It’s interesting to look at how animals parent their offspring. Some animals have live young, and when they produce their offspring, they have nothing further to do with them. They allow these smaller versions of themselves to face the world on their own, and while some survive, others perish in infancy.
Other animals care for their young, though, and even dote on them. With mammals, this happens a lot. If you look at the mother-child relationship between elephants, lions, and others, the affection is obvious.
Humans are animals too, albeit slightly more evolved ones. We all have a biological imperative to care for our babies because if we abandon them, they’re not going to survive.
That doesn’t mean that all humans do this, though. Let’s take a moment to talk about what it means to have a child, particularly from a societal standpoint.
Society Expect that You Change Your Behavior When You Have Children
If you’re single, and you have a roof over your head and a decent job, society generally thinks that you’re doing okay. If you don’t have any dependents besides yourself, you can get away with a lot of self-abuse if that’s something you enjoy. You can abuse alcohol or drugs, for example.
If you have kids, society feels that you have to change that behavior. You’re responsible for this human being because you brought them into the world.
Look at child custody cases in Arizona, for instance. There, the courts feel that you shouldn’t get child custody if you’ve abused alcohol in the previous 12 months. The same goes for drug use as well.
This is only one example of how society wants you to clean up your behavior if you have a kid. You’re supposed to put this human being that you have created above yourself.
The Species’ Perpetuation
Society basically amounts to a bunch of behavioral rules that humans created for themselves. We collectively felt like if we wanted to advance as a species, we should try to get along with one another. Accordingly, if someone demonstrates rampantly antisocial behavior, we usually throw them in jail or completely shun them.
Caring for children goes along with all of that. For the human species to perpetuate itself, we intuitively understand that we need to care for our babies because otherwise, they would not survive. We collectively realize that if we want future generations, we often need to sacrifice our own needs for those of the younger generations that we were instrumental in creating.
What Being an Adult Means
Many people debate what being an adult means, but most of them agree on the point that if you’re a fully functioning adult, you behave responsibly. That doesn’t necessarily mean having children since some adults elect not to have them.
If you do have a child, though, either on purpose or by accident, if you’re truly an adult, then you will not shirk your responsibility. That responsibility means doing all that you can to care for the child.
If you aren’t able to willing to do that, the rest of society shames you. They feel like you’re not only a poor example of an adult but a bad example of a human being in general.
If you’re a fully functioning adult, and you have a child, society says that you should modify your behavior. You probably need to stop partying so much. You might have to trade in that motorcycle for a safer vehicle, and you may have to pursue a better-paying job, even if you don’t like it as much as your old one.
In short, if you have kids, you need to take significant steps toward growing up because if you don’t, you’re doing the child a disservice, but you’re doing society a disservice as well. If you don’t care for the kid, then someone else has to, presumably the other parent, some relative, or the state, if no one else is available.
Changing Your Behavior
Having a child is a major lifestyle change, or at least it should be. If you see parents that continue to party and act like teenagers after they have kids, that’s problematic. You’re probably not going to think very highly of them because that’s the societal mandate.
Therefore, if you do have kids, either intentionally or accidentally, you need to be ready to modify your life immediately. If you don’t, the world at large will likely feel you’ve failed as an adult.