Children Are Tiny Sociopaths

The only thing worse than an egotistical person is one who’s also dumb (well, serial killers are pretty bad too I guess). It’s a special brand of dumb, the kind of self-assured idiocy that cannot be deviated from its path, the perfect storm of personality flaws. It’s where ideas like homeopathic medicine and bodybuilding come from. And this is why I don’t particularly want children. Children are predominantly self-centered little idiots, and the fact that their brains are undeveloped or that they haven’t yet gleaned enough information from the world or haven’t had enough experiences makes no difference to me — they are what they are. I know this because I remember being a child, the dumbest most egotistical child imaginable.

Part of what contributed to my childhood worldview was a certain veneration of children in the media that continues to this day. According to most movies, children are smarter, wiser, and more moral than grownups, and thus, we have movies like Real Steel and Matilda. But the truth is children are the exact opposite of this portrayal. Children are dumb. They are so dumb. They are the dumbest. To test this, try telling a small child he/she makes you feel “sepulchral” or “lugubrious.” I guarantee he/she won’t understand because he/she doesn’t know how to read, and therefore hasn’t acquired any SAT words. Ask them to calculate the hypotenuse of a right triangle — actually, don’t bother because I’ll just tell you: they can’t do it. As for morality, recently on a street corner, I saw a child, maybe six years old, look up at his mother and say, “Why don’t you shut the hell up, you fat bitch.” Then there’s the time a fellow Thought Catalog writer was relieved of her iPhone by a pack of morally bankrupt street children. How do we allow these tiny sociopaths to scurry through our cities, uncaged, unleashed, unsupervised? Why don’t we just empty out the prisons and asylums while we’re at it.

I was principally raised by television and poorly paid daycare professionals. Make no mistake: daycares are nuthouses for the mentally undeveloped human spawn. You play board games, do crafts, and you’re not allowed any sharp objects. And, for a place with “care” in the name, it’s an institution bereft of it. You have a staff of poorly paid women who are, in fact, so poorly paid — and this is just my personal theory, mind you — they can’t afford healthy food, so they’re overweight. These women resent the fact that they perform an incredibly difficult and stressful job for so little pay, so they’re also perpetually irate. Now add children. A bunch of gigantic furious women dealing with tiny idiot children at the most impressionable time in their lives. That was my daycare experience.

One day at the daycare, I brought my entire collection of Goosebumps books along with fake spiders, graveyard stickers, skull keychain, and other creepy paraphernalia, and I laid it all out on a table. Then I sat down at the table, as if I were street vendor.

Other children passed by: “Are you selling this stuff?”


“Oh… okay.”

The teachers were confused: why did he bring all these books, lay them out on a table, and then sit there for several hours? I will tell you why: it’s because I wanted to show off all my books. I thought, “People will see all these Goosebumps books, and they will say, ‘That boy has way more Goosebumps books than me. He must be super cool.’ They will be in awe of my ability to accumulate young adult paperback horror.” I wanted to communicate how great I was. They needed to know that I was the most special, the most interesting person. I was maybe eight years old.

Another time, I posted a signup sheet on the classroom wall: “drawing contest today after lunch.” Surprisingly, a dozen or so children showed up to participate at a table reserved specifically for the event. I handed out paper, pencils, crayons, and markers. Then I set a timer for 30 minutes, and my classmates set to working furiously. There were no prizes, only the pride of first, second, and third place written on the winning drawings in red crayon. After I finished my drawing, I circled the table, examining everyone else’s work with the thoughtful objectivity of a young Jerry Saltz (did I mention I was judging as well as participating in the contest?). When the timer beeped, I theatrically deliberated over each drawing. To one kid, who I happened to like, I awarded third place. Next, to the most talented artist, in the interest of fairness, I awarded second place. And to me, of course, I awarded first place, grand prize, ultimate best coolest human being.

“But Matt did the best drawing!” said an impudent peasant. “He should get first place! Look at the detail on that Millennium Falcon!”

“I can only make decisions based on what I personally believe constitutes the best drawing.”

“But you’re the judge! It’s not fair!”

Now that my impartiality as a judge was thrown into question, the other children balked. They all shouted, “It’s not fair!” and “You can’t give yourself first place!” and “That drawing’s not even good!” Amidst the clamoring of the squalid masses, I quietly slipped away Quaddaffi style to wait it out. How could they not understand it didn’t matter who drew the best; I was the best. How could anyone who was not me, who did not live inside my skin, who only served as an extra in the epic movie of my life — how could one of these others be the best.

Birthday parties are especially difficult for the idiot sociopath because they require the exaltation of another child, giving rather than taking, supporting rather than starring. There are always a few children who have extra trouble with this concept. Goodie bags exist because if you force a child accustomed to receiving all the toys to watch another child receive all the toys, even for just fifteen minutes, the cognitive dissonance will propel him into a mad avaricious fit.

I remember at one kid’s birthday pool party, he received a toy plane I wanted, so I started bawling. How could the universe embrace someone other than me? Oh, the indescribable horror of a world in which I cannot have what I want when I want it how I want it! The shocking deprivation! Almost immediately, my dad whisked me from the party to a nearby Toys R’ Us where he purchased the exact same toy to fill the void in my black soul (the parenting decisions here seem flawed I think). Standing there in line, my long gestating superego sparked to life. Even I knew this was wrong, that I shouldn’t be getting a toy right now, that I should actually be punished for behaving like Montana Max in a real world setting. I felt disturbed by the whole situation, with myself most of all. The phrase “spoiled brat” floated unspoken in the air. It was possibly the first time I took the time to examine myself, and I didn’t like what I saw, but, to be clear, I didn’t let it stop me from getting the toy I wanted.

So no, I don’t want to have a child. I remember how I was as a child, and the genetic material to recreate him flows through my veins like a ticking bomb. I don’t want to have to pretend to love a selfish little asshole. There’s only room in my life for one of those, and that’s me. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • Jen

    Why were you still in daycare when you were eight years old? Shouldn’t you have been in grade school by then, where it wouldn’t be possible to sit at a table with you books all spread out in front of you for hours. It wouldn’t be possible because you would be doing school work.

    • akkemhcs

      After school daycare?

    • Hannah

      I would assume it was probably summertime.

    • LeahF

      Summer time?

    • Brenda

      Jen you’re an idiot.

      • quantumtheory

        be nice, we don’t need trolls here.

    • Deb

      Daycares have school-age programs for the short time before and after school that they’re parents are still at work. I used to be one of those frustrated grossly underpaid childcare workers.

      • Deb

        And now I’m secretly hating myself for using the wrong “their”. How awful!

    • Meredith

      impudent peasant

  • KRose

    My best friend’s mother humorously bought my 21-year-old brother a gift so that he “wouldn’t feel left out” at my bridal shower to poke fun at that exact adage you mention. Oh children.

  • Leona

    Hahaha, this is great! I totally agree with you.
    But what I find most annoying: proud mothers who always want to hear how cute and intelligent their children are.

  • Kady Heron (@heronkady10)

    Children are very cute!
    Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click ->

  • http://NaNa LaLa

    You should try aversion therapy and adopt.

  • bill

    hmmmm, selfish, self-serving brat, devoid of empathy, over-inflated sense of worth? Of course you wouldn’t want children; you’d have to compete with them. Nice to see you never grew up.

    • Von

      Wow, what a well thought out, relevant and clever comment you’ve written. I hope you feel really good about yourself for insulting someone on the internet in order to maintain your sense of self-righteous arrogance. Well done you.

    • ABA

      I agree with Bill. Von: Pot, meet kettle.

  • yessa

    whats with all these assholes trying to stir you in the wrong direction of parenthood? YOU ARE MAKING A WISE DECISION BRAD don’t do it. i’m an au pair (yes like the disney channel original movie) and i take care of 3 children ages 3, 5, and 7. i actually live with these suckers and i have to see them every day all day. i see them more than anyone. and even though i love them and they’re cute adorable etc etc… you’re right…theyre fucking sociopaths and super annoying. yelling JESSICA LOOK AT ME! JESSICA LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! while they hold like..a jump rope to their face or do a single twirl and they expect me to roll out the red carpet or something and praise them for all their talents. i just ignore them when they do that shit but it doesn’t really work because they want to be stimulated constantly and they ask questions they already know the answers to just to hear their own voice. plus, they always want to play “dog” which is THE WORST GAME EVER LIKE SERIOUSLY. ugh. go away.

    • Kate

      Haha! I babysat kids who insisted on playing ‘dog’ 5 hours straight. God, that game is the worst!

      • yessa

        it really is. i refuse to play it now because it almost always ends up with me on all fours with a leash tied around my neck being pulled around by a group of children. no thank you! sUch A bAd AUPairr~~~

    • nola

      “dead man” is my least favorite babysitting game. like really?? really?? But I used to babysit a 6 year old boy who would kick other kids at the playground with MALICE in his eyes. MALICE.

      • yessa

        what is dead man?! do you just like…lay there with your eyes closed? sounds good to me! these kids also like to play “massage” “hair salon” and “annie” which entails getting on their hands and knees with buckets of water and rags and scrubbing the stairs which is actually really nice.

    • Nikki

      Wow. You should not work with children. Ever. You know at some point, you were a child, and you did those same annoying things and someone put up with you? I feel bad for the kids who have to be au paired by you.

      • yessa

        excuse me sit the fuck down. i’m an amazing au pair and the family and kids adore me. so what, i make a point to not constantly over stimulate and compliment these kids for their mediocre achievements? they’re people, not gods. and if you must know, the family prefers me to do this because their other au pairs were always telling them good job for things that were not a big deal and now these kids are super hungry for it. child care if preparation for the real world. gotta be realistic hun.

  • Pia

    This is my favourite Thought Catalog post of all time. It has everything that I have ever thought down to a tee. Perfect.

  • Kitty

    ….I like kids. I just don’t want them because I don’t want the responsibility of raising children….But I do like kids.

  • Stacie Brown

    You will understand when you have children of your own. *Laughs evilly*

  • Rebecca Raymond

    Am I the only one who loves children? Now I feel like a pedophile for saying that. But in all honesty I plan on working with kids then having kids.

    • hmm...

      first work with kids and then decide if you love them …..cute from afar…evil up close

  • Guest

    Anyone else notice the vaguely inappropriate placement of the sponsor a child advertisement?

  • Richa Kashelkar

    Oh Brad oh Brad! What wise words these. They are evil a lot of times. I can feel it. *Creepy*

  • isa

    Honestly, after taking care of my husband’s nephew for a week, I am done with children, I hate the lil brat, but it is my husband I hate the most for praising the little beast for eating all of his soup…how stupid is that? Perhaps, love makes us blind, but I do have children of my own, and they were never that annoying at four.

  • Con

    the kid I was babysitting this week shot a bluebird with a BB gun, broke its wing, then shot it again to kill it. He then proceeded to tell me that this was “hilarious”.
    Tiny sociopath. Yes.

  • mllemc

    If anything you sounded like a spoiled child and a brat. Not all children are tiny sociopaths. It’s the way you raise them that makes them like that.

  • nicole

    This is the dumbest article I have ever read. Just because you were a dummy as a kid doesn’t mean every kid is or will be, until you have met every kid on the planet I suggest keeping your dumb ass comment to yourself.

  • JO

    I think the point here is yes, some children are awful, but did anyone else notice the theme? Bad kids, babysitters/au pair/daycare… it tends to be the result of absent parents. Sure, you leave an impressionable child to be raised by someone else who’s not really that invested, with pop culture as their moral reference, you’re going to have the child from hell. So maybe take away from this that if you are not willing to be responsible for your child’s education in life matters, do the smart thing, admit it (like Brad) and DON’T have any!!

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