Some comments can drive parents crazy. See if you’re guilty of saying these 4 things you shouldn’t say about other people’s children.
As parents, we get a ton of comments from others, whether loved ones or strangers, about our kids. Sometimes we can laugh it off, while other times we need to address the issue. The rest just drive you crazy.
4 things you shouldn’t say about other people’s children
I list these comments knowing they weren’t said with malice but rather as observations. Still, see if you’ve heard these comments before that should probably be left unsaid.
#1: Pointing out how different a child’s skin color is.
One of my kids has darker skin than either of his brothers or parents. Because of that, I hear a lot of comments about his skin color.
No one is implying he doesn’t look cute because he’s dark, but why bring it up in the first place? I’m pretty sure he has no understanding of skin color or that he looks different from his brothers. But hearing how dark he is over and over throughout the years might make him feel like he doesn’t belong.
Skin color, height, hair color, all that stuff—if a child’s feature stands out, don’t focus on it. I don’t want my kids not hear how different they are, especially for something they can’t change.
#2: Calling a child chubby.
Maybe in the beginning, calling a baby chubby is acceptable. It’s cute, I get it.
But again, at a certain point, the fat talk has to stop. Don’t tease other people’s children about their weight. Or how carrying her is a serious arm workout. Or how she’s bigger than her siblings. A five-year-old girl will notice that everyone seems to point out how fat she is, even if said in jest or love.
#3: Calling a child lazy.
Yep, I’ve heard this one, and like all the others on this list, people said this with affection. One of my twins was boisterous and active as a baby and rolled over, crawled, and walked on target. Meanwhile, his twin brother liked to lie down… a lot. It took him a while to meet his milestones, and I heard comments about him being lazy.
Even with innocent intentions, calling a child lazy is just not a good message to send. First off, can a baby even be lazy? Babies develop at their own paces and learn in different ways. Not crawling as fast as his brother isn’t a matter of laziness. And imagine hearing you’re lazy—not exactly the trait you’d be proud of.
Maybe a better word would be ‘relaxed.’ He likes to relax and keep things subdued. But lazy? Far from it.
#4: Saying a child isn’t friendly or social.
We value extroverts, especially with kids. We love kids who will put on a show on demand. The ones who will greet every adult with a smile and an outstretched hand. The kids who will be the first to strike a conversation with others.
Meanwhile, “shy” kids get a bad rap. These kids cling onto their parents for dear life at social gatherings. They may even cry or want only mom or dad to carry them. They’re not comfortable with strangers, much less feel like smiling at them.
Kids need social skills, for sure. And when they’re not meeting social milestones, then something could be wrong.
But for most children, saying they’re not friendly or unsocial is just plain wrong. They have stranger anxiety and strong attachments to their parents, as they should.
They’re not antisocial at all, but rather wary of new situations. Given enough time and space, they’ll warm up to their environments. They’ll relax and feel at ease in social gatherings. But pointing out their shyness as if it’s a terrible trait isn’t going to get them there.
People say these comments in jest and even with affection and love. But over time, they send the wrong message. Kids can’t tell they’re different from others. Hearing these comments can create internal dialogue that may not be healthy. These statements also overlook normal and healthy child development and behavior.
And most of all, these kinds of comments can drive the kids’ parents crazy. How is a parent supposed to react to those kinds of comments, anyway?
So if you see a shy, chubby child who looks different and isn’t walking yet… hold your tongue. Neither she nor her parents need to hear anything.
Get more parenting tips:
Your turn: What comments have other people said about your kids that drove you crazy? Have you found yourself saying these four things? Let me know in the comments!
Get my free handout!
Get exclusive tips and an instant FREE download of the bonus chapter, 20 Actionable Items You Can Do!