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Posted by: Weirdo | 30/05/2003

Q
Am I the only person in the world that cant stand children?

Dear Doc.
Have got a serious issue. i can't stand children. People consider me a monster, because I physically cant handle being around children. I hate to hear them laugh, I despise hearing them cry and I cant stand to hear them play. In fact I have a physical reaction (similar to anxiety) when I come near them. I have never been able to ohhh and aahhh around babies .. in fact I cant think of anything worse than to have to be a mother. I pity people who decided to have children - they never have any peace and quiet - they constantly worry and have to listen to the nagging and whinging of the brats all day. How often dont I see a mother shouting at her kids - my God! why did you bother to have them - you knew they would be a menace! most marriages fall to pieces as soon as the baby arrive and most children grow up hating their parents - who had to offer up sooo much to get them where they are .. to me this is a pointless cycle. Nothing irritates me more than being asked 'so when are you going to have kids?' or people saying ' oh I didnt like children either - until I had my own' .. and then they stare sadly into the oblivion..
It irritates me that people make such a fuss over 'let children be children' and 'let the kids play'. Surely having ill behaved children is not 'natural'? Quite frankly I am more upset over animal abuse than I am over child abuse. In fact it doesnt bother me at all. I can totally relate to mothers dumping their kids in a park and making off for the hills.
I didnt have a bad childhood, I have a great job, wonderful husband (who incidently has two children he also didnt want- but thankfully live abroad.) So all and all there is not much wrong with me apart from the grave irritation with children.
Unfortunately this upsets my life a bit as - as you can imagine- children seems to be the hottest latest fashion accessory.. just about everyone has one and they go with to restaurants, movies, shopping malls .. etc.. I REFUSE to take up seat in a restaurant next to a table where children are seated. I get irritated hearing their whinging in shopping maals - and all and all I generally avoid being anywhere where children might be drawn to. It has destroyed a close friendship sfter my friend fell pregnant - as soona s the baby arrived I totally disconnected from her.
HOw do I fix this so that I can at least tolerate children?i am at a loss.. been to see a shrink before but after a couple of appointments I honetly didnt think we were making any progress.
Would really appreciate some advise. (not the ' Go see a shrink' kind of advise please .. but solid advise I could use or work with at least.)

Many thanks for a great service.

EXPERT’S REPLY

Posted

A
Dear Weirdo ?
Here's a few observations, firstly to previous responses
Zeena, your suggestion of getting to know some nicely behaved kids is a good one, and similar to the principles of behaviour therapy. The main point on wich I disagree is that I know that not one single "serious psychiatrist", living or dead, has any belief that past lives exist, let alone influence us ( except in the very broad sense of the impact of history itself ) ; and though it is clear that prenatal influences while in the womb, such as the mother suffering from a major viral illness, could influence the child by increasing the risk of later developing some disorders, none believe that a pregnant mother's experiences directly influence the development of a phobia or what it might be that we feel phobic about. Indeed, any psychiatrist who espoused such theories which don;t have a shred of scientific evidence to support them, would immediately cease to be regarded as 'serious". Sorry, they're popular ideas in some quarters, but popularity doesn't make it fact.
It's not that the medical profession refuses to accept that reincarnation ( etc ) could occur, but that the sugestion that it does, is not accompanied by anywhere near enough good evidence to compel us to believe in it ; and it is necessary, for public safety, that we don't believe everything that is suggested, but rather that we test such ideas and proposals, and accept only those which meet proper standads of proof. Until then, like that excellent Scottish verdict in court, we must regard these possibilities as "unproven".
And Candy --- the good news is, that the suggestion that people who were abused as children are more likely to later abuse their own kids, is not a serious risk. Latest research results show that perhaps 10 % of people who have een abused themselves may become abusers ( of children, spouses, whatever ) --- wich isn't very greatly different from the possible but so far unknown incidence of abusers in the community at large. So don't let this earlier concern, based on less good research, inhibit you from having children if you want to.

Now, back to Weirdo,
I think folks here have been talkin about several different things, mostly not actually phobias. And it's worth being cautious, because, as you've sadly discovred, far too many psychiatrists in SA think only in terms of drugs, and when you mention "phobia", several drug companies have carefully and at great expense trained them to reach for the prescription pad and start pills which may very well not be the answer at all, depending on a much more sensitive assessment of the situation, which far too many of them don't bother to do
One may not like something --- that's a matter of taste --- you prefer other thinks. You may dislike something, maybe strongly dislike it. That's allowed, and there's no compulsion to Like other people's childen ( and if you don't like children, you should avoid having kids, so the issue of liking your own shouldn't arise ).
A phobia is stronger, like someone with an excess fear of spiders. If one was phobic about children, one would be scared of them, grow unbearably anxious in their presence, and go to great lengths to avoid seeing or hearing one --- feeling fearful for yourself, to an extent you recognized as unreasonable. Although you say you feel something like anxiety, you seem to go further. A spider phobic doesn't despise spiders, they fear them and avoid them.
You seem to be describing something different, or beyond this. An aversion, even a hatred. It is indeed unusual to "hate" to hear children laugh. OK, a whole playground full of screaming kids can be unpleasant, but hearing one giggle, is rarely considered unpleasant, let alone hateful.
You go further, you say you "despise" hearing them cry. "Despise"?
You seem to be seeking assurance, not that you're "not alone" but that everyone finds kids a misery, and that those who say they found greater love for their own kids than they expected, are somehow lying or faking it.
Then you raise a different, though overlapping concern. yes, there are loads of rall badly behaved kids, sprung from bad and lazy parents, and these are irritating to any sensible person. And latterly, many parents are inconsiderate in taking kids to places where the kids won't be happy, and where they then allow them to pester others. But again, that's argiung against all children, on the basis of a relatively small propoportion of kids who have been ncouraged to misbehave by daft parents.
Again, it's the depths of your antipathy that remain puzzling. You say you find animal abuse more upsetting than child abuse --- aren't both examples of a bully using their greater srength and power to cause suffering to a being that is more helpless ? Where do you find a difference ? And then you say that child abuse doesn't bother you at all ? Could you perhaps explain that further ?
You seem to want to modify this excessive reaction to kids, at least to the point of discovering tolerance for them, apparently because the extent of your antipathy is clearly inconvenient to you yourself.
Well, I'd think it best for you to steer clear of psychiatrists and their prescription pads, as drugs wouldn't be likely to be useful here.
But the other species of shrink, a Clinical Psychologist, could be helpful. They hav the advantage of not being allowed to prescribe drugs ! What a good psychologist should be able to do, would be to work with you to better understand the origins of this antipathy of yours, which pretty certainly arose well within THIS life, and to explore ways in wich you can modify the depth and extent of your response, so you can be calm, more objective, and less affected on exposure to kids ; perhaps learning techniques for relaxing and maintaining your cool when needed.
Other advice short of this, would be unhelpful, something I try not to be, if I can help it. The situation you have described is unusual enough and complex enough to deserve more detailed expert attention than we can provide in this format, and more ongoing work than a few happy mottoes !
let us know if you decide to go this route, how things work out.
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Brown Sugar

Posted: 03/06/2003

Hi Weirdo

I am also in a similar situation as you but not so extreme. I also dislike kids and the bad behaviour annoys me too. But my choice is to rather not have kids and also for society to accept that not all women want kids and not all women love kids eiether. The questions about kids also drive me nuts and I feel when you are African it tends to be worse most of my family usually pass statements like "But you are young and working why don't you want kids?" Its not about money but rather the connection and I feel that its not a sin to not want to have any kids. Personally I think people who abuse their kids are people who probably never wnted those kids in the first place and that is why they vent their anger and abuse the innocent kids. I don't hate kids but I wish society would understand that not all of us were meant to be MOTHERS! I also feel its a hell of a responsibility that I don't think I could manage and it also requires a lot of patience, love and tolerance which I also think I would not be able to cope with. That is why I admire and respect women who can hold down a full-time job and also manage a household of kids and a husband. Anyway my request to society don't put pressure on people like myself and Weirdo to have kids just because we are women and because society says so, please just accept that we are not all fond of kids and we were not all meant to have kids.

Reply to Brown Sugar

The Moral Fibre

Posted: 03/06/2003

Weirdo - your words as follows "Quite frankly I am more upset over animal abuse than I am over child abuse. In fact it doesnt bother me at all. I can totally relate to mothers dumping their kids in a park and making off for the hills."
The Moral Fibre also has a severe problem when he's in the company of kids. BUT .. he's not sick enough to regard child abuse as being somehow more acceptable than animal abuse. If I ever saw a child being abused, I would have to step in and beat the motherf***** to within half an inch of his or her life. People are soooo concerned with the demise of the white or black or pink (for all I care ) Rhino but when kids are abused or people are in pain or starving or whatever, do they assist? Noooo, it's way more important to save the Mongolian Red-Chested Flat-Bill Sparrow. Screw the animals (I don't advocate animal abuse) but I'm sick of seeing humans starve to death instead of losing another precious animal. How many of you have ever seen a real live T-Rex, or a Quagga or a Dodo? And how many of you really, really care ?? I thought so.
You, Weirdo, are exactly the type of person who makes me sick. You honestly would rather see child abuse than animal abuse? You should be locked up for life.

Reply to The Moral Fibre

emm

Posted: 02/06/2003

Cybershrink - this is where all of your brilliant expertise is so evident. Thank you doc, for this in-depth enlightenment regarding a problem that I would never even dare to try and answer, let alone understand.

Reply to emm

Tulips

Posted: 02/06/2003

Maybe you can't conceive you know you are infertile. So you are bitter you can't experience the most amazing gift of child bearing. Or better yet you had a not so good upbringing but you just don't want to admit it.

Live the little brats alone they irritate us and get on our nerves but WE LOVE THEM!

So my advise to you is "GET OVER IT!"

Reply to Tulips

Weirdo

Posted: 31/05/2003

Zeena,

Thank you for your reply. You know I dont think your ideas with regards to past life experiences are that far fetched. To be honest, the thought crossed my mind more than once - but please do not try to tell a shrink it is NOT connected to your childhood. It is asif the medical profession REFUSES to acknowledge that just maybe reincarnation might be a reality.

I know my behaviour is destructive..and trust me no one has tried (and failed) to relate to children as much as I have. I just cant find common ground .. it is strange .. but it is asif I never was a child myself ..in fact my childhood was not like other children's - I guess I was a more mature child from the start - so were my brothers - while others were playing we were reading ..childsplay never did become me - hence my inability to relate to the noisy kids..
I wish I could find someone that could truely help me. The first thing my shrink wanted to do (after I told her I am NOT open to the suggestion) was put me on drugs .. my god! do they honestly believe the answer to everything is at the bottom op a pill bottle?

If you know of anyone that could help, please let me know. I am willing to try anything (except drugs).

Reply to Weirdo

Zeena

Posted: 31/05/2003

Candy, you attitude is so normal, that THAT is what makes it contrast sharply with that of "Weirdo". Many people are terrified of newborns, and I think we all detest whiny, bad-mannered brats. You'll turn out to be just a fine mother. (Regardless of your history). "Weirdo" has a much more serious problem. She can't even stand to hear kids laughing -- one of the best sounds in the world. I doubt that we can really identify with the depth of her problem.

Reply to Zeena

Candy

Posted: 31/05/2003

Hi there! You aren't the only one who has a phobia about children! I hate it when little kids cry, have tantrums, scream ect. But I love to hear them laugh-thats where we differ. If there is anything in the world that makes me smile when I am in the most melancholy mood its a laughing baby. Not that I'd want one of my own! I also have a sort of phobia of little kids-my best friend had a baby & I never even held him till he was almost a year old even though I was present at the birth & saw her every single week since then! For me though I was afraid I wouldn't hold him properly or that I might hurt him or that he would start to cry in my arms & I would'nt know what to do about that. I freak out when she leaves me alone in a room with him even for a second just in case he cries! I am also terrified of having my own children because I was abused as a child & I've heard that abused children who have kids are more likely to abuse their own kids-I don't know how true it is but I do know that if my kids were abused at the hands of iether myself (which repulses me to even think of) OR by the hands of others where I was powerless to protect them I would never forgive myself-in fact I think would kill myself!

Reply to Candy

Zeena

Posted: 31/05/2003

I can see your point of view -- up to a point only. You do seem to have a deep phobia of kids, which goes way beyond our normal irritation with badly behaved children. I doubt whether anyone (except the parents) can stand brattiness. A crying baby is also irritating, but at least the little thing is more helpless than a puppy and cries because something is wrong.

It's rare for a woman to so actively hate children. It's a pity that your shrink could not help, because I have a feeling you do need good professional help, because you need SOME "children skills" in order not to alienate everyone around you! I certainly would NOT say to someone like you -- try having a baby -- because your dislike is too deep-seated even for that. (It is normally a fact that we dislike kids until we have our own ... Nature's way of making sure the human race lives on, I suppose! I was not a "motherly type" until my first baby was born, and then I turned into jelly -- but my two kids were good, we taught them to be well-behaved, and they were placid babies and good kids).

I don't know what you believe, and what I am about to say now will be laughed off this page by everyone. But a few serious psychiatrists have come to believe that things which happened to us in the womb, or even in previous lives, can account for fears and phobias which cannot be traced to anything in this life. I know this sounds far-fetched, but so were many ideas which has since become scientific fact -- like cloning animals. Somewhere, maybe somewhere deep, there must be a reason for your strange hatred of children, because you yourself must realise it's peculiar to feel so vindictive towards children, otherwise you would not have written to this page.

How to handle it? If you could bring yourself to do so, try at first simply chatting to one or two kids who are not bratty, and intelligent enough to answer you. Just getting to know one or two children on a face-to-face basis might help you socially. Not all children are bratty and naughty. Look out for the shy ones, the quiet little mice. You just might make a connection with them, even if it's for a few minutes. I suppose I dare not suggest that you hold a friend's newborn?? It's a bit much to not care about child abuse. Human children are far more helpless in the face of abuse than an animal (unless a tiny baby animal). A dog can bite, a cat can scratch ... a human child is extremely vulnerable.

Let's see what our Shrink says.

Reply to Zeena

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