order to cover the times when unexpected things happen. None of us know ahead of time what parenting is like; instead, we plan as well as feasible, then commit up front as best as we can to stick it out for the things we failed to predict.

    I agree.

    I am not sure that people are totally understanding what I am getting at. I am talking about people who have physical or mental health issues that cause them real limitations in coping with their lives on a daily basis before becoming a parent but cannot admit it to themselves. When they think about how their lives will be with children, they edit this part out. Somehow they think that if they want it bad enough, the energy to deal with all that being parent entails, both the predicatable and the unpredicatable will simply take care of itself.

    It seems reasonable for a person who is coping adequately with their daily life with energy and resources to spare to take this attitude that no matter what challenges parenthood holds they commit to face them. What doesn't seem reasonable is the confidence with which I have seen people who had trouble taking care of their own needs on a daily basis made this assumption about themselves as well. (And I am talking about planned children here btw.)

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    While I agree overall, I would say that is a minority of unsuitable parents. Most parents that are outright unsuitable on the bellcurve simply lack the ability to talk or discuss their children. Almost every parent I know of has said that they had no idea how much work it is. No one really knows what it's like till they are in the middle of it.
    This has not been true in some of the families I am around. People who BEFORE they have children, know that they have signifigant daily fatigue that prevents their functioning in a normal way( not just so tired from doing what needs to be done, I mean too tired to do what needs to be done to begin with) or significant chronic pain or other physical problems can certainly talk and plan about their having children but they may not be up to dealing with the actual practical physical demands of day in day out child care.

    People who have variable mental instabilities can be quite focused at times but not always so in the day in and day out stress of life. It not so much what a person can do in a concentrated moment that matters but how they consistantly handle issues. (I am not talking about people who have mental health issues that are well controlled and stable and they know it)

    I have seen couples who already have one child that they are having serious trouble coping with and then go on to have two or three more. I don't want to get into details too much.

  7. #17
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    I have seen couples who already have one child that they are having serious trouble coping with and then go on to have two or three more. I don't want to get into details too much.
    This is one issue that we can agree on entirely... I can't stand seeing this.

    I guess my view is that if a family can attempt to plan, even if they misplan or have their plan disrupted, it shows that they can probably adapt fairly well - in short, they aren't planning on living their life the way it use to be.

    While I agree that there are those that shouldn't have kids that do anyway, despite the planning, I don't see this a significant problem. These are all gradients that often have to be traded off on. What I agree with is that there are those that shouldn't, know they shouldn't but think they'll "manage somehow". Those are over the line... but that line is pretty hard to draw.

    What I do have a problem with and will almost certainly cause a child to be mis-raised is if the parents try to continue their life as it was before. In the cases of younger adults, this could be going out clubbing/partying/debauchery and in older adults it is often the intrusion into their "empty nest", with reduced vacations and stress. Planning for the changes shows that they are more likely to know about and accept the changes.

    From my point of view, I will judge someone harshly if they didn't plan ahead or adjust their lifestyle (ie: fashion accessory or inconvenience). If someone is struggling, even if they knew they might, I'm fairly lenient so long as they did plan ahead and are putting the effort in.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    While I agree that there are those that shouldn't have kids that do anyway, despite the planning, I don't see this a significant problem.

    It is for the children brought into that situation. It is for their relatives who have to step in and help out, whether they really want to or not, to avoid a tragic situation. It does affect people.

    Anyway, I was only replying to the statement that it is okay for CF people to not want children and I was saying there is more to the decision than merely does a person want or not want children. Sometimes it is a question of whether that person is up to being a parent. It is not safe to assume a CF person is CF simply because they didn't want children, it is more complex a decision than that. Abstaining from parenthood because a person knows themselves enough to know that they are not up to being a parent should be far more acceptable and expected than it currently is.


    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    What I do have a problem with and will almost certainly cause a child to be mis-raised is if the parents try to continue their life as it was before. In the cases of younger adults, this could be going out clubbing/partying/debauchery and in older adults it is often the intrusion into their "empty nest", with reduced vacations and stress. Planning for the changes shows that they are more likely to know about and accept the changes.

    From my point of view, I will judge someone harshly if they didn't plan ahead or adjust their lifestyle (ie: fashion accessory or inconvenience). If someone is struggling, even if they knew they might, I'm fairly lenient so long as they did plan ahead and are putting the effort in.
    See, but I have seen cases where the parents put in the "effort" but they are prevented from doing so effectively enough because of limitations that existed in them personally before having children. No matter the intentions, the results are the same. It would be very beneficial if our society put more empahsis on getting people to really evalulate themselves and their fitness before they decide to have children.

  9. #19
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    It is for the children brought into that situation. It is for their relatives who have to step in and help out, whether they really want to or not, to avoid a tragic situation. It does affect people.
    Can you define the line that shouldn't be crossed? What constitutes a reasonable "capability" to have kids, at which point it becomes moral to have kids?

    Abstaining from parenthood because a person knows themselves enough to know that they are not up to being a parent should be far more acceptable and expected than it currently is.
    Oh yes, don't get me wrong. I'm capable of having kids and have chosen not to... and it pisses me off when the pressure is applied. It's one of the few things that I'll snap back at people.

    One thing to remember is that kids warp the way we think - parents have a psychological need to justify their decision - the trauma they go through. This self justification does change the way the child birth and rearing is viewed.


    See, but I have seen cases where the parents put in the "effort" but they are prevented from doing so effectively enough because of limitations that existed in them personally before having children. No matter the intentions, the results are the same. It would be very beneficial if our society put more empahsis on getting people to really evalulate themselves and their fitness before they decide to have children.
    I can't argue with that!

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Can you define the line that shouldn't be crossed? What constitutes a reasonable "capability" to have kids, at which point it becomes moral to have kids?
    I already said that I think a person needs to evaluate themselves that they have average physical stamina, i.e. they come home from work and they could spend several hours doing chores and such without feeling severely fatigued or mentally out of it. If they have average mental health or control enough of a mental condition that they have average mental function on a regular basis and that they have dealt with any issues of dysfunction or denial mechanisms that they learned growing up. That they have good work habits and a marketable skill that they can support themselves on with enough to spare for a child too.

    All of that seems common sense, but a person has to be willing to admit the areas in which they are limited in those areas and either work on a solution or accept it and abstain from creating a mess for themselves and everyone around them. Yeah, I know I sound really hard and cold there, but I am witness to some real messes right now and it is the kids who hurt the most in those situations.

    Here is an example: If a person knows they must work but each day she comes home from work totally exhausted and MUST nap before taking up her daily chore list and is often home sick and in bed from work AND she knows her husband is a man who does not like to pitch in around the house and not likely to change... common sense would seem to suggest a child coming into that situation is going to be shortchanged. This is taboo in most areas to say.

    If a person regularly suffers anxiety/panic enough that they often sit unmoving in tears and needing to take sedative medications to cope and their husband has a job that takes him away from home for set periods of time how will they handle a baby who needs constant attention? (Her mother has called in sick to her job to help her so much that she has almost lost her own job and she finally just had to say she couldn't do it anymore. Can you imagine being put into that position by your adult child?)

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