10 Things You Should Never Say to the Parent of a Toddler

by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

Infants are adorable with their funny faces, downy hair and oh-so-pattable bums. They're even adorable when they pass gas - "look he's smiling!" (We'll conveniently forget about colic, middle-of-the-night parties and diaper explosions on Great Grandma's white couch for now.) But toddler-hood is a whole new game and parents quickly discover that they're not the only ones setting the rules anymore. Mis-characterized as "the terrible twos," this stage of defiant independence punctuated with extreme neediness can last up until kindergarten. Oh for the days when I could confine my son to a car seat in the grocery store!

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So in an effort to support those moms and dads of toddler terrorists, here are 10 things you shouldn't say to the parent of a toddler:

1. "I hope he's not going on this flight." Yeah me too but I'd also like a flight without loud people on cell phones, overhead bin hogs and passive-aggressive seat mates.

2. "It's totally okay if she misses her nap!" Nuclear meltdown says no.

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3. "You'll look back on this and miss it."
That would require me to survive this first and some days I'm not sure that's going to happen.

4. "Isn't he potty trained yet
?" Nah, changing diapers is my hobby. Plus it ensures he will pick a college close to home.

5. "Is she always like this?"
No, she saves it for people she likes. Like you!

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6. "When my son was that age he could read.
" But could your son empty all the condiment bottles in the refrigerator in the time it takes to answer a phone call? I thought not.

7. "You let your kids eat candy/chips/pop/wheat/whatever?!"
Next thing you'll tell me is that lickable lead-paint wallpaper is bad or something.

8. "If you'd just be firm with her, you wouldn't have this problem." She will breastfeed until high school, sleep in my bed until college and throw down her bouquet in a tantrum on her wedding day. We're grooming her for her own reality show.

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9. "If that were my kid I'd spank him." If he was your kid, we'd have bigger issues than a candy tantrum. Want me to book the paternity test now?

10. "My child never did that."
Then you have a bad memory.

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.