Dear children: Please stop tormenting baby animals and the rest of the humans, thanks.

by Janelle Hanchett

One of the main reasons I started this blog is because every time I go anywhere with the standard human population, I feel at times like an alien, particularly among other parents and their kids. Parents seem way more into this than I am, and their kids kind of seem like dicks. In general.

Sorry, but true.

Look, I don’t looooove being called a “breeder,” because surely there is little more to parenthood than fucking and birthing and nursing like a goddamn border collie, and I think the phrase “child-free” is rather hilarious in its connotation that kids are some sort of unpleasant condition to avoid, like lice or debt or termites.

On the other hand, the term is a reaction to “child-LESS,” which implies a lacking, which reflects the way society looks at people without kids as less than and deficient, which is also clearly bullshit.

As an optimist, I feel we could find some middle ground between KIDS ARE THE MEANING OF LIFE and KIDS ARE HEAD LICE.

But whatever. I’ve always been a dreamer.


Honestly, I get why a portion of the child-free crew hates us though.

I would too.

In fact, I already do, and I am firmly planted in “breeder” status.

Because on the whole, parents can be pretty obnoxious and we often do it with an air of pretense, running around sure we have more fulfilling lives while our kids ruin your dinner (which we already discussed).

I often think, my god, if I were judging all parents by this sight, I WOULD NEVER HAVE KIDS. 

Take the other day, for example. I went to a petting zoo at a pumpkin patch with my kid’s first-grade class, where I saw a few kids in a pen with a baby cow.

Um, calf. It’s called a calf. I’m so country.

Anyway, I’m chaperoning along with 75% of the rest of the kids’ parents, and I’m standing outside the pen watching these kids with the calf. There are five kids in a small enclosure with the animal, and three of them are tormenting the shit out of the poor thing.

They’re squealing and tapping his head and darting this way and that, running in circles, and you can see the poor calf getting confused and agitated with no escape from the little bastards.

I look around and see at least three parents watching this and doing nothing.

I immediately remember why I hate people.


To make it worse, I realize the worst two offending kids’ parents are standing right there, and I think, well I shouldn’t say anything because thou shalt not parent other people’s children, but then I realized NOPE this is bullshit. I’m not going to watch this happen.

I’m not the police. I give very few fucks about what other people do. But this is an innocent animal. This ain’t right.

So I tell the kids, “Hey you all need to stop running around. You need to stand there and gently pet the cow or get out of the pen. You are tormenting him.”

Kids: “What does that mean?”

Me: “It means you are teasing him in a mean way. You are hurting him. “

And as an aside to the lady next to me, I say, “They’re like fucking bull-fighters in Madrid right now.” She didn’t think I was funny. As usual.

The kids stop. The parents do nothing. One kind of glared at me.

I walk away.

From across the barn, I see them immediately doing it again, and again the parents say nothing. I walk over to really lay it down because now I’m fucking angry. But luckily, my friend saw it too and actually went INTO the pen and physically stopped the kids and was showing them how to not be evil. She renewed my faith.

Oh thank god. We’re not all crazy.

And we aren’t.

And I guess there are people in every corner who are self-centered and ignorant, kids or no kids, but I truly don’t understand how parents don’t think it’s their job to teach their kids not to harm others.

Is that not basic decency?

Do they think it’s cute? Do they truly not notice? I’m no genius, but one thing that’s clearer to me than anything is when my kids are being annoying. Because they are annoying ME first and foremost, I can only imagine what they’re doing to innocent bystanders.

And an animal? Fuck.

Sorry, animals. And humans.

In conclusion. Dear parents: Please teach your kids not to torment adorable fuzzy baby animals who have no escape and never asked to be subjected to your kid in the first place.

I should write a parenting advice column.

I could call it, “Captain Fucking Obvious.”

Or, “You would know this if you’d pull your head out of your ass.”

But only you people would read it, and you already get it, so never mind.

Thanks for being an alien with me, with or without kids.

Thanks for your total dedication to not raising kids who fuck with the rest of us.

We can do this, America! I am a dreamer!



Hey look! It’s a kid not being mean to an animal at a petting zoo! Wheeeeee!

  • Rachel Romano

    If I could invent a person, you would be her. (If that makes any sense…)

    • Rachel Romano

      I hope that doesn’t sound creepy and stalker like–I just love your articles 🙂

    • kathy sokol

      I agree, and…not at all stalkerish

  • Paige Wallace

    Arlo and that goat. and that picture of George with the chicken… you’re killing me. I can’t wait to have kids and teach them to be decent fucking human beings.

  • Amber Simmonds

    Sharing a dozen times. Thank goodness there are parents out there who aren’t complete twats.

  • Jesika

    Thank you for restoring my faith by writing this. This weekend I got to hang out with my sister-n-law & her evil kids, well you know what I mean ???? While I watched my 2 year old along with her 4 kids at a POOL no less. She relaxed & put tan lotion on, I got to apologize to a lifeguard & 2 random sets of parents for her children behaving like total dicks. Bye the way they’re ages…12, 10, 6 & 3. In fact sooooo much fun was being had that after the 3rd apology & a look her (sis-n-law) for any kind of normal reaction, which was not going to happen. I left. I just shook my head in the car. Man is she that burnout that she doesn’t notice her kids behavior or just doesn’t give a fuck anymore? Yikes. And believe me I’m not a judge, I’ll be the first to admit to struggling with alcohol in the beginning of motherhood amongst other shit. But even in that fog, I knew about raising my child with respect for himself & others. Thank you again for keeping it real & reminding me I’m not the only mom like this out there. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who has these feelings ???? Seriously you made my morning. ????

  • KMac

    Thank you! As an alien myself I refuse to raise aholes… And for the record dying at the madrid bulls comment.

  • Jess

    Why didn’t the lady next to you find that funny? She was clearly brain dead. I often make comments to other parents who look at me like I’m speaking Demon. It’s cool. SO COOL.

  • laura

    ditto what everyone else said.

  • jnl

    fuck. i hate kids. and people. not all, but a lot of them. i wish every parent taught their kids (or at least tried to teach them) not to be an asshole. unfortunately a lot of those parents are assholes themselves.

    humans are selfish fuckers. thats why we are watching our planet go down the tubes, which will be the destruction of us all. and we will deserve it.

  • Shawna Henderson

    I would have been right in that pen with your friend. And then I would find a big cowpie and trip the offending parents head first into it.

    So there.

  • D

    The principal and counselor of my kid’s school sent out an email about a new compassion and kindness campaign that the school will be implementing and encouraging throughout the year for which there was a parent assembly to explain it all. In a school of almost 500 only 5 parents, including myself, attended the assembly. Five fucking people! This is a philosophy that is being indoctrinated into your child and you have no fucking clue what it is about or how or why it all started. During same the week there was a book fair where hundreds of parents showed up. I heard several parents asking their kids, “What is this charm necklace that you are wearing and what are all these “chain links” all over the place?” Some kids did a good job of explaining the very basic concept of the program while others where not so good at explaining it. I tried to be helpful and informative where I could, but I got to the point where I was just like it isn’t that hard to fucking pay attention. No one reads, cares, or pays attention to anything that teaches values. This is a great program and it instills basic human decency, caring and compassion, but most people could care less. They are turds that just stand around while their kids torture a baby cow! Wake up fuckers, the whole world is a baby cow!

    • kathy sokol

      Wake up fuckers, the whole world is a baby cow! I looove it

  • Molly

    Thank you. We are the moral compass for our kiddos. You. Me. That other asshole parent letting her kid fuck with the cow. Moral compasses. Thanks for pointing the right direction! You and your massive number of readers renew my faith in humanity.

  • Sue

    If my child had acted like that (torturing a helpless animal) I would have snatched her out of the pen and taken her to the bathroom and swatted her behind! As far as the other kids who were acting like that I Certainly would have said something to them, and possibly guided them Out of the pen and returned them to their parents with a comment such as, “I’m sure you didn’t See this, but your child was being cruel to the little baby animal and I am Sure you wouldn’t allow that IF YOU HAD SEEN IT”. With that LOOK in my eye that says “Control your little monster so I don’t have to swat his butt!) Idiot parents beget idiot children. SOMEBODY Has to Say SOMETHING. I got a big mouth so it might as well be me, right??
    P S I love your blog, you are my cosmic twin I swear~~!

  • Donita

    I swing from “it takes a village and my efforts will help these kids to not grow to be assholes” — to “I hate most everyone’s kids but my own and I’m never signing up for a field trip again.”

  • Michelle

    I am a grandmother. While raising my kids, I taught them basic human decency and I teach my grandchildren. I see this a lot also. It irks the hell out of me! To the point of wanting to tell the parents to control their brats or I will. It’s not that hard to teach them empathy. I love your post! I love the straightforwardness,(is that a word),of your blogs. Keep up the great work!

  • Kim

    Thank you. Maybe because I’m an older parent for the first time – miracle boy stuff & single mama but these other kids can be asshats! I’m learning from kindergarten and I’m shocked! Saying fuck and flipping folks off is not adding up points with the soccer moms & PTO I tell you ????
    You give me hope for the fucking fairy tale ball I have for the boy this week & farm field trip next!!!!
    People please control your kids!

  • Joelle

    You should be able to parent other people’s kids, especially if they aren’t going to. I hope if I have s lapse in judgment someone parents my kid.
    And no one should be assholes to animals. That’s how psychopaths are born.

  • Karyn

    Good for you trying to teach those kids some decency! We all need to keep doing it- even when ass-clown parents get bitchy.

    I once reprimanded a bunch of obnoxious children clambering onto a hayride while a VERY nervous new mom was trying to get off with a tiny infant in her arms. There was no one orchestrating the “let people get off, then you get on” procedure because most people had a clue and didn’t behave like dicks.

    I had to yell to get these kids attention- they clearly never had to give respect to an adult before. The worst was the jack-ass- who was NOT one of their parents- who said to me, “You know, in Asia people crowd onto trains and busses like that all the time. hahaha…”

    Thanks- I’m sure this terrified mother is soaking in your anthropologic brilliance and realizing that she should abandon all safety concerns for her baby because, hell, people in Japan get shoe-horned into train cars. Except, we’re not in Asia, and no one in this crowd happened to be Asian, and THIS IS A GODDAMN HAYRIDE for fuck’s sake!

    If the rest of us keep standing up for grace and courtesy maybe we can out-yell the rest. They’re not paying attention anyway…

  • Itzybellababy

    I learned 2 words from a Mamma’s group, and it was our cry for about a year- SOFT HANDS.

    My kid is always gentle with our dog, and others. When she was learning what that meant, we would separate them if she even got a little not soft.

    Honestly, I think being a gentle parenting advocate helped loads too. We don’t hit her, she doesn’t hit others.. whether they are 3 or 4 legged.

    That lack of respect for animals is definitely a learned behavior.

  • Jennifer @ WrittenByJennifer

    The real problem in this situation is that the parents don’t think that the animal could possibly have feelings, likes, dislikes, or need some personal space. So why would they ever tell little Stephen Special Snowflake to stop instigating / tormenting the calf? These are also the people who don’t understand why an animal would end up defending itself after being relentlessly subjected to this and demand the animal being punished.

    And this behavior will go on to not respecting other people’s personal boundaries. They should turn out to be *awesome!* human beings.

  • Andrea Mae

    Yep. Was at a pumpkin carving party this weekend where a kid decided it was cool to try to kick my son in the balls for fun. I had no problem talking boundaries. The kid just stared at me like I was crazy.

  • Luke

    On the other side of the coin (or is it the same side, viewed from a different angle?) are the parents with such a compulsive need to CREATE MEMORIES that they force their kid to pet the damned goat, whether they (the kid or the goat) desires this or not.

    Witnessed last weekend: kid bawling her eyes out; Mum, desperately clutching iPhone in one hand and attempting to restrain kid with the other, repeatedly reassures kid that (a) goat is safe and (b) goat really wants kid to pet him; goat seems…. apprehensive, I guess? I honestly don’t know for sure how the goat was feeling.

    • Susan

      I agree!
      In my opinion, those people are almost worse! Nothing happened if you don’t document it on social media for everyone to ooh and awe over. They need to be validated all the time. If your kid isn’t into it, then put the damn phone away. Seriously people.

  • Lou Taylor

    Idon’t give a shit if the internet loves you or not…I do. If more parents were like you we wouldn’t ever use the laser eye stare.

  • Susan

    One time I yelled at 2 kids at the park picking on the little sister they brought with them. I could not believe how cruel they were being to a 5 year old girl!
    If I was allowed to spank other people’s kids I probably would have! Lol

  • JR

    It’s hard to develop compassion for other living things when the majority of your interactions are with screens. Technology is dehumanizing us, and, just like with lead poisoning, we’ll see it first in the kids.

    • P. S.

      maybe, JR, but young humans have been doing this kind of insensitivity for all the decades I’ve been alive, and I’m sure it’s a human trait that is present in a large portion of humans. Compassion and awareness needs to be trained, largely by (parental) example, and all of us ‘aliens’ who get it can pick up the responsibility to help bring that awareness to any situation where people don’t get it. Even if they just stare at us with their mouths slack and their eyes full of incomprehension or even loathing…. they have seen and heard an example of how to be a decent human, and those experiences accumulate in the population. If there is even a spark of decency, it will eventually ignite

  • Julie

    I found myself in these situations a lot, specially with relatives. You know, when the parents have no manners, its hard to tell their kids to be decent without actually saying “just don’t act like your useless parents!” Its a problem when the parenting style is ‘no parenting’, have you met these aholes? And then they always seem surprised when their kids don’t seem to know basic commands!!?? On top of it, these people always seem to have so much advice to give about what others should do with their kids! This is the kind a stuff that could make me loose my mind. Glad to see other people live it everyday! Love your blog

  • Nath

    I usually scream “YES YES YES” every time I read your articles (plus you have helped me getting through so many all-night nursing periods, thanks!) but this time, not so much. I get this is not the point here, but unless you are a vegan (and I don’t think you are, but maybe?), you might not be tormenting helpless animals yourself like these kids were doing, but you are paying people to do it for you. And they are not just tormenting them, they are killing them for you. So… Isn’t that a two-way logic? You might have “saved” that poor calf on that day, but you might be eating for dinner him tonight. Sorry for being negative on this occasion, I hope this will appear as a constructive comment though. I totally agree about teaching our kids to be compassionate, but we as adults should do the same. Eating and using animals does not send the message to children that their lives have any value, so why shouldn’t they be able to torment them for fun?

    • renegademama

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment. I am not a vegan, AND I also don’t think animals in pens should be tormented by children. I understand your point, that if I REALLY cared about animals I wouldn’t eat them, and that is probably true, but as you say, that is not my point, and I am not commenting on animal treatment in America. I will leave that up to the vegans. 🙂

      I am commenting on the failure to teach children decency. Thanks for reading.

  • Elysium

    Thank you. My little one is still quite young (2 1/2), but I always try to teach her kindness and compassion. Fortunately it’s easy because she wants to be loving and gentle to other people and animals.

    FWIW, when I see kids misbehaving but the parents are actually parenting them, I don’t care that much even if the kids are being loud and/or obnoxious. At least the parents are trying. It’s when the kids are loud and obnoxious and the parents don’t do anything that drives me crazy.

  • Adria

    I’m so with you. I WILL parent other peoples’ kids if said parents are being total dicks and not paying attention to the fact that their little bastard are being little dicks themselves. And we can do this America….as soon as we all pull our collective heads out of our asses 🙂
    Love you, loves your style, kids and this blog. Xoxo

  • Emily

    Janelle, I love your writing and your take on this situation is brilliant. Your badassery and willingness to take those kids to task (it really does take a village!) is an inspiration.


    The suffering of animals in factory farms far, far outweighs the torments inflicted on that poor calf, no? Eating animal products isn’t essential for life. I’m well aware that this is one the most Tedious Arguments on the Internet™, but it still baffles me that compassionate, ethical people who care about animal welfare totally disregard the moral imperative to treat animals kindly when said animals are presented in the context of a delicious taco.

    • renegademama

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the insight, and see what you’re saying, but as I mentioned to the other commenter with a similar concern, I am not commenting on the plight of animals in America, nor am I claiming to be saving animals, or be any example of such. Rather, I am commenting on the failure of parents to teach their kids not be assholes.

  • Axelle the french reader

    Once again, you’re so SO right …
    That’s the same here, in France. And I hate parents as much as you can hate them, in those moments.