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To start a thread about things you should not say or do to childless people

(831 Posts)
user1485342611 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:12:45

As someone who can't have children I have sometimes been shocked at how tactless and insensitive some people can be - the latest being a colleague who objects to having to work over Christmas because 'Christmas is about children. Staff with families should get priority'.

I do have a family, it just doesn't include children of my own.

AIBU to be fed up of this kind of stuff and to ask other posters in similar situations to share hurtful acts and words in the hope that it might educate those not in our situation and who don't always think before they speak/act?

Gettingbackinthesaddle Tue 24-Oct-17 11:19:16

Thanks for starting this. I have two very close friends who don’t have children. In their cases too not through choice. I worry that I’ve been insensitive in the past with things I’ve said so would really like to be educated on what not to say.

scaryteacher Tue 24-Oct-17 11:20:38

We were childless when we were first married, as we had no immediate plans to have children, and dh was duty both of our first Christmasses. Seemed fair enough to me, as we didn't have small kids and others did.

Childless covers a pretty broad spectrum...those that don't want them, have no plans as yet etc as well as infertile.

WhatwouldAryado Tue 24-Oct-17 11:20:54

"Did you mean to be so rude?". Works for a variety of situations. I don't think a list of things idiots say will help change things.

DancesWithOtters Tue 24-Oct-17 11:22:21

A colleague who objects to having to work over Christmas because 'Christmas is about children. Staff with families should get priority

This makes me so angry. I have a family. I do not have children. It is none of their business who my family consists of (some of my friends are more like family to me than my actual blood relations). You are no more entitled to have Christmas off because you chose to have children.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 24-Oct-17 11:22:52

Don't ask them when/whether they plan to have children.

Anyone struggling with infertility, or a partner who doesn't want to try 'yet' will likely struggle with an answer.

Dozer Tue 24-Oct-17 11:23:09

“Positive” comments and speculation on the “advantages” of not having DC. Especially if said to someone without DC for reasons other than choice.

haveagobletofblood Tue 24-Oct-17 11:23:39

OP I have always agreed that families with children shouldn't get priority for time off over Christmas. I still do really as it isn't fair. But this year I have a child and for the first time in my life I see that it isn't about someone selfishly using their family to get time off. It's because the child wants their mum there at Christmas and the staff member doesn't want them to be sad on Christmas Day. I can't believe I never realised that before.

Anyway, using the term 'childless' is in itself not the done thing when referring to somebody without children.

user1485342611 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:24:15

I also posted recently about how hurt I was when someone remarked in front of me about a third party 'well of course she's doing well for her age. She's never had the worry of children.'

user1485342611 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:26:13

How should we be referred to haveagoblet.
Childfree? I don't want to be 'free' of children. It doesn't feel like freedom to me.

Dozer Tue 24-Oct-17 11:26:21

“the child wants their mum there at Christmas and the staff member doesn't want them to be sad on Christmas Day”.

This shouldn’t trump the needs and wishes of other staff members and their families and friends.

Dozer Tue 24-Oct-17 11:26:52

I say “people who don’t have children”. Neutral

Hiphopopotamus Tue 24-Oct-17 11:27:20

The Christmas thing drives me nuts. I've lived alone the past few years and seeing my family requires an overnight stay. Me working Christmas Day (which I have done) means me coming back to an empty flat while all my family are elsewhere. People with children and families at home come back to a full house because their family is right there. Yet so often they have had priority as they have children!

haveagobletofblood Tue 24-Oct-17 11:28:45

Dozer I didn't say it did. I'm just saying why people fight so hard to get the time off. It's harder to disappoint your child than your partner, dad, aunt or whoever.

Not sure what the accepted term is OP I just remember being told childless is offensive and hurtful so I just stick to people who don't have children.

DancesWithOtters Tue 24-Oct-17 11:29:28

the child wants their mum there at Christmas and the staff member doesn't want them to be sad on Christmas Day

What about the elderly parents of the childless person who may have only one Christmas left?

Or their partner, who may not have other family and may spend Christmas alone?

Or the person who has nieces and nephews that they love and would love to spend Christmas with?

Everyone has reasons why they want to spend Christmas with their family. Having a child does not trump every other reason a person may have.

user1485342611 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:30:24

Fair enough haveagoblet. It is a better term.

haveagobletofblood Tue 24-Oct-17 11:30:44

Dances if you read my full post you'll see that I agree that it isn't fair for those with children to get priority time off.

user1485342611 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:33:23

Also, on forums like this one when you offer any kind of view or opinion on anything child related e.g. children screaming in restaurants, and some poster sneers 'do you actually have children'?

MargaretTwatyer Tue 24-Oct-17 11:34:36

It took me ten years of fertility treatment to have children. I hated being asked 'when'.

But I did cover school holidays, Christmas, etc, etc for parents. Ditto for people with elderly parents or family abroad. I had the advantage of lovely cheap breaks during school term time and always had New Year off in return. Being childless doesn't mean you can't understand and sympathise with the challenges parents face.

StickThatInYourPipe Tue 24-Oct-17 11:34:39

Not even just asking when but accusing you of already being pregnant when you chose not to drink alchohol for an occasion.

It breaks me every single time

ElsieMay123 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:35:17

Everyone has reasons why they want to spend Christmas with their family. or not in some cases grin

Best not to assume anything, treat people equally, have a bit of compassion? Ah Christmas, brings out the best in people thlhmm

Boudiccaiceni Tue 24-Oct-17 11:35:17

A baby a few months old does to even know what Christmas is FFS, it's about the parents not the baby!

livefornaps Tue 24-Oct-17 11:35:37

Hmm yes but legally, children need someone looking after them. It is a parent's responsibility to sort that out, as legal guardians. At Christmas, parents prefer that they are that person, rather than leave their kids with someone else. A family of adults and children who are not your own does not entail this legal obligation. Sorry. I don't have kids either. Lucky enough to be in a workplace where everyone is given the time off. Cos Christmas is the best!

Boudiccaiceni Tue 24-Oct-17 11:36:05

does not

Frisbeefreedom Tue 24-Oct-17 11:40:20

OP there's a website called "offbeat home" - if you go in the archives they have lots of writing about being childless or child-free (I'd avoid sticking either label on people unless they did it themselves) which you might find interesting, several discuss this topic.

Someone I know posted on Facebook about how we were screwed because so many powerful people don't have children and therefore have no vested interest in the future. Ridiculous and offensive view in my opinion!

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