16 February, 2012

Bad Parenting II

(Don't forget to read the preceding post, Bad Parenting)

I know.  Sounds like a terrible movie doesn’t it?  Bad Parenting II, straight to DVD!

But after writing my previous post, I wanted to add some things, as I think I missed some of the point of Lisa’s feelings about bad parenting, and the extreme emotion she still feels from time to time.  I used to feel that anger; anger about terrible parents, and confusion about why they should get to have children and I don’t?

Every time I would hear of a child taken into care, or worse, a child hospitalised or killed through terrible parenting (sadly all too frequent an occurrence), not just ignorant or negligent but often cruel parenting, and my heart would just about explode from the emotion.  So often I would think “I’ll take that child” – knowing that I would be a better parent than the ones inflicted on the child by birth, knowing that I could (as much as anyone) keep that child safer than they were with their biological parents.  And that horrible question “Why?  What did I do to deserve this?” would rear its ugly head again.

But I don’t feel that now.  I believe in the randomness of the world.  This doesn’t mean I agree with it.  It’s just the way the world works.  It isn’t fair.  And let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things, being a girl born in New Zealand in the latter part of the 20th century to parents with open and curious minds is about as lucky as you can get.  I’ve had my fair share of good luck from the universe. 

And so when I see this randomness at work I don’t feel as angry, as aggrieved, as I used to.  Yes, I feel sad that a child has to suffer.  Yes, I feel angry that a child has to suffer.  Yes, I abhor the behaviour of so many selfish or simply stupid parents who ruin/destroy/end the lives of their children.  And even on a lesser scale, yes, I get frustrated at idiot parents raising a generation of adults who feel entitled, who can’t spell and think grammar is the old lady who buys them sweets, who think etiquette and manners are old-fashioned, and that being famous is the most important thing in the world.  (OMG I sound old!) 

But I don’t feel that strong emotion anymore, the need to scream against the utter injustice of it all, that feeling that I was being judged and found wanting and that that was the reason why I don’t have children.  No, in fact, seeing idiot parents just confirms to me that in fact the opposite was true.  I wasn’t judged and found wanting, anymore than they were judged and found worthy.  It doesn’t work like that.  Everything happens for a reason?  Don’t ever tell me that!  The world is random and unfair.  I’ve learned to live with that.

Apologies - I know this is repetitive, and I've said some of it before.  But I felt like saying it again, so I did!


  1. dear Mali,
    I love - love your prespective:
    "in the grand scheme of things, being a girl born in New Zealand in the latter part of the 20th century to parents with open and curious minds is about as lucky as you can get. I’ve had my fair share of good luck from the universe."

    I could say the same, just replace New Zealand with Europe. Yes, we are lucky to be born where we were. Can you imagine what is life of an infertile woman in some parts of Africa (for example)? Don't even want to think about...

    Everything happens for a reason? No, definetely not. Few years ago I was on a graveyard with my friend and her husband. They had twins born prematurely (at 24 weeks), one survived, another died (aged 1 month). Since people often do not know what to say in hard situations, they heard a lot of this sentence: Everything happens for a reason. And friend's husband said to me: "I hate this sentence from the bottom of my heart. Please, please, do not tell me that there is any good reason that our son had to die."
    And whenever I hear this sentence from anybody, it makes me think of a beautiful baby boy that never had a chance to live.

  2. I can relate to your feelings, Mali. When we were in the midst of TTC, I also felt angry and I asked "why" so many times (or "Why not us?"), but same as yourself, I've also come to the conclusion that the world is random.

    Nobody knows why some things happen sometimes...why did I end up having parents like mine (not complaining here, just wondering why I get "luckier" in that area than some people)...and because I can't answer that question, I also can't answer why some people who don't look like decent parents have kids...so I've given up asking questions similar to that...

  3. I have been wrestling with this topic so much this last year. I watched my own brother last year loose his girls temporarily to the state he lives in because of his choices and his addictions. It is true torture to watch this unfold in your family while you sit on the sidelines with empty arms and an aching heart, knowing that I am the one if my family that cannot have children. You apologized for repeating this topic, but some of us newer people are still struggling with this. Your words spoke strongly to me.

    "No, in fact, seeing idiot parents just confirms to me that in fact the opposite was true. I wasn’t judged and found wanting, anymore than they were judged and found worthy. It doesn’t work like that. Everything happens for a reason? Don’t ever tell me that! The world is random and unfair. I’ve learned to live with that."

    All I can do is be try to be there for my nieces even though I don’t live close. They are back with my brother now, and I pray that lessons were learned.

    Thanks - Heather

    1. Heather, thanks for allowing me to repeat myself when I feel the need to. And wihlst I can't imagine how it feels to be in your shoes, and our situations are different, I wrote abut something similar here - http://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.co.nz/search?updated-max=2011-11-22T12:26:00%2B13:00&max-results=50. All we can do is be there for the children in our lives.

  4. Fantastic post. I've come to the same conclusion myself and it drives me nuts when I hear people say "everything happens for a reason." No, everything decidedly does not! It's taken a few years for me to reconcile, but I now wholeheartedly agree that stuff just happens. There's no "fair" or "unfair" in the universe, it just is.

  5. I have the same reaction to bad parenting,i.e. it confirms to me that pregnancy for most is just a random throw of the dice, most get lucky some do not and it has nothing to do with whether one is worthy or not. It is of course unfair that I cannot have children, while some teenage kid gets pregnant twice, both times while on the pill and the second time with twins... But I have had other opportunities and I have been able to experience other great things and I need to remember to be more thankful for those... The kind of parent that actually gets to me is the "smug" parent; you know the type that says things that translate into how much more important they think their lives are because they have had children.

  6. I've hesitated to comment, since I do have a child, but reading about the family that lost a twin brings back my own sad memories. My son was a twin and his brother died in childbirth. It is amazing what people say. One person was well-intentioned in saying that our boy who died must not have wanted to be born! There is no way to find a reason that some of us can get pregnant and no way to find a reason that some of our babies die. It takes a lot of time to accept that life just isn't fair.

    1. dear Jan,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your baby son.
      I agree... life isn't fair.
      I wish all the best to you & your family.

    2. I am also sad to hear of the death of your baby. A warm hug to you and yours.

    3. Jan, you shouldn't ever hesitate to comment here. You "get it." I wish that life had been different, so you didn't have to.

  7. It's interesting -- this idea was on my mind this week especially with the Josh Powell case here in the US. You can't help but think how the hell do people who would kill their children have them and people who would cherish their children and protect them can't. It is randomness -- I don't think they were chosen vs. not me with the universe squinting at us and judging who'd make the better parent. But still, the thought crosses my mind when I see those types of stories.

    The one thing I keep in mind with the run-of-the-mill bad parenting is that I almost never know the backstory and that whenever I'm observing something in the newspaper or face-to-face, I only know what I think I know. The same problem the Titanic faced only seeing the top bits of the ice caps. So that mother could have been just incredibly thoughtless. Or her child could have developmental issues and that was the 18th thing she had to deal with today and the shrug was more of a "I both can't bring him into society and I can't keep him out of society and I am at my wits end" shrug. Not that the explanation makes the action okay -- peeing into the pool... from the side... makes me a little queasy to read. I don't know -- it's just something I now think about since reading special needs blogs.

    1. OK, now I feel a little guilty about not thinking about the circumstances of the mother/son. Thanks for pointing that out, as I do try to see what isn't there ... most times ...

      I also had to laugh at your qualification about peeing into the pool "from the side." Point taken!!

  8. That said, I totally think you're spot on in that if we think we can adequately comment on all other things we observe or read throughout the day, those who are not parenting should be able to comment on parenting too. Leaving an open mind for an insider to change the way you think as they comment back, but still, I think we can all observe things from our point-of-view and form opinions, on everything from government health care wrangles to parenting.

  9. Read both your posts nodding, & some great comments here. I often hesitate to voice an opinion on parenting, knowing the probable reaction to me, the childless one -- but you're right -- we're just as entitled as they are. ; )

  10. I'm a foster parent, so I definately know bad parenting examples...

    Children are members of society, just as you are. They need to know the boundaries of decency. If that had been a 45 year old man peeing in the pool from the side, he would have been arrested for indecent exposure (and probably drunk and disorderly too). Those boundaries need to be instilled at a young age.

    I think for too long we(as a society) have given some people a pass on behavior. I don't think children should be held to lower standards than anybody else. Otherwise it's just Idiocracy.