Parents on Reddit Reveal 'Cringeworthy Questions' Their Kids Have Loudly Asked in Public

Kids are curious—and they haven't developed a filter yet. Sometimes, they display their natural curiosity at some pretty awkward times. Reddit commiserated and offered valuable advice.

Photo: Art: Jillian Sellers.

Kids say the darnedest things. But sometimes, those things can make even the most understanding and empathetic parents' faces turn 50 shades of red. One parent of children ages 4 to 9 went on Reddit to explain and ask for some advice on responding.

"What are some cringeworthy questions your kids have asked you loudly in public… and how did you respond to the question?" wrote u/johnsabd in the Parenting subreddit.

The Redditor went on to explain a couple of their child's latest and greatest questions. The first, according to the poster, was directed at a Middle Eastern woman at a store. "Why is she dressed like a ghost?" the child reportedly asked. Another time, the child asked two of the family's friends who are in a same-sex relationship, "Which one of you is the girl?"

The poster knows that the questions don't come from a bad place. "Kids are curious," they wrote. But the person also knows that someone might be offended by the questions if they overhear and is concerned about that. They wanted some tips from other parents as to how to best respond.

The post has already received nearly 350 comments in one day. They not only feature advice for the original poster but some assurance that they're not alone—their kids say some cringe-worthy things, too. And many of them have literal potty mouths.

"I took my then 3-year-old to the bathroom stall. She turns around and sees me wiping. She loudly yells, 'Mommy, why do you have poo poo on your vagina?' I quietly explained that it was hair, and she called me gross," one mom said.

"My kid asks why I'm bleeding, if I had an accident in my underwear, and if I need a band-aid during that time of the month. This is loudly in the bathroom since she doesn't know the difference between an inside and outside voice. We're still working on it," another replied.

Sometimes, explanations of difficult topics like death may bring up more questions, and sometimes they get asked at awkward times.

"My oldest asking a very frail old man in the elevator if he was going to die in the elevator or at home with his family. She was just figuring out the concept of death. I made the mistake of saying, 'most people who die are very old,' which she took to mean 'old people are likely to drop dead at any moment,'" another lamented.

These are certainly embarrassing. But others gave the parent hope that there were ways to address questions in an age-appropriate way that promotes empathy and acceptance.

"'Oh, do you have a baby growing inside you…or are you just fat?" [my child] said to a middle-aged man, who thankfully was just genuinely amused. We had a conversation afterward about how people come in different shapes and sizes, and commenting on that isn't polite, but she can ask me questions privately if she has them," a poster said.

"My son (4) saw our wheelchair-bound neighbor for the first time and loudly asked why he was in that chair. I explained that some people need wheelchairs to get around," someone said.

This poster is right on. Recently, one man in a wheelchair took to TikTok to give parents tips on answering children's questions about disabilities.

"Here's what not to do: 'Shhh. Don't say that. Stop staring,'" the user, whose real name is Danilo Stankovic explains in the video. "Instead, try this. [Say,] 'Nothing is wrong with him…They have a disability which just means they move and get around in different ways. You get around on your feet. They get around in a wheelchair.'"

Experts share that addressing the questions about topics like race and disability in an age-appropriate way that highlights and celebrates our similarities and differences can promote inclusivity rather than cause division.

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