The Daughter Hat: Parent Phrases

Now that I’m a mother, I find myself saying the silliest things to my 8-month old daughter. The other day, she started crying because I took away her snacks. She had way too many and it was time to get ready for bed. She looked up at me, pushed out her lower lip and started to scream. This wasn’t a “ahhh, look how cute she is” kind of cry, but rather a “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Give me back my snacks. NOW!!” kind of cry. In that moment, I turned to her and said, “Don’t be such a baby”. Don’t be such a baby? I literally said that. To a baby.
This got me thinking, and I was suddenly reminded of all the phrases my parents used to tell my brothers and I when we misbehaved. I wonder how many generations have passed down these phrases. I’m even more curious about how old I will be when some of these phrases come out of my mouth.

Love you mom and dad!
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130 thoughts on “The Daughter Hat: Parent Phrases

  1. I so remember saying those statements. Didn’t I use the one, “Stephanie, the world doesn’t revolve around you” last week. Ha ha. just kidding.

  2. Probably! Remember when you would say, “you’re embarassing me in front of all these people”. Then, when we looked around no one was there.

  3. Oh my god this is FANTASTIC! I’m going to share this with my Mom. Except the line wasn’t “I’ll give you something to laugh about…” It was…”I’ll give you something to cry about!”


  4. Nice. Some of the phrases I used to hear growing up were: “You may be taller, but you’ll never be bigger.” “Cry? I’ll give you something to cry about.” (followed by a spanking)

  5. “Because I said so”. And, “Don’t make me turn this car around!” I’ve definitely said them to my 3 year old daughter!

    My parents would say to my sister, “Finish the food on your plate. There are starving children in Africa!” She would reply, “Name 10.”

    Congrats on being freshly pressed! 🙂

    Veronica Samuels

  6. My parents never threatened to turn the car around, but they did threaten to make my sister and I walk when we were making too much noise. in the back seat. In fact, I think the last time they did that was when we were both in high school. And you know what…they made us get out and walk home. It wasn’t the best punishment because we had a great time on that walk home.


  7. I use “money doesn’t grow on trees” with my oldest child (he’s eight) and I have to laugh remembering my dad saying the same thing to us as kids. Of course, now my 3 year old comes up to me and says, “Mommy, we need to plant more trees and this time with money on them.” Smart girl.

  8. My father’s favorite was, “If you don’t stop, I will call that [insert nearby authority figure here: manager, owner, police officer, etc.] to come over and yell at you. Do you want a stranger to come yell at you?”

    1. So true! My mom would always say, “Do you want me to call the babysitter?” (she picks up the phone and fake dials), “Hello, babysitter … we need you to come over!”.

  9. Love this. Many of the same ones were used on me, my three brothers and my sister. I have even found myself asking my kids, “Do you want a spanking?” What kid in his right mind is going to say, “Yes please. May I have more?”

  10. I’m 36 and my eldest child is 4. I found I was using some of those sayings quite soon after he was born – as well as any other saying particular to members of my family that affected me. I’m often fond of funny euphemisms my stepfather says. “I been knowin’ that!”

    Some work, some don’t. Some are tried and true, some continue on, even though it’s apparent they’re bunk, or worse, disasterous statements.

    What’s even more fun is the statements my elder son makes in response to us or anyone else. Kids do say the darndest things, and he’s got such a vocabulary, even if he’s not using a word completely correct, contextually it fits and that makes it all the cuter. Worse, he knows it… and he uses it against us. His brother is not yet 2, barely talking, but he’s gotten the use of looks down pat. He’s a rotten stinker! Who needs words when you can say everything with a smirk and a sideways glance at 1 1/2?!

    And we’ve got twins on the way, so plenty more chances to use old euphemisms and get cute responses back.

  11. When I was a teenager and I went anywhere, my mom would always say “Drive safely” or “Be wise.” Finally I made her a hanging plaque that said “Drive safely” on one side and “Be wise” on the other.

  12. There is really no substitute for how you feel in the moment that it dawns on you that:

    1. Your parents were not THAT out of touch
    2. You were NEVER like your children are
    3. You sound just like your mom/dad

    Hee hee. I tell my kids all the time that one day they will be as “out of touch” and “crazy” as I am now.

    Children really are priceless.

  13. I find myself telling my kids things my parents said to me, and I have to step back and laugh at myself. I can’t think of any right this second, but the next time I spill one out.. I’m sure I’ll laugh a little harder.

  14. I have said all of those things today- just insert my kid’s names for Stephanie, and I count to 5. My mom said all of those things too and when they come out of my mouth, as mad as I am, I laugh (or stifle my laughter and put on my stern face!

  15. This is so true. Thanks for the laughs and the memories. The phrase will pop out of your mouth sooner than you think and you’ll realize how your parent felt when saying it to you. I always liked the phrase: “I’m your mother and I know what’s best for you.” Scared me witless when I said it to my 4 yr. old.

  16. “For all I know, you could’ve been dead in a ditch somewhere!” How many times did I hear that one? All because there were no cell-phones, and no payphones out in the country, where the kids always used to gather?

    I’ve sworn to my children that if I ever use that phrase on them, they have permission to call me “Grandma”. ack.

  17. I love the counting one. I’ve seen parents use that on babies too young to even know what counting was!

    Funny, but kind of sad too, that we will do and say such nonsense just to try and control what our kid is doing.

    Good luck finding other ways to deal with your little gem.

    Be well.

  18. Haha! Whenever my sister complained that I was looking at her funny my mom would say, “like my mom says, ‘if the cat can look at the queen, your sister can look at you.'” Well mom, you apparently say it now too. And just watch, I’m going to be saying it to my kids. I’ve already started saying it to my boyfriend.

    <3 Milieu

  19. Oh so familiar! I swore I would NEVER say the things my mom said to me. At one point a few years ago I heard her words coming from my mouth and almost fell over in shock! LOL I will never say ‘because I said so’ I just hate that. I would rather say ‘because I asked you to’. The last time I heard ‘because I said so’ I was 27! Yep, 27 whole years old. My head almost spun 180 when she said it. I told her she could tell me the real reason she didn’t want me to put those papers in the recycle bag, I was a big girl and I could handle it! So, she replied,’there are articles in there I want to read.’ Now, see how easy that was? 😀

    Kids make us do the darndest things! Enjoy your baby, the time goes so quickly. Mine are 7 and 10 now and I still can’t figure out how we got here so fast!

  20. Very, very funny 🙂 . Thanks for sharing.

    I like the last one … that’s the emptiest empty threat ever!

    Congrats on being freshly pressed.


  21. How about this: Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about. (obviously there already IS something to cry about.)

    Mom used to say, “You’ll be in dire straights if you…[try something like that, don’t straighten up, keep that up, do that one more time…] I tried that on my kids and they thought they were headed for a rock band!

  22. I love that not only you said “Don’t be such a baby!” but that you can admit it! Eight months in……’ve only got about 40 million mistakes to catch up to me. Don’t worry you’ve got plenty of time, mine are already 12 &13!

    Good luck!

  23. My favourite was when my 15 year old daughter in the midst of teenage angst said: It is ALL your fault..(meaning why she was miserable). I raised one eyebrow. I didnt ask to be born, you gave birth to me so everything is YOUR fault. Now she is a mother herself I delight in reminding her of this.

  24. It is so much fun as a grandmother to hear my kids saying those things. Another two of my favorites are “if you are going out, go out, if you are coming in, come in, but shut the door!” and “if you are thirsty enough you will drink water”

    1. and “if you are thirsty enough you will drink water”

      HAAAAHAHAHAHA!!….THAT one brings back memories! We were big Kool-Aid fans, and, during the summer break, this phrase was a given once the pitcher was emptied. Great posts!

  25. I enjoyed this post!! “Because I said so” is my favorite, it just works…sometimes. I have four children twin teens, a 10 yr old and a 5 year old. It wasn’t long after the twins were born that I found myself using my parent’s phrases. The first time you do, you will stop dead in your tracks and just shake your head in disbelief. Enjoy your little one…they just keep growing!!

  26. Thanks everyone!!! I love hearing all of your stories. Each one of your comments made me laugh. We ARE our mothers.

  27. OMG, this reminds me that I have a small notebook around here somewhere with shit my father said. But isn’t it funny how we start to sound like them. Scary….

  28. And don’t forget the granddaddy of them all: “As long as you live in my house, you’ll follow my rules.” My ex tried that on his daughter-she moved back in with her mother the next week!

    1. Yes!!! What part of NO don’t you understand! That came out of my dad’s mouth nearly every day. All of you ladies are so clever. I relate to everything every one of you has said. So, how many generations do you think these phrases have made it through? Proof some things do stand the test of time.

  29. often heard but never found to be decorated in such a touching attire. this post needs more than a appreciation from the core more than just a compliment from the lobes

  30. Too funny… I’ve found myself saying a lot of the same things to our children too – and often hear my own parents words coming out of my mouth 🙂

  31. Nice post. Personal fav’s from my youth were (at meal time) “There are starving children in India who would eat what you have right now” and (at any sign of possible shenanigans I might participate in) “Your ass is gonna be grass, and I’m the lawn mower”.

  32. Never say NEVER in regards to the angelic children you give birth to. If the words “My child would NEVER do that…” ever cross your lips, you will eat those words eventually…

  33. I really enjoyed reading this. My son only has 2 teeth so far, but he’s using them well. He’s teething, so he’s biting, often me. The other day, he leaned in to chomp and I moved my arm out of the way, so he nipped his own arm.
    I actually said, “See? Didn’t I tell you not to do that?”

    Like you, Stephanie, I sat there thinking, did I really just say that?

    Liam, 7 months old.

  34. And my favorite all time doozy of things I swore I’d never say? When they say, “I’m sorry,” and I respond, “You should be.” I’ve only said it a couple of times, and regretted it immediately.

  35. I’m not married nor do I have kids but I do use these lines on my younger siblings.. There’s one more line you guys missed.. My parents used to sigh and tell my siblings and I this line when they had to send us to school or places.. ‘When I was your age.. (i.e I had to walk/cycle x number of kilometers just to get to reach our destination and back) I recently caught myself telling my 8yr old cousin the same lines when she wanted to go to her friends house a few rows away..

  36. Mother Hen here.
    As you can imagine, being the mother of about 524 chicks, give or take, MH has had plenty of opportunity to use a few gems passed down from Granny Hen, may she rest in peace. Here goes:
    – “May you have one just like you” otherwise known as “the Mother’s curse”
    – “How many times do I have to tell you…”
    – “If she jumped off of a bridge, would you do it?”
    – “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…”
    – “Always wear clean underwear, because you never know…”
    – “Your face will freeze that way.”
    – “Wait ’til your father gets home!”
    – “Don’t make me come back there!” or alternatively, “in there”
    – “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
    and of course, Mother Hen’s personal favorite:
    – “Were you born in a barn?”
    Maternally yours,
    Mother Hen
    “Home of the World’s Foremost Typing Chicken”

  37. Around our house, if we were worrying about some future event, my mom would say, “Don’t start swimming until you hit the water.” Very sound advice indeed.

    Really liked the post, and you let us know we’re not alone in this parenting thing!

  38. I remember when my eldest son was 5 years old and while climbing a brick wall, I told him to get down from it before he fell. My son took no notice, I then in formed him that if he fell off and broke his leg not to come running to me!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t belive I said that.

  39. 😀 ! a very common thing in my country used to be :
    “as long as you put your feet under MY table…”,
    which basically means the same as what i say to my 4yo :
    “who’s the boss here ?” – great effect in public when he answers “mami is the boss… ” (but now he rolls his eyes with it..)
    the second on your list is a bit crude, hey, i also think the often quoted ‘..i give you something to cry about’ is pretty terrible.
    then again, my parents used to pretend they would SELL my brother when he was being a goof in the car, which always started as a game but really scared him in the end. (i was younger but never believed them anyway, ha!)
    congrats to being freshly pressed, mommy!

  40. Yeah, I just said to my 3 year old son the other day, “That’s disgusting! Were you raised in a barn?” and he answered, “I not raise in barn. I raise here, Mommy.”

  41. Do your parents know my parents?
    And the counting to three… is this a global thing?
    I am from Germany and heard this about daily. Same in Sweden and France.
    How about Asia and Latinamerica? Any counting there?

  42. Great Post! As they say experience is the best teacher, before when it was our parents saying these phrases we couldn’t understand or refused to accept, but when it’s our time to raise our kids that is when we fully understand what it means.

  43. My favourites that my parents used:
    Which part of No is hard to understand? The N or the O part?
    Please do go outside and check the nameplate on the house. Still mine? then it is my home, my rules.

  44. LOVE it! 🙂 My mom used to say “Why can’t you just act NORMAL?” haha! I think that so often about my three year old…I guess we all forget what normal is like to a child!

  45. You forget one phrase:

    “As long as you are under my roof, you will say what I told you to do.”

    Lol…. that’s funny is, we will sound like our parents when we, too, have kids.

    I like your post 🙂

  46. haha, its really ture, actually, i am not mom now, but i have a little niece just 13 months old, when she dont wanna eatting by herself and started to scream and crying, i would talk to her like your saying” dont be a such baby” hehe, but she is. anyway, i also not like that when i was kid parents said ” beacuse i said so”, so when little niece not be good we will give her little punishment– let her sit in a corner for a few mins and sounds a little bit loud, then talk to her like a big girl ” did u realized that what u did just now, that’s not good, u r a good girl right ” and we hug each ohter, hehe although still baby but they know everything.
    enjoy the time with the kids, because time really flies fast, and they only have one childhood.. 🙂

  47. Yep, the other day I told my 13-year-old I wished she’d grow up. I back-pedaled immediately and told her she’s just fine, appropriate and all, and so is my short temper (peri-menopausal single mom of a teen? please!). We laughed and sighed and recognized just one more time that we are going to be having these conversations a lot in the next few years. Can I get a witness?

  48. LOL! Thanks for the laugh! I also find myself saying ridiculous things to my kids. I’ve told my 5 and 4 yr old, “Would you please act your age?!?” …and then I think, ‘oh yeah, they ARE acting their age.”

  49. sometimes we tend to forget that children don’t reason the way that we (as grownups) do. we have had a lifetime of experience and it’s hard to understand that they are starting brand new.

    especially at the heat of the moment; when chaos is being thrown at you and you just….need… a second to breathe and get the chaos back in order!

    it’s at these moments that you revert back to the phrases your parents tried as a desparate attempt to win the battle. be careful what you try, because sometime in the future, this kid will be shouting the exact same thing in a similar situation!! LOL!

  50. Great post! Congrats on FP!

    Yes, my parents said these things to us, ‘something to cry about…’ and ‘straighten up and fly right’, which would cause us to put our arms out very stiffly and attempt to fly around the room (caused more laughter than correction).

    And I said them to my kids, adding “What part of NO don’t you understand?” and “I’m the parent, I get to make the rules. You’ll understand when you have kids.”

    To which my daughter would say, “I’ll NEVER say those things to my kids!”

    Her baby is 3 weeks old.

    We’ll see how it goes.

    P.S. ROFL about the parents who threatened to SELL the brother!
    And I HATE the…’I’m gonna call that police officer over here and tell him to yell at you’… PLEASE! give our law enforcement officers a break! Don’t make kids be afraid of them! Yikes!

  51. When my friend would smart off to her dad, he would say “You better smell yourself”.
    I’ve never used it but always thought it was a strange thing to say.

  52. lol… my mom used to say “You’ve got younger legs than me” when she wanted me to do / get something for her but I didn’t want to. My siblings and I also got the threat of “I’ll make you walk home!” when we were acting up in the car.

  53. Nice list! My favourite line my dad would use was “You like _____(insert random snack food here)____? Well, remember what it tastes like!” Parents just say the darndest things eh?

  54. Im soon to be mom in December and am wondering if I will end up saying the same things 🙂

    1. a) Congratulations!!!! b) Come back and let me know once you have your baby if you find yourself saying these things. I bet you will. Best of luck! Thanks for visiting.

  55. I can completely relate to every single one of these, and not just because my name is Stephanie! Isn’t amazing how quickly the tables turn and you find yourself not only looking like somebody’s mother but acting like somebody’s mother as well? The tragic passage of time…

  56. There is nothing new under the sun.
    These phrases must be biblical.

    To complaining teenage daughter…”as long as your feet reach the ground you’re tall enough.”

    To misbehaving child..”Do you want to be smacked straight into next week?”

    To older misbehaving child…”There’s the door, don’t let it hit you where the sun don’t shine on your way out.”

    To complaining teenage girl…”Beauty is only skin deep but ugly is to the bone.”

    1. I’ve never heard the last one! I’ll have to use that later in life, I’m sure of it! Thanks for visiting.

  57. This is cute. I remember my mom counting down instead of counting up. Instead of “one…two…” it’s, “three…two…one…” because to a child, anything can come after three. But after one, there’s no where to go!

  58. haha, funny stuff! i’ve been writing down and posting funny things my daughters have said, but never things i’ve said. will definitely take note of those too from now on! 🙂

  59. Wow, great post and fantastic comments!

    My favorite parent phrase is the what I have dubbed, the “curse of the mother”. I usually heard it after I had done something really thoughtless or stupid (occasionally both).

    The curse goes something like this: “Someday you’re going to have kids . . . and they’re going to be just like you!”

    I have. They are. Sorry mom.

  60. I really enjoyed this post. When a person is mad or annoyed, unnecessary words would just come out. If your baby could just talk, she would have said this “Duh, isn’t it obvious mom? Do I look like an adult to you?” Hehehe
    Parenting kids does sound scary sometimes, but it’s all about patience and hardwork.

    Online Parenting Class

  61. I’m surprised no one mentioned the classic, “Don’t talk like that or I’ll wash your mouth out with soap!” Luckily it was never followed through on, but I did hear it quite a bit.. 🙂

    I recognize all of the ones on your list too. Ahh, the memories.

    I find myself doing the counting one, only in reverse. So it’s Threeeee.. Twoooooooooooo. Ooooooone! It works much better with my 3.5 year old who didn’t understand why it stopped at 3 when you went the other way. 🙂

    1. Kelly, you are right! Counting in reverse … I like that much better. Why did they stop at three? Too funny. Thanks for stopping by.

  62. oh i love it.
    the one that has turned into a joke in our house is when my three year old doesnt get his own way i often say oh your so hard done by.. which is responded by him laughing and saying- im not done by im anthony graham taylor! usually gets us both out of the funk.
    i do the counting thing with him to and usually worked a treat until a few weeks ago when he decided he likes numbers. i used to get to two and he would behave, now i get to three and he carries on with a smirk- four five six seven eight nine ten!