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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nonmember avatar Amy

Wow, what a self-entitled point of view. You seem to forget that having a kid is a choice. Why do you think that the world should bow to your choices?

nonmember avatar Childless

I'm in my 40s and don't have or plan to have kids. In general, I don't mind kids and don't expect them to be perfectly behaved adults, sometimes they will scream and cry and I won't understand why. Not a problem.

That being said, when I see parents pushing a double stroller that takes up the entire sidewalk and it has a five and seven year old in it. They are old enough to walk.

As for weddings, they cost money. Even for your children. I think it is nice when children can be invited, but I understand why they sometimes cannot.

Also Facebook, I have no problem with pictures of smiling children, but I never need to see another picture of a crying kid who pooped their diaper or threw up or played with dog poop. They aren't cute. They aren't funny. They are gross.

Kate Cooley

For the most part, I was lucky when my son was small and I didn't get most of this as a reaction... except from a long-time childless friend. The second I announced that I was expecting, it was as if I'd ruined her life by actually living mine differently from her. From that point on, I had to listen to her garbage and it even drove us apart for a year. And I could have understood had I been one of those LOOKATMYWONDERFULBABY people who drive ME nuts. As a consequence, she's since curbed her vocal hate/jealousy/whatever when I'm around and my son's been in her presence precisely 3 times in his life because he doesn't need that crap either.

Nic Sheehy

Over here in New Zealand I've never experienced ANY of those things.  The closest I can think of was the old man in the library who got a bit snarky about children laughing at the story teller they had there during school holidays.  In his day the library was a place of silence, now it's a place to embrace literacy at all levels!

Oh and I have no problem with children being excluded from weddings.  Weddings are expensive, and surely those paying for the wedding have the right to choose who they invite, and that includes children as well as adults.

Other than that though, I'm pretty shocked that any of that stuff actually happens.  

Foley... Foleygirl24

i have noticed this as well, and i live in a suburb. everything seems to be very anti-child lately. one thing that happened to me was when we were eating in a family style diner without our 2 year old. Our son had not so much as even made a peep yet when the older couple next to us shot us a dirty look and asked to be moved away from our table to another section across the restaurant. Meanwhile, our son was having a really good day, and didnt' even make any noise above normal conversation level throughout the entire meal! and throughout our whole meal, the couple kept glancing our way and giving us dirty looks. I mean, come on, its not like we were at a 5 star restaurant, it was a DINER, and he wasn't even being disruptive for chrissakes!

Jalestra Jalestra

I live in Sugar Land, too. To be honest, since we moved here 2 years ago it isn't a bastion of selfish jerks. But before that, oh jeez the way some people act. I don't take my kids certain places that I don't think children belong (romantic restaurants, bars) and if I were I'd expect some eye rolling, but don't roll your eyes at my kids in Target. 

Some places are just better about kids and SL is very family oriented, so I wouldn't use it as an example of all places. Sure is a nice change though. 

Lisa P Rakic

I went to an adults only wedding and noticed most of the groom's and bride's friends weren't there.  Mostly much older family members attended.  I quickly concluded that since the two were in their late 30's, all their friends had kids, lived out of town and couldn't come.  The wedding took place in a college town where the groom decided to put down roots, but others moved away after graduating.  The couple's motivation may have been driven by cost and/or size, but I think ultimately they screwed themselves out of a good time. 

Ciara89 Ciara89

I haven't ever experienced any of these but my son is 2 and has never acted up in public. I got a lot of rudeness while I was pregnant tho. I worked full time at my local Kohl's the whole time I was pregnant in the infant-toddler clothing area. I was 19 and we didn't get married til last summer. By the time Iwas 8-9 months pregnant I couldn't bend over for long enough to fold clothes on the bottom shelves of certain racks, and I wasn't about to leave them messy so I lowered my huge, swollen pregnant self onto the floor so I could finish folding and straitening and a customer, some old guy, came up to me and yelled at me for sitting down and told me he was "so tired of all these lazy little sluts these days" and stormed out. and countless times i would be walkingtowards a door and (almost always a man 30+) someone would rush to get in front of me and then close the door on me, and on black Friday I was working and 3 people elbowed me in the stomach trying to get to the kitchen gadgets. really?! its true that common courtesy is dead

nonmember avatar Kerri

I live in Washington D.C. and I've actually had a man slam the door right in my face while I was holding my son and I've seen a man complain because my son sang the ABC song twice in an isle at Target.
I confronted the man at Target. I said "It was better than screaming, so get over it. "
People here can be a bit uptight.

nonmember avatar Elle

I get what you're saying, I do. But I don't appreciate being labeled a "Bridezilla" for wanting an adults-only reception. You got to have the wedding you wanted, why can't I just because you got there first? Also, are you really bitching about a seat on the subway? I give up my seat to the elderly, disabled, and pregnant women. After that, if I'm lucky enough to get a seat on the subway, I'm taking it. Sorry, but your kids should learn to stand like the capable non-entitled people I hope (but I suspect you're not) raising them to be.

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