I recently asked this question and received some (justified) comments and close votes.
Note: the question has since been edited, so feel free to refer to the edit history and review the original version by clicking on the date of the last edit

The more I think of this question, the more I am on the fence about it.

On the one hand, it deals with an issue raised specifically for parenting (best way to avoid teaching a child to swear), and is looking for strategies that will be specifically helpful to parents in general.

On the other hand, it is geared towards changing the behavior of the parents, and therefore could be just as valid in non-parenting situations.

Some other possible examples of this type of question would be

"My work and chores are interfering with the amount of quality time I am spending with my child. What can I do to find a better balance?"


"We are finding it difficult to meet other couples with children the same age as ours, but we'd like to find more people to schedule play dates. How can my wife and I find more children for our son to play with outside of school?"

Would any of these questions be on topic for our site? Would they require significant rewording, or are they appropriate as-is?

To what degree can we ask advice relating to the behavior of the parents, rather the children, without going off topic?

  • 1
    Good question; I'm surprised it hasn't come up already. Sep 21, 2011 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


I wonder how representational I am of our user base in not appreciating the fine semantic difference between asking how to be a better parent versus how to be a better parent for a kid.

The "teaching your kids not to swear by example" question didn't seem off topic to me at all, even in its original format, since I found this site in the first place when looking for how to passively instruct as a role model as well as advice on how to guide children directly.

I would advocate caution when invoking the generic and universal questions that are lazily worded "... for kids" clause unless it doesn't already fall under one of the "welcome topics" from the FAQ. From my perspective these three applied:

  • language development
  • behavior and social skills
  • matters of upbringing

All of which are correctly modeled in this case by a parent adjusting their behavior, making it a fair question.

To that extent, I would have considered the other two sample questions to be on-topic as well. Asking how to keep work and chores from interfering with spending time with your child would solicit very different answers than "How can I find more free time...for kids". Similarly, figuring out how to set up playdates and help your child socialize is fundamentally different from just generally asking "How can I meet people...for kids".


This is a good question, but a hard one to answer because it deals with questions that sit in the gray area between on topic and off topic.

I feel that the question you linked to, and the second example above, are both on-topic because they focus very directly on the benefit to the child. But your first example above would be sort-of off topic to me because the primary focus seems to be more on yourself and secondarily, only as a consequence of this, on the child.

To me, what makes a question on topic (apart from meeting the guidelines in the site FAQ) is that the question either directly is about upbringing (i.e., parenting) or at least indirectly (e.g. aimed at self-improvement) with the upbringing being the primary motive.

In essence, it's all about the children. If it's not about them, then it's off topic.

Of course, some poor questions can be reworded to be a better match for this site. I'm not sure I'd be able to rephrase your first example well enough though; I think it would remain too vague and hence risk falling victim to the close reason "not a real question".


I would say that your first example is off-topic because it related to your time management. If it were framed as a question on how to get the most quality out of limited time with your child, it would be on-topic (but should probably still be closed as too broad).

The second example is more on-topic even if phrased in a way that makes the parents sound like the subject; ultimately, it's still about the kid.

The question I started a close vote on and your first example are perfect instances of the FAQ's generic and universal questions that are lazily worded "... for kids". The substance of the potential answers are not changed by the fact that you include children. As an example, not swearing or getting more free time can be achieved the same way regardless of why you're doing it.

On the other hand, trying to help someone make friends has a very different answer if you're helping a boss, sister, father, coworker, or child; that's why it's a good fit for this site. It's more like "how can I potty train my child?" in that the parent is the subject, but the child is the focus of the answer.

  • 1
    :-D Funny that we posted so similar answers at practically the same time! Sep 21, 2011 at 18:25
  • @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun We seem to have similar ideas fairly often. I suppose it's just a case of great minds thinking alike :) Oct 1, 2011 at 21:18

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