We all have them, we all use them consciously or unconsciously :
Here’s my top 12…
1) “Everyday is not a favourite day”
Picture this it’s meal time, it’s been a busy day (aren’t they all) the kids even before they enter the kitchen PAUSE they ask the dreaded Question “What’s for tea” your heart sinks you know its a collection of whatever you could lay your hands on & you know only 2 of the 3 are going to ‘like it’, this is only going to end in dispute. This phrase saved me from many mealtime collisions, & at the end of the day food is fuel, unless it’s a hot chocolate & popcorn kind of day in that case no one complains.
In the words of the song … 2 out of 3 ain’t bad…
2) “I am talking to you about you & I will talk to them about them”
When there are 2 or more children involved in an ‘incident’ – rather than getting into the mudslinging that can easily follow, I use this dictum. Our kids hate it but its one of my favourite parenting peacemaking statements of ALL time. They hate it because they find it tough to take personal responsibility for their actions but it works because it forces them to take personal responsibility for their actions (!)
3) “Save your tears for important things”
This one came from my sister. she’s a phrasemaking legend & can be used when you have a child who could win an oscar when life doesn’t quite go their way, “tears are to be saved for the big things”, crying is ok, crying to get your own way is not.
4) “Please can I leave the table & thank you for my food”
I instituted this as soon as they could talk, Because every house benefits from good table manners & it is super cute to hear a toddler say it.
5) “I can’t DO IT!!!” I say “You can, you just haven’t yet!!!!!!”
For the child who struggles with confidence and gives up just a bit too quickly this phrase is for them, I think there’s something quite wonderful to plant the thoughts of possibility into children. When the world around us force feeds us comparison, a healthy approach to tenacity, trial & error & roll your sleeves up some things are hard work, become A1 qualities to possess …
6) “You know where I am if you want to talk to me”
Maybe like me you find the sound of your name being yelled from a distant corner of your home quite irritating, and when I say irritating it’s one of the things that instantly gets me ready for a fight! I decided to make myself available but only if the kids come to me in person. So if like in my house the word MUM is their favourite word to yell this may be of use to you, I yell back (not sure if the yell is needed but it feels very satisfying to do) “you know where I am if you want to talk to me”. stick to it thou wait for the patter of angry feet, greet with a smile & oh hey you, nice to see you, how can I help?.
Side note : It only works if they are not yelling for toilet paper.
7) “Busy families work together”
I have tried to operate a cooperative household, from early in their childhood my children have been taught chores & family duties. We are all busy & love the life we live. But for everything to go well we need to all participate. from when they can, they do.
Bed making, washing up, cleaning toilets, laundry even the little ones can do something.
We want to bring our kids up with the mindset that becomes a gift to their future lives, the people they meet, the friends they keep, the teachers they learn from, the boss they work for & the wives or husband they spend their lives with and the kids they eventually raise.
With that in mind we want their lives to be full of shared experiences of how to work hard & be part of a team & how their little means a lot.
We also don’t want to set them up believing they are not able, we don’t check their work, we just coach them on how do it better next time
8) “Treat others how you would like to be treated”
Straight from the bible, so helpful, and easy for small ones to understand, if you wouldn’t like it then maybe the other person doesn’t either.
9) “BE KIND”
no more no less, always choose kindness, always, always, always!
pretty hard to argue with, but on the flip side this one comes with a warning because you gotta be kind yourself too
10) “I am on the toilet!!!”
Protect your privacy, they do not need access to us 24/7 there are many good things to occupy their lives & when I go to another room for peace & quiet or to the loo that’s a non negotiable!
YES parents are allowed to be alone.
I have tried to foster a healthy respect for personal boundaries in my kids. so when I lock that bathroom door even a polite knock or whispered excuse me mum will not be responded to. I reserve to right to state the obvious at full volume “I am on the toilet!!!!!”
(ever wondered thou why when you are in the lady’s room the kids seem to start world war 3??? )
11) “I am in a conversation”
Whether it be in real life, phone call or text message it’s not the time to interrupt, if it is super important they can say ‘excuse me’ other than that they can wait patiently until I have finished and then can have my full attention, when I will put down my phone, power off my device, & click it on silent.
12) “We are Hooper’s, & Hooper’s don’t do that”
This is about creating a sense of belonging to your family crew, Proud of your family name, teaching them how to bring honour by being a person of integrity & good choices (please be aware this is a life work). what characteristics are important to you & how you want your family to be known? what your family gang are good at, any behaviour that is not in this family manifesto can be curtailed by this phrase, “We just don’t do that”, followed by what we do do…
As for us Hooper’s: We don’t gossip, but we do celebrate, we don’t pay down on each other, we take responsibility.
We don’t hit, punch,or kick, we do use our hands & feet for flipping awesome things thou like dancing, jumping, football, drawing, creating, making music & being gentle, lifting, building & climbing.
We don’t scream, say mean things or bite but we do use our mouths to share sound, sing, speak, eat good food & make crazy fun noises (& of course kiss).
And our family gang is built on prayer and faith in Jesus, hope and perfect love.
Of course these phrases can be developed with age, but you know its family culture when your kids quote them to other kids. Part 2 at a later date 12 is enough for now.
#phrases you can steal