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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
vasaris
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
A letter to the BBC

An interesting question found on childfree



Are you worried about leaving it too late to have children? Are older parents any better or worse than younger ones?



No, I'm not. I don't want children. Not that there's anything wrong if you do, mind, but I find the pressure to have kids, whether biological or societal to be somewhat unfair. I find comments about "But you'd be a great mom!" or "Soon it'll be too late!" to be both irritating and harmful. For those who don't want children, of course, it's frustrating because people don't alwasy listen when you say "But I don't want them." For those who might (eventually) desire kids, I think it's a terrible pressure to have them before one might be ready, either financially or emotionally.

I think parents who are, for all intents and purposes, forced into it are worse than those who truly desire to be parents. No child should be unwanted and resented because the parents gave into pressure. No child should feel as though they somehow held a parent back, or were a mistake that the parent wishes could be unmade. No child should come into existence out of some vague feeling of "I guess it's time" or "I've an obligation to populate the world/continue the family name/propogate my genetic code" because, face it, isn't that just a little unfair to the human-to-be? That's what a child is, after all, a person -- not a duty, obligation, or incompletely formed idea. Having a child is a choice that I think a parent should make consciously, taking everything from birth to eighteen (and beyond) into consideration.

The worry of deciding to become a parent "too late" is a sad commentary on both human biology and human society. There are always children in need of parents even if you cannot give birth to them oneself -- kids in need of adoption, of good foster parents... kids that grow up with the belief they are unworthy because no one seems to want them. Even if a woman passes her 'prime' birthing years, she's still capable of being an excellent parent to a child in need of one.

And, with the possible exception of physical demands made by a (typically young) child, I realy don't think the age of the parent is relevant. The only hesitation I have in truly elderly parents is an issue of energy. Love, attention, actual *ability* to parent (which is by no means inborn, if the people I see when I go to the grocery store are any example), to set boundaries/limits and enforce them, to praise and discipline with an even hand... these things are significantly more important than *age*.

I would tend to say that older would be better, but more accurately, I'd say that *educated* would be better. I'm not talking about having gone to college or even completed high school -- I'm talking about learning how to handle children. Then again, I'm one of those of the opinion that if one has to have a license for a pet, one should surely have one for a child. I love my cat, but raising a child is a more important responsibility than managing to keep the water bowl full and the litter box clean.

In conclusion, if one's desire is to be a *parent,* as opposed to having children, I don't think there's any reasonable age barrier to doing so, unless all one cares about is base genetics. If one feels capable of taking up the monumental task of being a parent, there is no reason why one shouldn't be -- no matter the age (on the upper scale, of course, as seven-year-olds are unlikely to be good mothers or fathers), sexual orientation, or marital status. Whether a child's biology yours should not matter in issues of family, because love should be the defining factor.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Comments
Just as a sidebar about "too late"--

The worry of deciding to become a parent "too late" is a sad commentary on both human biology and human society. There are always children in need of parents even if you cannot give birth to them oneself -- kids in need of adoption, of good foster parents... kids that grow up with the belief they are unworthy because no one seems to want them. Even if a woman passes her 'prime' birthing years, she's still capable of being an excellent parent to a child in need of one.

Just as an FYI, my mother was a bit older than the "norm" when they got me. She was twenty-eight, he was thirty-two. And the agency told them they were "almost too old to adopt".

Which is a hell of a young age to be "too old".

Re: Just as a sidebar about "too late"--

Really? That's fucked up. But I also wasn't neccessarily talking about the realities of adoption, just what I think they should be (after all, in a lot of places it's impossible for homosexuals or single people to adopt either.) Still... how fucked up is that?

*sighs*

On the other hand, Mom was considered young enough to foster kids in her fifties, which is the other route I mentioned, although it's obviously much more iffy in terms of keeping kids, but if someone wants, as I said, to be a parent and chooses the route of finding kids who need them... of course, fostering has it's own problems too.

Re: Just as a sidebar about "too late"--

I was a foster parent in my 20s and 30s. It is truly very hard to care for these children at any age. But I do not think age should be a deterrant if the person is capable, and healthy enough to give these children the love and care they need, because they do need a lot!

Biggest problem for us was the state stood by the parents no matter what they did (and some of it was truly horrific like a childwe had who the father molested and burnt with a hot knife)were not denied their rights.In fact that child and siblings went back home! And we knew foster parents who had children beaten while on home visits and the foster parents were blamed. Yet, the state took the parents side and the foster parents were investigated!

Yes, there are problems with the system.

One being you are not given any Social Security work credits if you stay home wih these kids (which you almost always have to do since you can't afford child care for children you barely get enough money from the state to feed and clothe them)so if you become disabled as many of us have you are shit out of luck as far as the government is concerned. Because they don't look on 24/7 child care for the state's neediest children as work.

Which is why I can't get Disability.

There needs to be an overhaul of the system, because people like my husband and myself loved caring for these children but the state had no respect for us as foser parents, and many good foster parents have quit for that very reason. So they are going to have to open up the regulations and let older people and gay families be foster parens too or they will not have homes for these children.

Christina

Re: Just as a sidebar about "too late"--

I was a foster parent in my 20s and 30s. It is truly very hard to care for these children at any age. But I do not think age should be a deterrant if the person is capable, and healthy enough to give these children the love and care they need, because they do need a lot!

Indeed they do.

Biggest problem for us was the state stood by the parents no matter what they did (and some of it was truly horrific like a childwe had who the father molested and burnt with a hot knife)were not denied their rights.In fact that child and siblings went back home! And we knew foster parents who had children beaten while on home visits and the foster parents were blamed. Yet, the state took the parents side and the foster parents were investigated!

Oh, yes. That's what pretty much ended mom's attempt at being a foster parent. A false accusation of hitting the hellion-brat-that-shall-not-be-named.

No, I'm not bitter. Mom felt as though she was a failure, never mind that she'd done more than anyone could possibly have asked her to, given an ungrateful wretch more love and caring than the kid had ever experienced only to be physically and emotionally abused by said child... well, lets just not go there, shall we?

Government stands by parental rights above and beyond those of the child, much less the foster parent. Except, weirdly, in cases where nothing is going on, and then *POW* let's investigate the hell out of people who *aren't* guilty of anything instead of doing something about the abusers down the street. It's messed up.

One being you are not given any Social Security work credits if you stay home wih these kids (which you almost always have to do since you can't afford child care for children you barely get enough money from the state to feed and clothe them)so if you become disabled as many of us have you are shit out of luck as far as the government is concerned. Because they don't look on 24/7 child care for the state's neediest children as work.

Which is why I can't get Disability.


Which is utter bull-pucky, it is. More than any other reason to rant about your situation, that pretty much tops my list. Foster care is a profession and should be a) recognized as such and b) supported enough for people to do it well. Hell, mom's hellion-who-shall-not-be-named ended up with us because the previous foster mother had asked for some guidance on what to do about sexual acting out. The woman wanted training and the result was the removal of the child from the home.

...I digress... anyway, people who foster parent should get work credit for it. Then again, that definitionally means paying income tax and social security out of the money received for it too.

There needs to be an overhaul of the system, because people like my husband and myself loved caring for these children but the state had no respect for us as foser parents, and many good foster parents have quit for that very reason. So they are going to have to open up the regulations and let older people and gay families be foster parens too or they will not have homes for these children.

Yep. Have to totally agree with you there.