40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

I’m getting pretty tired of the fact that the majority of the time I’m in public with my kids, we are insulted.

Insulted by people trying to make conversation and be friendly, I think? Though sometimes that’s hard to believe when their comments are very blatantly rude.

Here’s the latest example…

Checkout lady: “Four girls, wow. Didn’t you want a boy?”
Me: “Um… yeah four girls”
Lady: “Wow I feel so sorry for your partner!”
Me: “Why? Girls are awesome”
Lady: “Haha. Oh just being surrounded by girls. Poor thing.”

Only a week earlier my husband received this…

Stranger: “Oh 3 girls! What did you do wrong?”
Him: “Actually I have 4 so I must have done a lot of things right!”

Is it really that hard to believe that people might be happy with their children? Is it really that difficult to recognise that these are incredibly rude and hurtful things to say in front of said children?

The number of times my girls have heard commiserations from strangers over their existence is beyond belief. And I’m feeling pretty done.

What I need is to be more prepared.

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

When I shared about our latest encounter I received lots of good advice from people who find themselves regularly in the same position. Whether it’s comments about their children’s gender, their family size, or comments on how horrible children are in general. Sooo many people. So many wonderful children receiving the message that they were a disappointment to their parents. So many people, enough that we can start changing this.

What if our responses could make people reconsider their throw away comments? What if we could help them realise how rude and invalidating these remarks were? All we need is a little bit of preparation and courage right? Will you join me?

I’ve made a list of things I can say and next time I will be ready.

So here are my thoughts…

Start With Positivity

Most of these people are trying to be friendly and start a conversation, just in a very misguided way. And we’d also like to avoid awkwardness and send our kids a positive message right? So I think start with positivity! Change the tone and send the message that those comments are way way off the mark.

Whether it’s ‘poor you having so many girls/boys’, or a comment on the size of your family like ‘surely you’re done now?’ or ‘don’t you own a TV’, throw them back some positive vibes.

“We’re really happy!”

“Aren’t children just awesome?”

“We love our family!”

“Girls/boys rock!”

“We are so blessed”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way”

“Yes, my hands are full, but my heart is fuller”

“My partner loves his/her kids, of course.”

“Yes, I’m totally crazy about them!”

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

Repeat the Question

Sometimes positivity doesn’t put them off, like in the example above… time for approach number two! Repeat the question back to them, as if asking for clarification. Surely if they really hear what they are asking, and have to explain their question further, it will become obvious how rude it is? We can only hope…

“Did we want boys instead of the girls we have?”

“Is my partner unhappy with his/her children?”

“Are you asking whether some of my children were unplanned?”

“Do we own a TV? Are you asking about our sex life?”

“Are you hoping that we are done having children? Why?”

“Are you asking if we love our children, despite their gender?”

Or just ask them to explain…

“I’m not sure what you mean? Could you repeat the question?”

“Why?”

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

Call Them Out

Ok say you’ve tried the positivity approach, you’ve tried to get them to see the error of their ways themselves, and yet they’re still intent on their rudeness. Let’s just call them out on it now. Or if their tone is quite mean to begin with let’s just jump straight to this approach…

“Did you mean to be so rude?”

“Are you implying I’m unhappy with my children?”

“Wow, that’s pretty offensive.”

“I’m happy with my family thanks.”

“I’m not sure my family planning is any of your business.”

“We’re not looking for your opinion on our family thank you.”

“Please don’t comment negatively about my children, especially in front of them.”

“Are you serious?”

“Do you realise how insulting that is?”

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

If You’re Feeling Snarky

Ok, I’m not opposed to a bit of snarkiness depending on my mood/patience/how many times I have dealt with such comments this week. People are trying to be funny at our expense? Well two can play at that game…

“Why would their sex matter? I don’t plan on inbreeding them”

“We’re happy with these amazing children, regardless of their genitalia, thanks”

“I didn’t quite catch that, but I’ll assume you were complimenting my lovely family. Thanks!”

“You know they can hear you, right?” (gesturing to children)

“I’m not actually sure if we’re done having kids yet, I’ll check back with you when we decide, can I get your number?”

“Yes they’re all mine, did you want one or something?”

“What am I hoping for? A baby, but a puppy would be cute too”

“Do we own a TV? Of course, but we turn it off and have sex.”

“Do we own a TV? Yes, but if you think that’s more fun then I’d say you’re doing it wrong.”

“I’m not sure if you’re aware, but you just said that out loud”

“No, my partner is not disappointed to have daughters, he’s not a misogynistic jerk.”

“Do we know what causes it? Yeah, we just like having sex I guess, don’t you?”

“Do we know what causes it? No, could you explain it to us?”

“The only thing I’m disappointed about is being a part of this conversation.”

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

Be Brave

It’s astounding to me that people feel these sorts of comments are funny or appropriate, and really highlights the culture of childism that runs through our society. People think nothing of openly expressing their judgement of children’s existence. They freely offer up their appraisal and ask you to join in too, in front of the children!

Newsflash people, children aren’t asking for your evaluation. They don’t need your permission to exist. They are not here solely to please others. They don’t deserve to be made fun of or talked about as if they weren’t even there. Would it be appropriate for a stranger to start a conversation by asking if you were happy with your partner, joking about them being a ‘handful’, or saying you must be crazy to have them in your life? No, that would be absurd! People only do it about children because they are not seen as equal, and often not even human.

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

I know it’s awkward to call people out on their behaviour, but change can’t come through our silence. We can make a difference! And at the end of the day, what is most important here? A little bit of awkwardness or perpetuating childism? Confronting someone or our children receiving the message that they are not good enough?

We can do it! Change starts with us.

40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

28 thoughts on “40 Comebacks for Rude Strangers That Comment on Your Family

  1. It’s so affirming to hear that we aren’t there only one to deal with this! I find it so disheartening that folks aren’t more encouraging when they see parents with their children in public! We have 5 girls and three boys and I can’t believe the comments when we go out. Someone actually said, “it’s not like you need them to run the farm!” As if the only reason it would make sense to have children would be to assist with farm chores. So sad.

    • Her best reply (if you really want to change their heart/direction) is ‘We are so blessed’. The biblical view is that children are ‘a heritage from the Lord’, and ‘blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them’. If they are complaining about children don’t they realize they were once one?

  2. oh I’m laughing now because yes, we also get it. we have 4 boy-children whom we love to the moon and back!!!
    so my husband has this brilliant answer to THOSE questions from strangers… so I answer the same now….
    My wife loves children and I love my wife, what can I say?
    ☺always work to shut them.

  3. This is great! Is this really happening to you the majority of the time you are out?! I get a comment like “You’ve got your hands full.” Maybe a few times a year. I guess when you throw a 4th child in the mix, people feel more apt to make a comment?
    Or if you have all the same sex children.

    • I only have three but I get these comments all the time – maybe because my kids are all still very little so it looks like more work/chaos? And I get a lot of, “oh, you got your girl, are you going to stop now?” because my oldest two are boys and the baby is a girl. I always wonder how that makes the boys feel – it’s not like they were mistakes and I only wanted a girl!

  4. Thank you! I’ve had a cashier ask straight up, “Were they planned?” I was so shocked I couldn’t even respond. Later I wished I’d said something like, “Yes, now let’s talk about your sex life! What kind of family planning methods are you using?”

  5. We had friends who only had three children. The dad’s snarky comment was always…..”Yeah, they’re all ours. We had six, but we got rid of the ugly ones.” 😂😂😂

  6. People don’t understand how rude they’re being. One woman who hardly knew me at a retreat that we go to in the summer actually told me that I should keep my legs closed after I had my fourth. I haven’t seen her since but God help her if I do…

  7. We have 5 boys and I’m pregnant with #6. I probably won’t announce it publicly on social media because the comments just keep coming. Normally things like that roll off of me but being sick has worn me down emotionally. It’s refreshing and encouraging to know we are not alone.

  8. I love this! I will definitely be using a lot of them. I have 5 boys and in 15 yrs of motherhood I remember only 2x, TWO, that someone didn’t say something negative. I was told “So awesome” once and “aren’t boys the best?!”. I was so shocked and happy about it LOL. Mostly people say such rude things, everything and more of what you get but over boys. Didn’t you want a girl? Are you going to try for a girl? Awww you’re outnumbered poor thing. It’s SO aggravating!

  9. Because our children are a mixed race and tend to look more asian like their dad, people would often ask me where I got my children from, assuming this snowflake white mom could not have birthed these gorgeous half asian babies! I couldn’t believe how rude people were! I started to just reply “they came from my uterus!” That usually made them think twice! With six beautiful children (4 girls and two boys) we have heard it all! And yes, sometimes it takes a snarky answer to make people consider that perhaps their comment was not appropriate! Like the man who graciously helped me with my groceries at a whole sale club store, only to corner me and explain that I should be done having children as I had three little girls too many for his world plan, at the time. Even parents and relatives would make unkind comments when they heard that we were expecting another child. Like, “there’s ways to fix that” or “you do know how to prevent that from happening”. People can just be hurtful when they speak without thinking or just say what’s on their mind when editing their words would be a blessing to everyone around them!

  10. Try being the infertile couple who after 11 years still have no children. The comments we get are just horrible. “Maybe you were not meant to be patents.” “Things happen in God’s time.” Oh really? I am 44, God is running out of time for me! Why don’t you just adopt? Ok, so you are willing to give me 15 grand so we can do that? Great! Trust me we get lots of horrible things said to us. I would love to complain about someone asking why I have so many kids or why they are all girls…haha bring it!

  11. Great thoughts! We only have one daughter and get comments that are quite the opposite, but equally offensive: “Didn’t you want more?” or “She needs a sibling.” The truth is I did want more and she would like a sibling, but it’s not how life turned out, and I really don’t appreciate being reminded of it all the time.

  12. I love this! As a mother of 5, I used to get this all the time. My favorite was a lady came into where I work and looked at my family picture on my desk and said are they ALL yours? Don’t you know what causes that? I looked right at her, smiled and said Yes, I do…and I am clearly very good at it!

  13. Love it. I am one of 5 female siblings and one male so I can relate. I totally agree that it speaks to the lack of respect that our culture extends to children.

    Only one beef: ” We’re happy with our children, regardless of their genitalia”. I assume that this is meant to be a response to those who comment on a child’s gender. Gender is not defined by genitalia, sex is. If someone is responding to my child’s outward presentation to the world, that’s gender. Hopefully no one is commenting on my child’s sex, because strangers are not seeing my child’s genitals.

    Gender and sex. Two different things.

  14. I have 4 children, 2 are older and 2 are younger. I can safely say that no-one has ever said anything to me about them. I would be pretty hurt with some of the comments people made to some of you.

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