I don’t know about anyone else, but as a kid, there were many times I wanted the house to my self. No annoying sibling or mean parents. Just me and the house. With everyone gone, every meal could have consisted of Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I could have stayed up as late as I wanted, and woken up whenever I wanted. And of course, I could watch television anytime I wanted. I could watch cartoons all morning, flip back and forth between game shows all afternoon, and even watch scary movies at night. But while all that sounds fun, I don’t think my younger self would have wanted the entire house to himself for a week like Kevin in the 1990 movie Home Alone.
As a gay man who has never had sex with a woman, I live a childfree existence. That means I lack the perspective parents have on raising kids. For a long time, I felt that my complete ignorance of raising children meant that I couldn’t weigh in on matters of child-rearing. After all, I thought, if I’ve never changed a diaper (and HELLO, I just now realized that I have never changed one; I’ll have to double check with my parents to be sure, as its possible I may have helped change my sisters diaper when she was a baby and I simply forgot), how can I weigh in on how much time a child should be able to use social media in a given week? How much can my opinion count when I’ve never had to deal with a child acting out in public? What the fuck do I know if I’ve never had to deal with a shoplifting teenager? But here’s the thing: my lack of experience as a parent does not preclude my commenting on the treatment of children. I’m not talking about offering my opinion on how many times a day a child should eat, or how many hours of television they should be able to watch per week, or even the appropriate age to talk to them about sex. I’m talking about discussing matters that can have negative physical, psychological, or emotional effects on children.