Have you ever been walking around the playground or waiting outside your child’s school when seemingly out of the blue, a parent has asked you a question that was offensive? Maybe you didn’t immediately know how to respond because you were so taken back by their comment. Perhaps you let them have it because it was just that rude.
It might have been about why you are doing or not doing a certain parenting technique with your child or why you are for or against a certain position, movement, or theory. Maybe it got personal.
There are a lot of them going around these days. While the reasons behind them may change, a rude question generally occurs when someone is stepping out of his or her boundaries and into your business.
Here are some that top the list:
1. Are you done having children?
The implication here, especially when asked of mom of large families, is that you should be. To some, if you have more than two kids, you are either adding to the earth’s overpopulation or robbing your kids of precious financial and emotional resources.
2. When is the baby due?
I have a friend who was asked this question a few days after she gave birth! Yes, she still had a tummy but the baby was no longer in it.
3. Why aren’t you breastfeeding?
Some women try really hard to breastfeed but due to physical circumstances just can’t. Some breastfeed for a while and then give it up. Why is it any of your business how another child is being nourished other than your own?
4. Why are you still breastfeeding?
The breastfeeding bond between a mother and child is very individual and there is no set timetable for stopping it completely. Sometimes moms do still breastfeed their toddlers, some don’t. It’s simple as that.
5. Why doesn’t child X look like you or your husband (particularly when within earshot of the child)?
Short answer- because he is the product of an illegitimate and elicit affair. Seriously, if this is the situation (and in some cases, it may be) do you really want to hear the answer? Newsflash: not all kids look alike, even siblings. Also, think before you speak, it’s possible the child was adopted and not only have you offended the parent but you’ve also quite possibly put some doubt or insecurity in the mind of a small child.
6. Is there something wrong with Johnny?
Just because a child is more spirited or rambunctious or louder than yours doesn’t mean that he has a problem. Furthermore if he does have a problem, it’s not anyone’s duty to share with you unless they chose to do so.
7. Don’t you want another?
Some people believe that only children are unhappy, lonely or spoiled. Nothing could be further from the truth. And you just never know when a couple is going through second infertility, which makes this question not only disrespectful but possibly painful.
8. Is he your real’ child?
No, he’s made of wood but with enough effort on my part, he might eventually morph into a real boy. It’s just about the rudest way to inquire about if your child was adopted and again, none of your business!
9. What is she?
This question often gets asked to moms of multi-ethnic children. What is he or she sounds like something other than human. She’s a child with real flesh and blood and possibly different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
10. Can you not bring your child to my party, dinner, shopping trip, etc.….
I understand that some people may not want children at adult only events, but if you just don’t want to be inconvenienced by kids and I don’t have a babysitter, my answer is well, no. You have every right to not like children or the mess and noise they make, just as I can justify not spending my time and money to attend your function without them.
What is the rudest parenting question you’ve ever been asked? Who asked it? How did you respond?
Parenting Etiquette: 10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents