Rude Comments About “All Those Kids”

Tabitha at the shooting range. She's our newest hunter.

Our friend Connie at Smockity Frocks posted The Things People Say on her blog. She has a list of the rudest comments she has received about her family of eight children from complete strangers. Here’s her list:

  • I would slit my wrists.
  • Are you going to get your tubes tied?
  • Better you than me.
  • I hated every day at home in my large family.
  • WHY do you have so many children?!
  • When are you going to stop?
  • I feel sorry for your son.
  • Don’t you know what causes that?
  • That’s what puppies are for.
  • Do they all have the same daddy?
  • I hope you are done!

There are two responses: “Be Jesus” responses and “Be Human” responses. Let’s start with human answers…

  • I would slit my wrists.
    Need help? 
  • Are you going to get your tubes tied?
    Are you going to get your brain scanned? 
  • Better you than me.
    Darn right. 
  • I hated every day at home in my large family.
    Is everything your parent’s fault? Your existence is pitiful. 
  • WHY do you have so many children?!
    Why do you care? 
  • When are you going to stop?
    As soon as fools like you do. We’re out to outbreed idiots. 
  • I feel sorry for your son.
    I feel sorry for your parents. 
  • Don’t you know what causes that?
    Yes. But unlike you, I haven’t given it up. 
  • That’s what puppies are for.
    You will outlive your puppies, and you’ll die alone in a nursery. 
  • Do they all have the same daddy?
    Do you have one lover? 
  • I hope you are done!
    And I hope the same for you.

Yes, yes. Not very loving. Here are better responses:

  • I would slit my wrists.
    No, you wouldn’t. You would be surprised at the love your children bring into your life. 
  • Are you going to get your tubes tied?
    Why would I want to restrict the love of children? 
  • Better you than me.
    I challenge you to reconsider. Children are a blessing. 
  • I hated every day at home in my large family.
    Was this because of the number of siblings? Or because of the lack of love in your house? 
  • WHY do you have so many children?!
    Because love multiplies. The more people in the house, the more love abounds. 
  • When are you going to stop?
    When God wants us to. Don’t worry, there will come a day, right about when the grandkids start coming.
  • I feel sorry for your son.
    Have you met my son? Or his brothers and sisters? They love each other and are quite well adjusted. 
  • Don’t you know what causes that?
    Yes, and it’s God’s gift to marriage. Unrestricted love making is awesome. 
  • That’s what puppies are for.
    Children are miracles. Puppies are dogs, nothing like that of your own child. 
  • Do they all have the same daddy?
    Yes. The same Father as you. 
  • I hope you are done!
    If God chooses to bless us with another, we will gladly receive the love! 

Really, paying rudeness for rudeness doesn’t ever help. People who say flippant comments don’t honestly know what they’re saying. This is why a simple response – similar to the third one, “I encourage you to reconsider” – is a very appropriate one. If it causes the stranger to pause and reflect, it will have made much more impact than an angry response.

We’re curious: have you had these things said to you? How have you responded?

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Mindy Rice

    Wendy and Chris everyone would be proud to have one child who is as happy, smart, caring and well adjusted as your 16. One of the things you mentioned in “Love Another Child” was that no one saying they should have had “fewer” children. I am the mother of one teenage boy and as much as I love him dearly I often (being past my child bearing years) that I had more kids. Especially after seeing how well the Jeubs and many other “large” families that I have been blessed to become friendnionss with. Children are a blessing ALWAYS. If anyone says differently they are entitled to their opinion. And you know what they say about opinions!

  • http://www.embracingthedream.com/ Ellen

    I’ve heard several (have 8 kids), but back when I only had 3 or so, I often made the “how many are you having”, and “you know what causes that” ones.  Fortunately, I made them to women who were so gracious and loving and always responsed with things like “as many as the Lord blesses us with” and “Yes, and I like it” and it began to give me pause to think.  Then I began to ask questions – which in turn changed my way of thinking.  Funniest part is that the one lady who impacted me the most – I shared it with her several years later and she was at a time of reconsidering that philosophy herself, and my sharing it with her help her with her doubts.  Kind of neat seeing the sowing and reaping principle in action.  So yes, your responses can really change a culture!!!!

  • Susan

    Honestly, it goes along with being Pro-Choice.  You and Wendy chose to have a large family.  That’s your choice!  Our choice is to have an only child. 

    Don’t laugh, but I use you all as role models on how to be a good parent and keep things from getting crazy. 1 kid needs lots of love and laughter as they grow up, just as your 16 need it.

    • Pmra2

      And how is killing a baby a choice? Who’s choice is that? Not the baby’s. We live in such a selfish world.

      • Abby

        That man was extremely rude to your toddler Mary Beth, I am sorry that happened to you. I have 5 kids (one set of twins) and I get a few “whoa” comments from time to time, but I love my kids and wouldn’t change them for anything. I don’t think most people intend to be rude with their statements. Some yes, “get your tubes tied” and such is downright rude. I guess many just don’t know how to react when they are shocked by a situation. We all do it from time to time in different forms, be it staring at someone with a physical abnormality or acting in pity to someone who just wants to be treated as they usually are. Chris, you are absolutely correct. responding with rudeness gets us nowhere. In all parts of life, not being rude back and just being nice and polite about issues I feel gains us much more.

        My family has a slightly odd set up to some as my 2 oldest are in public school and the younger 3 are homeschooled (long off-the-point story) – but I get remarks from both sides about it-some parents in my homeschool group are rude about the kids in public schools to the point where they make me feel that I don’t love my children and that they are set to be failures. Then I hear some of the public school parents say I am depriving my 3 kids of a proper education and, wait for it, socialization!!!! I call bull on that one. Church, Scouts, sports, playing in the park with kids on the block, they’re fine! I don’t know if the world has truly gotten ruder, there would never have been a time when everyone agreed, I just think people now have a means to communicate their views and shout the opposite side down. The extreme views on both sides of an argument make good TV. The world loves drama.

        Susan didn’t specifically mention abortion. Having one child doesn’t mean she has killed babies to stop them. I would never have an abortion, (an extreme minimul chance life and death situation may force me to have one but that’s a totally different scenario that thankfully most moms never have to consider). I am not here to open a can of worms, because I also think abortion is wrong, but pro-choice does not necessarily mean you think abortion is right, Susan was just stating that, with the option to have many, comes the option to limit (abortion aside, I mean through contraceptive methods), and I think both sides must respect each other. We will never have anything downright crazy like the 1 child law in China, I really do belive that most people don’t have a care in the world for how many children people have, I think it’s more the “how you live” and more importantly, who is paying for it, that generates the negativity.

        My children are a blessing. We have to remember that most of the world are not against us.

  • Mary Beth

    We have three children and while we were at my son’s spring concert at school this man said to my toddler “You are the reason we don’t want anymore”. Believe me we would’ve had more but that wasn’t in God’s plan for us. I am one of 7 so for me having more is just a natural thing. I love the chaos! And my mother can tell you every detail of the day each one of us was born down to what the weather was like. So just because you have alot of children doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with them…my mother has told us awesome stories of my grandmother and great-grandmother..Stories that we can pass down to our children. God bless you all…From small families to large it doesn’t matter what size as long as Christ is first!!

    • Susan

       Has the world gotten ruder?  I just can’t fathom the comments that
      people make.  I’ve had people tell me I’m selfish for only having one. 
      You can’t tell by looking at me that I’ve had cancer and pregnancy
      hormones could rev it up again.  However, maybe I only wanted one
      anyway.  Why should my choice be criticized?  

      The thought of 16 children overwhelms me.  But, how would I really know
      unless I have 16?  The thought may overwhelm me but that doesn’t mean I
      should judge and say it’s wrong.  I’ve also wondered if the kids in a
      big families actually get more attention because there are so many
      people around to give attention. 

      Why are people so judgmental?  What did your toddler ever do to that man
      to make him say such an awful thing?  Why did that man think it was
      okay to say it out loud.  He’s free to think whatever he wants, but why
      share it?  I don’t get it and it makes me sad for him.  I wouldn’t like
      having negative thoughts all the time.

      Whatever happened to not saying anything unless you have something nice to say? 

      • Vanessa

        My friend has 7 children and when she is asked Doesn’t she have a tv ?she says” No there is too much sex on tv” LOL

        • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

          I’m so stealing this one.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BZXHT7XDXDDSOBCWGPTUGYGV5Q Elizabeth

    I only have 3 children but they are adopted. My 2 sons are of a different nationality, being from Colombia. My older son is typically Hispanic in appearance. I would get comments like “He must look like his father”, to which I’d answer “I don’t know, I never met him.” That shut them up! Lots of comments similar to that. My younger son is Afro-Colombian. “He must have got his hair from his father”. “I don’t know, he never took his hat off”. He was called a nigger once, that made me ballistic. My daughter looks so much like my sister and I that people refused to believe she was adopted. “She’s your real child, just look at her.”  “All my children are real.” I can take questions or comments from people who are truly interested and not rude. I was able to give several people information on Colombian adoptions when they stopped to say something, and weren’t rude, in the grocery store or wherever. But rudeness begets rudeness. It isn’t anyone’s business how many, or how few, children are in a family as long as the parents love their children and support them. When the public has to support children then I can say something, as can any taxpayer. I know many small families who would have welcomed more children but it wasn’t in the cards for them.

  • Knighthonor

    i have 6 children.  every time i leave the house i hear, “boy, you’ve got your hands full!”.  i usually say “full of blessings” or “its a good handful” or “i thank God for each and every one of them.”  i also always hear, “so, no more right?”  “are you done now?”  i always say, “if God gives us more we will gladly receive them.”

  • Lauren

    The thing I am sick of hearing (we have 9, ages 12 mos-14 yrs) is, “Are you going to have any more?”  I’ve decided to respond, “Not in the next 9 months!”

  • http://www.mooberry-farm.com/ Mooberry Farmwife

    I love this.  As a mama of 8, I do hear such questions and opinions.  It is always a chance to let others (and my children) hear me say that our large family is a gift from God!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1230185455 Alexia Acha

    Thank you for the reminder! <3 Its sometimes easier to respond in the flesh… but I need to remember that EVERYONE needs the Grace of God! 

  • Debbie

    The rudest comment we ever received was from a lady taking tickets at a museum when she stated “it’s good to see you are finally of your back” then she looked at my husband and stated “what a lucky man he is”. This was a complete stranger, we did put in a complaint to the museum which they took very seriously.

  • Kohl_Kathy

    I absolutely adore your family and your values. We need more “Christ like” people in the world. As long as God continues to bless you with children, then you will continue to bless everyone around you :0)

  • Janetkiessling

    The Kiessling family has heard plenty of comments over the years – some jokes & some not! We just role with the ‘punches’. We have 9 Blessings! The oldest is 33 & the youngest is 9 –  3 grown & out of the home; 6 blessings that we are adpotive parents too. They are African-American. So we have had the comments – good & bad! We deal with the comments as they come – but the best one: Are you done? – Only if God says we are…..:o) And right now we are struggling with California’s law that was passed…………..we can not foster or adopt because we have 6 children in the home……….:( . Now, we can go out of state or country but………:( there are soooooo many kiddos here that need forever homes & families to love & be loved!  So, the Lord closes one door & opens the next………..:) Sorry for getting off the subject! We forgive the bad comments & your right….be rude back does not fix ignorance………..Hugs to the Jeub family from the Kiessling family…..<

  • MiriamMainstream

    I think responding in a rude way is just downright ignorant and uneducated.

    You are better to respond with peace and love, OR not at all. You don’t have to justify any comment with a response. After all, its your blog.

    I would personally wonder why you feel the need to justify yourself at all to anyone. If you’re comfortable with your life, family and God, you shouldn’t need to feel that way at all.

  • guest

    As a humanist, not one of those “human” responses would ever come out of my mouth. I think you’ve let your furtile Christian imagination run rampant through the “what non-Christians believe” mythology that exists for those who do not fellowship outside their own kith and kin.

    • RG

       I’m sorry, I think you missed the part that stated these are actual comments the original writer has personally received. There is no assumption concerning what people believe, just direct quotes. This isn’t imagination at work, just real impropriety. Also, it isn’t noted whether the people commenting are Christian or non Christian, as there are many Christians as well as other religions/ non religious,etc. who hold different beliefs on this general subject. In other words, not all Christians are complimentary either.The point of the ‘human’ response is basically what could immediately come to mind when someone is issuing a rude comment if one was prone to be quick witted or sarcastic. The ending point is essentially what you said. Don’t let rude things come out of your mouth when you are being barraged by rudeness. Hope this helps.

      • guest

        Nope, I didn’t miss anything. I was refering to your list of “Be Human” responses. The original list, from Connie, I have no arguement with and I can believe she got all of those comments in one form or the other, as I have recieved in kind comments about the lack of size of my family. I still stand by my original comment that your response list, even with implied wit, does not in anyway represent the thought processes of most non-Christians.
        (Perhaps your outside reference is the typical putdown, slapstick dialog that passes as Hollywood entertainment these days and not your furtile imagination.)

        As a further exercise, here’s a very short list of comments I’ve had from known professing Christians regarding my family.

        You know children are a blessing, right? 
        Let me give you the name of this doctor, He’s a Christian, he can help.
        I’m sorry.
        I hated every day at home in my small family, the silence.
        WHY do you have so few children?!
        When are you going to have another? I feel sorry for your son. Don’t you know what causes that? 
        That’s what puppies are for.
        Has you husband been tested?I hope you are not done!

        Many are surprising similar. Most of these responses recieved no answer from me as they were made by people I knew only casually. I did give one answer to only one person, that person I thought was going to a very good friend. I said to her, “I wish I could have named him Isaac, but my husband preferred M….” My response did not directly answer her comment and the conversation discord cause her to think. I’ll let you guess which one of the above comments this person made and in the end when she inferred what my comment meant in terms of my family size, and dispite my best efforts, she chose to cut off contact between our families.

        Perhaps in addition to the rude/polite dialog, we also need less non-Christian/Christian dialog about personal and private decisions.

        • Katie

           Some of those comments sounded well-meaning, others sounded rude and prying.  I agree that we need to ask less personal questions.  I don’t know what is going on with society that we now think we have the right to be in everyone else’s business and judging them before we even know them!

        • Sheila(UK)

          No-one should be rude  whether they are Christian or not.
          It is a basic rule of common courtesy.

        • Ann

           nope.  we need to keep up the Non-christian/Christian dialog.  We were founded as a Christian nation, and I am tired of being told to keep my christian comments to myself.

          • What’s it to ya

            WRONG. This is a NON DENOMINATIONAL country, founded to be free of religious persecution.

  • carolyn bassett

    We typically respond to these things by explaining that our private lives are private.

  • Jo

    I’m in ‘awe’ of any big family. I have 2 brothers and 4 sisters and I wouldn’t change anything. What good memories I have of growing up in that wonderful family. (I’m pushing 60 now.) We are a close family even today.
    Blessing to all of you.

  • Liz Jenkins

    I get comments like that, and I “only” have 4 kids! They’re all under the age of 5, so I get the “Are they ALL yours?” and “Oh, you poor thing!” comments all the time! Those aren’t even the worst comments… one of the worst ones came from when I was about 7 months pregnant with my twins. My oldest was about 15 months old, and I was at the grocery store. My fingers were so swollen that I couldn’t wear my wedding ring, and my husband was in another aisle. I was 26 years old, but I look like I’m much younger. A woman walked by me, noticed my young daughter, my swollen belly, and my lack of wedding ring and basically told me what a disgrace I was, a young, unmarried girl who had gotten herself “knocked up” again. My husband came by then and told her off, but I was appalled! (Not to mention shaken!) It’s amazing how many people don’t have a filter between their brains and their mouths.

    I don’t understand the “you poor thing!” comment. When I say that I have a 4-year-old, two 3-year-olds, and a 7-month-old, people look at me sympathetically. When people say “you poor thing!” I say “Why? My kids are amazing, and I love being their mama!”

  • Sheila (UK)

    Hi Chris and Wendy,
                           I have a friend who has just celebrated the birth of her 18th child. I have known her 15 years and at the time I met her she had just given birth to her 7th child.
    I remember her telling me that people would say
    Are you on state benefits or does your husband work?
    When are you going to stop?
    The teachers at her childrens school even quizzed the children as to their family life and finances! They decided to homeschool by the time the 9th child was school age and have done a great job.
    I was shocked at the kind of comments she has had from people but large families seem to get this a lot. I even have people say to me ” Don’t they have a TV?”
    This is a sad reflection on our society. People never say “When are you going to stop having holidays? ” or ” When are you going to have enough material possessions?”
    It is difficult to react in the correct way but I think if we do, it can often make the other person think differently. Snapping back at someone rarely helps any situation.
    There are usually underlying reasons in the lives of those who make negative comments as being angry at someone for having a large family is irrational.

  • Emily K

    My mom today told me that she had a really vivid nightmare last night that I told her we were pregnant again. I asked her..”Would that really be such a bad thing mom?” She believed that there is trouble ahead that I am not seeing with mine so young. I am sure there will be challenges ahead, but I will face those challenges likely whether I only have the 5 I have now, or if we add more. Made me sad.

  • Annie D.

    I LOVE this!! Thank you so much. I have six sisters and two brothers and have grown weary over the years by the prejudice and intolerance people have for large families. My loving husband and I will soon be welcoming our third child into our family and I’m already hearing the rude remarks about having “a large” family. Thank you for sharing your faithful wisdom and encouragement. We agree — children are a blessing! God bless you and your family!

  • Emily Fedusiak

    Hi there, I’m just curious, what do you think of smaller families? What are your thoughts on if a Godly, Christian couple is called to have just one, two, or perhaps no children? Do you believe there is only abundant love in larger homes? Thank you :)