We have lots of sayings in our house that we say repeatedly to our kids throughout the day. Most of them are born of frustration with our children’s behavior or from a desire to set a tone or maintain discipline. Each of them expresses in a single, simple thought what we want to get across in a broader sense — DO WHAT WE TELL YOU!
Here are a few of my favorites and I hope you’ll add the sayings from your household below in the comments section.
“Lose the ‘tude, dude.” With a 5-year-old and a Threenager in our house, this little ditty gets dropped on them often like when they rip toys from each other’s hands. Or when they call me “Stupid Daddy.” Or when they pout and whine and turn into a verifiable, seething, raging monster. Those are the moments when we remind them to “lose their ‘tude.” Of course, they rarely do. This works for boys but it works for girls, too. Just say, “Lose the ‘tude, dudette.”
“You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” This is one of my favorites. It’s the answer to questions like, “Why did he get more juice than I did?” or “Why did those kids get new bikes and we didn’t?” There’s not an easy answer to most of those sorts of questions but this one ends those conversations before they begin.
“Serve your time.” Needless to say, our boys face the strict punishment of Time Out often during the day. In fact, it happens so frequently that I’m planning to teach our 3-year-old to start calling me “Warden.” Invariably, once he’s in Time Out, he runs out. Then in. And out. Then in. And out. That’s when the decibel level on this short phrase gets cranked up to 11.
“Right away, without delay.” This one grew out of my endless frustration with my oldest when he was asked to get dressed, put his shoes on or put his plate in the sink. Somehow he turned a simple 10 second task into a 2-hour melodrama complete with soliloquies on how endlessly difficult we make his young life. Boo-hoo, I say.
“Do it once and do it right.” I learned this one from my dad. As a teenager when I mowed the lawn and wanted to cut corners and finish more quickly, my father’s voice would ring out in my head. It reminded me to, “Do it once and do it right.” It’s straightforward — don’t be lazy. It also reinforces a work ethic that has carried me throughout my life and, hopefully, will do the same for our boys.
“The most important thing is to try.” Who knows, maybe trying isn’t THE most important thing. But it certainly is important and for our kids, motivating them to try new foods, a new sport or a new task can be challenging and frustrating. That was the fertile soil that this saying was born in. It works, too. Our kids are conditioned. When we remind them, “What’s the most important thing?” they hang their heads and in a barely audible voice reply, “To try.” Score one for the parents!
How about you? What are the sayings you have in your house?