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.
THE BAD THINGS TO SAY AS A PARENT:
- “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.
THE GOOD THINGS TO SAY AS A PARENT:
- 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).