Who Has It Harder: Kids or Adults?

My vote? Kids!

Yes, I’m an adult who thinks kids have it harder.

Life is generally hard, no matter what, but if there needs to be a vote, I say kids.

“But kids live and eat rent-free, have no responsibilities, yadda yadda!”

First of all, kids are forced to attend school, which absolutely is a responsibility. Kids have a 40-hour “work” week by the time they start learning how to read. Even my internship – a job I do without pay, so close enough – is only 30 hours a week, and I can choose whether I want to leave at 2:30 or 3:00. I can also take my lunch any time I want. Kids don’t have that freedom.

That’s why I say kids have it harder: they have no freedom. I remember feeling powerless as a kid, having zero say in anything that affected me, no matter how bad it was, being told to “stay in a child’s place”, and being assumed to be stupid because a child couldn’t possiby be right over an adult. As a kid, I could say the sky was blue, an adult could say it was pink, and I’d better not correct them because “I’m an adult and what I say is right”.

Yes, as an adult, I have to pay bills and money is a necessity. But, to an extent, I can choose where to work, and I will be compensated for my time with money. It’s outright illegal if I’m not. While I’m not paid for internship (I presume the laws are different for that), I still choose to be here and I come here because I want to, not because I’ll be punished if I don’t. I’d rather pay bills and have choices – freedom – in my life than give up the latter for lack of the former.

I can travel without supervison, stay out after dark (I go to the gym on occasion in the evening), don’t need permission to go outside, can decorate my room how I like, can buy my own electronics, can watch the shows I want without arguing over the television with my sister, can listen to the music I like, everything in my room belongs to me instead of someone else because “I bought it, so you’re just borrowing it”. I really could go on for a long time. I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about how my childhood sucked and my family is broken, but even if I had the most carefree, idyllic childhood imaginable, I think my feelings would be the same.

  • Kids have to stand for and recite the pledge of allegiance every morning. As a kid, I thought that was stupid, and as an adult, I still do. But I no longer have to do it! (Side note: No, reciting the pledge doesn’t mean someone respects the country. The peers who made my school life miserable recited it. You can’t claim to respect the country when you have no respect for people in the country.)
  • Kids have curfews and bedtimes. I might be tired, but if I want to go to bed at 1am on a “work” night, yay! More internet time!
  • No parental controls! Yes, I understand why they exist. I’m still glad I don’t have to deal with them! And I can lock my devices to keep other people out!
  • “No, you can’t have pizza for breakfast.” I can now!
  • I have a more decorated room now than I did as a kid. Because I buy everything for it, right down to my computer. Though, my favorite thing would be the plethora of stuffed animals on my bed.
  • Want something, but can’t buy it? As a kid, you’re out of luck. As an adult, unless money is extremely tight, you can save up for it. That’s how I got my computer!
  • I don’t get my hair done unless I want to. I admit this one is more personal, but I’m sure I’ve spoken about how obsessive my family is about appearance. My mother forced me to have hair extensions and styles I did not want that took hours, and yelled at me and degraded my appearance when I argued. Now, my family still complains, but I no longer have to abide by them, and they eventually shut up for the most part.
  • Kids wear the clothes their parents buy them. I wear the clothes I buy me. Without getting yelled at for not matching (Fashion rules can kiss my behind!).

I know most of what I listed are small things, but as Pinkie Pie once said, “One small thing can be the biggest thing of all”. Freedom is addicting! I remember when I first got my own room. I haven’t shared a room since, minus the time I lived in a homeless shelter, because after a taste of what it was like to have my own space and privacy (to the small extent I could with a sibling), I could never go back! It’s why my boyfriend and I will have separate rooms when we move in together. He’s never had his own room and I want him to experience that. I know he’ll be as addicted as me!

The only downside is people don’t think adults are cute like they do kids. But I wasn’t a cute kid (regularly got called ugly and was hated solely because I existed in some people’s space), so I didn’t have even that.

I’ll take adulthood and all of its challenges any day. That opinion may vary on some days, but I’d say 80% of the time, it’s a given.

What’s Assault?

Here’s a very controversial matter I’ll speak about: spanking. But I’m going to make it short. I just want an answer to this question.

A few days ago, I overheard what I think was a crime show my grandfather was watching. The episode was featuring a woman who’d escaped from a very abusive relationship, and she described some incidents of the abuse. One of them was when her husband had told her to lean over the hood of his/their car and proceeded to spank her with his belt. She outright said he was hitting on her behind, so it was what’s considered a spanking. She described the pain as being so terrible, she was hoping she would somehow melt into the engine of the car (or in other words, die right there on the spot) to avoid having to feel any more. She said every time she didn’t listen to her husband, he would do this to her.

This woman is an adult, so that is classified as abuse. But if she were a child, that would be discipline. Why? That’s my question. Why is this “abuse” when done to an adult, but “discipline” when done to a child?

Spoiled Like A Princess

First off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I figured I may as well throw it in since I’m posting on the holiday.

For someone who wants no children, I talk about them a lot. Then again, I have a strange knack for talking a lot about things I don’t have, whether I want them or not. Don’t ask. Chalk it up to “I think a lot”.

Yesterday, I saw a video on Facebook about a mother who takes her daughter to Disneyland several times a year because they have annual passes and live about 20 minutes away from the park. She sews costumes for her daughter. My first thought was, “Yeah, this is why I don’t need a daughter.”

I can’t deny it’s because I myself am female, but if I had a daughter, she would undoubtedly be a spoiled princess (or tomboy, if she preferred that)! If I had the finances and lived very close to Disneyland, it’s a safe bet she’d be going everyday. My only regret would be I couldn’t wear the costumes with her. Disneyland forbids guests over age 14 from wearing costumes. I understand the reason for the rule, but it’s one of the reasons I lost my desire to go years ago. Oh, well.

Funnily enough, my boyfriend also agrees. When I showed up him the video and told him the above, he replied we’d both spoil our non-existent daughter if we could. I was a little surprised to hear him say that because he does not like taking care of kids at all. The next thing he said was: “If I had the money, I would be spoiling [his niece].”

To me, it’s genuinely one of the cutest things he’s ever said. His niece is the exception to his dislike of caring for kids. Even I have to admit I love his niece, despite having zero familial relationship to her and only seeing her a handful of times, and she also likes me, to the point she was once screaming she wanted me after seeing me when I hadn’t been around her for some time.

However, it still prefaces why neither of us needs kids. We want the adorable parts of raising a child without the awful parts, but there’s no way to separate the two. It’s the reason I stick to fantasy and Sims games, and he sticks to being devoted to his niece. Children aren’t novelties. Dolls are for dressing up and parading around. There’s so much more to children, and they deserve parents who are willing to take all the awfulness along with the cuteness. I regularly hear raising children is 90% awful and only 10% good, but the 10% makes up for the 90%. I think it’s only worth it if you’re willing to accept those odds from the start, and even some people who are already parents aren’t. Ouch.

Still, I also think it’s ironic and a bit funny two people who do not want their own kids think nothing of spoiling our hypothetical child if she did exist. Or he. The mother from the video also has a son who she lets get in on the fun. I only emphasize “daughter” because the video mainly focuses on the daughter.

Seen and Heard

I’ve talked about this before, using a different phrase, but after working in retail for some time now, I can’t help bringing it up again.

“Children are meant to be seen, not heard.”

The sentence ignites a great amount of irritation in me. I won’t repeat myself because I went into plenty of detail about why the similar phrase, don’t speak unless you’re spoken to, is outdated and makes no sense. But this one feels even more so.

Although it’s short, after the time I’ve already spent working in retail, if there is any age group that should be seen instead of heard, it is adults!

The majority of the customers are pleasant and most transactions go normally with zero trouble. Of the problematic customers I have had, however, I’ve never had one who was a child. Neither have my co-workers. When my co-workers talk about the trouble they have with customers, they are referring to adults.

That’s not to say the children are always angelic. Of course, I hear children cry and occasionally throw temper tantrums. Or they touch things and don’t put them back correctly. I won’t deny that behavior is annoying.

But it pales in comparison to the adult who yells at me because I can’t do their return due to lack of any proof of their purchase (receipt, phone number, and/or sale tags). It’s nothing compared to the adults who frequently come to the register at closing time with a large amount of items for purchase, layaway, or both. It’s not children who leave the aisles a mess, with clothes and trash strewn across the floor (our toy aisle is tame in comparison to any other area!).

The worst thing a child has done to me directly at my register? Chatter. Yes, the “worst” experience I’ve ever had with a child at my counter is them sparking up a conversation with me. How dare they speak to me, an adult, when they haven’t been addressed?! Actually, I’m glad they do. They’re quite cheerful and tend to be the bright spot of a long shift.

In fact, the only times so far I’ve heard children continously cry are when they are tired or otherwise uncomfortable, and they’re usually small children (under three years old). I remember one particular small girl who was wailing so loudly, she could be heard throughout the store the entire time she and her family were there. My curiosity got the better of me and when they came to my register, I somewhat jokingly asked if the little one was having a bad day. Her mother flat out said she was tired and needed a nap. Is it the child’s fault she’s not being permitted to sleep? Who isn’t cranky when they’re being kept awake?

Now, I do not at all think children should be treated like adults, and in general, adults are more mature than children. I do believe that. But this concept that a child shouldn’t be allowed to speak solely because they are a child isn’t one I’ve seen to have much merit to it.

If this also refers to interrupting adults when talking, again, that should apply to everybody. Interrupting someone is rude, regardless of your age. I don’t want to be interrupted by a 30-year-old any more than I want to be interrupted by a 3-year-old.

An Angel I See

This past Saturday, my eight-year-old cousin came to visit. I don’t see her often, but I love spending time with her. She’s a sweet, typical kid. Loves cartoons, loves to play games, loves being silly, and she’s fairly quiet, though she seems to be growing out of that. She was quieter when she was younger than she is now. The first time she ever came to visit (I think she was five), the only sound she made was when she cried about simply walking to the back room alone. Now, she has no problem with our house and will respond without trouble if you talk to her.

In my eyes, my cousin is an ideal child. Well-behaved, patient, able to sit quietly and occupy herself, polite. Out of all the times I’ve been with her, she threw a tantrum one time. And she had reason because she was tired and had been abruptly woken up. I couldn’t blame her. Nobody likes being woken up, especially not in such a rush.

Every now and then, I think if it were guaranteed my first child would be like my cousin, I’d consider being a parent. However, experiences like the above knock me back down the Earth. I don’t doubt my cousin is well-behaved most of the time, but in truth, I can only make that judgment based on the small amount of time I spend with her and what my aunt (her grandmother) tells me. At most, I only spend a few hours with my cousin when one of us visits the other. I see the sweet, playful side of her because, unless she ever feels like throwing fits for a day, there’s no reason for her to behave any differently in the few hours I’m with her.

Even if I spent a full 24 hours with her, I may not see much difference in her behavior. She would have people to pay attention to her, she knows she is wanted and loved, she has plenty of things to play with, and she has more than enough to eat if she’s hungry. The only way I’d see anything different from what I know of her is if someone or something agitated her, which, from what I hear, is rare.

It’s unrealistic to expect anyone to be proper 100% of the time, let alone a child who still has a lot of growing and learning to do. Most kids stop throwing tantrums around my cousin’s age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to deal with unpleasant feelings. If I spent a week with my cousin, chances are I’d see fits, some stubbornness, and some sadness or even anger. No matter how angelic I see her as, the fact remains she is human, not a flat character in a TV show. Spending 24/7 with her is much different than a few hours, especially if she spends that time occupying herself and not needing or wanting someone’s attention.

When I was a child, I often got upset at myself for not being perfect. I actually thought something was wrong with me (being asked by an adult what’s wrong with me didn’t help either) because I couldn’t be perfect like everyone else seemed to, or I couldn’t be good like I was the previous day. When I was old enough to seriously think about parenting, I envisioned my child always being happy and loving because they’d have no reason to ever be upset. I hadn’t yet learned that nobody is perfect and it’s okay because perfection does not exist. Children are going to act out from time to time, no matter how well their parents are raising them, because people make mistakes. I wish someone had to told me as a child, “It’s alright you feel this way. You just can’t [whatever I did that was inappropriate].” Honestly, even as an adult, I don’t see the point in punishing a kid because they’re unhappy.

My little cousin reminds me of childhood and what it was like to be so young, innocent, and joyful. And while I know it can’t last forever, I do hope, unlike me, she is able to grow and mature at her own pace instead of having to be hurried into it.