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Loving Children

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When babies are born they have no personality, so what selfish interest do parents have in loving them? When people say you should love children unconditionally does it mean to believe in the goodness of the child even when they do something irrational, or how is this kind of love selfish? No matter how rational parents are it is possible to have children who chose to evade and act irrationally. At this do parents still love the child just because the child is theirs, as (I think) what people say unconditional love is? Or do they reject the child? Is it assumed that children have a natural desire to act rationally that's why rational love their children? From what I think something seems wrong with the latter because reason is not automatic. I would appreciate if through discussion my thoughts on this can be clarified.

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I don't know exactly what you're trying to get at. Children's brains are maturing, they have to learn from their parents. When they are old enough, that is what tough love and punishment is for when they mess up. Humans need a long time to grow up and mature, because we have such large brains, that's what childhood is for, and you have to get them through that stage before you judge them that way. People can choose to have children for very good reasons.  Maybe a couple is settling down and just wants to raise a baby?  Your children are the people most similar to you in the world (people who are genetically similar  have more similar brains, but not interests or morality, those are chosen) and it can be a delightful and fun experience for some people.  It's definitely not for everyone, and people who don't want kids just don't understand people that do. It's hard not to feel attached to someone who is so close to you, but if my child was deliberately immoral as an adult I would be attached, but I don't think I would love them anymore exactly.  This is the way most family relationships are, love/hate, but it doesn't always have to be that way.  I blame it on the declining culture.

To suggest that all children shouldn't be loved because they could grow up to be irrational sounds pretty sick to me. Mothers love or are attached to their children, it is just a fact of nature.  Maternal emotions are there for a reason, do you think it would be a good thing if everyone was like you?  The human race would die out.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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Oh well, of course, I don't know many people who would love their children as adults no matter what they do, there definitely are people like that though and I don't understand it at all.  If I had a kid who flunked out of college with my money for example, that might make me stop loving them.  It would certainly make me stop loving them if they became criminals or creeps.  If that happened I would want nothing to do with them, even if they were young like 16.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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When babies are born they have no personality, so what selfish interest do parents have in loving them?
This is a way of asking: "Why do parents value their babies?" For starters, from a range-of-the-moment perspective, babies are so cute and cuddly that most people warm up to them. Not just human babies: people are warm and fuzzy with puppies and kittens. What's the logical and fairly universal reason for such an emotional reaction? Usually people will talk about the "innocence" of the young, but I'm not quite sure what the real reason is. I suspect that the young -- with their visually-obvious youth, their need to grow, and fall, and learn -- symbolize life more than do older animals and older humans, who have peaked biologically.

Leaving aside the range-of-the-moment view, in the best of cases, a parent has decided to have a child for various reasons. In other words, they have a set of reasons for thinking a child will be a value to them. Often, the reasons can be summarized as wanting to witness, aid and shape the growth of another human being. Again, life -- in it's fullest sense -- is the value.

No matter how rational parents are it is possible to have children who chose to evade and act irrationally. At this do parents still love the child just because the child is theirs, as (I think) what people say unconditional love is? Or do they reject the child?
I think Hitler's parents ought to have rejected him. However, if we're speaking of younger children, it's quite different. I don't know if very young children can evade in the same way as an adult can, since such children do not know about consequences. However, even when children start to sense the consequences of evading, certain types of evasion come very naturally to human beings: in particular, to go for some short-term value while evading the fact that it is not a value when viewed longer-range. In a way, this is like our non-human animal self asserting itself. We need our uniquely human ability in order to understand the future outcomes. Also, we need our imagination to make that future as real as we can: to counter the very real short-term effect that we can see more readily. Therefore, being a naturally available choice, with children, evasion is often part of the learning experience and cannot be viewed the same as an evasion by a mature adult who ought to know better. Therefore, the parents would not reject the child for this. They might let the child learn from it, or they might explain the consequences, etc.

As for "unconditional love", I have just one child, but I think parents do value their children differently, particularly when the children are older and exhibiting very different traits. This is evidence that parental love -- at least for older children -- is based on something about the child's self, not "unconditional".

Is it assumed that children have a natural desire to act rationally that's why rational love their children? From what I think something seems wrong with the latter because reason is not automatic. I would appreciate if through discussion my thoughts on this can be clarified.
It is natural for humans to put try putting two and two together. In fact, other animals too learn from their experiences in their own way. With greater human capacity, the human child is able to take this much further. Once children have learned to speak (about 2 years old) they transition to putting sentences together. By 3 or 4 they are forming propositions. Reason is quite natural, just as natural as some types of evasion. It is not automatic because it has to be self-initiated -- usually by some "motivating purpose".
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That is an interesting observation. Like seeking like, writ large.
Life writ large, yes.

This is only speculation and this type of speculation usually comes largely from a mix of introspection and empathy with close friends and family. So, it could well be a hasty generalization as to why we find infants -- human babies, puppies and kittens -- so cute.

Their powerlessness and vulnerability brings out one's protectiveness, but that does not explain why we'd want to protect them.

As for cuddly, of course that's more of a physical thing: i.e., they're small and soft. Kissing a baby's delicate hair could soften the hardest heart.

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