I was just listening to a TED Talk about raising kids to become adults.
I had to turn it off because it was so scary.
What’s so scary about it? Well, the fact that as a parent, you are responsible for other little humans, and they basically have to be on suicide watch at all times until they’re 4 because there are a million ways they could die. You have to hold them as an infant a certain amount or they won’t be properly conditioned for sociability, you have to feed them all the right foods, make sure they don’t watch too much Baby Einsteins because it actually limits their mental growth… and you have to do a million other things on like 2 HOURS OF SLEEP.
As someone who religiously tries to get at least 7.5 hours, I’m traumatized already.
Then they get older and you’re like, huh, okay they’re still alive, and they’re kind of functioning on their own in certain ways now, this is cool… uh oh, they’re having homework problems as a 3rd grader. Now you have to strike a balance on how much pressure on them about their schoolwork. How much do you encourage them? How much distance do you give? How do you avoid being a helicopter parent?
You have to help them choose instruments to play and sports teams and organizations. You have to fork out a ton of money for all of their interests only to have them try to quit in the first year.
Then they’re older and they’ve figured out what their favorite sports are and they’re sticking with it, but then they ask you about sex. You have to make sure to address the ins and outs of bodies, the way they interact, you can’t promote it but you can’t put too much of a stigma against it. You have to acknowledge diseases and assaults, and make sure that your children know how to be ethical, safe, responsible, and then send them off into their high schools hoping that they’re not misusing all of this information, or creating new life when they can’t even take care of themselves yet.
They have to know stranger danger, how to cope with their emotions, how to handle conflicts with their peers, how to eat healthily, how to love themselves, how to deal with mental instability, or the mental instability of the people around them. You have to mold these little humans into full-size, successful adults.
That kind of pressure scares the living daylights out of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think raising a child is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do. Hopefully your favorite person (yourself) and your other favorite person (your spouse) come together to create a combination of your two favorite people in the entire world. The children gain all of your best and worst qualities, and it’s probably adorable. You see how they grow, how their maturity fluctuates, how they can be simultaneously 5 and 45 at the same time, how they have talents you’ve never had, and how they see things the same way you do (sometimes).
So yeah, it’s probably amazing, like the most incredible experience you can have. Also sounds traumatizing. There’s a reason I’m an only child–my parents couldn’t handle more of me! Also, babies look like aliens. I’ll take a kitten instead.