What does juvenile mean?

Tonight in the car, Krystal asked, “Mom, what’s juvenile mean? Is it jail?”

“Where did you hear it?” I asked. I’ve learned this is the best response to any question like this, as often what she means is far less benign than my first impulse to answer.

“I don’t know,” she answered. Damn, this might be a little more difficult then.

“Well, it basically means kid,” I explained. “Juvenile means for kids, not adults. Sometimes people will say something is juvenile as a way to say it is childish, in a not-nice way, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Then, because of her earlier “jail” reference, I went on to explain what “Juvy” meant, and I’ll spare you that explanation.

Krystal then offered, “Well Mary says princesses are juvenile, which is silly because one, she’s a kid, and two, they’re not, and three, what difference does it make?” all said in a rush.


One not-nice thing about myself I have learned in my parenting journey is that there is often a lot I don’t like in other people’s children. Girls in particular can be so mean!

For the record, it would not surpirse me in the least if one of Krystal’s friend’s parents was blogging about my mean daughter. I’m not saying my kid is an angel, but she’s mine and I hate to see how she gets hurt by both careless actions and purposeful words said by her peers. The teen years frighten me.


3 responses to “What does juvenile mean?

  1. I wonder, though, if Mary even knew what the word really meant…wonder if she heard it somewhere and just parroted it back. Kids can indeed be mean, but sometimes it is just by virtue of repeating things they hear without understanding the nuances. Easy for me to say, since my babies are now 26 and 29 and are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

  2. Girls can be mean. My daughter is 26, so I am done going through that. Thank goodness!

  3. I’m with you. We were at a swimming party Friday night and one little boy (age 6 – most of the kids were, as the party boy was also 6) was being particularly loathsome with splashing and getting in everyone’s face. Including my darling little 3-year-old boy who just wanted to play with everyone. (OK, bias over.) Then when someone (not my child) splashed him back, he howled like he’d been beaten and his mother was all concern. Stupid woman.

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