I always thought that the only difference between these two words is just how formal/informal they are... 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"
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.
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.
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").
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.
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).
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 ... ...'.
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.
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.