The Misconception That Those Without Children Have No Parental Instincts

Misconception Number One: No Parental Instincts is Unhealthy
Not having parental instincts does not automatically mean someone has low emotional intelligence or is a sociopath. Just like in any other group of people, the child-free is composed of some individuals who are extremely nurturing and loving to their significant other and to friends. It’s just that some child-free individuals do not respond the same way to hearing a baby crying or seeing faces of your giggling toddler. Obviously, if a baby or child were in danger, a child-free individual would do everything in their power to help them, just like everyone else. But having no parental instincts is different than not being a decent human being. Some child free people, though understanding that a child needs care and attention, does not feel compelled to act or become involved unless necessary.

Misconception Number Two: No Parental Instincts Means Someone Cannot Love
Whether they admit it or not, many critics of the child-free imply that a lack of parental instincts means that a child-free individual has general issues with love. This could not be a more offensive and narrow minded reaction to those choosing to be child free. While I am sure that some child-free individuals so have issues with love, this is merely because every group of people will contain some who have issues with love. It is not a trait intrinsic to having no parental issues, but merely something which occurs in a portion of humanity.

Think about it this way. Sometimes single parents choose to become pregnant or adopt, or otherwise raise their child independent of another partner. Some of these single parents go so far as to swear off romantic love, asserting they do not wish to marry. Does this automatically mean that a single parent is incapable of loving their child, too? Absolutely not; not everything is so black and white. In much the same way, the child free claiming to not have maternal instincts are fully capable of loving another adult.

Misconception Number Three: Claiming to Have No Parental Instincts is an Excuse for Being Lazy
It’s true that some child free individuals are too lazy to look after a child. However, it’s also true that some parents are also too lazy to look after a child, and therefore send them off to boarding school or give them a full time nanny. Saying a child free individual claiming to have no parental instincts is just covering up for being lazy implies that same child free individual will not expend their energy in other ways. To say the least, this is incredibly judgmental. Many child free people expend the energy they would have spent on their child in academic, social, and community pursuits. Many of the child free work tirelessly to nurture and encourage their significant other. Just because someone doesn’t feel especially compelled to act in one way, in this case by having no parental instincts, does not mean that person is not active in other, equally important ways.

Cain, Madelyn. The Childless Revolution: [what It Means to Be Childless Today] . New York: Basic, 2002. Print.
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