In my native Spanish, an expression like "me encantan los niños", meaning that I quite enjoy the company of children, play with them, etc, can hardly be misunderstood as suggestion of pedophilia or related sicknesses, even by strangers.

In English however, I have been told that the expression "I love children" can be easily misunderstood, specially by strangers.

If this is the case, how can I express the same feeling that in my native Spanish in a safe manner?

  • 2
    Unfortunately, nowadays, if you're an Englishman or an American and you said that phrase, people will think the worst. It's sad really. The only way round would be to preface your statement. – Mari-Lou A Aug 23 '16 at 19:30
  • 2
    You might try "I'm good with children" It conveys an ability to interact with and care for them and would generally be viewed in that light. – InfernalRapture Aug 23 '16 at 19:55
  • This seems like it should be migrated to ELL, I have flagged is as such – BladorthinTheGrey Aug 23 '16 at 21:44
  • 4
    "I love children ... when they're properly cooked." ;-) – Hellion Aug 23 '16 at 22:11
  • 3
    I don't think anyone would misunderstand you if you say, “I love children”. No one would assume you were outing yourself as a paedophile, for the simple reason that paedophiles are so negatively viewed, shunned, and discriminated against (even legally) that almost nobody voluntarily declares themselves a paedophile. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 23 '16 at 22:39

Language is generally ambivalent, especially with widely used words. Without a preface it could easily be misconstrued by someone who wants to hear it differently . Just consider what you can put after the verb like. In modern English you can like, and nowadays with the common hyperbolic love, everything (food, people, items, etc). If you want to use just a single sentence you might want to choose a more specific word.

Using my average skill of of Spanish I would assume that the English, I find children delightful, might serve you well.

Other than that there is always context. Basically every (non-technical) sentence on its own can be misconceived by malevolent listeners or readers. So one solution is always using more words to describe more clearly what you mean.

Of course, there is also the context of the situation. If you are as a parent with your kids on a playground, then the original sentence will unlikely be misconstrued. If you are looking somewhat dubious, leering and eyeing the same kids from the other side of the playground fence, then you can say what you want and everyone will assume the worst.


You could say something like "Children are so much fun" or "Children are a blast," although you could almost always also safely say "I love children" without being misunderstood.


Whoever told you that was being overdramatic; it depends entirely on context. Saying "I love kids!" while waving at a baby is extremely different from saying "I love kids!" solemnly and meaning it sexually.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.