General Etiquette > general

Actually... no kids for me.

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I realize that this topic has been discussed many, many times before - however I think in THIS context this might be new? (Sorry if it is not.  :) )

Partner and I have discussed that we will most likely not have children. We like them very much, just not for us. It's not a conversation we have ever really brought up with people. However people seem to mention in passing about us having kids and I am not sure what a nice and polite response is...

Examples of comments:

"Your nephew is so funny. You must be so excited to have kids like him!"

"Your house has 3 bedrooms. This room would be perfect for a baby's room."

"Oh you bought a large SUV. Well it will be nice because you can fit car seats back there easily."

"I bet after seeing your niece throw that temper tantrum you are fine with waiting a little longer to have kids!"

"I love your new furniture. It's great you bought it now, so by the time you have kids it won't be new and you won't care about it as much."

"I see you bought a house in Prettytown. They have a great school system when you end up needing it."

Comments like the above have been said by everyone. Family, friends, co-workers, and everything in between. As you can see people are not asking us when/if we are having kids but making innocent comments and assuming we are. Should I just smile and bean dip or are these opportunities to say "Actually we won't really need the great school system" etc.

The answer depends on who you're speaking to and whether you want to inform them of your choices.  In general, you're not required to share your family plans with anyone so you'll have to decide on a case-by-case basis since there will be people all around you who will assume that you're planning to have kids.


I think for most people, bean dip is the way to go.  If they comment on your nephew being funny, just ignore the last part of the sentence and continue the conversation with another way he is funny.  If they comment on the possible use for the bedroom or the SUV, you could just talk about your actual intentions for the space.  If they comment about the good school system, you could ask them for further details on it, or say why a good school system might actually be of use to you even without children, such as "That's good to know-hopefully that means the local children are well behaved".  That kind of thing.  Just ignore the part about the kids in the person's statement and continue the conversation with the rest of it.

When it comes to family and close friends, though, you might want to have a more serious conversation with them, depending.  But even them, I think you could get by with bean dip, especially if they let it drop at that.

ETA: And since it sounds like you actually haven't fully decided yet, I think bean dip is an even better choice for the family than if you were sure.

White Lotus:
When birth control was difficult, unreliable and not so widely available, it was considered extremely rude to mention potential children to anybody who had been married a while and didn't have them.  The assumption was that everyone wanted children, so there was probably a medical reason if people didnt have them, so mentioning child free status would be painful, and therefore avoided.  I kind of wish that notion would come back.  I have mentioned before the "Interesting  Assumption" that children magically appear when planned and never appear when not.  I think it is still quite rude to make any assumptions about anybody's child or child free status, now or in the future.  I am a fan of "We'll see what Mother Nature has to say about that," if you need to say anything at all.  They don't need to know that you are helping her say a firm, "No, thanks."

Betelnut: must reproduce...FOR YOUR COUNTRY!   >:D

But seriously, I think bean dipping or simply saying "That's a good point" or "I guess so" is okay.  I don't think you need to get into a huge discussion when someone is making a general comment such as, "Oh, they have good schools there."

I do think that eventually it would be a good idea to tell your family that kids are not in your future.  Eventual kids ARE the assumption when a young couple gets married.  That might not be fair or right it is what most people think will eventually happen when a young/youngish couple marry.


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