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Having Pets Instead of Children Should Be Considered A Psychiatric Disorder

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TheCanadaBreach_2 has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 768 times Debate No: 102695
Debate Rounds (3)
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I came across a lovely article by our favorite conservative blogger suggesting the most productive thing in the world: that having pets instead of children should be considered a psychiatric disorder. The claim is interesting and I'd love to debate it.

First round is for acceptance only!


I accept your challenge!!!
Debate Round No. 1


Fabulous. This should be a fun debate!

1- Our favorite author begins by likening a cat or dog that has lost their litter and projects this loss onto a nonliving object to a human who does not want children. This is false equivalence, not only is the human brain significantly more complex than a dog/cat brain, but also a human who does not want children did not experience such a loss.

2- The author disdainfully recounts tails (pardon the pun) of millenials referring to their fur babies as their children, their girls/boys/babies/xyz affectionate term as if it were disgusting to refer to anyone but children as such. The claim is ridiculous, seeing as in virtually any setting thhat involves mixed ages, I've called, been called, or have otherwise overheard people refer to another person who is less than three months younger than them their "daughter." Old guy friends have called me "mom," my band of seventh graders in eigth grade were all my children, and we even had elaborate family trees.

This is completely normal. Taking on positions and names like these indicates that one person is guiding, teaching, and taking care of another. Likewise, it's completely normal for you to refer to an animal you potentially raised from infancy as your baby. Of course they were your baby, you might have bottle fed them, you cuddled them, you fed them, you loved them. I refer to my clumsy older cat as "my son" because everyone can acknowledge that I am not capable of birthing a cat, but I loved him and raised him (...and also referenced Hamilton).

The author then refers to a Christian musician, most likely the authority on psychology as well, who was eavesdropping on a FaceTime conversation with two pet parents and their dog. This is a bit overboard in my opinion, but I would probably enjoy seeing my pets if I were on an extended vacation. I did raise them.

Morris closes the section with with "How much embarrassment must it bring those “grandparents” to participate in such a call? How badly must they want real grandchildren, instead of pet-sitting an attention-smothered dog? How much grief must they feel watching their child waste her parental instincts on an animal while they’re forced to play along in the couple’s sick and disturbing charade?"

This is a little much. Most baby boomers will tell you upfront if they don't want to participate in something they find embarrassing. If they were petsitting, it was no feathers from their wings if the pet parents wanted to FaceTime. It's not a complex thing to do. The author also wonders woefully for the grandparents themselves, wondering what kind of selfish grief they're experiencing. Why is this at all relevant? Isn't it incredibly selfish to grieve over something someone doesn't want to give you?

For the record, they're not participating in the charade. Everyone seems to know that people don't actually think their pets are their literal children aside from the author.

3- Morris brings up some rather odd toys to use with your pet. One included is a rubber tongue to help you groom your cat. Again, I agree that this is a little much, but this does not represent most pet parents. About a third of Americans have cats, but I have yet to see a rubber tongue in any household [1].

He then alleges that pets are "practice babies" and millenials will, seeing the "nightmare" pets can be, go on to never have kids. This claim lacks a source, and considering untrained animals behave in such a manner and Gen-Xers have proven not to be the best parents, I can see how the millenials' logic follows. To which my reply is: oh.. no?

4- This brings me to my next point. He condescendingly says that millenials, compared to baby boomers, have significantly less cars or houses or jobs (please examine the economy), but we do overshadow the baby boomers in one subject: pets.

Again: oh.. no?

He then attempts to attack the point that many childless pet parents make: how expensive a child is. According to babycenter, raising a child from birth to 18 plus college is around $320,000 [2]. He insists that it's worth it, though I think you should have to make a certain wage to even think about having a child.

"But perhaps because many of them were pampered, millennials have come away with the distinct impression that raising children is a vocation reserved for those with Batman’s bank account. It’s not." Perhaps this figure is a little exponential, but shouldn't the ability to raise children be dependent on your ability to provide for yourself? Shouldn't you make enough to allow your child to be comfortable and not be weighed down by the stressors of financials?

5- The author snubs those who rescue animals as if they are at the height of self indulgence by doing so. Really? Saving an animal from a certain death in a kill shelter isn't a rescue? Agreeing to take care of an animal for the rest of its life isn't a rescue? Saying that you hereby will take care of its satiety, hydration, health, entertainment, and comfort isn't rescuing? Alright, what is, then?

6- Not referring to the article this time, this brings me to my final point. I'll bring out my handy dandy Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders and try to find a place for this supposed psychiatric disorder. A man who has decided that something should be a mental disorder should haave some psychological experience, so this should be easy, right?

The table of contents is a little long, so let's just skim through. Neurodevelopmental? No, this refers to intelligence disorders and autism. Schizophrenia spectrum? No. Bipolar? No. Depressive? No. Anxiety? No. Obsessive-Compulsive? No. Trauma/Stressor? No. Dissociative? No. Somatic Symptom? No. Feeding/Eating? No. Elimination? No. Sleep-Wake? No. Sexual? No. Gender Dysphoria? No. Disruptive, Impulse Control, Conduct? No. Substance-Related? No. Neurocognitive? (Delirium, Amnesia, etc). No. Personality? Probably not. Paraphilic? Definitely not.

Okay, so it doesn't fit into any normal category.

But it's still psychiatric, right? That falls in the medical side of psychology, so we treat it with medications.

Like... what.

Antidepressants aren't going to help. Antipsychotics won't help.

There is no way this can be a psychiatric disorder. There is no logical place for it, and there is no logical treatment for it.



Interesting points, Grandma Complex. Here are my thoughts on the matter. (I apologise in advance if they seem a little simple as I can see you are well educated on this topic and I still need to figure out the finer arts of debating! Anyway, here goes!!!)

1 - The process of evolution is now a matter considered by most, if not all, biologists to be true. If this is in deed the case then having pets instead of children is a major flaw in our species. This is because if we go back 4-5 thousand years then we see the early homo sapiens struggling to survive in a strange world. Any species' goal is in fact to reproduce and even though this has become less of a main goal for humans over the past century or so, it should still remain as an instinct in our DNA. If an early human had decided to not have children and by connection, not extend their bloodline then it would have been devastating for the gene pool further along the line.

2 - In this point I would like to acknowledge one of your points, specifically point 2 of your argument. You said yourself that you consider yourself to have 'raised' your pets. Seeing a pet as this could be considered a personification of them. Your line of ' I refer to my clumsy older cat as "my son" ' is another example of this personification. You refer to the author of the article calling upon the grandparents who must feel in deep grief over the situation. Maybe Morris' point is a bit strong for realism but it does bring another thought to mind. It is a fact that most pet owners grieve the loss of their pet as though it is their child. You say you have raised this pet but what about the little things real parents. How do you think the mother of the pet feels when their precious baby is taken away from them.

3 - You also talk about how this cannot be a psychiatric disorder because there can be no logical cure. But many disorders don't have a cure, one of the main ones being 'Autism.' So I ask you to stop and think about the actual deep meaning of a psychiatric disorder. Beyond the medical aspects of it and into the actual science behind science itself.

I end on this. Many pet owners believe what they are doing is good. But maybe sometimes they can be blinded by their own judgement. And maybe this judgement is clouded a little by something primitive inside their minds.
Debate Round No. 2


Don't worry Pro, I've only been here for about a week. We're learning together <3

1- Pro brings up the interesting point that an organism's biological imperative is to reproduce. This helps further the species, right? I'll concede the point that if early humans didn't reproduce, we wouldn't be here. However, I think part of our evolution as a species is becoming self aware. The complexities of our brains allow us to realize that the world is quickly changing. It is becoming overpopulated, warmed by artificial means, and deprived of natural resources.

Maybe our biological imperitive is being rerouted. We are aware that there are many, many humans in this world, and at the moment, there really is no reason to reproduce. Instead, to help further our species, we should put effort into preserving the world and taking care of who is alive now, rather than further the problem by adding more people to the mix.

And as a side note, maybe it is our reproductive subconscious speaking when we don't feel the need to have kids. I carry with me alcoholism, depression, anger, and a history of dying rather quickly on my father's side. On my mother's side there is depression, anxiety, but longevity. This is a rather weak example against someone who has Huntington's running in their family, but sometimes there is logic in cutting off a bloodline.

2- I can understand how it can seem like pet parents personify their pets. We coddle them, teach them, and are proud of them. But I also believe that there is an understanding that these are not true children, and we don't love them like we would a child. We love them like we would a beloved part of the family, but not as one would to an actual baby. We don't absolutely insist upon being able to take them everywhere, demand they should be treated as a class of people. We are aware that they are still animals.

In reference to the pet's true parents, I'm not sure if we can ever know what they feel. I do know that tragedy frequently strikes many mothers, as the mother of my other cat Hazel was caught in a bear trap before she could nuture her newborns. I'm sure the spirit of the true parents is grateful to those who take care of their babies.

3- Unfortunately, there can be no "cure" for a psychiatric disorder. There are medications, yes, but they are for management of the symptoms and don't entirely treat the cause. I certainly wish anxiety medication completely took away any implication of anxiety forever, but it unfortunately doesn't.

So in this point, I again have to ask. If there is a disease, what treatment is available for it? If we recognize something as a disease pattern, what can we do to remedy it?
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by grandma-complex 3 years ago
haha! no, I think since the mini semester is over, I'll be able to get things done on time
Posted by Nuevo 3 years ago
If I accept, would you forfeit like last time?
Posted by PowerPikachu21 3 years ago
Having pets and no children is fine. But having pets as children takes it another level. But I'm alright with it.
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