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Mom Defends Smart Young Daughter After She Insults Woman Who Talked To Her Like A Baby

Young girl with her arms crossed
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When it comes to children, whether we like kids or are interested in having kids of our own, we all have our own opinions about how to interact with kids of various ages.

From baby talk to immersive play to screen time, there is an endless number of decisions a person has to make about their interactions with a child, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, but one of the big ones definitely has to be the use of baby talk.

Redditor Aggressive_Scheme539 had proudly raised a very smart, mature, and individualistic six-year-old daughter who was adamantly against being baby-talked to.

But when she went so far as to insult an adult who had used baby talk around her, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if she needed to teach her daughter more about boundaries.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not making my daughter apologize to the woman who spoke to her like a baby?”

The OP’s daughter was incredibly independent and mature.

“I have a daughter, Katie, who is six years old. She is a very smart and straightforward little girl.”

“People are often surprised by what comes out of her mouth.”

“We do talk about filtering but as she’s six, she’s not always the best at it. I admit, I didn’t use a lot of baby talk when she was younger and do speak to her as I would an adult.”

One adult recently took the baby talking way too far for Katie’s liking.

“Katie has a babysitter, Lauren, who watches her some afternoons if I’m not off by the time Katie is done with school.”

“One night, I had to work late. Lauren’s mom, Julie, stopped by at one point to drop something off. Now, I wasn’t there, but by Lauren’s own admission, her mom can be a lot.”

“The following is a recount from Lauren and Katie has confirmed it when I discussed it with her privately.”

“Julie began gushing about how cute Katie is and began baby-talking her, using cutesy words, pronouncing things with w’s, etc.”

“Lauren was cooking dinner for herself and Katie. Julie turned to Katie and asked, ‘Are you weddy (ready) for your nummies?'”

“Katie got a weird look on her face and asked, ‘Why are you talking to me like that? Are you stupid or something?'”

“Julie got offended and Lauren told Katie to apologize. Katie said no and told Lauren to stop talking like a baby. Julie left not long after.”

Lauren expected the OP’s daughter to apologize to her mother.

“When Lauren relayed the story, I said maybe Katie shouldn’t have been so candid but Julie shouldn’t have talked to her like an infant.”

“Lauren said she just wanted Katie to apologize to her mom. I said Julie should apologize to Katie for treating her like a baby.”

“I did talk to Katie about being more polite. She seemed to be receptive.”

“When I told my mom about the whole situation, she was appalled. She said Julie was probably just trying to be nice and didn’t realize how mature Katie was. She said Katie should absolutely apologize.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some argued that Katie needed to learn to be polite while setting boundaries.

“I notice a lot of people saying, ‘She needs to learn.’ I wonder if we can also think about it as, ‘That’s one, perfectly valid, way to approach it, but here’s another.'”

“I think Katie’s response to being insulted repeatedly by Julie is a valid one. After all, she did a great job setting boundaries and not allowing that unacceptable behavior to continue just to protect Julie’s feelings. But it would also be nice and empathetic of Katie to first assume Julie was unaware her actions were offensive.”

“So Katie might consider telling Julie more gently, ‘Please don’t talk to me like I’m a baby.’ Or something to that effect. Tone plays an important role here so that’s a great teachable moment.”

“I think Katie did the right thing in the first instance telling Julie she wanted that behavior to stop. But she can add more strings to her bow by learning different approaches to resolving conflict.” – Mundane_Plenty8305

“There’s absolutely no reason to be rude. It’s not like she said, ‘Please speak to me in a more appropriate tone.’ She asked if an adult she didn’t know was stupid.”

“I was an advanced child, as well, but my parents taught me how to behave, especially around strangers. She was at best sarcastic and at worst condescending to a complete stranger.”

“Parents should teach her better than that but I suspect that they think it’s okay for her to mouth off since she’s intelligent. Young children should not feel comfortable being sarcastic or rude to adult strangers. It sets a bad precedent for future behavior as an AH adult.”

“I was raised in a very sarcastic family and had a dry sense of humor for as long as I can remember. My parents taught me the importance of context and audience. It’s something that you absolutely need to learn as a young child so you don’t grow up to be a completely unlikable jacka** with no manners.” – Littlest-Fig

“OP needs to have her daughter apologize. In this case, the woman was talking like she was ‘stupid’ because she was using inappropriate baby talk. But what if someone talks to OP’s daughter who sounds ‘stupid’ to her because of another reason, like mental illness or a developmental delay? What if another child who is not as advanced as OP’s daughter talks to her and she asks them if they’re stupid?”

“It’s fine that OP’s daughter does not want to be talked to like a baby, but she can’t just ask people if they’re stupid.” – werebothsquidward

“I also wonder how Katie would react to someone who has a genuine speech impediment, cognitive disability, doesn’t speak English as a primary language, etc.”

“Katie needs to be taught that some people speak differently and that you can ask, but not insult.” – Usrname52

“‘Why are you talking like that?’ is fine. ‘Are you stupid or something’ crosses the line into rude and disrespectful. So, help your daughter craft an appropriate apology for saying that. In person, or a note. And make sure she understands what tact is and how to speak respectfully to anyone she might come across. It’ll make her life much easier if she knows how to be polite.” – DogbiteNotDimple

But others found Katie and Julie to be fairly equally at fault.

“I’m a teacher, who mostly teaches six- to seven-year-olds year olds. NOBODY speaks to them like they’re babies, not their parents or siblings or family members that visit school. (Edit: in Australia, the ‘baby talk’ thing isn’t as common here as it was in the US when I was over there.)”

“I think it’s really weird that Julie saw a six-year-old and thought, ‘I better speak to this child like they’re a toddler.'”

“But I also think it’s important that Katie learns the impact of her words on other people. ‘Are you stupid?’ Isn’t the right way to retaliate, but she’s young, and she’s learning. I do believe she should apologize for calling Julie stupid, and that Julie should apologize for talking to Katie like she’s a baby.”

“ESH.” – JadedDragonfly571

“I think they both need to apologize to each other. They were both rude, and the adult started it. I had that happen a lot as a kid (I was tiny for my age so everyone thought I was younger than I actually was, and they’d talk to me like I was a toddler even at ages five or six).”

“I wasn’t rude about it, though. My dad taught me to say, ‘I can’t understand you, are you okay?’ They’d look shocked and usually stopped the baby talk, at least for that interaction.” – Different-Leather359

“ESH. I suspect that OP’s daughter wouldn’t hesitate to pull out ‘Are you stupid’ to other kids her age, because that’s not a phrase that indicates confusion or genuine curiosity, that’s a phrase that indicates judgment, and is so specific that I have to believe she’s already comparing herself to others and is aware that she’s considered smart for her age.”

“The babysitter’s mom shouldn’t have talked like that and should have apologized to the girl. But it’s also a big problem that OP refuses to ask her daughter to apologize: you don’t get to be rude to people because they do things you don’t like. That’s socializing 101. And the babysitter’s mom’s gaffe does not cancel out OP’s daughter’s rudeness.” – strawberrysasquatch


“Sure, it was not cool for Julie to all goo goo gaa gaa. But the kid didn’t need to call her stupid. You can’t play both sides of the field, expect people to talk to her like an adult and to know off an assumption that she’s a straightforward talker, and then in the same vein, let her get away with things like a baby.”

“A normal kid should be taught not to call someone stupid in such a rude was unprovoked. Neither should a teenager nor an adult.”

“Cool and all that you taught her behind the scenes, but she should have apologized, and based on what you wrote, a post apology doesn’t seem in the cards. It’s fine for your daughter to question why Julie is talking to her like that and all she needed to say was don’t do it, please. But jumping straight to ‘Are you dumb’ or something is unnecessary and should have been corrected.”

“I really don’t see much wrong intent from Julie’s side except a careless mistake. If she’d push the matter further then yeah, she would be an AH.” – starfire92

“I am bemused by anyone using baby talk at all. Why are they not modeling actual language? It’s bizarre. (I am Australian, too.) But I am even more weirded out by this presumably mature adult being offended by the unfiltered thoughts that come out of the mouth of a six-year-old. I mean, it’s certainly looking like the question is valid. Is she stupid or something?”

“I would tell Katie that it is not socially acceptable to say that, but I would not make her apologize. First, I do not believe in teaching kids they have to be obsequious to adults just because they’re adults, and second, she was right. Third, Julie isn’t going to apologize for treating Katie inappropriately, and apologizing to her will only reinforce her belief that her own behavior was correct.”

“This looks like everyone went home but it’s still a thing and Julie isn’t letting it go, which is also ridiculous. NTA. Why is this still a thing? Talk to the kid about not saying unkind things to people regardless of how richly she thinks it’s deserved, and leave it there.”

“Also, there’s a high risk of a not-pology. Like Katie says, ‘I’m sorry you’re offended about being stupid, and mum says I shouldn’t have pointed out that you’re stupid.’ Because that is not going to help.” – Llyris-erisen

Though the subReddit was divided over whether Julie’s use of baby talk was simply inappropriate or ‘stupid’ as Katie had said, they could all agree that Katie would be better off apologizing and also learning how to set boundaries appropriately.

Since she was concerned about how people addressed her, she should also be concerned about how she addressed other people.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.