Do you have kids?

It seems like a simple enough question, right? How many times have you been asked that question? How many times have you asked someone that question?

Maybe a better question is: How many times has someone dodged answering your simple question? “Do you have kids?” or “How many kids to you have?”

Is it really any of your business how many kids someone has or if they even have kids at all?

The answer is NO! It is absolutely, NONE of your business at all.

Have you ever considered that you could be asking someone about one of their most painful and difficult challenges in life?

Here are a couple of facts I found:

An estimated 10 to 20 percent of couples will suffer some form of infertility. (www.ehow.com)

Low sperm count, decreased motility, or abnormal shape of the sperm are responsible for infertility in about 40% of these couples. Female causes account for 40% of infertility cases, and 20% are attributed to a combination of both. (www.fertility-facts.com)

On a daily basis, I get asked this question at least one time. And, it is usually a perfect stranger who knows nothing about me. Why do we feel the need to probe into people’s personal lives? Why do we feel that this is a series of questions that is OK to ask someone you don’t know?

Over the years I have learned a few ways to divert attention. I change the subject. Most people don’t even realize what I have done. One of my standard answers is “No, we have dogs”. This immediately gets them thinking on a completely different level. And I now control the situation and where conversation goes. I am immediately more comfortable with the line of questions that will follow. It took me a while to figure this out. I used to say something like “Oh, we’ll get there some day” or “We still have plenty of time”. On the rare occasion, depending on who is asking, I have been brutally honest. One time I told a cousin “Well, if my plumbing worked correctly, we would probably already have a couple”. Needless to say, he was SHOCKED, jaw dropped to the floor!!! It was priceless 🙂 Unfortunatley, I am not always in a situation where I can be THAT HONEST with people. So, I take the high road and say things that are more acceptable. If only other people were that thoughtful before they asked the question. . .

For those of us who aren’t fertile Myrtle, please consider the questions you ask before you ask them . . . This will save someone a lot of heartache.

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7 responses to “Do you have kids?

  • Cheryl Callison

    Ok, so I realize that I don’t have a lot of room to talk here, but I think you have to consider the possible motive of the person asking the question. Obviously,this question is going to hurt you more because it affects you a on a deeply personal level. But if you’re new in my ward and I’m the primary president, I might ask you that just to assess whether I need to call in another teacher for the nursery class because the friggin teacher didn’t show up again and I’m just hoping you don’t have any nursery aged kids. In such a case, the person isn’t trying to be nosy and just wants to make sure that if you do have kids that they get to the right class. Or maybe I run the ward playgroup and I think you’re cool and I want to make sure you’re included in the next evite, so I might ask hoping you’ll say yes so that I can get to know you better. A decent person won’t judge you if your answer is simply “no,” and if they do, then it’s their problem, and you know who to avoid at the next RS activity.
    Now if you’re not new in the ward, and the person follows it up with something asinine like, “Why not?” or worse, then you have to consider whether or not to put them in their place. Most of your other examples of nosy questions, I totally agree with. We are a nosy, judgmental society and there’s really no excuse for peoples intrusions. But this one – there’s so many possible reasons for asking it that don’t include nosiness. We might not agree on this and that’s ok with me if it’s ok with you.

  • Tori

    I really don’t think people ever mean to offend with that question. They may be just making conversation or are genuinely interested. But I can see how that could be saddening and get old. I think your “dogs” answer is great.

  • Tara Avena

    I can see how this question could be a painful reminder of the struggle you are having, but it is not an offensive or nosy question. It falls along the same get-to-know-you questions as “Are you married?””Do you work?” “What do you do for work?” “Are you from here?” etc.

  • Tori

    I was thinking more about this last night and although I don’t think the question of “do you have kids?” is rude or meant to be offending, when people pry and ask “Why not?” or make other comments that are inappropriate THAT is when it gets rude and offensive. Or when people says stuff like, “It’s time for y’all to have a baby!!” SO not anyone’s business!!
    I get the opposite comments like, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “So are you done now?” or “Now that you got your girl are y’all gonna stop?” I think that’s rude as well.

    • nancy

      I think this is one of those things you can only understand if you have been through it or are going through it. I know there are people out there who understand why I feel this way about that question.

      I also believe that if we step outside the box and ask “Tell me about your family” it’s a lot less intrusive and I would be more willing and open to discussion. Because I do have family, it’s just not the “traditional” family that everyone thinks of. My family consists of me, my husband and my 2 dogs. Like it or not, my dogs are part of my family.

      Changing to “tell me about your family” is universally acceptable across all different types of relationships. It works for singles, couples, divorcee’s, blended families, etc. I am not saying DON’T ASK THE QUESTION. I am asking that people be more considerate of someone else’s situation, a situation you may not be aware of. Let’s not be so close minded to think that everyone that you know/meet has kids.

    • Sarah

      Tori, I understand where you are coming from. Gordon and I got a lot of intrusive question when we were pregnant with Little Bit right after getting married.

      What Nancy said is very true, we need to rephrase our questions to include everyone and stop judging from the start. Just because someone is LDS or Catholic, does not mean they should have 10 children.

      How many children someone has or does not have and how many times someone has been married or not is between them and Heavenly Father.

      We all need to think before we speak, especially me.

  • Tori

    “Tell me about your family” sounds perfect.
    I hope my comments didn’t offend. I was just giving my opinion as someone who has most likely asked someone if they have kids. 😉

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