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Children Don't Exist

Most bad parenting can be said to assert that children don't exist.

For example, spanking a child in order to improve it's behavior is treating a child like a donkey at best. It thus denies the child exists as a person.

The idea of temper tantrums denies the child exists, and says instead that other things exist such as 'temper' and 'childishness'.

The idea of aspies denies the child exists and replaces him with a syndrome.

The preferences of children are very commonly denied to exist. He doesn't really want that toy, just an ad told him to pester his parents. Ads exist, and pestered parents, but not children who agree with ads or who would benefit from toys.

Sometimes children are asked to pretend they don't exist: be seen but not heard, or go to bed before the guests arrive.

When a child doesn't want a vaccination, all parents acknowledge to exist is irrationally fear and irrational demands that life consists absolutely entirely of love and unicorns.

When a child doesn't want a medication, all parents acknowledge to exist is the absolute necessity of administering the medication.

When a child doesn't like school, it certainly never occurs to parents that they are dealing with a person who has a preference and a life, and perhaps should have some control over his life. Instead, all that exists to them is a ball of clay which has the potential to be an adult with the skill to run its own life, and will get there not by practicing doing that but by molding.

And it goes on and on.

Despite all this, I think it'd be highly inaccurate to say the primary problem with parents today is they haven't realized children exist.

Elliot Temple on August 8, 2009

Comments (8)

What is the primary problem?

Anonymous at 9:39 AM on August 9, 2009 | #1873
I'm not sure there is one.

Elliot at 10:05 AM on August 9, 2009 | #1874
In your final sentence, are you using "exist" in the same sense as you used it earlier ("exist as a person")?

Richard at 11:42 AM on August 10, 2009 | #1875
Yes.

Elliot at 11:43 AM on August 10, 2009 | #1876
Then, I'm curious about your final sentence. Isn't one of the tenets of TCS that people find hardest to accept, the idea that children are rational beings, that they exist as people with opinions that should be respected?

Or did you just mean that while it's a problem, it's not the primary problem?

Richard at 6:58 PM on August 12, 2009 | #1877
> Or did you just mean that while it's a problem, it's not the primary problem?

That's what the word primary is for, yes.

Elliot at 8:46 PM on August 12, 2009 | #1878
OK.

What do you think the primary problem with parents today is?

Anonymous at 8:22 AM on August 13, 2009 | #1879
Oh, whoops, that was asked and answered already. Sorry.

Anonymous at 10:35 AM on August 14, 2009 | #1880

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)