Rude Things People Say To Unmarried Parents
It’s no secret that millennials are putting an end to a lot of old traditions surrounding marriage, parenthood, and the nuclear family. We’re marrying later, we aren’t getting married at all, and some of us are having children out of wedlock, remaining with the other biological parent and still just…not getting married. Some say out of wedlock children are on the rise because women do not rely on marriage as much today as they did 60 years ago for things like financial survival or societal acceptance. I guess I like to think of it as more of a personal decision than any sort of monetary or cultural one. But, I really cannot speak for all of the women who are reproducing with their committed partner and not tying the knot. I can just tell you that it’s happening a lot, and people can still be surprisingly close-minded about it. Here are things people still say to unmarried parents.
Don’t you want to be a real family?
Er, they are a real family. And who really gets to say what constitutes a real family, anyways? Is it biology? Is it a group of people who have each other’s back, no matter what? Is it both? I can certainly say I know a lot of people who are technically family according to DNA but do not have each other’s backs.
Kids will bully them
Bullies will be bullies. They will always find a reason to bully other children because they look for reasons. If it weren’t unmarried parents, it would be something else. Maybe we should be more focused on making bullies stop bullying entirely, rather than making people adjust their choices to avoid bullying.
Your child deserves some stability
I will assert again that married parents do not always, necessarily, provide a sense of stability for their kids. Are we just going to ignore all of the divorces out there? Do you think those homes felt very stable for those children, during the lead-up to the divorce? It’s the people in the family who make it feel stable—not any paperwork or labels.
Your kid can be part of your wedding
That’s cute but, that’s also assuming there will be a wedding. This is a little thing some folks say when they’re secretly trying to convince you to get married, and are projecting their need to conform to societal norms onto you.
That’s very European of you
Uh, I guess? But many couples who have kids out of wedlock aren’t going for a thing. They aren’t trying to be edgy, modern, controversial, or “European.” The choice had nothing to do with how outsiders might perceive them.
You may as well get married now
Then there are the people who say, “You may as well get married now—you have kids already.” Gee. How romantic. Every couple wants to get married because they “May as well.” Yup—that’ll go in the vows. “We figured, why not?”
Your child could be promiscuous
Some maintain that children who grow up with unmarried parents become promiscuous, and grow up with the idea that relationships and sex are all very casual. But an unmarried couple isn’t necessarily unfaithful, polyamorous, into swinging, and things like that. Oh, and by the way, it’s married couples who are into swinging.
Was it an accident?
First off, that’s nobody’s business. Even if it were an accident, the child is here now and the couple adores their child. Second off, it doesn’t have to have been an accident. Plenty of couples make the conscious decision to have kids, without a marriage.
You could both bail at any minute
Some people fear that an unmarried couple might just walk out on the relationship at any time. First of all, um, they have a child together so that is some form of commitment—a bigger, more permanent one than marriage. Also, married people get divorced all of the time.
I don’t want my kid around that
The truly close-minded don’t want their children hanging out with the kids of unmarried parents. Right…because that’s one of the real dangers and horrors happening in the world right now.
So whose is he, legally?
Huh? It’s astonishing this question even comes up and most couples don’t even want to entertain it by answering it but the child belongs to BOTH parents. Like…what? A child isn’t like a house—she doesn’t only become community property after X amount of years of marriage.
You won’t have more, right?
This piggybacks off the assumption that the first out of wedlock child was a mistake. Some people say (or rather, insist), “You won’t have more before getting married, right?”
What do you tell your kid?
Each couple will discuss that and decide on what to tell their child. But might I point out that there are a lot of things we need to explain to kids like, homophobia, racial slurs, and risks of police brutality. So, explaining why mommy and daddy aren’t married is a walk in the park.
You can get married for cheap, ya know
It isn’t about the money and yes the couple knows that they can get married for cheap. They know how to throw a dirt cheap wedding if they wanted to. But, they still don’t want to.
How will you pass on the family name?
Well, that question presumes that if the couple did get married, that the woman would take her partner’s name. Or that the child should have the father’s last name. These decisions are up to the couple’s discretion, but there is really no wrong way to go about them.