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  1. #21
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    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 I take you literally, you just eliminated ~half the population (average).

    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.
    Again, here, if I use the literal sense of average, half the population wouldn't be suitable.


    That's what I'm asking - a literal definition of what is suitable. If I don't take your answer literally, I'd end up saying that you are looking for functional, which isn't a good measurement in my eyes.

    If I was going to do that, I'd say that the bottom 30% or so of earners shouldn't raise children. Or a certain age. I could use all forms of statistics to come up with an argument that only about 5% of the population should breed, based upon inhereted traits, bad genes, IQ, financial reasons and social position. I feel that argument would be stronger than a subjective interpretation of what an individual can cope with.

    It's easy to say when there are obvious cases... but the line between obvious and not so obvious is very blurry and contains more factors than I could calculate.

  2. #22
    heart on fire
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    First off PSgasby, I am not talking about some external source coming in and making the decision for these people that they should or should not have children, I am talking about each individual being honest enough with themselves with their own shortcomings to know themselves enough if they are able to parent or not. I would never be for any external control on that.

    Why would you think that I meant the bottom 30 percent of earners should not have children?

    What I said about that issue was: "That they have good work habits and a marketable skill that they can support themselves on with enough to spare for a child too."



    If they can budget their expenses to make their ends meet then that's not what I meant. I mean those who know that they don't have good work habits and have a hard time holding a job, those who know that they cannot currently budget their money and make it cover their own expenses, what will they do when the child comes?

    I will take this case alone, if you are a couple who has no child and your bank account is chronically overdrawn due either to lack of enough funds or careless spending that they've not been able to discipline themselves to stop, wouldn't you agree that was a good measure that the two were not yet ready to have children until the situation changed.

    That is where the line comes if your own personal energy, money or coping mechanisms are not adequate to keeping your own personal, individual life together without a sense of daily crisis (real crisis not just hectic), I think a person needs to really be willing to question whether or not they are capable to be parents.

    I would not be for forcing anyone to do anything or saying that someone else could not have a child, I want to be clear on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    If I take you literally, you just eliminated ~half the population (average).
    I guess I should revise and say "mostly normal" energy. I seriously doubt that half the population struggles with *severe* fatigue when coming home from work.

  3. #23
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    I can see your point, but I have to say there are some people who absolutely are not cut out to be parents, either physically, mentally or developmentally. I mean a person should be able to know themselves enough to take inventory of how they are coping with the physical and mental stresses of their daily life and ask themsleves "Am I up to adding the load that being a parent will add?" They don't have to be arrogantly or fool heartedly sure of it, just sure enough that they are coping with daily life as it is and can easily add to their stress load to face the challenges of parenthood ahead.

    I know people whose lives were just barely getting by and they had not one but several children and the results have been much less than desirable for all involved but it is of course the children who suffer the most. Their lives are like a constant crisis and I do not mean the joking way that most people say their lives with children are a daily crisis. I mean a serious crisis.

    There is a good quote for this: "A man (person) has got to know his limitations." Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry.

    How many people actually take honest stock of their personal limitations before having children?
    Very, very few from my observation. It's usually the most confident who are the least competent.

    We did the just getting by thing for many years and there were crisis, yes, but we always had a roof, food, and love. The kids are getting old enough to notice their economic status now and we are doing better, but there are no guarantees. Most Americans are one or two major crises away from the streets. Should children be the fashion accessory of the rich as they have become to some? I don't think so. For many, their best childbearing years will be past by the time they can afford children, which kinda sucks when little ones really don't need a lot materially. I dunno.

    Edit: I read your further posts, and yes, I know people that can't hold a job or manage money better than a fourteen year old. It is going to be a very hard life for their children. My husband always could hold a job, even if it was a low-paying one and we manage to handle money well enough to by groceries and keep the lights on.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #24
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    I think we have gone a full circle Heart; I'm not disagreeing with you. What I did is generalise that responsible people plan ahead, and as a result, if you are willing to plan ahead you are most likely responsible enough to have a child.

    People do make bad decisions - but you seem to believe that talking something out and then making a bad decision is the same as not talking it out and making a bad decision. I disagree. There is a distinction between making a bad choice for a lack of knowledge (ignorance/not being realistic) with good intentions and a disregard for knowledge and discussion (I want, I want, I want!). There is a distinction between accidental children and intentionally planned children, no matter what the condition is.

    The effects can be the same, yes. And you could have a parent that earns 6 figures that loses his job and destroys most of your childhood... like mine. There is obvious and not as obvious... optimism and reality. It's not an easy judgment and there are no certainties either way.

    Yet I don't disagree that people should be more realistic and control themselves better. That'd be nice, but...

    The quality of life that a child experiences is a gradient - a rich person will, statistically, be more likely to succeed/etc. Smart parents tend to breed smart kids. Lower social class environments increase deviancy. These factors are quite possibly even more relevent to the child's development, happiness and potential.

    I'm just asking where you think the moral line should be. Someone who is in debt, can't even support himself and what not is an easy example (I wish I could say it is a minority of people, but I know better). How about I say someone who was able to put away the approximate cost for child supplies/other budget impacts for a year successfully? Is that an unfair barrier? Not to impose my belief, but to make it a moral choice (the right choice) to have a child? A judgment, in other words.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Crabapple's Avatar
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    This is a great thread-

    And although I want children, I am all for people not having children and being CF. If you don't want them, don't have them. Anyone who puts on the pressure (like "I want grandkids!") is the one being selfish and unrealistic, not the CF.

    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    ....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.
    I am in total agreement. And I don't think you are being harsh- I think that reality is harsh. Some people can't cope. Even when they try.

    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?)
    I can relate to what you've said, Heart, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. While I agree with PTGatsby that children should be planned, I believe that there are some people who shouldn't have children due to physical or mental health problems. If only one could get through to them....

    I also have a couple of examples. While yours were of people who were doing their best, mine are a little more harsh:

    I know of a child who, though only a few years older, has practically raised her siblings, to the detriment of her own healthy development and plans for the future. The parents were so irresponsible that they wouldn't even sign report cards. The kids forged their signatures. They couldn't be bothered with that, or properly feeding and clothing their six kids. Both parents were mentally ill drug abusers who refused to admit that they had a problem.

    I know of a current case- a single mom who was advised not to have her first child at fifteen, and then advised not to have the second child when the first became of school age and easier to deal with. She is the daughter of the above couple of mentally ill drug abusers, and has similar problems (though not as severe)- the woman stays in bed all day sleeping, while her pre-teen daughter resentfully and poorly cares for her five year old son. The daughter constantly misses school when her mother doesn't feel like sending her. She is now in summer school to make up work. Her mother tried to sabotage that as well.

    Both children run around the house, unbathed, unfed, and unstimulated except for the TV as a companion. Their only break is when they visit relatives. There the mother sleeps all day, hangs out on the phone, and/or goes partying with her friends. At these times, she consumes drugs and alcohol, even though they are proscribed with the medication she's on. This woman refuses to accept the government provided housekeeper her social worker wants her to get- because she doesn't want anyone in her business. When the children set fire to the apt., I guess that'll be an acceptable time for someone to get in her business. And she refuses to listen to her family or take medical advice, even though she does take medication. She is
    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    ....still dysfunctional from a dysfunctional upbringing and should.... [have] work[ed] on those issues before undertaking all it takes to be a parent...."
    Child protection has been called on her...and that may have to happen again....

    Her given reason for sleeping all day is that she wants to sleep, to escape her problems.

    In these cases, there were obvious reasons for the adults not to bear child after child. Even when one plans and has the economic means- say, to afford to get a nanny to fill in for a parent who is mentally or physically incapacitated, the children suffer.

    Another consideration where physical and mental health is concerned, for me, is inheritability. A great many serious illnesses -physical or mental- are inherited or are more likely to develop because of genetics. I think that also must be considered before one has children. Would I want to give my baby the kind of health problems that would disable them? No way!

    That said, I in no way blame people whose children have health problems- I totally believe in Karma. It's just that with my health problems (not the autism, other inherited stuff), I am leery of having a kid.

    Before anything else, children are people. I mean, before a child belongs to a certain family or race or social group, it belongs to the human race. A child is a human being. My family would like me to have a child. I get pressure too, like my mother reccommending that I just go out and have one night stands until I get pregnant, because I'm not currently in a stable relationship (Parents are a trip!). However, I believe I have an obligation to not burden another human, and one I would love so, with similar health problems to mine. For their sake. For my relatives sake. For humanity. Yeah, I'm getting all corny.

    But sometimes I see things that make my heart bleed-

    Dang, this is a long post!
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
    -- Unknown

  6. #26
    heart on fire
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think we have gone a full circle Heart; I'm not disagreeing with you. What I did is generalise that responsible people plan ahead, and as a result, if you are willing to plan ahead you are most likely responsible enough to have a child.

    People do make bad decisions - but you seem to believe that talking something out and then making a bad decision is the same as not talking it out and making a bad decision.
    That is not what I said at all.

    I am talking about people who have denial mechanisms in place that will not allow themselves to be truthful about their own personal shortcomings and they do not consider those short comings in their decisions.

    If something is not admitted to, it cannot be disucssed and a practical solution for it cannot be worked out, because it was never admitted to.


    I disagree. There is a distinction between making a bad choice for a lack of knowledge (ignorance/not being realistic) with good intentions and a disregard for knowledge and discussion (I want, I want, I want!). There is a distinction between accidental children and intentionally planned children, no matter what the condition is.
    There is not being realistic about the true nature of parenthood, yes it could be called ignorance, that much is true.

    Then there is also a willful denial of the truth of a situation that is not so much based on ignorance as wishful thinking.

    There is also discussing things out but leaving out key parts of the personal equation. It is one of the hallmarks of dysfunctional family systems.




    The effects can be the same, yes. And you could have a parent that earns 6 figures that loses his job and destroys most of your childhood... like mine. There is obvious and not as obvious... optimism and reality. It's not an easy judgment and there are no certainties either way.
    I certainly never said having a child was an easy decision either way one choses to decide, I just think that more people ought to feel open to admitting and considering their own shortcomings before the child comes and our culture is not really focused that way. We swing more towards the "just do it and let the chips fall" sort of thing.

    I never agree with this sort of reasoning. If a person already has signifigant limitations and refuses to admit them to themselves and take them into full account when disucssing the ramifications of having a child, then they are making a decision by default to enter into a situation that they have not thought out.

    The person who loses their job or health or sanity or life after their children are already born is in a whole different situation. The limitations did not exist before they made their decision.

    Yet I don't disagree that people should be more realistic and control themselves better. That'd be nice, but...

    The quality of life that a child experiences is a gradient - a rich person will, statistically, be more likely to succeed/etc. Smart parents tend to breed smart kids. Lower social class environments increase deviancy. These factors are quite possibly even more relevent to the child's development, happiness and potential.
    You are the one who put the wealthy aspect into this, I was just saying the people ought to know that they can have work habits and job skills enough to support their basic needs with enough left over to support a child's basic needs. I repeat, basic needs, not luxury. I do not know how much clearer I could be on that.

    I'm just asking where you think the moral line should be. Someone who is in debt, can't even support himself and what not is an easy example (I wish I could say it is a minority of people, but I know better). How about I say someone who was able to put away the approximate cost for child supplies/other budget impacts for a year successfully? Is that an unfair barrier? Not to impose my belief, but to make it a moral choice (the right choice) to have a child? A judgment, in other words.
    My personal judgement is that if a person can provide for their basic needs with enough left over to provide for a child's basic needs and enough physical and mental energy left over after work and chores to provide enough attention for a child's basic emotional and physical needs then I say they are not suffering from limitations that will interfer with their child's basic happiness.

    However, I would like to stress that what is true for one person, won't be true for another. One woman who has health limitations and cannot care adequately for her child may have a relative who is happy to step in but in another family having to step in and help might be too stressful on resources for that relative or they might not even have any relatives who could step in.
    My whole main point has been that if the limitations are not admitted to and not treated seriously, they won't be considered and practical ways to deal with them won't be addressed and it will be a stress on everyone in that family, especially the children.

  7. #27
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Having read through a lot of that I can see an obvious solution.

    Neuter everyone through the water or something, allow antidotes to those who pass the gruelling tests (usually involving previously successful applicants screaming brats). Any illegal children means the parents are locked up and the kids are used in the tests and are now scions of the state.

    Problem solved.

    Oh and the first step to happiness as a parent is brought by destroying cable TV and burning every advice book you come into contact with. Then buy a taser and use it liberally on your persistent advisers. It may not make you a better parent but it should make you a happier person and that should give you a whole hell of a lot higher chance of being a good parent than reading what some retarded psychologist has hang ups about this week.

    RC had it slightly wrong, it's not the kids which are fashion accessories.. it's the accessories of the kids. It was cool to have your own therapist in the eighties.. now your kids have to have one too.

    I for one would rather have a pack than a family of my own.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #28
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Having read through a lot of that I can see an obvious solution.

    Neuter everyone through the water or something, allow antidotes to those who pass the gruelling tests (usually involving previously successful applicants screaming brats). Any illegal children means the parents are locked up and the kids are used in the tests and are now scions of the state.

    Problem solved.

    Oh and the first step to happiness as a parent is brought by destroying cable TV and burning every advice book you come into contact with. Then buy a taser and use it liberally on your persistent advisers. It may not make you a better parent but it should make you a happier person and that should give you a whole hell of a lot higher chance of being a good parent than reading what some retarded psychologist has hang ups about this week.

    RC had it slightly wrong, it's not the kids which are fashion accessories.. it's the accessories of the kids. It was cool to have your own therapist in the eighties.. now your kids have to have one too.

    I for one would rather have a pack than a family of my own.
    I hope you read the original thread this spawned from.....
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    However, I would like to stress that what is true for one person, won't be true for another. One woman who has health limitations and cannot care adequately for her child may have a relative who is happy to step in but in another family having to step in and help might be too stressful on resources for that relative or they might not even have any relatives who could step in.
    My whole main point has been that if the limitations are not admitted to and not treated seriously, they won't be considered and practical ways to deal with them won't be addressed and it will be a stress on everyone in that family, especially the children.
    I guess I don't understand how it is possible to make a decision not knowing (or admitting - it ends up being the same) about a limitation, or believing the limitation won't be as much of an influence, and being judged for it.

    To me, you are complaining about stupid people, not the willfully negligent. I can understand that... but I just don't see anyone as being fully cogniscient of who they are. You could say that I shouldn't have kids because I'm not physically strong, I suppose. I would reject that outright and have kids anyway, if I wanted. It's true, however... but is it true enough not to have kids? I guess what I'm saying is that you are judging "me" based upon what ended up happening as if I should be fully aware of what would happen. I don't believe it is that clear in advance.

    Sometimes it is - but most of the time it's not an easy call. Unfortunately, I see people standing on the outside throwing stones, justified on their own belief that they did the right thing by not having children.

    None the less, I completely agree that people should be able to take care of themselves before having a child. To do otherwise is very foolish and rather unfair for the whole family.

    (And back to the rant - I don't want kids and don't think I'm really suitable for having kids. Or more correctly, I don't think my GF is suitable for having kids And yah, it still pisses me off when people apply pressure to having kids. You tell me I have kids, I'll tell you you shouldn't have, regardless of how well you are doing. Fair is fair!)

  10. #30
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivercrow View Post
    I hope you read the original thread this spawned from.....
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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