Would you be offended if someone said this to your child?

One mum has turned to the parenting forum, Mumsnet, to share her shock when she was asked not to tell a little girl she was “gorgeous.”

She wrote in her post, “I was stood on the pavement outside a cafe waiting for my food order. It was a glorious sunny day in a tourist village so there were loads of people milling about. My 9 month old baby girl in her pram.

“A man (late 30s?) walked over carrying a toddler. He said his daughter wanted to look at the baby. A little bit of small talk followed in which I introduced my baby to the toddler. I asked how old his daughter was (22 months) and said to her, “hello lovely, aren’t you gorgeous!”

“The man looked me sternly in the eyes and said, “oh no, don’t tell her that, language like that ruins them!”

She added, “I work with children, I have lots of friends with children. I often use language like this. This is the first time I’ve come across this kind of attitude and I must admit I thought he was joking and laughed in his face.”


The reactions to her post have been quite mixed. Comments include –

One responded, “I do get the logic behind focusing on other qualities when complimenting girls especially. It does seem to be all focused on looks with girls which i do think should change. Saying that though I wouldn’t correct a stranger in the street like that when they’re just trying to be nice either. I just try to do it myself when talking to kids.”

Another said, “I see a lot of people post about this on social media. I think these types of parents want their children to not see beauty past appearance. A celebrity posted about how angry he was at someone commenting on his daughters lovely appearance and he kindly asked them to recognise how clever, thoughtful a kind she was instead. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous as a compliment is a compliment and a lot of people are so over sensitive now.”

– “Stupid man. Some people want something to complain about!”

– “Ridiculous. He needs to join the real world if this is the biggest issue in his life.”

– “Yep the world has officially cracked its face. You petrified to open your mouth. That’s why I don’t look at kids to be honest.”

How would you react if someone said this to you?  Do you find it offensive?

Share your comments below.

  • I am guilty of this. I notice it with my daughter too. All comments are about her appearance and for my son, about how strong, bold, clever etc he is.


  • Unfortunately I will have to change how I talk and compliment children. I always say they are gorgeous and adorable. The thing is I focus on their smile or their actions or even an outfit they are wearing. You’d think he would be flattered about his child being called gorgeous. How do you know how clever or talented a strangers child is. Maybe he thinks if we see a child we should turn our backs on them.


  • WOW! It’s a sad world we now live in. I often comment on girls I’m close to as being beautiful or gorgeous – this for me is their insides and out. It’s who they are as a person. It’s their soul, their inner beauty, their confidence, their style, the way they carry themselves, their behaviour. I think it’s a fantastic compliment and can be descriptive of so much more than just looks.


  • I can understand both sides of this story, it is hard to get people to change their language and we often do not think about what we say, we go by emotions and feelings, my son was always called gorgeous and cute and it did not effect him, now he is a teenager he does not think about his looks at all. What you say at home is what effects them more, so saying they are clever, kind and generous is always a good thing.


  • Wouldn’t bother me a 9 month old wouldn’t have a clue anyway


  • I would be offerend


  • I wouldn’t be offended either way as long as it was said like that.


  • I honestly don’t think telling a child they’re gorgeous is damaging at all. As long as it’s balanced out with honesty when the child isn’t so gorgeous


  • I get what the father was going for, I also get what his supporters are saying, but how could I compliment a child on being smart or strong when I don’t even know them? I am also one to tell kids they’re beautiful and gorgeous, but I also do that with adults who are complete strangers. In saying that, it’s usually people with kind faces that I find beautiful, which is what I tell them. Delightful is a good neutral word, I find. I use that one a lot ????????


  • It shouldn’t be offensive, it’s better than saying wow your baby looks ugly… I would prefer if they said gorgeous…


  • Oh my gosh, things are really getting out of control when we can’t use the term ‘gorgeous’ aren’t they? Seriously, some people are way too uptight.


  • I had a similar experience with my husband’s aunt – she used to be my daughter’s carer while we worked, a service we paid for. One day my daughter said that she was beautiful while in her care and was told that she isn’t beautiful, that she’s average and beauty is on the inside. What a load of garbage. I always tell my girl that I think she’s beautiful and my son handsome.


  • Seriously? This is so ridiculous. I call children and adults – males and females — gorgeous all the time. It can refer to behaviour eg. sharing. Aww, isn’t that gorgeous? We are becoming so precious. I will continue to call my 21 year old niece my gorgeous girl. She is gorgeous inside and out and it refers to her personality and her soul, moreso than her looks. I will not apologise for this.


  • This is ridiculous. So many things to worry about in this world, calling a baby gorgeous is not one of them.


  • how silly, gorgeous could have been referring to the child’s personality or their behaviour towards the other child, I call all kids gorgeous and beautiful as sometimes we all need a compliment to pick us up

    • I agree – people can have a gorgeous personality! Well said!


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