I don’t like other people’s kids.

To qualify, I do not dislike other people’s babies, quite the opposite in fact – I don’t like other people’s kids.

The fact is, children are usually irritating. I know – I have my own. Thankfully mine come with memories attached, triggered simply by looking at their little faces; beautiful memories which prevent me from disliking them. Actually, that’s not quite true – there are occasions when I don’t even like my own children very much…

When my eldest whines for an hour non-stop about some imagined or illogical injustice, or squeals in my face, or refuses to sleep, or gets up seven times in the night (she’s nearly five) – I don’t like her very much. Likewise, when my youngest repeatedly mauls her sister, or spits her food on the floor, or gets me up twelve times in the night (she’s two) – I don’t like her very much either.

But I have to love them; it’s the law. I have no resistance, I don’t even try. I am consumed by love for my little people.

But I’m not for everybody else’s. And so…

I Don’t Like Other People’s Kids

Before I earn myself an army of haters, I’d like to point out that while my flaw may not be justifiable, it can definitely be explained: it’s rooted in spite directed towards my baby, and backed up by an invasion of my personal space.

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I can pinpoint some of the incidents which led to my unattractive quality. Here’s why I don’t like other people’s kids:

1. The Would-Be Biter

When my Pixie was but a wee bairn, barely standing unaided, we visited a soft play. I was standing by the ball pool holding Pixie who was enjoying playing with the balls/toys/walkers/bikes netting containing the balls.

A small child (significantly bigger than my daughter) approached and scoped out the situation. Satisfied that he was in the powerful position of not being scrutinised by his errant mother, he proceeded to curl back his lips and bare his teeth like a rabid dog – before locking eyes with me(!) and inclining his jaws towards my toddler’s delicate fingers. Naturally, I stared down the menace and hastily removed Pixie’s hands, which were innocently entwined in said netting. As I did so, I (faux) calmly and evenly said to the hooligan ‘I hope you were not trying to bite her.’

Cue the previously uninterested mother leaping up from her chair (from which she had been studiously observing ignoring her punk kid) to intervene. She snatched the reprobate up, shot me a look so withering it rivalled my own, and said to him ‘you wouldn’t bite, would you, Sweetheart.’

It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. For my benefit. (I bet she knew he was a biter too. I hope he bit her that very morning.)

I Don't Like Other People's Kids - Mother Telling Son Off

2. The Kicker

Pixie had not long been walking. We were in a local farm café, and she’d just finished (pretending to eat) her lunch. I’d allowed her down from the high chair as the place was almost deserted, and she was having a little mooch about.

My daughter is excessively tactile. Unlike me, she adores other children. It’s very entertaining and cute, until it’s not.

On this occasion, there was a little boy in his pushchair and she approached him for a cuddle. In fairness to Pixie, he was wearing a dragon costume, and if that doesn’t scream ‘I’M UP FOR ATTENTION AND BEING POKED’ then I don’t know what does.

I saw what came next as if in slow motion. I was already on my feet to step in before he even pulled his leg back to deliver the first blow. I had approximately four steps to cover – alas, there was a table hindering my progress: I was too slow. Even before the pain of the first impact had registered, the little brute drew his foot back to boot my daughter in the head a second time.

The mother handled it relatively well, despite not seeing the incident. She believed it had happened at least – because she obviously knew and accepted her delinquent’s psychopathy temper, which I respect.

I Don't Like Other People's Kids - Mother Disciplining Son

That was the day I witnessed my daughter’s sudden realisation and understanding that  there are some spiteful bullies in the world. It broke my heart.

3. The Raspberry Blower

I was recently at a soft play holding my little one’s hand as she rushed towards the ball pool with glee. A small girl was in the general vicinity to our left as we passed. We didn’t pay a great deal of attention to her, because being at a soft play, she was one of many such hazards to note, and avoid accordingly.

However, despite Pixie’s lack of interest (she was fixated on the balls – she loves balls, sometimes she even holds one to go to sleep), the waif glanced our way and locked her sights on Pixie. She growled towards my daughter ‘NO! You can’t have it.’ Despite her eyes being trained on us, and the subsequent hissing and spitting in our direction as we passed by, Pixie was so intent on those balls, she didn’t even register the brat.

Sticking Out Tongue

But I did.

I may have bestowed her with a mummy-scowl special… But if I did it was inadvertent: I’m helpless to this vice, and I cannot be responsible for my face betraying my internal aversion.

4. The Interloper

Pixie was sleeping in her pushchair and I was taking advantage of her post-soft-play exhaustion. I was quietly, unassumingly in a café working. To reiterate: I was in a café. Working.

So, when a little cherub approached and courted my attention, I initially indulged her with a smile; when she started messing about with the menus and condiments on my table, I patiently waited for her mother to take her away. And when she stared at me and my work accoutrements while she pulled out a chair and sat herself down – well, I felt my hackles rise.

Three times this happened. And three times the mother took her sweet time to give a damn.

This last is not about spite – it’s about disrespect. I’m not much of a fan of that either.

I Don’t Like Other People’s Kids Being Spiteful to Mine

For the record, I do not tolerate unkindness in my own children either. But then I’d never leave a two year old unsupervised…  Plus my usual difficulty with Pixie is explaining that not all her peers wish to be embraced quite so earnestly, while Elfin saves up her spite for her sister and Pixie bears the brunt.

Incidentally, if one of my girls ever did behave unkindly towards another child and I happened to miss it, I would fully endorse the parent pulling them up – appropriately. If a child is spiteful they need to be told, and while I’d prefer to be the one to do it, I wouldn’t object to the other parent gently but firmly telling my it’s not okay to hurt somebody else.

I Don’t Like Other People’s Kids Being Unsupervised!

I find it particularly difficult when some ruffian parents use soft play as day care centres and largely ignore their children. Of course, I totally get that in reality it’s the irresponsible adult I should take up my issues with: as with a bad smell, it’s the source which is at fault, rather than the resultant symptom. So perhaps I need a word with myself.

Naturally, I would never actually discipline another child, but I will gently but firmly tell them not to hurt my daughter/s if necessary, and I don’t shy away from seeking out the parent either – which usually works out fine but did nearly cause a scene once!

Little Girl Facing Wall

Is It Okay to Dislike Other People’s Kids?

Is it okay? Well, that depends on your values I guess. But is it normal? Hell, yes!

Bottom line: children are, for the most part, gross and irritating, or if you’re lucky they’re just gross and boring. I’m yet to meet somebody who’s partial to a tantrum or being asked the same question twenty times in the space of three minutes, or told a very tedious story about something entirely inconsequential.

What’s less common and acceptable than not liking other people’s kids, is the person who makes the admission that they don’t like other people’s kids. When you think about it, we often don’t even like our own who we would die for. Why the hell should anyone else like them?

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An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

51 Comments

  1. TOTALLY with you!! During half term I endured the misery of soft play and at 19 months, Toby was playing in the under 2’s area, along with several other kids at various stages of movement ability. A school aged beast kept coming into the area, throwing the toys around and jumping off of the slide (thus my son tried to copy him) and when he then started throwing balls at a small baby whose mum looked fit to cry, I lost it! I told him quietly but sternly that he wasn’t allowed in here then locked eyes with the mother and told her what he’d done and to stop him coming back in xx #TheList

    • Kate Reply

      Good for you! I’m exactly the same, if they need telling, I’ll tell them – whether it be the kids or the parents! X

  2. Kate I completely agree! If a mum can’t see what their little darling has got up to then that’s one thing, but it makes me mad when mums don’t take responsibility / tell their child off / DO SOMETHING when they can see their child behaving badly! My nextdoor neighbour’s kid bit my child and the mum didn’t do anything.
    I’ve also got a “friend” who’s child is treated like a prince and he constantly gets everything he wants. He pushed my daughter over at a park and was constantly behaving like a brat, but the mum refused to do anything about it. We ended up leaving. I wonder if it’s because those mums don’t like confrontation?? If any of my kids behaved that way towards another child,they’d know about it!! #TheList

  3. Ha haa the Interloper – oh I’m so glad they annoy you too! It’s that horrid feeling of wanting them to bugger off but feeling sorry for them that they just want a bit of attention! x x #TheList

  4. The Speed Bump Reply

    I’m soooo with you! Haha whenever I go swimming it re-affirms my belief that I couldn’t be a primary school teacher – I can cope with kids one at a time, but in big groups I become a total child-hater!

    • Kate Reply

      The worst is when you think the kids are back at school and that’s an unexpected inset day… Thanks for commenting x

  5. Like the other commenters I am with you on this. We don’t do soft play in this house for these exact reasons. I can’t cope with it and have a resting bitch face. However now my daughter is at school and we are being invited to parties which involve soft play…still, she seems to be having a great time and her friends are actually lovely children – it reinforces that I choose the right school for her!

    • Kate Reply

      ‘Resting bitch face’ – I love that! Haha, nobody would mess with you then! ?

  6. Educating Roversi Reply

    Oh i totally agree! I half think that these problems come down to the parents that take their children to soft play and let them run wild without keeping an eye on them. That is when I’ve experienced the points you have stated and it’s one of my biggest annoyances of soft play!

    • Kate Reply

      Without a doubt! Too many seem to think it’s a creche!

  7. Unfortunately as a teacher I find myself using the ‘teacher stare’ in all sorts of out-of-school situations. I can only imagine this will not improve once baby arrives and expect I will be as disdainful as you are at other children’s behaviour! #KCACOLS

  8. I used to,work in a children’s library and was always amazed at what parents didn’t see. Now I am one, I realise that some of them have different ideas of what good behaviour is. Which is okay. But things like biting or putting other children at risk by throwing stuff isn’t on.

  9. Silly Mummy Reply

    Haha! I DO like children, I’m afraid. I always have. But I do think it’s a common & perfectly valid condition – some people like kids, some people like THEIR kids! I do agree that it is not nice to see another child be unkind to yours, though I tend to be annoyed with the parents if they don’t respond appropriately as, for behaviour in the normal realms, I get that kids do these things, and sometimes, though generally good natured, mine will do something bad too. But I don’t like parents who don’t intervene. Interlopers don’t bother me – I don’t mind talking to random kids! I was always one of those pied piper types, who kids would just talk to. even when I was a teenager. 😀 My eldest is one who will go up to any random kids and try to cuddle and make friends too, and she does sometimes get nasty responses – it is heartbreaking, though she rarely minds! #thelist

    • Kate Reply

      Haha, that’s it exactly. I expect my daughter to behave and I expect her peers to as well. It frustrates me when other parents are not parenting!

  10. I think I have this condition too! I always find myself on the look out for the next little hooligan to threaten my girls at soft play. I also feel a bit bad for judging other kids and their parents, but its totally natural. I think the Interloper is the worst. I have no idea how to handle them. How do you tell a child to sling their hook without looking heartless?! Thanks so much again for linking up with #KCACOLS. Hope to you can make it next week! x

    • Kate Reply

      Don’t! I don’t want to be heartless… But come on! I definitely blamed the mother on that occasion! X

  11. 100% with you on this. I’ve pretty much always disliked other people’s children but this condition has only intensified since having my own lol! x #kcacols

  12. Hmm. I see where you’re coming from, and I don’t disagree (I have a short fuse when it comes to other people’s children) but I’m a mother of four, and I must say that it’s not always possible for me to keep a proper eye on my not-quite-three-year-old when we go to indoor playgrounds and the like. We were at one recently when he pushed another child over, knocked him right to the ground – or so I think. I didn’t see it happen, and the other boy’s parents didn’t speak to me.
    They certainly overheard me asking my son, “Did you hurt that little boy? Did you do something?” but as my child has a limited vocab, and because the parents didn’t answer my questions either, I have no idea what went down…

    My son is a pusher and a hitter by nature. I don’t know why. His two older sisters have never been physical with other children, and I’m adamant I haven’t done anything different in raising my boy. So while I agree that some kids out there are horrible and that can be a reflection of their parents’ expectations and behaviour management, some kids just do stupid, horrible things (and absolutely mortify their parents in the process).

    I really hope that people aren’t labelling me a bad/lazy/inattentive parent when my son acts up. And I can definitely see how anyone who doesn’t know him could decide they don’t like him at all. But, I am doing my best. And most of the time he is a very sweet and loving kid.

    When he misbehaves I always follow through with punishments and rules we have set in place, and I always do everything in my power to ensure he’s being good. But I only have one set of eyes and one pair of hands. I am only human.

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Fern,

      Thanks so much for commenting. What you’ve said had really given me food for thought.

      Hopefully it comes across that I am, of course, wiring tongue in cheek. But nobody likes unkindness, whomever it comes from and in whichever form. Even more so when directed at our babies.

      But if I’m honest, I’d not considered those parents who have more than one child to contend with; I was specifically referring to those I see who are gossiping or busy on their phone instead. For me, that’s unacceptable.

      In your case, I absolutely sympathise. Again, when parents deal with bad behaviour appropriately, I may not like it but u do respect the parent. And of course I understand that kids will be kids, and as my daughter gets older she may become more aggressive – who’s to say? I’ve already had to deal with her smacking me, luckily it was a short lived phase and restricted to me and her dad.

      I hope your boy grows out of his phase soon too, and in the meantime it sounds as though you’re doing everything right, and everything you can.

      Thanks again for commenting, and for showing another perspective. X

  13. Amazing and sooooo true. A guilty secret most of us keep! Good one.

  14. Ha ha, brilliant. I think we are all secret sufferers of this – well done for outing it! I take a strange pleasure in ignoring the show-boaters. Evil.
    Great post.

    • Kate Reply

      Haha, I know what you mean. I indulge them briefly but then I give up…

  15. Hi Kate, I love your honesty. It was a bit of a joke between me and my friends, when my two were small that I didn’t like other peoples children (there were times when I battled to like my own!). Joking apart, I felt if I couldn’t/ wouldn’t abide certain behaviour in my own children, then why would I like it in another persons child?

    I am quite laid back by nature, but can’t stand children that are constantly rude, whiny and attention seeking. Luckily my children are almost all grown up now, so my contact with little ones is minimal.

    xx

    • Kate Reply

      Precisely! X

      Ps. I hate to break it to you but if you’re lucky there will be grandchildren in the horizon – and you will LOVE it if my parents and in-laws are anything to go by. ?

  16. Great and funny post, I do agree with some points of Fern P aswell. Having 2 boys who have me breathing down their necks in an attempt to keep them wrapped in cotton wool, I also have to keep such a close eye on one of them in particular as he can cause mischief in an empty room! Keeps me focused! ?

    • Kate Reply

      Yes, Fern did raise some good points. My post is – of course – not serious (well, not entirely…).

  17. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons Reply

    God, soft play!! As the mother of an extremely clingy toddler I have to follow / be dragged by my little boy everywhere he goes. Which means mixing with all the other kids and being up close for any misdemeanor. We were at a garden centre softplay last week one afternoon when a group of 5 year olds entered (obviously school had kicked out) and thought it was acceptable to throw around massive foam ride on toys. I was about to open my mouth to say something when I heard my sister shout ‘WATCH WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!”, just before one knocked out my boy and my nephew in one fell swoop! Even we went came out of the soft play enclosure (cage), the parents were nowhere to be seen. #BloggerClubUK

    • Kate Reply

      So frustrating when the parents are not around. But rightly or wrongly (as mentioned re the would-be biter) I tell them myself! I’ve a feeling this may be unpopular, but if my daughter dogs something like that and I didn’t see, I’d hope she’d be (appropriately) told! Naturally, everyone’s idea of appropriate is different, but you see my point! X

  18. My mummy doesn’t mind other people’s children – it’s usually the parents she has a problem with, especially their attitudes at soft play centres (that’s why we don’t go). My mummy has this ‘stare as well’ #coolmumclub #bloggerclubuk

  19. Unfortunately my kid has been that kid! When my eldest was 2 he bit another kid at the park. Completely unprovoked. Just decided to take a chunk out of his hand. I was mortified. He then refused to say sorry and threw the mother of all tantrums. Thankfully the mum of his victim was lovely and really understanding about it. She said not to worry and that her eldest had done the same once. I can’t tell you what it meant to me not to be judged at the moment. I am happy to report that he is now a normal 6 year old boy and didn’t develop a taste for human flesh! #CoolMumsClub

    • Kate Reply

      Oh no! I am sure this post will bite me in the bum at some point in the future, and come back to haunt me when Pixie joins the ranks of the Terrible Twos…!

  20. I’m with you on this. I hate soft play mainly for the aforementioned reasons. #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      I really seem to have divided the masses with this post! Which, of course, is what it’s all about! ?

      Thanks for the support and comment x

  21. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh I so agree! So eloquently put as well. I remember being out once when my eldest daughter was little and a boy started pretending to shoot her – i was mortified – I admit i didn’t have my son by then so didn’t know what boys were like at that stage but I can hand on heart say that my boy has never tried to pretend shoot a little girl – so I am totally with you on the not liking ‘some” other people’s children! #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      Thanks for your lovely comment! Glad you liked the post x

  22. I didn’t realise we were supposed to like other people’s children, I certainly don’t all the time. Particularly snotty ones pushing others down the slide at at soft play. I’ve even accepted that not everyone will love my little angels either. Obviously they’re wrong, but whatevs 😉

    #coolmumclub

  23. This made me laugh – so true though and I’m exactly the same. Other people’s kids just annoy me

  24. This really made me laugh! I’ve not had many problems so far as my bubba is still so little but I am certain I will feel this way; I always felt pretty protective over my nieces and nephews when I accompanied my sisters to soft play hell, so I can only imagine how it will be with my own! I am perfecting my ‘angry mum’ face in preparation. #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      Haha, yes, you want to get that face down before attending! X

  25. Oh poor Pixie! I hope it wasn’t either of my terrors you bumped into on any of these occasions 😉

    yes, soft play brings out the protective side in every parent…I admit I gave a Mum a ‘stare off’ a few weeks back when I heard her slagging off my daughter… I think I need to get out more – to places other than soft play!

    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    • Kate Reply

      Hehe, I am protective, but honestly – get that it’s par for the course… To a degree!

      It’s really how the other adults (or not as the case may be [not a snide remark about age; a snide remark about maturity]) handle it!

  26. You are right – it’s the parents really who are the problem. Why they let their children go around without supervision in public places is beyond me! I never let my kids wander cafes or restaurants. And don’t get me started on soft play. You can’t be too careful. It’s awful the things kids get up to in there while the parents with with theri backs turned! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #bloggerclubuk x

    • Kate Reply

      Tell me about it! I get so cross with those who use it as a creche, but what can you really do?! x

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