Top 5 Things You Shouldn’t say to Sensitive Parents

Researching parenting advice or talking about parenting is dangerous. There are many things that can cause a sensitive parent to go off. These are the top 5 things you shouldn’t say to sensitive parents.

I may be guilty of every one of these…

5. Mentioning Babies Bounce.

Having had two very wiggly and active children, I may have dropped them… a few times. Thankfully they were alright. Children are scary resilient to falls and damage in general. I have actually seen my daughter get hit by a teen on a swing and keep going without hesitating.

Not all parents appreciate the grey humour about babies bouncing and they will take it personally.

4. Calling a Teether a Chew Toy.

For some reason, parents don’t like having their children compared to pets. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting what a teether is called.

In this vein, also avoid calling the baby tethers leashes, cereal kibble, and especially avoid asking a baby, “Who’s a good baby?”

3. Talking about Sexual Health.

Somedays I wonder about the world and it’s obsession with cutesy names. It’s not a cookie, a hoohaw, a bit of string, or a weiner; and not telling kids the right name for things is absurd (It’s a penis and a vulva). I once made the mistake of correcting a young kid about the fact that they had a penis not a noodle.

Kid: Do you want to see my noodle?

Me: Sure…?

Kid: Starts to unzip pants.

Me: That’s a penis and no.

Let’s just say the parents were not too thrilled. Obviously, it’s a parent’s choice to teach their kids about their bodies, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

You should probably also avoid talking about sex, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted diseases to sensitive parents and their kids.

The parents of the kid should talk about these things. Cough Blush Cough

2. Disagreeing on One of the Major Wars.

Parenting is a minefield of dangerous subjects and choosing a side in any of the major wars is a great way to be yelled at.

What wars?

  • Diapers: Disposable, Reusable, Diapers Service.
  • Feeding: Breast or Bottle (Even saying fed is best is controversial.)
  • Feeding: Solids vs puree; feeding the child vs baby led weaning.
  • Daycare: Daycare or home; School daycare or babysitter

The list could go on for a long time. I mostly try to stay out of it. We do our things, you do yours.

The only thing I will fight you about are Vaccines. I like my children and the immunocompromised in our society to stay alive.

1. Agreeing with the Child.

This will get you in so much trouble. It’s a favourite pastime of Aunts and Uncles.

Don’t agree with the child until you know what the parent is saying. It could be as inconspicuous as what is the best flavour of ice cream or as dangerous as Star Trek vs Star Wars.

Note that even if the child isn’t there, saying that they have a point, or trying to make the parent see that point is a dangerous idea.

The parents are bombarded by the child’s sass and near constant contrariness that they don’t want to think about it. Just leave them alone. The parent will come around in 10-20 years.


In conclusion, it’s hard to not insult, offend, or irke a sensitive parent, but if you avoid talking to them about their child, children, pets, health, schools, or generally anything but the weather… you should be safe.

Good luck,

Éric

It’s Just a Joke!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When I was in high school, I wanted to be funny. I looked through the school and public library for books on humour. I thought that there had to be a how-to book on stand-up comedy and jokes. If such a thing existed, I never found it. There are now countless youtube tutorials, psychological texts, and how-to blogs.

“So… if you put funny teeth in your mouth and jump around like an idiot, that is considered funny!”

– Data (Star Trek The Next Generation “The Outrageous Okona”)

Let’s just say I understand where Data was coming from.

The most common way to make people laugh is to surprise them. This could be with a twist pun (How is a doctor like a rock? They’re both Sedimental.), an absurd ending (How is a doctor like a rock? You want neither to get stuck in your shoes.), or a shocking/macabre ending (How is a doctor like a rock? In Alabama, both will kill a pregnant girl.)

These rely on you understanding certain cultural and linguistic markers. If you didn’t know that sediment is often made of rocks and that it sounds like sentimental, or a rock hurts when it’s stuck in your shoe, or that Alabama is trying to pass draconic abortion laws, the jokes would be meaningless.

Dangers of a Joke

Here’s where things get uncomfortable and where I’ve gotten in trouble.

Jokes matter. They are not always frivolous fun. They are often tools used to reinforce and propagate stereotypes.

Stereotype: A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

– Oxford English Dictionary

When you share or make a joke that includes a negative stereotype, you are effectively approving it and introducing it to others.

Let’s be clear here, laughing at these jokes does not make you a bad person. We’ve all laughed at a dumb blonde joke or something like them. Sharing, telling, or otherwise disseminating this joke is the problem.

Often it’s not until you think about the joke and why it’s funny that you realize that it’s portraying someone in a negative way.

Think before you share.

Challenging a joke

This is the part that I haven’t figured out. When I mention the negative effects of jokes or point out the detrimental aspects, I usually get yelled at.

People are extremely defensive of their humour, going to great lengths to defend it and its premise. I once commented, on Facebook, about how horrifying a joke about a grandmother slipping birth control pills in her granddaughter’s food was and I was attacked for not having a sense of humour or understanding what it’s like to be young.

In person, I’ve called out jokes and gotten groans or “come on man, it’s just a joke.” I once almost got into a fist fight over someone using Jew as the punchline for a joke about being thrifty.

Recently, I commented on how I didn’t think a joke was funny because of the stereotype and was treated to a series of history lessons, personal stories about how the stereotype is true, and was then accused of being too sensitive.

I can’t give you a good way of dealing with it. If I find it, I’ll update this post, but for the moment know that people are extremely defensive about their jokes and humour. Be careful not to confront the wrong people in person and be warned it might lose you friends online.

In Conclusion

Think critically about your humour, challenge your own preconceptions, and try to not encourage negative stereotypes.

If you confront people about their humour, be careful.

Remember, the kids of antivaxxers and jokes about Dorian Gray never get old.

Éric