The 7 People Who Hate Your Kids


In a new book called Childism: Confronting Our Prejudice Against Children, late psychoanalyst and scholar Elisabeth Young-Bruehl discusses what she calls "childism," something she defines as the general way our culture views children as inferior beings and thus sets them up for a lifetime of inferiority complexes. The book looks fascinating and while reviews suggest I might not agree with her overall premise (she believes every time a teacher assigns too much homework, they are being "childist"), I do agree with the idea that our culture is childist.

We talk a big game about being family-friendly and that we appreciate "family values," but when it comes down to it, people seem to hate children and the mamas who produce them.

Maybe it's because we live in a culture that celebrates the individual over the community, but there is often the strong sense that "your kid and your breeding habits are not my problem." And sure, I agree. If we take out the fact that MY KIDS WILL BE WIPING YOUR GERIATRIC BEHIND good sir who just slammed the door in my face at the grocery store. But I digress. Here are a few examples of child-hating I have seen just in recent months:

  • The Stroller Eye-Roller: What is it about double strollers? People just sneer at them when they see us coming down the sidewalk. I get it, they are big. I know this especially because I am usually the one pushing it. But come on, do you really have to mumble under your breath about my SUV sized stroller and my selfishness? My children are loud, but not that loud. I CAN HEAR YOU.
  • The Disturbed Citizen: My kids are generally well-behaved in public, but we sometimes stay out too long past nap time or we try to run too many errands in a single day and the result is meltdown city. I am fine with this. I get my kids out of the cart and leave as quickly as possible. But I can't count the number of times I have been on my way out the door and someone has made a snide remark about "breeders and their screaming brats" or some other nonsense. Hey you! Over there with the cellphone saying my kids are loud! Yeah, you! Guess what?! Your "conversation" is far more rude and disruptive than my kids are any day. Take that!
  • The "Adults Only" Bridezilla: I am a complete hypocrite here because I had an adults only wedding. In my defense, I was 25. I didn't know any better. Also, I don't like having my kids at weddings, so even if you do me the courtesy of welcoming my children, I will almost invariably leave them with a sitter. After all, mama can't get her drink on and dance the Mambo with kids in tow; however, for an out of town wedding where I don't have any local sitter, I may have no choice. Unless you provide a sitter, "adults only" weddings are pretty childist.
  • The Childless Facebook Friend: What is WRONG with the people who constantly say they hate kid photos on Facebook? If you don't like to see children smiling and adorable on the book that has a face, maybe YOU are the one with the problem. Don't click if you don't like it. Jeesh.
  • The Starbucks Door Slammer: Generally, I believe in the art of holding doors. If I see an elderly woman, I hold the door. If I see a man who has too many bags, I hold the door. If I see a PERSON who needs HELP, I hold the door. But some people seem to love to slam doors on parents just on principle. A friend told me she was once jammed in a door with her double stroller, weighed down with groceries, and a man jumped over her stroller to get out the door. It's just bad manners, people.
  • The Subway Riding Hipster: This is a controversial one since some people believe they're entitled to the seat if they get there first. And I agree. But I also believe MORE that we are a community of people and we should love our neighbor and help them while they're in need. This translates to: Stand up, please, you oblivious hipster wearing suspenders and a bolo hat. Your able body can take these jerks and stops better than a mom's nine-month belly can if she falls.
  • Old Ladies in Public: A friend told me that recently she was in the CHILD'S section of a concert when a couple of older women came up to her daughter and told her to be quiet. "I am trying to listen," the woman said. Mind you, she was in the kids' section, not the other way around. Maybe there should have been a "killjoy old lady" section, too?

What ways have you experienced child hate?




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Melis... Melissa042807

I love kids, and I had a mostly child-free wedding. Only children of immediate family or wedding party (for whom we had a sitter in the church's nursery during the ceremony, because we were videotaping and I didn't want to chance any screaming baby drowning out our vows), otherwise no children over 16. I passed it off as a reception venue seating issue and nobody seemed to have an issue with it, but the truth? There were certain kids of guests that I knew would be disruptive at the wedding and reception, because I had seen it at other events, and I didn't want to worry about that. So, I eliminated the issue. My wedding. My checkbook. My decision. Doesn't mean I'm "childist". 

ms_mo... ms_morgan

Where do you live at?!?  Maybe it's a big city thing...but I'm from Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston, and I have never seen anything like most of these.  Yes, I have seen people look in shock at a screaming kid, but never make a comment like that.  Maybe I just haven't lived on the other side of motherhood yet, and I will run across these things....but hopefully manners hold out down here in the South and if I'm stuck in door someone will help!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I don't mind double strollers or even single strollers when they are necessary but people take things too far. Take that picture for example, two kids who are far too big to be in a stroller and should be walking. Then there are the people who have one kid and use a double stroller so they can put their bag on the other seat. The worst offenders are the ones with jogging-style strollers at the mall. There are stores there that are difficult to navigate with an umbrella stroller yet you see people there with massive rigs. I had a jogging-style stroller when my son was little but it was for outdoors. The only time it went inside was when we hit the grocery store because I'd walk there then shop in to my basket and it has about the same footprint as a carriage anyway. When we hit the mall we would take the umbrella stroller.

As for weddings, I think that a child free wedding is silly. A wedding is a time to celebrate a new family beginning and two clans being joined. Children should not be excluded from that. I don't think people who exclude kids are necessarily child haters however. I think they're just more interested in having a perfect wedding than in celebrating their marriage.

mande... manderspanders

I think the problem is that parents want to shove their kids in everyone's faces.

I don't have kids yet (we are trying); and I adore them.  However, it irritates me to no end that seemingly everything in public is "for the kids." 

For example, if I want to do some exercise in the Therapy pool (this is a small, 4ft deep, heated pool that is helpful for those with joint/muscle issues, not a kiddie pool) at my gym, that I pay full price to attend - I can't go between the hours of 4:30p-7p unless I want to be bombarded by screaming, splashing, toddlers being "taught" to swim.  Primetime after work hours that I miss out on because they can't have these "swim lessons" 10ft away in the big pool where there is more room to accomodate all these kids, and is heated, but not as warm as the therapy pool. I can't go in the big pool because I have bursitis in my right hip and the cooler water causes me pain.  And to top it off, they don't have the lessons everyday, but refuse to post a schedule so the rest of us can plan around it. Although several of us have complained, the management doesn't care.

I don't think it is "childist" to want to have reasonable access to the pool at my gym.

Everything isn't and shouldn't be about kids.


nonmember avatar Ashley Kalish

I have to agree with Ms Morgan. I live in the suburbs outside Boston and with the exception of the child-free weddings I have experienced none of the above. People always open and hold doors, frequently people at our Starbucks offer us the chance to skip line for no other reason than being friendly, no eye rolling at strollers either. And in terms of "disturbed citizens" I've seen peole look at my daughter during a meltdown but they've yet to give a mean look or negative comment. They generally make eye contact with me and empathetically smile or say they remember those days.

Maybe what your describing is prevalent in your neighborhood or city but I don't think that it speaks for American culture as a whole.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Wow. I don't want to live where you do. Granted, I'm a "mom of 1", but I've never had - or witnessed - any of the problems that you enumerate.

But honestly, even if these people DO exist (and I'm not saying they don't), it doesn't mean they're "childist", any more than a person who is distracted and drops a door on a black person is "racist". Like it or not, we live in an incredibly self-centered society. Each one of us has come to expect that the entire world should conform to our own world-view. We expect that our crying little darlings should be accepted in every walk of society - from weddings to funerals - even if the hosts do not think it appropriate.

Like someone else said - their money, their wedding, their decision. Sometimes it's not about the kid.

zandh... zandhmom2

I don't remember ever feeling that there were "child haters" when my kids were younger (now 16 & 12) and I think mainly the people you are complaining about are probably single people without kids. The only time I get annoyed with little kids is when they act horrible in a public setting and the parents just seem to ignore it.  I also don't have a problem with a wedding being adult only.  I think it's a great excuse to leave the kids with a sitter or better yet over night with a family member and enjoy a great date night with the hubby.

nonmember avatar Anon

I don't understand the wedding one. Why should the bride have to take care of your children and pay for a sitter? It's the bride and the groom's day, they are paying (or their family is) and they get to decide what they want to include. If it's too much of a burden to find your own sitter for an event you were invited to, then politely decline. It would be ideal for the couple to include activities for children, but it's not 'childist' for them to decide not to take care of potentially rowdy children on a day when they are celebrating their marriage.

paren... parentalrights1

People have the mindset now that people need to keep their kids out of everything to respect everyone else rather than the correct mindset of "Kids are part of society. They are people and they have every damn right to be out as everyone else and maybe we should learn to not be so damned sensitive to everything or just stay inside ourselves."

nonmember avatar Christie

We had this problem at a Friendly's resteraunt !!! We were there with DD (5) and DS (1-1/2) and DS saw the table behind us (who arrived and ordered after us BTW) get their food with his favorite FuhFries and started crying for some....we tried to give him crackers and gummies from the diaper bag but all he wanted was those dumb fries....the resteraunt was packed and most of the kids in there were yelling at the top of their lungs playing but because my son was crying upset and not being happy loud the server came over and asked us if we wanted to take him outside (in the cold)..... we took him outside and I was so embarassed...
Then the topper is he pulled the same thing a month later about at a Denny's and our server came right over with a bowl of goldfish for him and it stopped the crying immediatley and she said "I'm a mom....I know how it is"....she got a 100% tip for her tolerance and sweetness....
I have noticed less and less tolerance of children and I don't get it...those of us with kids cannot just leave them home to run errands and so forth....believe me we don't want them to be loud either but it's a fact of life

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