Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Parenting Gene

I think that the parenting gene is present--or not--from birth. There are men and women who just seem to take parenting in stride. And there are those who will never be a parent no matter how many biological children they have. Most of us know that kind. They're the people who just can't seem to care what their children need, whether it's affection, vegetables, or clothes.

I believe those type of people have an inherent selfishness that prevents the parenting gene from working. That's too bad because there are tons of people out there with a functioning parenting gene who would love to have a child and can't.

There are a lot of single people who have the parenting gene in full force. These people often step in and take responsibility for a child who needs an extra boost or a child that's neglected by those "other kind" of parents. Biology is not an issue. Love and commitment are the important facets in the relationship.

There are a lot of throw away children out there in the world because the adults responsible have a defective parenting gene. Part of that defect is their wish to have a child so that they have someone who loves them unconditionally. Unfortunately, much like the people who get puppies and kittens because they're cute, people who have babies because they're cute usually find that the cuteness wears off pretty quickly.

If you're one of those singles with the parenting gene who's stepped up to the plate, thank you. If you're one of the thousands of parents with a clutch of children of your own who's also taken a few more under your wing, thank you.

If you one of those people without the parenting gene... please don't have any more. We already have more uncared for children than we can handle.



  1. This is so true, Anny. Millions want kids and can't have them and sometimes those who CAN reproduce can't parent worth a damn. Being a parent is much more than simple biology. Ask any adopted child who was raised with love and affection and care by his adoptive parents.

    I've often wondered if parenting classes wouldn't be a good thing to teach in school but unfortunately some people never learn. It takes a truly unselfish heart to be a good parent.

  2. I don't have the parenting gene - maybe I'm perceived as selfish, maybe I'm not - I think there are people out there who choose not to have kids because they truly have not maternal/paternal insitinct at all and not necessarily that they would make a bad parent. And yeah, too many kids get kicked to the curb and it's wrong. If anyone should be kicked it's those that had them.

  3. Don't you wish it were easier to redistribute children to where they'd thrive? It would improve the whole world.

  4. I have absolutely nothing against people who don't have children. Sometimes I think that takes tremendous will power in a world that pushes women to reproduce. I would much rather that happen than for people who truly don't want children to have them just to make other people happy!

  5. I know a woman who has one son. She is snappy and angry most of the time. Recently she told me she hated being a mom. She resented the child and her husband for not taking over when she'd rather not. She also said she hated children and in a moment of weakness begged to have one. Now she is sorry and pissed. All the time. She went on to say that her mom and grandmother were the same way. The grandmother had 12 and never named her kids. She let her husband and neighbors name the first ones and then the kids named the ones following them. Her own mom had four and spent a lifetime yelling at them.

    It's so sad and so wrong. If you aren't built to parent, don't.

  6. Thanks for this blog, Anny. In education we know that an adult interest and expectation is a powerful thing in a child's life. Mentoring programs in neighborhoods and public schools are often looking for people who can give a bit of time to a child who doesn't have the support at home because of a non-parenting parent or because mom is a single mom working every minute just to keep a roof overhead and food on the table. Sometimes that leaves little time for talks about the importance of school and trips to see the community, the museum, a ballgame. Our mentors make a big difference.