6 Things I Say as a Parent And I Clearly Don't Mean

by Adam Riches

Sometimes I say things to my kids and I’m already calling bullshit before the final word has left my mouth. I’m not soft by any means, but there are some phrases that I just know I’m not following through with, and what is worse, my 3, nearly 4 year old, knows I’m bluffing...well sometimes.

The thing is, I can’t help myself. I’m sure you’ve got some too, but over the last week, here are a few of my total bullshit phrases.

“If you do that again then you won’t…”

The second I fire this one off, I know that inevitably, if he does it again, I’m going to say, “I told you not to do that again,” It’s like I’m warning him, but I’m just hoping (praying) the warning is going to be enough. I don’t like using the conditional clause because it almost tempts him to push the boundaries, but I seem to use “If” more than I’d like. I guess it’s part habit, part hope. I’ll be honest, he isn’t really scared of me, so I don’t know who I’m kidding.

“10 minutes….”

The inevitability of me giving/putting a time limit on anything and forgetting said time limit is almost guaranteed. I’m useless when it comes to remembering how long I say something isn’t happening for. I also find any type of time-based threat is pretty futile with a child who has no concept of time. Waiting 10 minutes for something to a child is the same as waiting 10 years, they just don’t get it and all I do is prolong the nagging.

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“No TV for the rest of the week”

Literally, what a joke. When I say something is going, it goes. I stay strong for a while, but I often find I fire a bit high on the length of the confiscation. Realistically, a week turns into 3 days, and I think that if the lesson has been learnt, it’s all good. Plus, as I’ve mentioned, my kids don’t know how long a week is...and by the time they figure it out, I’ll just mix it up a bit. Any time I take away things like TV or toys, I do feel bad though. I get the guilt and kids are so, so good at manipulating you aren’t they. Clever.

“You’re not getting down until you have eaten it all”

The endless stalemate between parent and child. The sprig of tender stem broccoli that could be eaten in less than a second is all that lies between you child and freedom and they just won’t eat it! I say, “Well, you’re not getting down until you eat it all!” whilst simultaneously thinking about the 80000 jobs I have to do once my son has gone to bed. He is getting down, I just want a compromise. Just try it. Get on with it. PLEASE GET ON WITH IT!

“If you eat too much your teeth will fall out”

I’m not lying, if you eat too much of certain things, your teeth will fall out, won’t they? They will. But any time I find myself saying things like this, my son looks at me and sort of weighs up what I’m saying. He looks at me as if to say, “Na, you’re bullshitting.” He hasn’t quite got to the point where he knows he’s got a point...but he does ask “Why?” on repeat and I normally struggle to explain.

“Wear your hat or…”

The hat will be on and off a thousand times. Every time, the warning gets more extreme. When I get to “Your ears will fall off!” I know I’m normally drawing towards the end of my repertoire. I mean how many things can one dad make up to get their kid to keep his hat on?

I need to up my game a bit with the threats, they aren’t working well now, imagine how bad they’ll be when he actually gets it!


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Written by

Adam Riches

Blogger & Teacher
Being a parent isn’t something you can ever truly prepare for (no matter how many things you read about!) I don’t think I’ll ever really get it right, but that’s what being a parent is all about for me - effectively winging it and being totally ok with just doing your best at being a dad. I’m stumbling through life as a dad of one and between extracting coco pops from my son’s nose and trying to persuade him that dinosaurs aren’t going to get him at night, I write a bit and I teach a lot.

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