There remains the popular stereotype that the childfree must not like kids, and because we choose not to raise children we don’t want them to play a role in our lives. This is just not true for so many people who don’t have kids by choice. As associate professor and sociology department chair at the University of Maine Amy Blackstone writes in her piece…
“Childless & Loving It: Not Being a Parent Has Advantages For Families & Kids” the childfree have an “important role to play in the lives of children.” Her interview research lines up with what I have found, starting with the fact that many childfree would say they “enjoy the company of children.”
Many childfree would go further, as Blackstone indicates, “Even more, many childfree adults maintain significant, meaningful relationships with children that make a positive difference in kids’ lives.” They serve as “mentors, role models, back-up parents, playmates, fun aunties, big brothers, partners-in-crime, advisers and buddies to the children in their lives.”
Not to mention they can be, and are, of great help to parents. As Amy writes: “Child-free adults may also be more available – in terms of time, money or other resources – to take on special legal or emotional responsibilities with kids than their parent counterparts.”
There many stories of the childfree who are there for their parent friends and family, whether it be to watch the kids, to help financially with kids’ schooling, or even have kids come live with them for a time. Being there can also take the form of emotional support for the parents, as an ear in times of parental challenge. We hear lots of stories of how parents won’t go to those who are not parents to talk about child rearing challenges, but the reality is, many do. They get that one does not need to be raising children to be there for those who are.
What we read online too often is the back and forth judging between parents and non-parents. When it comes to the lives of kids, I’d like more digital air time to the good that is happening between those who are not raising children of their own, their parent friends/family and their children!
Do you have a story like this? Let’s hear it.
Amy Blackstone has just launched the blog, werenothavingababy, where you can read about her research and more on “childfree adventures in a child-centric world” – check it out!