Home motherhood/family/parenting A Generation Who Doesn’t Like Their Children

A Generation Who Doesn’t Like Their Children

by Kelly Crawford

I see it all the time…mother’s who love their children dearly but don’t like them at all, and spend their time surviving and passing the time until the day they can send the kids to someone else.

Part of me understands it, and the other part of me spends a lot of time thinking about how/why it happens.

I’ve seen their children…frankly, I don’t like them either. They’re not pleasant. They don’t obey. They bounce off the walls and they destroy things. Some of them hit and scream. I understand not enjoying that kind of child. (This excludes special circumstances involving autism and similar behavioral/genetic disorders.)

So I’m trying to discern where the ball got dropped. Is it simply a lack of training? Is it a lack of vision that causes the lack of training? Is it a lack mentoring passed on from the older generation to the younger moms? A new generation who thinks they have discovered better methods?

Often, generations before have not passed on a healthy legacy to the next…and the vicious cycle is repeated.

And it’s partly the anti-child culture that has told these mothers before their children were even born, that they were going to be a burden.

It’s heart-breaking. I wish I knew how to help these families. I see terrible cycles being repeated over and over.

And both children and mom suffer. She doesn’t enjoy him, and so finds ways to escape the daily frustrations, missing so many moments of sweet time spent together.

Is it because we lack vision to even see into our children’s futures? Do we not, as we cuddle that soft new born, understand that we hold a person–a man or a woman with Kingdom potential–in our arms? A life worth investing in, heart, soul and mind?

That it is up to us, right from the beginning, to mold, shape and direct this person? How could we just “get by” until someone else is responsible?

We’ve got to step in and rescue a young generation of mothers and their children. I’m not sure how, but it must be done.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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shanie81 January 15, 2009 - 2:13 pm

I really do have to agree with you here. (Although not all kids who grew up being ‘burdens’ were brats 😉 ) My mom HATED that she had kids. In fact, I’m told that when I was an infant, my mom went back to work so quickly and worked such long hours that she went days without seeing me awake. I was referred to as ‘an accident’ as a joke. She ‘loves’ me, I know, but never had any desire to spend time with me, talk to me, etc.

The result though? Backfired. I’m closer to my friends’ mothers than I am with her, and she’s pretty lonely. In fact, she’s absolutely aching to spend time with me now, and it’s just too late for some things. It’s not that I’m not willing to forgive, but I’m now married and living in another city. Weird how living for yourself leaves you… well, by yourself.

Kim M. January 15, 2009 - 2:43 pm

Kelly this is so true. I know a lot of people who fit this very description.
It’s “cool” according society (and a lot of people I know) to say “they get on my nerves”.

When you make a point to reply, “they are little blessings” or “they are my treasures”,
people actually do a double take!

Michelle January 15, 2009 - 2:48 pm

*nodding* I completely agree. It’s interesting how people complement me all the time on how well behaved my kids are (in Church particularly) and then when they ask how I do it, and I take the time to explain, none of them really want to make the sacrifice it takes to raise them Biblically.

Kathi Bailey January 15, 2009 - 3:43 pm

Well said. I think we start in our own families…doing what we’re doing…staying home, raising and loving our children. Then we follow up with things like Michelle says, explaining how and why our children behave the way they do when people ask about/compliment on our well behaved, loving, helpful children. But she is also right about people tending to not really want to know how it happens or making the sacrifice to make it happen. They’re really just in awe it’s possible at all!

Bethany Hudson January 15, 2009 - 4:05 pm

Wise words. One thing I have been cautious of since before my daughter was born is to try and say positive things about her (it started with pregnancy) rather than complaining or getting into “complaint wars” with other moms. Imagine how our children would feel if they heard us saying the things that many mothers say about their children?

And, you’re right. I think a lot of it has to do with not passing on the legacy. I know so many other moms who simply think it’s NORMAL for their kids to act like holy terrors. They laugh it off as cute to their neighbors at the park, and then shout at their kids at home, all the while assuming that there is no alternative. It is so sad.

Miranda January 15, 2009 - 4:17 pm

This is a great post!

Civilla January 15, 2009 - 4:23 pm

Yes, I agree. I have found that when women (even Christians) “fellowship”, it degenerates into complaining.

Civilla January 15, 2009 - 4:45 pm

Kelly, I e-mailed this article to you (you may have gotten it twice!):
html. “Patio Culture”. Long but informative article.

Rebekah January 15, 2009 - 5:22 pm

Great post! I agree with Kathi. We must begin with our own families (after a thorough examination of our own hearts maybe) and invest our time in them. . .with cheerful hearts! By raising and loving them and teaching them what a blessing and honor it is to be with them, they are learning great volumes about families and priorities!

We are expecting #6 blessing, and all our children hope for larger families than ours. I hope they will always cherish children and people in general.

Of course, our attitudes when we are in public do a lot to show where our hearts really are. We can be a testimony for the Lord and what His Word says about children through our dealings with them when we are out. I want my children to behave in private and in public, and they know this is a way to be a witness for the Lord. However, I think the way we treat them really reveals how much we value them.

Thanks for the post!

Michelle (She Looketh Well) January 15, 2009 - 5:38 pm

Oh Kelly,

This is the cry of my heart–to let mamas know there is a different way.

I was not raised in the Titus 2/positive motherhood type way. I struggle greatly. My heart longs to be the mama who loves, adores, and cherishes, but to be brutally honest, it is hard, I am not what I want to be.

There is much unlearning, much changing, much renewing of the mind. I have been a mama for 21 years now, and I can say that only just within the last couple of years am I really getting the beauty of this thing called Motherhood.

I believe it certainly begins with our own children. Like the others, I try to be so careful of what I say and how I act. Things like, “being a mama is the greatest thing in the world” “isn’t this so awesome we GET to have another baby” and so on. Now, truth be told, sometimes my actions don’t line up, though I wonder how much of it is just condemnation from the enemy.

I read a quote that I LOVE and pray it for myself and my daughters.

“Most mothers love their children, but not all mothers love motherhood”

My cry is to LOVE being a mother, to have the revelation of the beauty and wisdom of God in the whole thing called motherhood.

Secondly, I pray for opportunities to show the world a different way. To teach the younger women. To say at the dentist office, “Oh, are you kidding, being a mama is the best thing in the world, they are so worth it” To show that children are a joy and a blessing while at the store, ect. It astounds most, to have obedient children whom you love to be around and love to be around us.

I always used to lament that “I’m just not that ‘sit on the floor and play with your kids type of mom'” Then one day my own mom, (who has come a long way) said to me while I was swimming and laughing with a bunch of littles, “um don’t look now honey, but you are sitting on the floor playing with your kids” She was right, I had grown, my heart had changed, the Lord was giving me the very desires of my heart.

It can be done, I am living proof. To go from staying in bed until the first kid got up, send them off to school so I can do what I want……to homeschooling nine children, keeping the home, and LOVING IT!!! With God, all things are possible.

Okay, stepping off the soapbox, thanks for ‘listening’

You ladies are great!


Civilla January 15, 2009 - 6:42 pm

Kelly, if you want to know where bratty children came from, look for the original book on permissive child rearing: “Baby and Child Care”, the classic by Dr. Benjamin Spock. All parents read this back in the day. I think it was published in the late ’50’s, early ’60’s or something like that.

I understand he apologized for his philosophies gone wrong in his latter years, but that may be a “they say”. I’ll try to google it.

Civilla January 15, 2009 - 6:45 pm

This whole problem, if you got the article, is that there was a breakdown of the extended family after WWII, as nuclear families moved from close-knit neighborhoods in big cities, and close-knit small communities or farms, to suburbs, where families were isolated. Now, there is the breakdown of even the nuclear family. All like it was masterminded….

Laura Ashley January 15, 2009 - 8:24 pm

Many people may love their children, but not like being parents. Maybe some parents will be better parents of small children than they are of older children or better parents of older children than younger ones. You really don’t know until you become a parent. It takes a lot of honesty to admit that you aren’t cut out to be a parent. I would never fault someone for admitting it. A lot of parents just had because that is what was expected of them. It is good that nowadays it is more acceptable to be childless. You shouldn’t try to be something your not. If you aren’t cut out to be a parent then do not have more children.

shanie81 January 16, 2009 - 12:16 am

Reading all these responses makes me so happy for future generations. Maybe my mom wasn’t into being mommy, and maybe I can’t have kids, but still… maybe I can help? I try really hard to make life easier for my siblings, and my neices and nephews. My husband and I are constantly offering to sit, we WISH we could have kids, and someday we’ll adopt, but for now… well, I wish i could put up a craigs list ad.. “I’ll snuggle and play with your babies if you won’t… PLEASE!!!!”

sheena January 16, 2009 - 4:22 am

Michelle and Kathi,
We are new to the whole concept of keeping our kids in church with us. Our older two are very well behaved but I have a 15 month old who I would like to begin training to sit with us through the service.
I am more than willing to take the time, make the sacrifice, whatever it takes to train her but, I’m not sure how to even begin. Up till now not much has been required of her although she does understand the concepts like “No”, sit down please, or put the book back. If you wouldn’t mind sharing some tips- I’m all ears. =)

Word Warrior January 16, 2009 - 8:36 am


Good timing…I was thinking a post on basic young child training would be a good follow up to yesterday’s.

Word Warrior January 16, 2009 - 8:37 am


“My heart longs to be the mama who loves, adores, and cherishes, but to be brutally honest, it is hard, I am not what I want to be.”

I think every mother here could say this…I know I can.

busymomof10 January 16, 2009 - 11:11 am

This is a Great Post!

One thing I Hate is to encounter someone out and about who exclaims over the number of children I have, while degrading their own children. I have heard this exact comment too many times to count: “Oh my ____, I can’t believe you have TEN children! I can’t stand the two I have!” It just breaks my heart to hear that! SOmetimes their children are even standing there, and just think what it does to those children to hear their moms speak that way about them??

Another interesting side to this is that the generation who doesn’t like or spend time with their children is aging into the generation whose children won’t spend time with or care for them in their old age. We are in a sad place as a nation!!!

Shelly January 16, 2009 - 11:16 am

I think that it is so important to have a network of like minded friends to encourage one another. We ALL have days when we are not what we want to be. That’s why we have to connect to someone who is going to encourage us to keep going, keep doing what we know is right, keep falling at the foot of the cross, He is sufficient!! Unfortunately there are many voices that will tell us to entrust our children to others and go to the office because everyone is not cut out to be a stay at home Mom.
There’s a statement that I often repeat–Motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love.
It takes a lot of time and hard work to build relationships with our children.
There is just too much at stake to not give it our all.
Thank you Kelly for another bit of truth!!

Leisha January 16, 2009 - 11:33 am


“My heart longs to be the mama who loves, adores, and cherishes, but to be brutally honest, it is hard, I am not what I want to be.”

I can ditto you on that quote as well! I don’t think anyone said it is easy being a mom or managing a household; however, I feel as long as we recognize where were each at in our “mothering journey” and strive to be better than were on the right path.

I know personally I have to take deep breaths at times with my children, I feel frustrated and hopeless with their actions! I wonder how I’m going to make it when #4 is delivered. Than I remember that it’s not about me and it’s not my strength that gets me through the moment or day it’s HIS.

I look up to so many of you who I read about homeschooling and managing children far more in number than mine. Many of you are inspirations and don’t even know it, so keep up the good work. Maybe one day I can convince my husband we should homeschool:)! Than I’ll really be insane right?

Feminine Pursuits January 16, 2009 - 1:00 pm

I think you are right that we need to rescue a young generation of mothers, but we also need to CREATE a NEW generation of mothers. We need to make sure that OUR daughters are equipped and ready to be mothers with vision. Mothers with skills around babies, and a comfort level. I am so blessed that my mother had a baby when I was 12 years old. My youngest brother gave me such confidence with my own children, like your earlier post linking to Hindsfeet’s blog. So many brand new mothers today have never even changed a diaper! I want my daughter to catch my vision, and see the importance of not only the training of her own children, but also the nurturing of their little souls.

Another thing that has been on my heart adoption. My husband and I plan to pursue adoption through the foster care system in the next few years. Do you want to prevent an abortion, or many abortions? I can’t think of a better way than rescuing a girl out of foster care and adopting her. The children growing up in the system of foster care are at such high risk! Or what about all of the little boys in they system? Prevent an abortion by adopting some of these little boys and teaching them about the sanctity of marriage, in such a way that he would never dream of getting a girl pregnant. There are so many children in my community whose parents are in jail because of drugs. We live out in the boonies, and there is a HUGE drug problem out here. There are so many children whose souls are at stake. Adopting some of these children will be making a new generation of mothers. This is something that we have been in prayer over for years.


jonash January 16, 2009 - 3:53 pm

So much of it is a breakdown in how to raise your children. If you are annoyed, maybe you need to work on something!

The other day I was at my in-laws. They had their other four grandchildren there, who were screaming for no real reason. Then my boys, who were in the middle of the hullabaloo trying to figure out what was going on (the others are all 4-8yrs older).

My SIL and MIL stepped into the room and my SIL looked at me. “HOW MANY kids do you want?” she asked incredulously.

I looked her in the eye and said very honestly, “I don’t tolerate this kind of thing at my house. I can’t handle the volume.”

It really took her and my MIL aback. They seemed stunned, like they didn’t realize they had a choice. Or maybe they think I’m crazy to think I can control such a thing!

Now, my boys can turn up the volume outside, or when their dad is wrestling with them. But otherwise … I really can’t handle randomized, near-constant screaming. And I don’t expect others to, either!

I think a lot of parents are just trying to “wait it out” and survive “stages”. It makes me sad.
I want to enjoy my children!


Vera Prince January 16, 2009 - 10:41 pm

This is such a great post. I’ve recently re-realized how special and wonderful children are. I had spent about six years disliking children in general. The reason was that I moved in with my grandmother and my cousin and my cousin’s children. The children were out of control. They ran (and run) the house. They would change the channels while adults were watching television. They’d interrupt adult conversations. Any time I tried to assert authority as (honorary) auntie, the children would fake cry and I would be reprimanded. A turning point was one time they knocked a “poo-poo” platter off the table at a Chinese restaurant and it landed in my lap, causing the decorative flame to burn me. When I spoke sternly to the children (Mr. S we do not kick the table. I am hurting right now because you did) at the children, I was asked not to go out to eat with them again, because I upset them. At this point I decided that these children were “the best birth-control.” I couldn’t imagine wanting children at this point. I did not know any other way to parent, other than the example I’d seen–let the kids have what they want. It wasn’t until I decided to distance myself from my cousin and her children and got to know some great kids that I decided that I’d welcome children into my life. Before, the thought of having children was like thinking about a prison sentence. Now it’s a joy I cannot wait to experience because I know that one has to actually parent her children and show them that you enjoy motherhood, rather then tolerate them and survive motherhood.

Word Warrior January 16, 2009 - 10:54 pm

Vera Prince,

That is a very encouraging story!

Civilla January 17, 2009 - 9:25 pm

How horrible, Vera Prince! Yes, that sure would be effective birth control! That was my experience as a young newlywed, which is why I put off having a family for almost 10 years!! ALL the children I saw, in church and out of church were like that, and I didn’t see how their parents could stand to live with them. I’d impale myself on a stake. I eventually decided to bite the bullet anyway, and had children.

It’s no wonder people call children “kids”. They act like animals. When did we Americans start calling them “kids” anyway? Anybody know? I’m trying not to call children that anymore.

Oh, yes, BusyMomof10, people say stupid things when confronted with the unexpected: a family of 10 children, or a family who can’t have children, for example. They just don’t know what to say and blurt out the first think they think of, trying to be humorous. They end up being offensive, instead, and even offending their own children, but probably don’t really mean to be.

Vera Prince January 18, 2009 - 12:35 pm

What an interesting question, Civilla!
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the kid be came popular in the 19th century. If you read the additional definitions, one can see that it the slang term gained popularity when referring to young and untried thieves…and then to just the young, and then to our children! Perhaps not a term we really want to use for children!

Civilla January 18, 2009 - 6:45 pm

Thanks, Vera Prince. I knew it didn’t come from any good source. Most slang doesn’t (it tends to have started in prison, is what I was told). I asked an elderly lady (in her ’80’s) in my church when we first started calling children “kids”, and she said, “We’ve always called them that!” Thanks for looking that up. I didn’t know where to go to find out about that.

Rachel January 19, 2009 - 6:13 pm

I’ve never really understood mom’s who didn’t like their children. Mine are the most wonderful people in the world, and I really do not know what I would do without them.

I really wanted a very BIG family.

tristessax January 22, 2009 - 8:23 am

My neighbor lady had an emergency one day and asked me to watch her 5 year old daughter. Without hardly knowing me. I could see she needed help so I agreed. The little girl latched on to me and my children, and sat in quietly during our studies. Had a wonderful time while we baked cookies for a snack. At the end of the afternoon, the little girl told me she didn’t want to go back home and that “mommy slept all day long”. I asked her, “What do you do while mommy sleeps all day?” and she said, “Watch TV”. And my heart completely sank into my stomach. She went on to explain that her daddy left snacks on the table for her before he went to work, and that she was to be quiet all day while mommy slept and not bother her. I asked her, “when does mommy wake up?” and she said, “when it starts to get dark”.

After the little girl went home, I made all kinds of assumptions. I was even ready to report her to CPS. I was a nervous wreck and very heart sick the rest of the evening, so I prayed and asked God to show me what to do. I talked it over with my husband and it was as if God spoke right through him. He came up with the idea to go over the next day, check in and see how everything was going.

So that is what I did. It was true that the mother was in bed, because the little one had gone to wake her up and she arrived at her door in a bathrobe looking sleepy.

She immediately invited me and after we got to talking, she explained to me that she had recently been diagnosed with Mulitple Sclerosis and was having a difficult time staying up with her fatigue. She had no family at all to help her, and was hoping to get through this phase of tiredness without resorting to daycare.

I feel that God had His hand in all of this. She needed someone to help her out but was too ashamed to admit she needed it, as she had always been a very active mama and homemaker.

I offered to take her little one until the father got home, which was right around as it gets dark, and when she always tries to pry herself up off of bed or the sofa to make dinner.

I’m so thankful I did not rush to judge her and report her.

I think there are alot of issues we can’t see behind one’s closed doors. Alot of reasons why there is bad behavior in children, or problems with parents needing help.

I was raised up in a broken home, and I too had to struggle as a young mama to re-learn things in order to be the kind of parent I wanted to be. I come from that understanding of why there are so many mothers out there emotionally abandoning and physically abandoning their children. It’s learned behavior. Yes, it can be changed but good examples must be there first.

We have also become a society where we hole ourselves up in our houses, in front of our tv or computer, and we don’t look outside past our door at other families much. We need to minister and be in service, especially to the young ones. Those who need guidance, let us be that lantern to light the path, rather than withdraw and only care about our stuff, our families, etc. It’s really a time for change.

I remember my grandmother telling stories about how her neighbors always came for coffee each week, or they’d come help with the kids or the laundry, their gardens, etc. This is a rare thing these days. It really is. I would like to bring it back. When I was a mama at 19, I had no one, and I mean no one in my neighborhood that was a friend. Everyone kept inside to themselves. And if someone was sitting on their porch, they’d ignore you.

We need to turn this around and reach out to each other instead of being strangers.

authenticallyme January 22, 2009 - 8:57 pm

tristexx….that is a BEAUTIFUL story! Had I been in your shoes, I would have been so humbled. Often where small children are involved, I assume the worst about the parents.

The mother probably feels SOOOO much better knowing her daughter has a good provider!

I, too, have an understanding for why things sometimes go awry. I persoanlly have had a very hard time UNlearning things my parents taught me, and learning new things they didnt. This task is VERY difficult given I woke up one day to realize my ineptness-and already had 4 children and a husband with an addiction issue. Only, and I repeat ONLY because of other people being willing to stick their neck out, and extend a lot of grace toward me (and not be too harsh with me) did i learn then how to understand myself and be gentle on myself, and allow the process to take place where i could safely make changes. When young moms are coming out of dysfunctional homes, it would be insane for us to think we could expect much more out of THEIR parenting skills. All we can do is share, extend a hand, and hopefully make an impression. I find many are responsive when I share where I came from; they dont feel so threatened or ashamed. Anyway, I agree with you. When the generation prior to us wasnt living very functionally, we cannot expect any different from their children…it is the natural course of things. I am living proof. 😉

Theresa September 20, 2010 - 7:04 am

“We’ve got to step in and rescue a young generation of mothers and their children. I’m not sure how, but it must be done.”
I agree whole heartedly. This is heavy on my heart – and I feel God leading me to some sort of ministry to help young mothers. Thank you for your blog and your ministry.
God Bless

Alla Lindelof December 27, 2011 - 6:16 am

Everybody had the chance to vote how many times they wanted to. There has not been a country AI winner since Carrie Underwood. I think it is time for AI to have a country winner. What I liked about this season of AI is that they had diverse groups of genres represented. While I liked some of the other contestants’ songs, Scotty’s singing spoke to me more.

Sarah Mae April 30, 2013 - 6:31 pm

“I wish I knew how to help these families.”

Kelly, first of all, you probably are helping just by writing. By more importantly, you can help by mentoring a woman in your neighborhood or church or someone you meet -moms are desperate for help and guidance. They are floundering because they haven’t had examples; they lack anchors or training. You can help! Young moms need you.

I wish more women in the church were willing to “adopt” even just one young mom. THAT would change generations.

Word Warrior April 30, 2013 - 7:40 pm

Sarah Mae,

You are so right! I know I’m so grateful (even at my old age ;-)) for the older women who speak truth into my life, bring meals when I’m struggling and constantly encourage me to press on. What a difference.


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