Kids Behaving Badly

Is asking someone how their kids behave in public an offensive thing to ask? It probably is since it’s something I kind of asked in an email. I think it’s usually a given that anything that comes out of my mouth has a 50% chance of annoying someone.

It seems to me fair to ask someone if their kids behave well in public but maybe I’m skewed because of my personal situation. I don’t mean does your kid say please, thank you and sit quietly never saying a word. I mean does your kid scream and run around and raise holy hell to the point we can’t have a conversation? I think that is fair to ask someone.

I figure if you came to my house with your kids you might ask how my cats behave. Will they scratch, bite or eat your child? My answer would be to avoid the pretty striped one but the black and white one is a walking teddy bear.

I don’t think it’s fair to say “you don’t understand, you don’t have kids” because obviously I don’t understand and I don’t understand on purpose. I don’t really want to know what it’s like, not from experience at least. It’s not that I don’t want to meet your kids or that I’ll storm out if they get cranky, I just want to know what I’m up against.

Am I out of line? Is it just a sensitive subject?


  1. B

    August 4, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Anytime you bring up someone’s kids, they’re going to get all bent out of shape. It’s how most people are programmed!

    1. Robin

      August 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

      @B, I just hate walking on eggshells. I didn’t even mean it in the way she took it. I’m finding it harder and harder to be friends with my friends who have kids.

  2. metalmom

    August 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I come right out and ask. I also have kids. When my kids were little, I wouldn’t want your animal’s *i mean kids* behavior to influence my own kids. Plus, if you are a boor who allows the kids to behave like little shits, then you shouldn’t have them out in public at all!

    *It reminds me of Glen and Dot’s kids in ‘Raising Arizona’ “Mind you don’t cut yourself, Mordecai. “

    1. Robin

      August 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      @metalmom was that a little dig at my furkids? You dirty ho.

      ps. i don’t have the balls to say anything about anyone’s parenting in the middle of the parenting.

  3. Avitable

    August 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    When you ask me about my kids, you’re talking about my testicles, aren’t you? Don’t worry, they won’t bite.

    1. Robin

      August 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      I’m still scared though…

  4. Woodpecker

    August 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I wouldn’t consider it rude to ask, as long as it’s honest inquiry. I will admit to getting bent out of shape when people offer unsolicited advice about said behavior (particularly in the midst of trying to control the holy hell!).

    1. Robin

      August 5, 2009 at 7:56 am

      It wasn’t advice or a suggestion, I was just curious if they have trouble being in public for a long period of time. I’d hate to travel all the way to meet with her and have the kids take over the entire day. I feel bad, I’d go anyway though.

  5. Maureen

    August 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I think that ‘offense’ is in the eye of the beholder. And, of course, there’s context, too, that can play into how any interaction with another person is perceived by that person. Not only the context around what is said by the ‘sayer’, but the context around how it is perceived in the scope of the receiving person’s life and experience.

    You may not be offended if someone asked if your cats behaved well, but maybe you would be if the question was asked after the asker had gone into a diatribe about how she couldn’t stand people who let their cats misbehave & used examples of behaviors that you, personally, didn’t really think were bad behavior for a cat to begin with. Or, even if the asker asked innocently or all in fun, but the person asked had just recently heard someone else going on about the same kind of thing.

    Kind of like the ‘So, do you have any kids?’ question & how it can easily be interpreted by some as an attack, right?


    My kids, though, are perfect angels, so I would be delighted to be asked how they behave in public, so that I could brag about them & about my parenting skillz.

    Don’t ask me about my cats, though :p

    1. Robin

      August 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

      It wasn’t meant that way though, there was nothing else to it, I’m sure I just hit a nerve. I just figure, not that I know much about it, that not all kids can handle being in public yet. They are both very young.

      1. Maureen

        August 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm

        And, of course, letting your kids misbehave in public, be rude, bother other people, cause a scene, have tantrums – all of this is not polite, not good manners. So, a polite, well-mannered, considerate parent would not bring their kids out if they couldn’t behave properly -or- would have a contingency plan to deal with it (by leaving or distracting their kids), if they start to act up.

        So, basically, for some people, asking ‘Are your kids going to behave well in public?’ is like asking *them* ‘Do you plan to be polite while we’re out or will you be an ill-behaved embarrassment?’ Or like asking them “Do you think your husband’s going to get drunk & hit on the waitress again?”

        1. Robin

          August 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm

          to be fair, i’m usually the one getting drunk and hitting on the waitress 😉

  6. Tug

    August 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    IMHO, the ones that take offense have the brattiest kids. Ask me about my grandkids & I’ll flat out tell you it depends on the situation – they can be angels or little shits, but I don’t let them get away with it – they are reprimanded, and I don’t care where we are. 😉

    1. Tug

      August 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

      Wait. I don’t reprimand when they’re angels.

      Just to clarify.


      1. Robin

        August 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm

        You reprimand me when I’m an angel, but then I always am :angel:

  7. whall

    August 5, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Some might get offended if you ask; others might get offended if you don’t say something. Be yourself and let their offenses fall where they may.

  8. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    August 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Did you know that your blog hates me? It does. Really. Because for, oh, a month or so, I’ve been trying to access it and I always always got some skewed error message from your server basically saying “Bite me bitch, you can’t hang here.” But, ya know, it said it in computer geeky speak.


    I totally want to know how someone’s kids behave when out in public if we are going somewhere. I understand that sometimes kids are having a bad day or something happens and there is a total fucking meltdown because kids are kids and shit happens. But I want to know if it’s something that happens often.

    I have kids – and they are expected to behave in public. I don’t think tantrums are cute, they are embarrassing, even if they aren’t something that can’t always be avoided.

    If I go somewhere with someone and their kid acts like a total brat all day, running around all over the place, pitching fits and we spend more time at, say, the zoo, chasing them down and yelling than we do actually looking at the animals and having fun, I won’t go places with them with their kids in tow.

    No offense against them but if I actually have the opportunity for an outing, I don’t want to be super stressed because you can’t get a handle on your kid(s). Maybe that’s shitty of me but oh frickin’ well.

    1. Robin

      August 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

      I’m sorry, she can be difficult just like her maker. I know that when my husband starts having one of his tantrums I tell him we’re going home now because i wont’ stand for it. I also tell him he won’t be having any dessert!

  9. thepsychobabble

    August 6, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t know as I would be offended. I might roll my eyes a little, because honestly? It depends on the day. Sometimes they are incredibly good, sometimes they are little hellions and only solution is to lock them back in the car and drive home.

    Mostly they are somewhere in the middle.

    But if some asked how the kids behaved, and what should they expect if they had us over, I would probably be at somewhat of a loss to answer them.

    All that was a really long way to say, no, I wouldn’t be offended.

    1. Robin

      August 7, 2009 at 7:53 am

      I wasn’t really wondering if they were well behaved, I mean I realize no kids are ever ALWAYS well behaved. Hell, me the angel child had my moments, once I threw a fit in Spain because there was no ketchup (i just learned this one when i was saying to my mom what an angel i was).

      I was just wondering if they could handle being out in public, not just in general but for the day, maybe I wasn’t specific enough. Some kinds I think are just too young to be out all day long but then, what do I know?

      Thanks for bringing in your opinion.

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