Things You Should Never Say to People With Kids
Being a parent is a lifelong job that is tough by nature. But friends or relatives can make the job even more difficult.
If you don't want to be known as a jerk — that annoying and insensitive person people who have kids complain about — listen up. There are some phrases to avoid in order to support your loved ones in their roles as parents.
No matter how good your intentions are doesn't actually matter. These are the things you should never say to people with kids.
Brag About How Much Sleep You Got
Most parents, especially new parents, are sleep deprived for years.
Unless they explicitly inquire after your quality of sleep or want to vicariously feel rested through you, don't brag about the one thing they want the most but can't have.
Or Complain About Your Lack of Sleep
Sure, you may be tired, but chances are you're not as tired as new parents who have been getting up every couple of hours to feed their baby.
Even parents with older children tend to be extremely tired, since they spend most of their day making sure a tiny human is kept alive and well.
Unless you want to piss off sleep-deprived people, avoid saying this.
Or Humble-Brag by Complaining About Sleep
Hiding a brag within a complaint is even more irritating than just bragging or just complaining.
If you're tired because you spent all night partying, do your acquaintances with kids a favor and just keep it to yourself.
If you absolutely must brag about it, that's what social media exists for.
Judge Their Parenting Choices
Screen time is a highly controversial topic and every parent approaches it their own way.
Sure, if someone in your family has their baby watching YouTube videos for 10 hours your concern could be justified, but criticizing parents for needing a break or for not thinking a controlled amount of screen time is bad helps no one.
Say You Feel Sorry For Their Kids
On the flip side, if someone makes the choice to be strict about screen time, respect that. It's their kids, and this is what they have deemed best for them, so your opinion on it is not welcome.
This applies to many things. Unless you have a reason for actual concern in terms of neglect or abuse, don't criticize parents for giving their kids healthy food, avoiding screen time or preventing older children from watching violent shows.
If you didn't help make them, you don't have a say in how they're raised.
Romanticize Your Times
Older people have a tendency of romanticizing their past. They will constantly tell you about how things were when they were raising their children — the world was completely safe, they let them do whatever they wanted and nothing bad ever happened.
Clearly this isn't true, so if you have a penchant for thinking this is how things were back in your golden days, we urge you to reconsider. If you absolutely have to express that opinion, talk about it with parents your age or write it in your diary.
But younger people are not falling for it.
Do a Throwback to Days of Yore
Giving advice that comes from your lived experience is very valuable to other parents. When they ask for it.
But if it's completely unsolicited and you're not close to the person, or if you're advice comes from raising kids 50 years ago in a completely different world, you should think twice about sharing it.
Go Into Hypotheticals
And if you were an astronaut, you could find a world full of unicorns.
No one is interested in what you would do if you were a hypothetical parent and no one needs your judgmental opinion.
Complain About Back Problems
Unless you have severe back problems that your friends with children — especially babies — are asking about, stay away from this.
Yes, we believe your back hurts and your cat is heavy, but it doesn't ask you to rock it to sleep four times in the middle of the night.
If you value your relationships, avoid this completely with people who are breastfeeding.
Compare Raising Children to Having Pets
Pets are a lot of work and some people love their pets like children. That's fine and beautiful. However, humans have one of the shortest gestation periods of all mammals, and human babies are decidedly less developed and more helpless than other infant animals.
This means that human babies tend to be a lot more work than other animals, even high-maintenance ones like dogs. Just don't even try to pull this off.
Ask Rude Questions
Pumping is not usually a pleasant task, so if someone's doing it, it's for a reason.
What is even the point of asking this? If the person does feel like this, why would you want to point it out and make them feel worse? And if they don't, why put the image in their head?
People who say things like this often claim innocence, but we have a hard time believing that this isn't purposefully rude.
Point Out Unpleasant Tasks
No one is excited about changing poopy diapers and running the risk of getting bodily fluids on them. But most parents are also fine with doing it since they understand it's what their baby needs and is temporary.
Again, what is even the point of a question like this? There is none. So if you have this thought, do everyone a favor and don't share it.
It's amazing the number of untrained people who want to diagnose other people's kids, even when it means going against the opinion of actual medical professionals.
Unless you are someone's family doctor and have done proper tests, you're not fit to tell people that their kid doesn't have asthma or that their allergies are imaginary.
If you suspect there is a medical problem that has not been diagnosed, approach the subject with delicacy and when it's a close relative.
Tell Them It'll Only Get Worse
Every parent already dreads to an extent the terrible twos and teenage years.
These are moments of important developmental milestones that have kids test boundaries, push back against authority and struggle to build identity. And while they're important and natural, they present difficult challenges to parents.
Parents already know these years are coming so you don't need to come and play Nostradamus foretelling the future.
Make Condescending Remarks to Stay-at-Home Parents
Don't be condescending to stay-at-home parents by implying that they are lazy and do nothing all day.
Taking care of children is an actual full-time, 24/7 job.
Try to Tell Them What Their Role Should Be
Some people don't want to be a stay-at-home parent and are excited to go back to work as soon as they can.
For some reason, some people don't approve of this. They are also usually the kind of person who thinks others need their approval.
Women especially face this pressure to stay home to be a "good mother."
Shame Them for Staying Home
Some parents are willing and able to dedicate time solely to taking care of their children.
If this is what a person and their partner want to do, it is completely valid and absolutely no one else's business.
Make Them Feel Bad for Not Breastfeeding
The choice of whether to breastfeed or not rests solely on the person who is breastfeeding. Many people choose not to do so for a variety of reasons, while others want to breastfeed and can't.
Making someone feel bad or like they are inadequate because they can't breastfeed is just plain wrong.
Talk About Your Weight
A pregnant person of average weight gains 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and many people aren't able to lose that gain after giving birth.
Women often feel pressure to "gain their body back" after labor. Highlighting your weight may inadvertently make someone who just made a baby feel bad about not matching unrealistic beauty standards.
Rub Your Weight Loss in Their Face
If you were able to quickly go back to your pre-pregnancy weight, you may want to consider not shouting it out in front of other parents.
Of course, you should celebrate achievements, but be conscious of how they may make other people feel about themselves.
Say You Handled Parenthood Better
Whether it's the truth or another case of romanticizing the past, older parents often tell younger parents that they are exaggerating how tough parenting is nowadays.
Resist your urge to go into an anecdote about how when you had kids you still had the energy to run a marathon every morning, hunt for your children's dinner, prepare breakfast with the vegetables you grew yourself, work three full-time jobs and keep a spotless house.
Put Social Pressure on Them
First, people pester newlyweds with questions on when they're going to have children. (Word of advice: Don't do this.). Then, when they have kids, people continue to pester them with questions on when they're going to have the next child.
This is a bad idea for many reasons. You don't know if people are trying to conceive and have been struggling with it, or if they conceived and suffered a miscarriage. Assuming that people are not already trying sets you up for potentially hurting people who may be going through something difficult.
Even if that's not the case, we'll repeat something important: It's none of your business. People will have children if and when they want and can. Let them announce it.
Point Out Their Failings
Parents are constantly juggling several balls and it's impossible to not drop some of them. Often, this is the house, which is not as spotless as most people wish it were.
If you notice this, rather than point it out and make parents feel like failures, offer to help out.
Or Their Flaws
This is especially pertinent to new parents, who are sleep deprived, recovering from labor and probably skipping some showers.
If you notice your friend or relative has started to reek or looks like a zombie, don't point it out. Just take the baby and tell them to take a break by showering or sleeping.
Become the Punisher
What is a bad baby, anyway? Can someone who has not yet even developed self-awareness even be bad?
Most people think a "good" baby is a baby that sleeps well and doesn't cry often. While this certainly is an easier baby to care for, it is by no means a qualifier of the baby's personality.
Babies who cry or have trouble sleeping are often dealing with colic or other issues. Trust us, they want to sleep too.
Throw Time Lost in Their Face
Whenever people decide to have a baby, they consciously choose to give up time and money for the joy of being parents.
Assume that parents are aware that they won't get to do many things they did before and that rubbing it in their face is just plain mean and unnecessary.
Tell Them They're Boring/Old
Again, parents are tired. New parents will take whatever sleep they can get and parents with older children still have to wake up early to get their kids ready for school before spending the day doing chores and working.
Instead of making fun of them for wanting to stay in or go to bed early, be a friend and offer to help them from time to time.
Insult Their Partner's Looks
Don't point out that you think someone's partner is unattractive by complimenting a baby for not looking like them.
Whether you find someone else's partner attractive is irrelevant to absolutely everyone and, if we're honest, it's weird to use a baby to make someone else feel bad.
If you find yourself doing this, it may be time to do some introspection in therapy.
Make Jokes in Poor Taste
What possesses someone to be this blatantly rude? We don't know.
What we do know is that implying infidelity and rubbing it in someone's face that their child inherited little from them is not clever, not creative and not funny.
This joke has been made for decades. It's time to retire it.
Give Passive-Aggressive Remarks on Their Looks
We all have flaws, and no one is more aware of them than us.
Pointing out someone's physical attributes that you deem undesirable by complimenting their kid for not having them belongs in a catty teenage CW drama.
Not in a real-life conversation between grown adults.