As my children gain the ability to talk I am reminded of the top 8 phrases I use to keep them in line. I’m pretty sure you also have a bag of your own tricky phrases too. Judge if you must, because I have said it before and I will say it again > I am not the perfect mommy but damn I’m clever when I need to be (at least when it comes to out smarting a toddler).
1. Television isn’t good for your brain or your body. Whenever I find myself not winning the battle of my clan wanting to watch television I pull this phrase out. I overheard my eldest using the phrase on his dad the other day, proof that it’s doing it’s job and making an impact.
2. Eating too much sugar will make your teeth fall out. Believe me, I get it. Ice cream, cake, donut holes and cookies are amazingly delightful goodness in your mouth. HOWEVER, why is it kids go beyond the limit of moderation into a realm of over consumption wanting more than what seems humanly possible????!! Sometimes getting them to stop asking for more takes a bit of scare tactic and that is EXACTLY when I use these words. There’s something about picturing their selves without teeth that makes them stop asking for more sugar.
3. People who hit go to jail. I don’t spank my kiddos and they don’t live in a household where they see anyone hit one another, so I’m not sure where this expression of aggression coming in the form of hitting comes from. After I figured out saying things like “No one hits you, why would you do that?” or “Do you go around hitting your friends?” wasn’t working I took a different approach and simply told them that people who hit other people go to jail. That turned the situation right around > my eldest began to tear up and say he didn’t want to go to jail with bad people and robbers. Needless to say, the hitting situation was squashed.
4. Your new mom will be here in an hour, I’m going to go pack my bags. This one I do feel guilty about, but when you have lost all hope sometimes you gotta pull out the big guns. There have been about three instances where my eldest (a five year-old boy) has turned into 15 year-old teen girl screaming and crying at me over something incredibly insignificant (like the shape of a piece of cereal). During these times he will not listen to reason, nor finds it possible to retreat to his bedroom to cool off. Instead he insists he is in the right, throwing his whole body into the tantrum literally kicking objects and relatives in the process. During these times when all words seem to be blocked from his hearing, he has heard me say this phrase loud and clear. He instantly dropped the teenage girl act and focused on how much he loved me and didn’t want me to leave. Don’t judge.
5. God (Santa, Easter Bunny, Elf on the Shelf etc.)is watching you. Do I really need to explain this one? I have heard many parents over the years, not to mention cashiers, waiters and other service peeps say these words to keep a kid in line. Sometimes the higher power beings are the ones who get the most respect in the eyes of the child. Unfortunately, we parents, the insignificant dwellers, do not fall into this category.
6. I see you at ALL times, because I am your mom. Every mom knows the sound of a certain cabinet being opened or the crackle of a bag being broken into. This superpower hearing allows us to “see” things not with our eyes but our ears. I know when something is being touched when it shouldn’t be or when a cry is from being hit by your brother rather than from a fall. My kids always look at me in amazement when I catch them in the act or question their whereabouts asking, “How did you know mom?”
7. I have magic powers. Often my children have sooooo many questions about how I did something that I almost feel as if I am under interrogation on an episode of CSI. I’ve found that by simply saying that I have magic powers, when it comes to things like baby making and where I got “that ice cream”, it works to stop the questions.
8. That’s how the machine made it. Why? Why? Why? … This one worded question is the worst. It can be repeated in an hour conversation with a little one 50 times in response to each answer you give. Out of frustration from a conversation about an oven this phrase came out of my mouth. It’s worked ever since when dealing with an inanimate object and the dreaded “Why?”.
Please feel free to share your top phrases to keep your clan in line! I’d love to add to my ammunition.