I’m bit older than my fellow BVT Mom Bloggers and have older children than most as well. My boys are ages 8, 9, and 12. I have been there, done that on just about every mommy moment there is. I am just about to enter into the world of having a teenager so I am interested to see how that goes. As I look back at the years I have put in of parenting little ones, I decided to share with you the five top phrases I think every parent should know. Here they are, in no particular order.
I’m putting this one first because it’s a phrase that works best with little ones. When you are up to your knees in toddlerdom it can feel like all you ever say is NO. It can feel negative and lose it’s meaning over time. I enjoyed using the phrase Uh-Oh instead. You can use a sing-song voice to make it feel less harsh.
Example: Toddler starts playing with fragile item found on a shelf. Say or sing, “Uh-oh!” Take the item from their hand and put it back in its place, steer him/her away from the shelf and say, “That’s not for you!” Repeat. Repeat. Drink wine. Repeat. Eventually, they will learn that “uh-oh” is their cue that they are doing something that is not acceptable. Before you know it, your’re saying it less! And when you say, “No-NO!” when the little one reaches for something dangerous, the no is more respected. Sounds simple, worked great for me! (Side note: this is a principal I learned from an amazing parenting resource, Love and Logic.)
2. I love you too much to argue!
This, my friends, is parenting gold. Also a Love and Logic Parenting approach that I learned many God blessed years ago. If you have a future lawyer on your hands as I do, you will so appreciate this phrase! It’s easy! When the arguing begins, say, “I love you too much to argue!” and then walk away. Voila! Done. Granted, they will follow you around the house attempting to give their rebuttal anyway, but the art of ignoring works nicely with this phrase. Of course, there is a time for letting your child explain themselves and have their say, but sometimes, you just gotta love them too much for that business.
Example: Child begs for a snack. You say, “Not right now I’m making dinner.” Child begins explaining with bullet points why they should be given a snack. You say, “Not right now I’m making dinner.” Child pulls out laser pointer, graphs and charts. You say, “I love you too much to argue about this!” And continue on, repeating as necessary.
3. Yes, as soon as…
This Duct Tape Parenting phrase has been my current life saver. I’m trying to say yes more and this phrase helps me do that!
Example: Child asks if his friend can come over for a play date. You say, “Yes! As soon as I can see that your bedroom floor is safe and clean for your friend to walk on!” BAM. Clean room. Child says, “I want to buy a new toy!” You say, “Yes! As soon as you’ve saved up your allowance I’d love to take you!” It works with everything. Try it!
4. Ohhhhh, that’s a bummer!
This phrase (from Love and Logic again!) is my favorite! I am a sarcastic person, it’s true. I have to be very careful not to get too sarcastic with my kids. I love using this phrase though because it’s sarcasm used well. It’s another cue that your kids will learn after you’ve used it awhile. Here’s what I mean…
Example: Children are fighting in the vehicle. You sigh heavily and say, “Ohhhhhh, that’s a bummer” as if you are talking to yourself. Now, you’ve done this before, and every time you’ve done this before, there was some sort of logical consequence at the end of it. (My kids trashed my van during a throw everything at each other moment in the car, when we got home, they were asked to clean the van above and beyond the mess they made.) When you say the bummer phrase, the kids are cued that this will not end well for them. This one only works when you are consistent. We’ve gotten to the point where all I have to do now-a-days is sigh heavily and the kids are like, “Oh shoot, we are crossing the line, pull back! Pull back! Don’t make Mom sigh!”
5. I’m not willing to…
I love asking my boys questions instead of making demands. It’s been a real learning curve for me, but we’re getting better at it! One thing I have learned from Vicki Hoeffle is that it’s ok to tell your child what you are and are not willing to do. Especially when they have made lots of choices not to be willing to do something for you.
Example: In the morning I ask my son, “Would you be willing to do the dishes before you go out and play?” He says no. Later that day, same kid asks me a favor and I answer, “I’m not willing to do that for you.” They learn what it feels like to get told no and you are learning what it feels like to say no sometimes! I wouldn’t get into the habit of using this as black mail or revenge, but once in awhile it’s nice to be able to say what you are and are not willing to do. I will use this phrase in a variety of ways like, “I am willing to wash your laundry for you but I am not willing to undo all of the knotted socks.” You’re saying yes and no at the same time without using either word. That’s genius talk.
I wish I could put “Because I said so!” on the list, but let’s face it, that phrase gets no results. With consistency and patience, the phrases above can make parenting much easier!
What’s your favorite parenting phrase?