Growing up, I was bullied enough to know that children can be extremely cruel. They can also be devious, manipulative, and disingenuous. Even as a child, I avoided them. I spent more time with books and adults. When my mother tried to make me join the Girl Scouts, I looked upon it as punishment and went on strike. Being a Brownie had been humiliating enough.
Needless to say, I never had children of my own. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I haven’t regretted it for a second. I can think of nothing worse than being a secretly (or not so secretly) resentful parent.
Don’t get me wrong. There are amazing children out there. My niece and nephew may be adults now, but they were wonderful kids, and I was always happy to see them. My next door neighbor’s son is pretty awesome, too. And babies are fun to hold, as long as they can be handed back eventually.
I just never know what to say to kids, and that makes me uncomfortable. I feel pressure to entertain them, and I don’t think of myself as an exceptionally demonstrative individual. When they cry, I feel both helpless and irritated. They seem like bottomless pits of need. And I hate the thought of inadvertently screwing one up for life, you know? It’s a huge responsibility, influencing young minds.
So, yeah, being trapped in a room with a young person is not my idea of a good time. But at least I know this about myself. Beware of those who feel that way and are in denial about it.
I do enjoy watching kids grow up and turn into unique and wonderful human beings. I’ve been proud of more than one over the years. But, all things being equal, I prefer to observe from a safe distance.
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