"Is There a Name For It?"

The following question was just posted on the Teaching Moment thread by theczech and I thought it was worth pulling out and highlighting:

Thanks for this post. It really put some pieces together for me... where do you think these child insults common in internet comments are coming from? It seems like there is a larger group of people on the web who discuss their hatred for children and exchange acidic insults that they all laugh at together. What is it that links these people together? Is there a name for it?

The closest I have come to in terms of finding a name for this type of rhetoric is "ageism," which can apply equally to our elders as well as our youngers. In a broader sense, we could also think of it as misanthropy: hatred of people. But both concepts fail to get at the very specific issues people seem to have with children and young people. The fact that we don't have a specific name for hatred of children and the perceived threat or inconvenience they cause to their elders is noteworthy. Whenever our language lacks a word to describe a phenomenon, that means the phenomenon itself is less visible.



  1. is it truly ageism if the same complaints are made about people of various ages? I'd go more for soundism/energyism as terms

  2. People who talk about children this way generally refer to themselves as "childfree", and you can find a lot of child- and mother-bashing internet communities by searching on that term. (You would not believe the vitriol on the childfree communities on LiveJournal. Well, you probably would.)

    Not everyone who uses the term "childfree" is a child-hater. The term started as a way for people who chose not to have children to refer to themselves, as "childless" carries a connotation of deficiency. I've seen sane CFers who are wishing for yet another term because so many people now associate "childfree" with the unhinged haters.

  3. This is a half intuitive, half educated guess about the source of toxic feelings that people harbour towards children.

    As children, hate and resentment were directed towards them. They experienced various forms of emotional neglect.

    Thus they grew into adults filled with irrational rage and hatred towards children.

    There is a big difference between expressing a reasoned opinion about the effect that poor and inappropriate parenting can have upon children's behaviour, and defending one's right to spew vile invectives about them.

  4. deBeauxO-is it that impossible for you to believe that some people just don't want children, don't like them? Does it require abuse? I mean, I fully claim the misanthrope label thrown around in the post-I tend not to like people in general. This doesn't mean I just get to randomly insult them, but why does everyone have to like children? why does everyone have to like anyone?

  5. If we were to use "kinderphobia," a lot of people would recognise that as the hatred or fear of children, although it squishes the German and the Greek together.

    If you'll allow some Hellenophilia on this blog, may I also suggest "paediphobia"? While a bit more etymologically sound, most people would probably prefer the modern "ped-" to "paed-", and then confuse the resulting word with "fear of feet" or the like. Given that we also have paediatricians (and similar words), it may be confused with a shortened version of that, too.

  6. Jen R. - Aside from the childfree communities, I've seen a lot of this attitude on, as the Barnardo's ad claimed, UK newspaper websites. For many commenters, the stock response to an article about youth crime/drinking/sex/etc runs along the lines of the stuff said in that ad ("feral" and "vermin" are used fairly frequently). Based on the reader demographics of these papers, I'm guessing that most of these people have nothing to do with the childfree movement and many probably have children themselves.

  7. I have a few suggestions:

    •Tiny Human H8erism
    •b.g & Co Enthusiasm
    •Future Populationism

    ...Monday nights (8:00pm) at Baker Lofts we all get together and exchange new insults. Snacks included, $5 activity fee. (Adults only.)