Musings on Procreation, the Rights of Children, and Our Disturbed World

  • Despite overpopulation and the inability of most parents to meet their children’s needs in a satisfactory way, people who have done little more than have large numbers of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are socially lauded, as if they have done something excellent and praiseworthy. I see and hear this every day, even in reputable news sources.
  • I recently saw a billboard advertisement that showed a picture of a set of twin babies. The caption beneath them read, “Double the love.” The meaning of this could be ambiguous, until we consider that parents don’t realistically have double the love to offer two kids. Really the ad is saying that these “lucky” parents will now receive double the love, based on the backward idea that children are there to love their parents. But children don’t love their parents: they need their parents. Yet most people don’t know the difference between love and need. This is why the idea sells.
  • When I was a child, my father often told me that he loved me unconditionally. And he did, as long as I met the unspoken condition of putting his needs first.
  • If a man rapes a woman, then people consider it okay to remove him from society to protect other women. Yet if parents abuse their child, even in extreme ways, it’s considered legally (and often socially) acceptable for them to continue having more children, even if they have undergone no rehabilitation. It seems pretty obvious that in our world the right to procreate trumps the right of the child to be protected.
  • Around the world, many prisoners, despite being denied most social rights, are offered conjugal visits, which, among other things, afford them the right to procreate.
  • On the news, we see refugees streaming out of war-torn and poverty-stricken countries with little children and babies in tow. We feel for the little ones, but do we in any way hold their parents accountable for having brought them into a world of obvious misery?
  • Many times my mother told me she would die in order to save my life. And I think she actually meant it. What she didn’t say, though, because I think it never crossed her mind, was that she would die to save my life as long as I fit into the mold of who she required me to be. When I stopped fitting into that mold she instead wanted to kill me — and tried to, psychologically.
  • As our world goes down the tubes, more and more I hear people say, “You need a license to drive a car, and often pet adoption agencies do a home visit before they let you adopt a pet — but anyone can have a kid!” I think a lot more people are going to be saying this in the coming decades. I think people are slowly waking up.
  • I’ve never heard anyone in the United States say that China’s one-child policy was a bad thing, or that it denied people their “human right to procreate.” But how many Americans would support a one-child policy in our own Nature-depleted, overpopulated land?
  • The only thing that seems to have fewer rights than a child is Nature. But ironically, Nature will outlive us all, and we can’t destroy it.
  • If an abusive parent only abuses his or her child psychologically (e.g., manipulating, using double binds, lying, gaslighting), even to the extreme of driving that child insane, it is almost impossible for anyone in society to step in and put a stop to the abuse. What does that say about our society?
  • I have observed that parents have the legal right to torture their child psychologically. If you don’t believe me please give me an example or two in which you or anyone in society can stop them.
  • Most people look the other way when they see parents abusing their children in public. They say, “Well, it’s their kid. Plus, if I step in and say something it’ll probably just make them more angry and then they’ll take it out on their kid at home.” Which they probably will.
  • I was genitally mutilated at birth by a doctor, without anesthesia and with the consent of my parents, because of some strange social customs veiled in quasi-medical dogma. When I tell people about this, my experience is that most honestly don’t care. I think people would react more strongly if I told them my parents had had my newborn ears pierced instead. “Sick,” they might say. And because I am a boy they might even label my parents perverts.
  • I think a lot of people connect their value in being human with their reproductive capacity. For many people, both men and women, the loss of this reproductive capacity is tantamount to becoming worthless. I have even seen people become suicidal over realizing they are infertile.
  • Many parents say to their grown children, in one way or another, “Give me a grandchild.” Perhaps they add, “That is your job.” To them, and to much of society, babies and children really are just property, there to make people happy, give status, prove worth, give purpose.
  • It is no mystery that many parents live through their children. What kind of role modeling is that?
  • My dad had a well-polished veneer of being a sophisticated, mature adult. But this veneer was just his puppet skin. Pulling the puppet strings was a needy, unresolved, abused child who had never gotten enough and couldn’t help but use me to try to make up for his parents’ failures. And my mother wasn’t much different.
  • I have often noticed that when I say to parents, “Your child is so artistic” or “Your child is so smart,” the parents reply, “Thank you,” as if I am actually complimenting the parents. But I’m not. I’m just making an observation. To me, a much more appropriate reply would be, “I know,” or perhaps, “Yes, isn’t she amazing?”
  • Does a child have a right not to be born into insanity?

20 thoughts on “Musings on Procreation, the Rights of Children, and Our Disturbed World

  1. “I think a lot of people connect their value in being human with their reproductive capacity… I have even seen people become suicidal over realizing they are infertile.”

    Daniel, I’d be interested if you could expand on this more: how you think this happens, and how to resolve fear of not-procreating, how to make-peace with it.

    I agree most people that breed are way too fucked-up to give kids what they need, think I am far from ready to be a father, and am considering the eco-merit of non-procreation: yet part of me is really anxious about not having kids, worried about feeling regret, emptiness, and hopeless. It feels like it would mean ‘failing’ somehow.

  2. Querido Dr. Daniel,

    Percebo nitidamente sua manifestação a respeito do tema do desequilíbrio da SUPER POPULAÇÃO.

    Aqui no Brasil, sem estrutura social alguma, haja vista, as leis frágeis não estabelecerem as regras básicas e fundamentais, o que, me envergonha como cidadã, tende a piorar a DISTORÇÃO SOCIAL como um todo.

    Minhas convicções se igualam ao que se refere do “AMOR INCONDICIONAL”. Isso não existe no mundo do intelecto.

    Ao que relatei anteriormente, por nascer numa família DOENTE e, neste ambiente defeituoso, tracei minhas bases lógicas para me integrar ao mundo social.
    Na sequência, percebi que o MUNDO SOCIAL alimenta terríveis FALHAS humanas e, influenciam a distorcem a funcionalidade de “equilíbrio do ser”.

    Há muita interferência negativa ao nosso redor, quer seja, pela relação e, intenções de nossos pais, quer seja na relação e interferência religiosa, social …

    Na verdade, não temos uma referência sólida do certo e errado.

    A sociedade num todo, está DOENTE.

    Na minha particular dificuldade, com mãe e irmã psicótica e, pai radical, busquei amparar valores na vida. Sem referência comparativa no ambiente familiar, extrai da natureza (flora, fauna, etc…) algumas da minhas mais importantes fontes de informação e, convicção de valores. Diria, serem estas fontes, mais plenas.

    Numa escala de evolução, o bicho homem, patina em “erros” a milhões de anos, enquanto os animais desenvolvem suas habilidades de sobrevivência. Uma realidade cruel, que contamina e, compromete a vida !

    Distinguindo estes valores, “tentei” educar e passar valores para minha filha. Na pretensão de ensinar o quão seria importante não nos apegarmos às referências sociais e religiosas e, termos uma base estruturada inatingível por estas influências, principalmente do interesse financeiro e, o vazio desta ilusão. Tentei passar a fortaleza da “independência individual” e, fidelidade ao intimo das convicções de real evolução humana. Porém e, tão logo, minha filha teve contato com o mundo, esta FORÇA DESPROPORCIONAL ao que, condiciona sobre o HUMANO, tragou toda estas informações.

    Todas as intenções culturais, religiosas e sociais, que movem a relação social no mundo, foram e ainda estão distorcidas. O que vemos, é reflexo destes “graves” erros.

    Estamos longe da moldura e referência de nossa característica: o INTELECTO.

    A maquinação do poder em todos os níveis da relação humana, destroem e, impedem o verdadeiro crescimento e evolução.

    O descontrole na superpopulação, em minha opinião, é a manifestação do DOMÍNIO em primeira escala, seja este, na falsa ideia da PERPETUAÇÃO DA ESPÉCIE, que expressa bem, a DISPUTA ainda viva e primitiva do HUMANO.

    Isso, não é o fator principal que CORROÍ o EQUILÍBRIO do SER??

  3. How do you go about confronting a parent who’s abusing their child in public? The next time I see someone berating a child I want to say something, but I do worry about making the situation worse for the kid.

    • i had an incident a couple of years ago where i confronted a woman who was shaking and screaming at her 2- or 3-year-old child on the subway in new york. i told her to stop abusing the kid. she did stop, but another woman on the subway stood up and got in my face and started yelling at me, like i’d done something wrong. and her first question to me was, “do you have any children?” — as if my lack of having children doesn’t give me the right to say something. my reply was, “i have worked with kids a lot, and i was a child!” meanwhile, almost everyone else on the train glared at me, and i felt at risk…. not fun…. i think part of the problem was that i was a “young” man doing the confronting. perhaps it would have been easier if i had been a woman.

      • That sounds terrifying… and it’s exactly the sort of reaction I’ve been afraid of when I consider confronting a parent about their behavior. One possible response I’ve thought about is getting the parent’s attention with a “hey!” and then simply looking at them and saying “I see what you’re doing. Do you see what you’re doing?” Of course this could just lead to the parent defensively or angrily rationalizing their abuse, but it might force them to self-reflect a little bit. And at least it could show the child that someone is witnessing their mistreatment.

    • I walk up to them and say to the parent: I can tell you are having a not good day! or some such. Purpose: to do my intervene, break up the dynamics occurring at that moment. My intention, however, is to connect, probably non-verbally, with the child, to telegraph with an open heart, through my eyes ‘it ain’t you, honey’. I might even bend down and, at eye level, acknowledge him/her ‘it’s really tough when mom/dad are having a bad day. Are you okay?’ A touch on the shoulder or a light stroke down the back. Whatever seems appropriate. I have offered to get coffee for/with the parent. Whatever breaks the tension and facilitates alternatives. Mainly, I want the child to know that others, another sees what is happening and can and is willing to be a helper. The parent is also on notice that others are watching and will take action. Their reaction is not up to me. I do this for the child, but if the parent wishes, needs relief, is open to referrals for parenting classes, support like ‘parents time out’, then I am ready to offer direction also. It is not all or nothing. We all have to become involved across the board and with as much depth as we can acquire to help. Else it will become an all or nothing for more of us than for which it already is. To me, it’s really a,question of where do we enter the situation. By the time a child is here, pardon me-‘spit out’ (vs. planned and wanted), it is, most times, too late. We must get ahead of the curve. Adolescence is where we finally lose them. Age two is the first psychic expansion not properly navigated universally. Turnstile activity. Sad. We have so much work to do. Deepest bow to uou, Daniel.

  4. Que en Estados Unidos nadie opine sobre el control de la natalidad en China y todos los problemas que trajo la esterilización forzada de mujeres y los abortos cuando el feto era niña no fue importante para China: modificaron su legislación. En Japón, el control de la natalidad ha generado muchísimos problemas de salud mental. EN Argentina hay mucha legislación que hace valer los derechos de los niños y se puede denunciar a los padres. Somos seres sociales, de la cultura (además de seres biológicos), nacemos en la sociedad parental con sus costumbres, tradiciones y religiones y en un determinado lugar con su cultura. Todo eso nos constituye. Hay países muy pero muy responsables del estado de pobreza en el que viven otros y pobreza es negarles la posibilidad de acceder a la prevención del embarazo, a la paternidad responsable. Felizmente todos tenemos derecho a formar una familia… y si deseamos tener hijos (propios o adoptados) tenerlos. EE.UU es el país que no ratifica tratados internacionales de DERECHOS HUMANOS ni del cuidado del planeta que también es un derecho humano. Es el principal productor de residuos tóxicos y no reciclables del mundo. Con una normativa hacia el adentro y otra punitiva hacia el exterior de USA una persona que ha viajado como viaja Usted puede ver eso con más objetividad si lo desea. En materia de drogas no legales tienen el mayor consumo del mundo, tienen estados donde es legal, tienen producción propia… y sistemas de transporte para la misma… sin embargo enarbolan hacia el exterior la “guerra contra las drogas”. Crecer implica el dolor de ver a nuestros padres como personas carentes… y saber qué cosas de ellos nos dañaron, cómo cambiar nuestras vidas e intentar no repetir malas experiencias. Hay que mirar con mayor temor a las industrias que generan daño al planeta. Los humanos somos parte de la naturaleza, somos naturaleza y nuestra existencia per sé no daña al planeta, la daña el consumo y el salvaje poderoso capaz de matar personas para adueñarse de tierras que son un vergel par convertirlas en un emprendimiento inmobiliario para unos pocos… Todos somos libres de decidir si queremos tener hijo o no y no estar expectantes del consenso social sobre el tema. Hay muchos puntos que merecen una charla muy profunda en tu post… siento -tal vez me equivoque- que estás escribiendo con una idea implícita: ¿piensas que hay unos más aptos que otros para tener hijos? y ¿piensas que la aptitud está determinada en parte por las posibilidades económicas?… ¿quién puede determinar eso o quién piensas que debiera determinarlo?… Solo puedo imaginar sufrimiento e injusticias si eso fuera regulado… Estuve en Uganda y en el momento que viajé hubo una convención de mujeres: ¿sabes que a las mujeres que paren y tienen HIV les enseñan a amamantar cuando en occidente eso no se hace para que los niños/as no contraigan el virus? Hay genocidios silenciosos en nombre de no sé qué idea iluminada de unos sobre otros. Afectuosamente.

  5. * Here is the Netherlands parents are obliged to send their children to places they call school. In front of these so called classes does NOT stand a teacher. This person is a master over a group of children and parents love to send them to these places. Even when they are much younger because their job or money is more important then the happiness of their own child.

  6. It sounds like you are talking about eugenics. I have a problem with eugenics, since I was advised never to have children because they would inherit my “mental illness”. Eugenics was a movement in the last century that tried to keep humans from reproducing based on various attributes of groups of people, such as skin color, religion, race, country of origin, and level of intelligence.
    Adolph Hitler was a proponent of eugenics when he exterminated six million Jews and other minority groups who he believed were not worthy to live.

      • Si no conociera tu trabajo también pensaría que hablas de eugenesia… por qué no puede procrear alguien que cumple la condena social en prisión? No salda su deuda con la privación de la libertad? Es muy pero muy complejo el tema que estás planteando, la madurez emocional para ser padres no es algo que se pueda cuantificar… Argentina tiene altísimos índices de madres-niñas. Como lo tenía por el año 95 California. Mientras allá en ese año se implementó un programa de prevención de embarazos de niñas y adolescentes, acá se retiran los programas de prevención y la entrega gratuita de preservativos. Es común que haya personas en EE.UU que digan “el mundo” o “todo el mundo” y solamente refieren a su país. Personalmente me entristezco cuando conozco niñas embarazadas… y responsabilizo por sobre todo a las políticas públicas. No se trata de ser pacatos y hacer planteos morales: se trata de comprender complejidades, diversidad, culturas… TU planteo no puede ser por fuera de una determinada política y verás que somos naturaleza también afectada por una concepción del mundo: dominarlo. Como bien dijiste: la naturaleza no se domina. Cariños.

        • hola lucila. mi idea es que personas en prision no puede ser padres buenas porque niños necesitan mucha mas que un padre que vive en un carcel…. ahora en ingles (mucha mas facil para mi):

          children need parents who are physically present, emotionally available, psychologically free, aware, not under massive stress….people in prison can provide none of those things.

          this has nothing to do with eugenics.

          cariños! daniel

          • Daniel, comparto plenamente tus palabras, eso es válido para todos los hombres que quieran ser padres y muchos que no están en la cárcel no cumplen su función paterna; prohibir no es igual a educar en las cárceles para la paternidad responsable. Por otro lado, tal vez no se entendió: tu no está hablando de eugenesia, eso digo y también que se puede confundir quien no te conoce.

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