The Real Meaning Of The 10 Most Common Parenting Phrases

"Because I said so" actually means "I'm out of reasons and trying not to lose it."

Parents have a long history with a few particular phrases. My parents used them. Their parents probably used them. Now, despite my thinking I would never join this camp, I use these phrases, too.

1. “What do you say?”

Means: I want you to say "please." I want you to understand kindness is more important than always getting everything you want. (But I want you to go after what you want in life, too. Even if right now it's mainly fruit snacks.)

2. “Because I said so.”

Means: I'm totally out of worthwhile parenting wisdom, and I'm trying not to lose my shit.

3. “Do you want me to take away ____ ?”

Means: Crap. Please don't be a stinker and say "yes." Please play nicely so I can go to the bathroom alone.

4. “Stop playing with your food.”

Means: I'm not actually against creating art from dinner leftovers, but I don't enjoy cleaning and, let's be honest, that's where this is going.

5. “Go to timeout.”

Means: I'm one part trying to teach you that actions have consequences, and one part trying to get you the hell away from me for two minutes.

6. “Say ‘thank you.' ”

Means: I want you to appreciate other people and the things they do for you.

7. “Say ‘you’re welcome.' ”

Means: I want you to know that others should appreciate you, too.

8. “Ask your sister if she’s okay.”

Means: I want you to understand we have the power to hurt others, even when we didn't mean to, but that it's never too late to let someone know we're sorry.

9. “No.”

Means: No. You can't always get what you want isn't just an old song.

10. “I love you.”

Means: More than I'll ever be able to explain to you, unless you are lucky enough to have kids of your own.

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