I took my mother who is visiting from Canada to the groceries store, and she almost collapsed when she saw the prices. In Canada, inflation is hidden behind smaller packaging but here prices are proudly staring down at us from a mountaintop.
What a child – whether a girl or a boy – hears when you say something like this is “you never had to be born, I wish you didn’t exist, you are a burden I don’t want.”
“Children” isn’t an abstract concept to a child. It’s a direct reference to him or her.
Making an adult feel good about her life choices isn’t worth hurting a child. If you are neurotic, find a specialist, get treated, and stop expecting the world to dance around your neurosis. Children don’t need “a counter narrative.” They need love and to be left in peace by unhealthy adults. The way to make sure a child is happy with her life choices as an adult is to love her today and avoid turning her into a training ground for her counternarratives.
By the way, I have a friend who never married or had children. Unlike the psycho doctor I just quoted, my friend is intensely fine with her life choices and it doesn’t occur to her to use children to make herself feel better.
And it’s not just this subject. “Not everybody needs to go to college.” Absolutely true. But when you say that to an actual kid, what he hears is “you are stupid and I don’t love you.”
“Why would you cry about something so silly?” Your inner life is unimportant and I don’t love you.
“Your Dad always does this annoying thing.” You are annoying and I don’t love you.
Before anybody says that you can’t always control every little thing you say, no you can’t. Instead of treating symptoms, address the problem at its root.