North Texas Daily

Children deserve kindness, even if you are not fond of them

Children deserve kindness, even if you are not fond of them

Children deserve kindness, even if you are not fond of them
May 04
16:00 2021

Many Gen Zers, myself included, have found themselves rolling their eyes at articles written by older generations lamenting our reluctance to have children. Said reluctance is perfectly understandable, especially when taking into account the state of the economy, political strife, climate change and the simple truth that having kids just isn’t for everyone. But I think it’s important for us not to follow in the footsteps of preceding generations by taking our anger out on those that come after.

Basically, no one is morally obligated to have children, or even to like children, but if you are an adult you are morally obligated to operate with some degree of civility when interacting with children. And I don’t necessarily mean to imply that treating children with contempt as a defense mechanism against societal pressure to have them is a Gen Z-specific phenomenon, because it’s not. But the introduction of social media has made it abundantly clear just how many grown adult people don’t consider it their responsibility to act like grown adult people around actual kids.

I have written at length about how fan spaces for children’s shows have been almost completely commandeered by adults and subsequently overrun with adult content. Not only that, but jokes about hating kids, most of which are admittedly harmless and some of which are mildly amusing, have occasionally translated into the cyberbullying of children who are also public figures. Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” fame was actually run off of Twitter by people who thought that a meme about her being homophobic, the joke being that she has never actually done or said anything homophobic, was based in fact. She is seventeen years old.

Again, this is nothing new. YouTuber and singer Rebecca Black has raked over the coles for her 2011 single “Friday,” even though she was only thirteen, and the song’s only notable crime was being cringeworthy. She had grown people telling her to kill herself, became depressed and had difficulty finding any producer who would work with her afterward.

I recognize that a lot of Gen Zers are kids themselves, but for those of us who aren’t, let’s keep in mind that any resentment we feel for a certain societal norm should probably be taken out exclusively on the older generations that impose it on us. Otherwise, we’re likely to repeat the pattern of generational rifts long after they’re gone. There is also a certain irony to Gen Z being more open to talking about their childhood traumas than other generations while making light of traumatizing children in the same breath.

It’s not that complicated. If you are a grown-up, you should act like it, and part of acting like it is taking some responsibility for the well-being of people you are in a position of power over, whether you plan on becoming a parent at some point in the future or not. It is a responsibility inherited by every generation prior to ours, and unless we want to screw it up as badly as they did, we need to make our peace with that.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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