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Why do we hate our children?

Britain treats its kids like pests, said Jenny McCarthy. We see them as frequently annoying and sometimes frightening. A recent survey found that nearly half of respondents agreed that children today were “feral” and “like animals.” How many times have we all seen a small child trying to ask her mother a question only to be told to “shut up” and then dragged roughly down the street?

Uncharitable attitudes are hardly limited to the working class. Middle-class parents commonly refer to their children as a chore to be managed, the “hours spent with them dutifully ticked off in a mental box” and labeled “quality time.” It’s no wonder that our kids grow into resentful, even threatening teenagers with no respect for authority. Handle them callously enough and they will certainly “take on the mannerisms of the nuisances they are already assumed to be.”

This is not merely a parenting problem. Our society has demonstrated that it doesn’t prioritize children: Just look at our “overstretched and fraying maternity wards,” and our stingy scrimping on postnatal help for mothers. It all adds up to an “essential contempt for childhood.”

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