Scripts responding to expectations put on young kids

I am sick of not knowing what to say and therefore nodding tiredly when family members make comments about my toddler son having all the girls chase him because of course he’s already sexually aware and hetero. :woman_facepalming:

There is other stuff too, but, does anyone have a script for responding to this? I am having trouble finding anything online - just rants from other parents about the same issue. These people are not going to read that article, ever.

Other people needing scripts for other expectations put on young kids welcome to chime in with their problems, we can crowdsource ideas.


Depends on who you’re talking to, but I know people who do well with semi-jokey responses like “what, and you think all the boys aren’t chasing after him?” or “yes, he’s already asked if he can borrow the car for prom.”

YMMV, obviously. Not everyone gets the gentle “pls stop” request embedded in that sort of response, and some people are flummoxed at the mention of anything non-heterosexual, so.


My answers were different depending on whether child was in earshot (and therefore my answer was more for him than any ding dong adult nearby).


I don’t have kids, but in other contexts where people are making comments I find creepy, “I don’t know why you would think it’s appropriate to say that.” tends to shut down a line of discussion pretty quick.


Can you tell me what your type of response would be if he was in earshot?

1 Like

I usually say things like “I’m just focused on letting her be a baby right now” and then switch the subject. I feel like that conveys that it’s kinda weird to push this on a small child, so let’s let them simply be children please.


A classic situation for us at the moment is that DH’s grandma will say “He’s got such lovely physical feature/cheerful kid, he must have all the girls chasing after him!”

I can’t redirect to “boys and girls” because she will agree without taking the hint (at least she’s not homophobic?)

Talking aloud has made me realise it’s the implication of sex rather than the hetero. So I need to redirect to “yes, he has lots of friends who he likes to play with” and just reiterate.


Yeah, unfortunately I’m dealing with people who are even slower on the uptake than me.


Oh geez I cut off most of my post.

Caveat- non-binary descriptors were not yet the norm in my area when my son was little.

At Duckling’s age I’d usually say something like, “Or boys; but I think it’s more likely they’ll play together and invent cool cars."

My goal was to 1. Subtle nope to old school sexist statement and 2. Shift the scenario to language about curiosity/growth as a person.

I actually had a notebook with scripts written down, that I would practice, so that I didn’t simply deflect (the ineffective defense of women everywhere….). I was incredibly shy when my son was small and was often abrupt and rude when I felt affronted. His dad has always been an amazing conversationalist and he’s likely the one that shaped a lot of our family language.


OMG and total foot in mouth which is my specialty around here – I wrote that before I saw anyone else’s replies…

I’m not implying all of you deflecting is negative!

It is a centuries-long practiced thing we do.


This is exactly what I do at the moment and can confirm, it is ineffective :slight_smile: no problems with foot in mouth from me, at least! I also totally end up blunt and slightly aggressive when I have been polite too long!


Depending on the person, I say “that’s kind of creepy!” in a mildly disgusted way. Maybe not appropriate for your Grandma though. I do a lot of deflecting.


Had to use one today. Was talking with my mom, grandma, and aunt on FaceTime today and mom said “Oh Bobbin has SUCH A BAD TEMPER!” And I was like NOPE. Shut that shit down. I told her 1) not to say that and 2) you’d have a temper if you were working hard to express yourself but the people around you just kept not understanding what you were trying to communicate.

At 15 months she is doing really well at trying to tell us what she wants and she does get big feelings and act out a little when she doesn’t get her way or whatever. But I’m not gonna sit here and tell her that she has a bad temper. She’s got feelings like we all have and she’s learning to navigate them.

Of course I got that whole shaking heads and knowing laugh from my family about this but whatever. I’m not going to teach her to bottle up her feelings like I was taught. Especially not at sub 2 years old.