As you know well, in so many cultures (especially eastern ones,) having a child from a boyfriend or a girlfriend and generally from someone who is not married to you, is denounced and disapproved by many people.

Also, as you know, almost in every culture people call such a person with some specific qualities and use vulgar language about them! (At least that's the way is was in the past.) (Regardless of whether this is good or just a wrongdoing.)

I would call such behaviors "contrary to the social convention" in a specific society (, while usually in that society everyone is well aware about the routines and customs of a particular matter like having a child from someone.)


A usual or accepted way of behaving, especially in social situations, often following an old way of thinking or a custom in one particular society.

Now, I was wondering if the sentence below can be indicative of this matter in natural English. If no, then I wonder how shall I imply this message.

  • Having a child from friend (who you are not married to) is contrary to the social convention.

Thank you.

2 Answers 2


There are a number of ways you can say this. The phrase 'contrary to social convention' is going to be understood, but would not be a usual phrase.

Rather than say "Having a child from a friend (who you are not married to)" it would be shorter and clearer to say "Having a child outside marriage" - the more traditional phrase of "outside wedlock" would probably be understood but is in declining usage.

Other phrases you might choose from to complete your statement:

  1. Having a child outside marriage is countercultural

  2. Having a child outside marriage is against the societal norm

  3. Having a child outside marriage is frowned upon

  4. Having a child outside marriage is considered taboo

  5. Having a child outside marriage is considered immoral

These do have slightly different shades of meaning.

1. A counterculture is typically a distinct subgroup within a culture, so this maight be taken to mean that there is a distinct subculture that does this. Also a counterculture does not seem (to me) to carry any kind of negative association and often countercultres are viewed as positive things.

2. This is a neutral statement, closest to your original phrase.

3. This clearly indicates that society is disapproving (which may be what you want to say or may not).

4. This is stronger than 'frowning upon' but also may be perceived as carrying a hint of being based on superstition or non-rational. This shade of meaning comes from the original source of the word (which you can discover at this link.)

5. This clearly shows a moral disapproval, rather than being contrary to normal behaviour.


A few points in addition to the answer by user Rob Lambden.

It is more usual to say "conventions" rather than "convention" in this construction. Also, since social conventions are specific to a particular society, and often to a particular society at a particular time or in a particular era, it is better to specify the context of the conventions intended.

Also "Having a child from friend" is not a usual phrase in standard English. It might suggest one who adopts or is given temporary custody of a child, not one who gives birth. "Having a child with a friend" is a more usual phrase to mean conceiving and giving birth to a child where the other parent is a friend (not a spouse), but "without marriage" or "outside marriage" makes the point more clearly, as many people consider a spouse to also be a friend, so the for "with a friend" can still be confusing.

So I would tend to recast the original as

Having a child outside of marriage is contrary to the conventions of XYZ.

XYZ would indicate a place or cultural group, and possibly a time period also, such as

  • Having a child outside of marriage is contrary to the conventions of modern Japan.
  • Having a child outside of marriage was contrary to the conventions of 1920s England.

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