Childhood Trauma and Childfreedom

Well, here we go again with a bunch of nonsensical BS as to why those who are childfree desire to remain without children. It seems that a lot of people who are pro-parenthood seem to think that the reason we don’t reproduce is because of childhood trauma and not wanting to become like our parents.

Now, am I going to deny that’s not a reason that at least some people would want to remain without children? Absolutely not. I’m sure there are those out there who are afraid of becoming bad parents like their own parents were to them. It’s entirely possible and even reasonable to suspect that a small percentage of the CF community remains without children for that very reason. However, to use it as a sweeping generalization to classify all or even a majority of CF people is, in my opinion, completely dishonest. Truth be told, personally I have NEVER met any childfree person who remained such due to childhood trauma.

Take me, for example. I won’t say I had a great childhood and I had my issues growing up, but I didn’t have a particularly bad or traumatizing childhood either. I don’t speak to my mother anymore, my step-father is dead and I don’t miss him one bit (good riddance), and I’ve never met my biological father, but none of this had anything to do with my upbringing, but rather events that happened later in life after I was already grown up.

The truth of the matter is that none of this has any bearing in my decision to be childfree. I knew I didn’t want children from a very, very early age, and my home life at the time was actually very good. You may have even been able to call me “privileged” at the time. We were living in a poor section of Roswell, New Mexico and I was better off than almost all of my classmates. There goes the assumption I had a bad childhood, eh?

The moral of the story? Never, assume someone’s childfree status is the result of childhood trauma. For that matter, don’t assume anything about someone’s childfree status. We all have our different reasons, each of them are equally valid I think.

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About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on September 5, 2012, in Childfree, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I had a wonderful childhood. Any problems I had growing up were centered outside of the home, at school, and not anything to do with my family/home life. In fact, saying that I was spoiled wouldn’t be out of line. My CF status has absolutely NOTHING to do with my childhood. Period.

    This assumption that CF people are CF because something traumatic happened in their childhood is indicative of a prevailing attitude/assumption that there is something WRONG with CF people. That we are in some way damaged or otherwise have something wrong with us that makes us want to be CF. And for the wide and vast majority of CF people, that’s just not the case. I’m not saying it isn’t the case for anyone, but it’s just not the norm.

    Also, having a traumatic childhood will generally increase promiscuity and risky sexual behaviors, resulting in unwanted pregnancies (often when this occurs it’s in the teenage to young adult stages of life) and due to prevailing attitudes (at least in the US) about abortion most of those pregnancies are carried to term and once that happens more young mothers keep their children than adopt them out, and many young parents are opting to attempt marriage or at least living together/staying together than people seem to think. That doesn’t mean that it turns out well (often it doesn’t…not that it always turns out bad, just saying often it does). But, the point is that having a traumatic childhood experience (or several, or a traumatic time for the entirety of the childhood, especially originating within the home itself) is more likely to end in the OPPOSITE of a CF lifestyle.

    This doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, of course there are. But, I’m not dealing in absolutes or trying to make blanket statements. I’m just saying as things stand right now this is how it is. Anyone who says that most or all of CF people are CF because of traumatic childhoods (it doesn’t even necessarily have to be sexual abuse, please don’t think I’m saying that must be what they meant) don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and are just assuming that that must be so because they think something has to be wrong with us first in order for us to choose to be CF.

  2. People without kids need to believe that there’s “something wrong” with the childfree. Otherwise, they might have to do some self-examination about why they have kids. And that could be scary.
    -Author, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree

  3. I never thought of this angle as a CF person. I told my mother, when I was 6 years old, that I didn’t want to have kids. I again told my mother, when I was 24, that I never wanted kids, and I didn’t want to be a mother. In my 30’s I chose to make this decision foolproof and it eliminated so much anxiety in my life on a monthly basis.
    I did have a traumatic childhood, but after I was 8. I first announced my lack of desire to have kids when I was 6. In addition to this fact, throughout all of my life, none of my reasons ever had to do with my trauma.
    Thanks for bringing this side to light for me. It makes me feel even better about my decision and my support of all the other CF out there. My favorite thing is that my friends know my opinion and choices and, with and without kids, love me for who I am, not what I choose.

  4. Childfreedom is so personally based. It’s amazing that people could conceptualize that we all have just one or two reasons for our choices. For all the media and childfree musings on the internet today, I really wish we could afford to discuss our reasoning more freely and openly. All too often I see posts about some of the more ridiculous things children do that people like to site as ‘reasons’ for being childfree. But I think that hurts the case by siting what is wrong with the kids or their parents. If only we could better voice or true interests for being childfree, not the silly issues we have with what children do that turn us off the idea of dealing with children daily.

  5. I just posted on another article that my reasons have their roots in my abusive childhood, but it’s not the “I’ll turn into my mother” thing *at all*, and it never has been. Most of my life has been taken from me already, either by having to exist as nothing more than someone’s punchbag or by the consequent health problems. I cannot share my life, because it’s hardly belonged to me in all the time I’ve been alive. But choosing not to have children because of that isn’t damage. It’s pretty rational. Constant exhausting nightmares are evidence of damage. A perfectly reasonable and ethical decision is not evidence of damage.

    People have no right to make assumptions like the above. Can people with kids give a detailed breakdown of how they came to know they wanted them, of how they can know that they’re good parents? How would they feel if asked to provide one? Everyones relationship with their child is different, from the saintly parent of kind and confident offspring to the one who rapes their own. Why should childfree people have no range of experience?

  6. I grew up in a borderline poor family and as much as I hate to admit, I resent them for it because a) the environment was horrible and had a negative impact on my parents personalities b)kids can be dicks to those that can’t afford the best clothes, new bike, or a pool in the backyard because lets face it, even so-called good kids can be materialistic which because of the abuse from fellow ckassmates put me in a state of mind that I was a nobody because my parents could barely even afford to keep food in the table. So partly based on that childhood experience, if I wanted to be a mom I would make for damned sure that I and the father can adequately provide the the financial needs of a kid. I wouldn’t necessarily spoil them but I would want them to live comfortably and not have them witness me stressing over having to make ends meet. I think I would still choose a childfree life even if my past were happier because I simply don’t have the desire to a lifestyle that involves a kid or kids aroundme 24hrs.a day.

  1. Pingback: #Childfree Times for September 2012 - Nyxks Musings

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