Kids In Adult Conversations? Yes or No?

Katherine - posted on 01/22/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )




Big kids feel even more grown up when they get to sit around the table chatting with their parents, aunts, uncles, and family friends. Some CafeMoms prohibit this practice and shoo their kids away to play. They don't feel that tweens or even teens should be allowed into adult conversations, partly because of the potential topics (sex, money troubles, death). They grow up too fast already, they say. Also, it's just not their place.

A conversation going on in the private group Heated Debates (over 100 comments so far) is hashing out the pros and cons of letting adolescents into adult talk circles.

"When I was younger it was a no-no, you were not allowed to sit under adults while they were talking, and you were not allowed to be part of the conversations," says guess_who_wit_6. "I am the same way. My children are not my friends nor are they my equals and they have no place in adult convos unless they are specifically asked a question."

One anonymous mom says it all depends on the conversation. She thinks it's horrible when a family is always kicking the kids out so they can talk. Kids need to feel a part of things, she says, while learning there are certain things not for their ears.

"Finances, sure. Why shouldn't they hear that? Unless of course, we are having problems. They shouldn't worry about that until they're adults," she says. "But listening to Mom and Dad talking about budgeting and compromising could be beneficial. Sex, death of someone they didn't know, legal problems ... not even teens need to hear this."


Tara - posted on 01/23/2011




It all depends on the age and maturity level of the child and the nature of the conversation.
When my best friend is visiting and we're talking about sex and adult relationships etc. we shoo the kids away.
But when we're talking about something that is going on in the world, something we read or heard, I judge what is too much to say and what is enough. Again depending on the age and maturity level of the kid.
My 14 year old hangs out with Steve and I and our friends when we are together to jam, he plays guitar and is learning from all the older guys. So he is privy to conversations about politics, religion, addiction, current events etc. etc. and not only does he listen in, he contributes.
So again it really goes back to age and maturity level.
There are things I will discuss around my almost 11 year old daughter that I wouldn't around my 8 year old.
Different kids.

[deleted account]

We don't mind our kids listening to our conversation but we have conversations where it is between DH and myself and though the kids can listen we don't want their input. We treat our kids like their age. If they want to be in the conversation it needs to be age appropriate. They are not adults and shouldn't be treated as such. :)

Cecilia - posted on 06/05/2013




For me, I allow my children to be involved in conversations that I am having out in the open in the house. If I don't want them to hear, I simply don't say it around them. I can never think of a moment when anyone was over talking about Uncle Jack being arrested or anything of that nature.My friends and family are respectful when choosing topics. I was once mentioning that I had found out my Uncle was gay. Didn't seem to be a topic that should have been secret around 10+ year olds.

If discussing things that I don't feel they need to know, as someone mentioned, money issues. I do it either out of earshot, or when they are not around. Why? There are somethings that as children I don't feel they should have to worry about. It isn't their problem- it's mine.

As far as sex... not sure what kind of sex talk you mean? A friend saying "omg my boyfriend tore me up last night?" Yea probably not a convo to have around a small child, but then again what kind of person are you hanging around? Is this a situation where you shoo a child to say it??

Death, I think it's okay to talk about out in the open. This does not make them grow up to quickly. It's a fact of life. I made a mistake and bought a pair of gerbils when my children where smaller. They had babies. They only live on average 3 years. We ended up over 10 years having 28 babies all together. They all died. Some very young, some died of old age, some got cancer. My children learned to accept death as something that does happen. I will never regret my mistake of getting that first pair of gerbils.

Denikka - posted on 05/22/2013




I think that when it comes to world issues, economics, politics, spiritual manners including death, that sort of thing, when a child is old enough to intelligently contribute to the conversation, they should be able to be involved.
When it comes to personal and family matters though, I think that discretion should be used with every conversation. MOST of the family don't need to know that Auntie Sue is sleeping with her 5th different guy this month, or that Uncle Bob lost his house due to gambling debts, or cousin Joe is cheating on his wife with her sister. Just like most of the extended family (aka anyone outside of my household) don't really need to know any details about my finances or 99% of things about my sex life or whatever.
Personal conversations are personal for a reason. If I ask my kids to leave the room to have a conversation, it's not necessarily because of their age, but more the fact that the topic I'm discussing is between me and the other person/people I'm speaking with and has nothing to do with my kids.

Sharon - posted on 01/23/2011




Discussing welfare assistance, abortion, recent news - generally ok topics for teens.

The family finances. My kids get to help make decisions - small ones regarding finances. Do we spend our small amount of extra cash on something fun this week or do we save until next payday and do something bigger?

They do not know when we can't afford to pay the electric bill.

Gossip about family & friends. NO. "cousin sam was arrested in a hit run incident." none of their business until the trial is over and we can explain all the facts to them. "aunt ronie is sleeping around with druggies" none of the kids business.

My husband feels perfectly free to tell the kids shit like "we can't afford to buy milk this week." Um thats bullshit. We will ALWAYS be able to afford basics. We might not be able to afford his cherry coke or my favorite jalapeno chips but the kids will ALWAYS have what they need and most of what they want. The most I will tell the kids is "Money is really tight this week, we can't afford the extras." I never make it seem all gloom & doom like my husband will. btw this is one of those things he USED to do. after a few HUGE blowouts he doesn't say this shit to the kids. all it did was scare them and disturb them, leaving unable to sleep and created anxiety issues.

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Kelly - posted on 06/04/2013




The only time I've ever asked my 6 year old SD to leave the room was when her dad and I needed to have a conversation about something that happened while she was in her mother's care and the conversation COULD NOT wait until later. Other than that, if I need to have a conversation I don't want her to hear, I wait until she's not hanging around.

"Adult" conversations between my husband and myself can wait until after her bedtime most of the time, and if it's a social gathering, the kids are rarely interested in whatever boring stuff the grown-ups are doing. As far as determining what's appropriate for her and what isn't, if I would allow her to see it in a movie, I would allow her to here/participate in a conversation about it. I think it helps children grow and have a better grasp of the world around them and I would rather she learn from us than from her friends. The one exception is family issues/family gossip. Watching a movie where there is an alcoholic can be a teaching moment. Hearing about Cousin such-and-such's alcohol problem becomes an issue in family dynamics and affects her perception of her family forever.

Sally - posted on 05/29/2013




I want my children to be respected as human beings and learn to live in the real world so I include them in my conversations. I probably shouldn't be discussing things that are inappropriate for children to hear anyway and if I do, there are plenty of child free places to do it.

Cashmere - posted on 05/22/2013




I agree. We were NEVER allowed to engage with the adults while they were talking. Coming from a large family, there was always an adult on the watch to shoo us away!
I think kids today have much less discipline, and whether or not the parents realize, it affects many more people than the kids.

Bonnie - posted on 01/23/2011




I don't remember being told to leave the room. I'm not sure how I will be with my kids when they get a bit older. Adults do have a right to their own conversations and shouldn't have to fear what may come up or be said though. Some kids are more mature than others though and some literally hear something and don't think anything of it and just forget about it.

Charlie - posted on 01/23/2011




I've never shooed my eldest away ( I doubt he or Harry gives a crap ) and probably wont .
IF I need to say something I don't want them to hear I will talk in private .

I know as a child I couldn't care less what the adults were saying unless they shooed me away then I would think " hang on this must be good Im gonna be sneaky and listen "

Stifler's - posted on 01/22/2011




My parents told us to get outside and play or go away and play a game. Adults have the right to an adult conversation without kids hanging around whingeing or listening and throwing their 2 cents worth in. When do you get to be adult if your kids are always around... should we have to wait 20 years to be allowed to talk about sex or swear with friends if we're parents? You should definitely talk with your kids etc. but sometimes it's okay to tell them to go away and have an adult conversation.

Meghan - posted on 01/22/2011




It depends on the convo and the kids. My son is always around stage 5 clinger. But if I have company and he wants to sit with us he has to be respectful and wait his turn (haha, ok he is 2...we are working on it) The only thing I don't think is his business is my money. We were raised that it was rude to ask about how much adults make, what they do with money, how much a visa is racked up to etc. Now that I am older both parents will openly discuss with me. When he gets older and needs guidance with it then he can start inquiring.

Jenn - posted on 01/22/2011




I would totally shoo my kids away if we were having an "adult" conversation. Everything is NOT their business.

Ez - posted on 01/22/2011




I was a terrible eavesdropper as a kid and was always being sent away when adults were talking. And rightly so, IMO. I didn't need to hear that so-and-so had just left her husband for another man, or that whatserface had a nervous breakdown. There are some things kids just don't need to be around for, and as the occasion arises I will have no problem either removing my child from the vicinity or stopping the conversation.

Lacye - posted on 01/22/2011




When I was younger, my dad and stepmother would not discuss hardly anything in front of the kids. To be honest, they still don't! My mother on the other hand had no problem talking about sex, money problems and death. With Daddy and my step mother, they would ask about our days and if it was a serious discussion, especially with other adults around, we were told to leave.

To be honest, in some ways I agree with my dad and in some ways I don't. If the conversations is about finances, children should not be involved. If it is about sex, children should not be involved. If it is about death, tweens and teenagers are old enough to handle situations and conversations dealing with death in my opinion.

Katherine - posted on 01/22/2011




I was constantly shooed away! It was always, "We're having an ADULT conversation." Especially when we had get togethers with friends.
It was a normal thing in my household growing up to get kicked out quite frequently for adult conversations!

Lady Heather - posted on 01/22/2011




Weird. I would never have put so much thought into this. When I was a kid we would all hang out as a family sometimes, but when my cousins were around we often wanted to run off and do our own thing because adults were boring. So there was never an issue of whether or not we should be around because the adult convos happened when we chose not to be I guess.

By the time I was a teenager I was involved in adult convos and it was no big deal. My teenage cousins always hang out with us adults. I figure if they weren't ready to partake in those conversations, they'd probably go do something else because they'd find them boring.

I guess to me this stuff just naturally sorts itself out.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/22/2011




I definately have shooed my son, niece, and nephew out of the room when I found the specific topic of conversation R rated for little ears. But I do think it is fine in normal everyday conversation. But when I want the juicy gossip that is...once again...R rated...get out. I am a SAHM...and I need all the adult talk that I can get when I am around adults.

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