Google+ Authentic Parenting: Where Are The Children?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where Are The Children?

I have often wondered why Westerners have such a problem with children. Why they expect them to behave in a way that is completely against their very nature, to sit still and shut up and basically not be noticed. Now I have a child and every once in a while I am with my child in Europe, I think I understand the problem.

Hitchster on Flickr
There are no children anywhere. All kids get tucked away neatly in daycares and kindergartens and schools, with certified professionals to take care of them.
People who don't work in such facilities hardly get to see children at all. There are no children on the streets or in the restaurants or even in the parks. Not during the day, because then they are confined elsewhere, not during the night, because that would be too dangerous.

Moreover we all grew up in age seperated settings and were groomed to not understand and not even know those younger or older than ourselves.

Children become obnoxious to the public because the public simply doesn't know how to handle them.

Don't believe me?

In Europe, when a person sees one ant in his house, he will get out ant boxes, spray cans, poisons, cleaning products... anything it takes to get them away.
I live in Africa. There is simply no way to get rid of the ants, no matter how hard I would try. So we happily co-exist. I don't think about the ants. I hardly notice them any more, they're just a part of life.

Children in the Western world are pretty much like ants, except that we haven't resulted to poisons (just yet?).



  1. so so true. i also live in africa and there are kids everywhere. funny, i remarked on that when i was in norway, the only kids over 18 months that we saw were in the daycare place up the road.

  2. Exactly. Why are children usually viewed as a burden, a nuisance ? I did not go to a friends wedding for several reasons, the main one being my children were not welcome. How could children not be desired in any part of our lives ?

    Oh. Last year we had ants in the house, I loved it. The children had fun with watching them, and "my" ants being European ants, we even left intentionally food for them (too dumb to find the kitchen, they were in the dinning room). It was a good mix of education and entertainment !

  3. I so understand. I have to explain all the time to parents in my line of work what normal child development is. I meet parents all the time that are 40 years old and have never seen children, held children, or know what children are capable of.

  4. As an unschool mom with two children that are with me all the time...I totally get this. My kids love their lifestyle. While a majority of children were sitting in an institution yesterday, my 5 year old went horseback riding in the mountains. The only that it's difficult to find other children (of any age) to connect with during the school week. We are currently full-timing in an RV, traveling the country.

  5. Nicole, that's so great. This is something we would so like to do.. but currently with my husband's employment it is not possible. Though we're trying to get some unpaid leave on of these days

  6. Kind of sad! Most of us also have to work here in South Africa. But when it is time to go home, our children are with us all the time. I prefer to not go anywhere when my child cannot come with... We miss her too much during working hours!

  7. And children take our intolerance so well. It drives me nuts when I see a child who has literally sat for over and hour in a restaurant and at the first sign of fidgeting or whining, they are hauled out by their upper arm. So ridiculous.

  8. Succinctly-put and completely apt.

    I read a lot of feminist blogs and I am continually dismayed & depressed at the child-hate and the clamoring for MORE child-free spaces (or alternatively, kids may be "allowed" if they either behave like well-mannered adults OR if their parents devote strict efforts to "control" their children's voices, manners, appearance, etc). As a nonschooling family like Nicole's I am aware of how segregated we are... but so many grownups don't see it and sadly, so many children internalize the concepts they are annoying, second-class citizens whose main value and cultural expectations lie in good grades and good behavior.

    Thanks for a great post! I'm sharing it via Twitter.

  9. Well in a way we as a Western society are poisoning them.. lol.. Johnsons & Johnsons.. plastic toys.. hormones in cows milk.. formula.. Pampers... etc. Very sad.


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