Q&A: “I wanted to ask if there were any gender neutral ways to imply that someone is your child that isn’t the word “child”…”

anonymous said:

Hi Vesper! First off i’d like to say that you’re amazing and very inspirational to me :). I wanted to ask if there were any gender neutral ways to imply that someone is your child that isn’t the word “child”. As an adult that prefers neutral pronouns, I don’t find it fitting for my parents to refer to me as a child. How would you prefer your parents to refer to you in that circumstance?

hello, anon. thank you for the kind words. 🙂

personally, even though i’m an adult, i don’t particularly mind being referred to as “child” so long as it’s within the context of a relationship between a parent and their offspring. unlike “kid” which would really rub me the wrong way regardless of who’s using it in what context, “child” when used by my parents in reference to me feels more about me being their offspring then having to do with my age at all.

having said that, it’s possible that the main reason why i feel that way is because i’m now 31 and very firmly seen as an “adult” by all of society rather than as a “young adult”, so my adulthood is not at all in question anymore. it’s very possible that i’d feel differently if i were being referred to as “child” while in my 20′s (early 20′s especially). i vaguely remember being much more assertive about my age, autonomy, independence, etc then……. sorry, i ended up thinking aloud. i’m not saying this to suggest that this is at all true for you or anyone else. honestly, please feel free to ignore this entire paragraph.

sadly, i can’t think of any alternatives to “child” beyond the obvious “offspring”, which is… yeah. i found some alternatives here, but to me it feels like all of them have some connection to age and / or many of them aren’t standard / common English usage and thus may present more of a struggle for your parents to adopt. one of the major reasons why i’m okay with my parents using “child” is because using that word is relatively easy for them to do, thus decreasing their chance of slipping up. that said, if you do find a word that feels comfortable for you, definitely go with that word even if it means that your parents will have to learn a new word / learn a new usage for an existing word. your comfort is without question worth whatever effort will be required on their part.

all the best.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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