Sure, there are loads more, but these three one-liners can jeopardise your credibility as a parent.
There are some things parents will never stop saying. When I was younger, I didn’t believe a lot of what my parents used to tell me, because a lot of their one-liners never made sense.
Read more: Weird lies parents tell their kids
The lies we tell our kids
Annoyingly, some of the things they used to say over and over again are embedded in my memory forever.
“Because I said so”
This doesn’t help a child understand why they can’t watch another TV programme or why they have to brush their teeth before bedtime. Granted, when a child repeatedly asks “but wwwhhhyyyyy?” eventually it warrants an equally as annoying question in return, but saying “because I said so” when there really is a logical explanation to be learned can leave your children feeling defeated more than anything.
If all a child does is what their parents tell them to do, (because mommy or daddy said so,) and not because they understand why they need to do it, at what point do they learn to do things on their own?
It can be hard and frustrating to have to explain your reasons. But why? Because children haven’t learnt and gone through what you’ve been through. Try and relate it to the consequence and explain to them what will happen if they don’t listen to what you’re telling them. If your child is asking why they have to write a thank-you letter to a friend for the birthday present they got, explain that when people do nice things for you, it’s important to do nice things in return and that it might mean getting a present again for their next birthday.
“Don’t pull that face! If the wind changes it will stay like that.”
“Is that what happened to you, Mum? Challenge accepted,” is what I said to that as a child. My disrespectful chat-back got me two weeks of not being allowed to talk on the phone to my friends. I enjoyed pulling faces as a child, especially after I turned seven and realized that my parents were talking absolute nonsense about the wind and my face. So I'd stick my tongue out and squint my eyes on purpose, just to annoy my parents. I once tried to keep my face that way for the rest of the day, hoping that it would convince them that my face really had become that way. I followed my parents everywhere with my offending facial expression, checking in the mirror every now and then just to make sure that for some reason my face hadn't actually become stuck that way. But no. The wind changed often and my face was always able to go back to 'normal'.
I don’t know where this odd superstition comes from. It’s about as useless as a black cat crossing the road being bad luck or that an itchy-ear meant that someone was going to fight with me. I must admit though, as I approach my 30’s I’m finding more and more creases and lines on my forehead. I think I’ll cut a fringe next month.
“A little birdie told me”
As a child I remember this being one of the most annoying things my parents would tell me. Annoying to the point where I’d often feel the need to confront this particular birdie and ask why it had been listening to my conversations about underage drinking. Or why it had been gossiping about which boy I had kissed at the Grade 11 social. Or why it had been reading my diary which contained enough evidence for any parent/birdie to completely freak out. (Yes, my mother read my diary and whilst I know there are many people who would agree that this is completely off-sides, now that I look back I’m glad she did).
One day my mother slipped up and mentioned what she’d read. There were definitely no birds in my room when I wrote in my diary and I knew that the only way for her to have known this specific bit of incriminating information was for her to have read my diary, which she eventually admitted to doing.
Ironically, the fact that my mother had read this specific piece of information helped me out of a tough time a few weeks after that after a nasty high-school break-up. She was able to understand, without me having to explain every detail of why I was sad. So although I personally don't agree with parents who invade on their kid's privacy (like checking their phones and reading their diaries,) in a way I was glad that she understood what was happening. Because my diary never advised me or hugged me or comforted me quite the same way that my mother did after a nasty high-school break-up.
Since then my mother and I have stayed open and honest. She’s become my version of a real-life diary and there’s virtually nothing that I don’t tell her. She and I both acknowledge that animals don’t speak or tell you their child's secrets.
Do you use any of your parent's one-liners on your children?