Five Things Not to Say to New Parents: Etiquette for the Childfree

People without kids tend to commit a lot of heinous blunders without even realizing it. Here's how not to be one of the clueless

Credit: Flickr / dylan20

You can dress up the little darlings, but then you have to take them out

You might have chosen the blissfully childfree life, but that doesn’t mean your friends and family members should suffer for your ignorance. Here are a few phrases you’ll never want to utter (out loud, anyway)

Even if you have the good fortune to escape children, your friends will probably acquire the little monsters at some point. Save your sanity and keep your relationships with parents by never letting the following thoughtless phrases pass your lips. 

“My dog is just having like a child.

Until you breastfeed him five times a night, no, he isn’t. Same goes for your project, report, idea or book. Leave the birth metaphors to those who’ve earned them. 

“I don’t have kids, but I have nieces and nephews, so I know what it’s like.”

Unless you’ve been solely responsible for them for months at a time, uh, no, you don’t. 

“I almost ran over your child! That’s dangerous!”

Sure it is. Which is why you’ll watch out next time, instead of assuming that it’s the parents’ fault for letting their kids use the sidewalk. Right? 

“Oh, you’re bringing him with you again?”

Babysitting adds $50 on average to the cost of a night out. Be sensitive to your friends’ straitened budgets (those on parental leave make only 55% of their pre-baby salaries) and, if it’s important to you that kids not be there, offer to help pay for childcare. 

“Don’t worry about the damage, he doesn’t know any better.”

Parents who let their kids roam are responsible for any damage. So if Junior pooped on your rug, redecorated your fridge with marker or gooed all over your favourite cloth napkin, ask for reparations instead of suffering in silence. Your relationship with his mom and dad will be the stronger for it. 

Now that you’ve mastered childfree etiquette, how about tackling gym etiquette?