Stupid Things Parents Say

Remember those cliches that came out of your parents’ mouths that made your skin crawl? If you are like most of us, you probably swore to yourself that you would never say “those things” to your kids. I can vividly remember thinking to myself, “I’m NEVER going to use that phrase with my kids,” but now, from time to time I catch myself dipping into the unholy bucket of lame parental cliches.

The following are some parental cliches and phrases that are used by parents. Some of them are funny and some are not a healthy part of a relationship with a child.


  • “Because I said so!” – This phrase is used by parents when a child asks “Why?”, but the parent really doesn’t have a good answer.
  • “I’ve had it up to ‘here’ with you!” – This phrase is used in conjunction with the parent pointing to their eyebrow area of their head. Meaning, I’m “this close” to snuffing out your life.
  • “And if Joey goes and jumps off a bridge are you going to jump off too?” – A parental favorite used as a comeback when a child has just whined, “But everyone else is doing it!”
  • “One of these days when you’re a parent, you’ll understand.” – Another parental favorite that is used when a child has said, “I just don’t understand why!”
  • “Don’t you look at me like that!” – Usually a phrase used by an angry parent who has just chewed their child up one side and down the other. The child is now unhappy and his face shows it.
  • “N-O! No!” – The spelling of the word “no” for emphasis to your child who has just asked to do something you’d never let them do. This is particularly frustrating to teenagers who clearly know how to spell the word “N-O”.
  • “How many times do I have to tell you?” – A phrase used by an impatient, frustrated parents who has had to tell their child something more than once. Something we never need, right?
  • “You just wait until your father gets home.” – Meaning you should pack your bags and RUN AWAY now. Death is certain.
  • “I hope someday you have children just like you.” – This is an insult of the most personal kind. It insinuates first that the child is enough of a nuisance that you hope they one day understand how it feels to be in your position. Never, ever use this phrase!
  • And let’s not leave out “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” or “Don’t make me come in there!”
  • “Why can’t you be like your brother/sister?” A horrible phrase used to compare one sibling to another … something that should NEVER be done.


  • I love you.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I’m glad you asked.
  • Thanks for checking in.
  • I forgive you.
  • Thank you.
  • I appreciate you.
  • You can do it.
  • Don’t give up.
  • No matter what, I’m here for you.
  • Did you have a good day?
  • Good job.

You know, children are inquisitive. If they ask a question, try and give them an answer. A real answer. If you don’t have a good answer, don’t tell them “No.” If they ask why, they may not be trying to challenge your authority, they may just want to know “Why?” While it might be inconvenient at times, do try to avoid empty meaningless cliches and phrases.

God has given us the gift of speech. How we use it will make a difference in our children’s lives? Words and phrases can hurt, cut and wound for a lifetime, but words can also heal. So choose your words wisely.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: , Read 1182 articles by
9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Trey I just want you to know I appreciate you. You are a blessing. Thank you for helping us parents to be mindful of the impact of our words on our children.

  2. Glenn says:

    Uhm, gotta disagree with that first one – when used judiciously and in moderation. I’ve saved my kids lives a few times by teaching them to obey first and ask questions later.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Glenn … I understand where you’re coming from on that … and agree. My problem with “because I said so,” is when as a parent I’m just too lazy to want to give a real reason. My goal with my kids should be adequate communication.

  3. Good stuff, Trey. I would add to your good things to say, “will you forgive me?” That’s a hard one on the pride, but it’s so good to show our kids that we are big enough to admit mistakes. It models it for them. Thanks!

  4. Lura says:

    I was guilty of using some of these phrases myself. One that you didn’t list and that I heard many times as a child was, “I fixing to slap the fire out of you”. One day in frustration I said that to my 4 year old daughter. She stood there and looked down at her body, holding out her hands and turning them over, like she was trying to determine where the fire was and where it would come out. I immediately felt like the heel I was and took her in my arms and told her there was no fire and that I loved her. I never said that again.

    Another thing I hate to see a parent do is talk derogatorily about their children to other adults when the child is right there. If you say that the child is a brat, a monster, etc., you are asking for more behavior that you won’t like.

    Accentuate the positive always! My grandmother raised 9 children. When my first child was born she told me that there is no such thing as loving a child too much. She always told me to say “yes” every time possible because there would be more than enough times to say “no”.

    My girls don’t seem to be scarred from my mistakes and hopefully they won’t make the same ones with my beautiful, wonderful, angelic grandchildren! :-)

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Lura … what an amazing comment. I think you said more in a couple of paragraphs than I did in the whole post. Thanks for blessing us today with your wisdom.

  5. floyd says:

    OK, I’m guilty of a few of these… Great post and reminder. It’s easy to show our children frustration and lack of patience. It’s all about what we show them isn’t it?

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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