child/kid

Spain - Spanish
#1
Hi, I've got this little doubt:

Are the words "child" and "kid" interchangeable? Is there any difference in their use or related to context?
How long can parents refer to their children/kids as such?

Thank you for your help.
 
  • petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    #2
    How long can parents refer to their children/kids as such?
    As long as they wish.

    Even when we were a very mature adult my mother would still say to us "Will you kids shut up"

    But every family and society is different.

    Certainly when I ask my friends about the family I will ask "How are the kids?"
    I wouldn't ask that of strangers' families.
     
    Spain - Spanish
    #3
    Thank you Petereid,

    Would you still say "how are the kids" if your friend's sons/daughters are already in their late teens or mid-twenties or even thirty-some?

    What would you ask of stranger's families -referring to their 'offspring'?
     

    Little_Me

    Senior Member
    Poland, Polish
    #5
    Sirila said:
    Are "kid" and "child" synonyms?
    I always thought that the only difference between these two words is just how formal/informal they are... :confused: For me, if you talk for example about your friend's children or someone's you know, you use "kids", because it's more informal and shows more feelings, maybe your personal attitude. And this difference you can easily see in novels where the narrator is objective and tells his story with more distance- than he uses rather "child/children", don't you think so? Hmm, so I would say: "Mike, look at Jane's kids. They are so alike, don't you think?" but from the other hand: "Do you see this woman talking by phone? It seems that she completely forgot about her children wandering behind her on the street"
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    #7
    Sirila said:
    Thank you Petereid,

    Would you still say "how are the kids" if your friend's sons/daughters are already in their late teens or mid-twenties or even thirty-some?

    Yes

    They are (some forties). I still do. :)

    What would you ask of stranger's families -referring to their 'offspring'?
    I would ask "How are your children doing?"
     

    daviesri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    #8
    I would agree that "child" and "kid" are interchangeable. I also would agree that the use of "kid" is more informal than "child".

    Me an my siblings range from 41-47 but we are still my parents "kids" to both them and their friends.
     

    SouthJerz

    New Member
    American English/United States
    #11
    I would have to agree with the idea that it is an issue of formality. When talking to my sister I will ask her "How's the kid doing?". When talking to a parent of one of my students I would say "Your children are well behaved." There is also an issue of familiarity that goes with this. If I knew the person and offspring well then I would be more likely to say kids. If I had just met them I would tend to say children. I guess that it is an issue of formality, familiarity(sp?), and situation. I say situation because at a formal dinner party vocabulary is different than at the local supermarket.
     
    #12
    teenagers get angry if you call them boys or children. i think a kid is meant to be a little elder than a child
    That's partially true, but "children" also means offspring, as in hijos (sorry for the Spanish!) as opposed to someone between the ages of 3-13 (for example). Parents certainly talk about their teenage children, or their adult children.

    I also agree that's largely an issue of formalily, however since we're so extremely casual in North America, I wouldn't say that there are that many situations that you'd encounter where "kids" would be strictly inappropriate, if any.
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    #13
    Rebis said:
    teenagers get angry if you call them boys or children. i think a kid is meant to be a little elder than a child
    You could call them "guys"

    In the uk and usa "guys" can be both males and females.
    But not always!

    "Are you guys coming out tonight" is acceptable to a mixed group

    "Are you girls coming out?" is acceptable to a group of young women.

    oops we're off topic.
     
    #14
    "You guys" is used in colloquial English since we have no overt subject pronoun meaning "you" in the plural.

    You could call them "guys"
    I would disagree with this, though. If someone is the offspring of another, they certainly wouuld not say "I have three guys, aged 13, 14, and 17." Again, the context is paramount. If I said to a teenager "you are a child", they would get mad. However, if their parent said "I have two children," that's perfectly acceptable.
    Alternatively, a parent or relative would say "this is my daughter" (as opposed to "this is my child").
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    #15
    In my world, they stop being kids somewhere between 10 and 23.
    After that they are children.
    Teenagers really hate being called kids, but children is an acceptable English word that defines their relationship with me regardless of whether I think of them as adults or not.

    I have never heard anyone use guys to refer specifically to their own children - the use of guys to refer to a possibly mixed-sex group has often been discussed here, and does not seem relevant to this thread.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    #16
    I use "kids" all the time. My wife, on the other hand, prefers "children."

    Anyone know when the word "kid" was first used for "child"? Hasn't anything to do with the outlaw "Billy the Kid," I hope.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    #17
    Sorry river, the OED lists the first reference from 1599, rather before Billy the Kid:) Originally low slang, but common in familiar speech by the 19th Century.

    But that's for the use of kid to mean child. The extension to refer to a young man or woman occurred in the US, late 19th Century ... when was Billy the Kid around:D
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    #18
    Billy the Kid was born in about 1860. Then there was the Sundance Kid and Kid Curry both members of the last great outlaw gang "The Wild Bunch" (1890s - 1900s). Such "kids" tend to be our role models.
     

    Tresley

    Senior Member
    British English
    #19
    I would agree that 'children' is used in formal situations and 'kids' is used in informal situations. For example, I wouldn't ask someone that I had just met if they 'had any kids', I would ask them if they 'had any children'. I would only use the word 'kids' amongst family and friends.

    In informal situations I might also use the word 'kiddies' to describe little children (up to the age of about 5 or 6).
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    #21
    I agee with all of the posts about kid child especially formal and informal.
    When I was a kid many adults would correct us when we said kid and say a kid is a young goat, a child is human.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    #22
    Provoked by another thread ... ... I gave my kid a sweet to be quiet.

    I would happily refer to my own children, collectively, as 'the kids' or 'my kids'.

    But it would be very, very strange to refer to one of them as 'my kid'. It would have to be 'my son' or 'my daughter'.
    If I had to be gender-neutral, it would be 'my child'.
    But I can't imagine ever saying 'I gave my kid ... ...'.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    #27
    It depends on context. As I wrote elsewhere, I very much deprecate the ever-increasing tendency to describe children as young goats. It's fine in an informal setting, but these days we get government ministers discussing government policy in education, child protection and welfare provision talking about "kids". Agencies and charities concerned with child protection demean the victims of abuse by referring to them as "kids". They aren't kids, they're children and also the next generation of adults. Do they call us "goats"?

    I know it's a long-established usage, and I have no objection to its use in casual speech, but in my view it has no place in formal writing.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    #28
    No, I don't think "kid" is derogatory or demeaning in itself: it's widely used now in BE as a colloquial synonym for "child" and either word can have derogatory connotations if used in a particular way.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    #31
    ... the OED lists the first reference from 1599 ... Originally low slang, but common in familiar speech by the 19th Century. ... for the use of kid to mean child ...
    That's just a reminder that using "kid" to mean "child" is not a modern phenomenon. It has been around for centuries.
    I have never heard anyone use guys to refer specifically to their own children
    Nine years later, by which time both of my daughters have young mixed-sex families, I have to report that referring to your children collectively as "guys" is common.
     
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