We've all heard them. Those annoying phrases that our parents said to us growing up and now that we're parents ourselves, we've decided to inflict them our own kids.
There must be a gene that is passed on from generation to generation that provides the ability for a parent to realize the most profound of pleasures by uttering certain sentences to their children as a fait accompli. Mom or dad said it; so it shall be done. Interestingly, there are so many more layers to these common phrases that many of us say to our kids. On the surface, they're pretty clear and apparently self-explanatory. Surprisingly, the truth is that they're anything but.
These gems of wisdom that parents have been uttering for millennia are actually much more complex than anyone could imagine. The reality is that the true meanings behind these messages that parents tell their kids are often not as straightforward as they appear to be.
Following are the top 10 phrases that parents use on their kids, and what they really mean.
1) "This will hurt me more than it hurts you" -- I'm about to punish you, ground you (in some cases) spank you or otherwise deny you of something, and deep down, I feel really guilty about it. By telling you that it hurts me more that it will hurt you is a way of exonerating myself from the responsibility, or offloading a bit of the guilt that is bearing down on me.
2) "You're gonna poke your eye out with that thing!" -- I don't want to deal with the scream-fest and emergency-room visit that will inevitably follow once you've stabbed yourself in the eye with a fork or similar sharp object.
3) "I'm your mother, I'm not your friend. You don't have to like me." -- Again, guilt rears its ugly head during the trials of everyday parenting. A decision has been made that your child will likely hate, and you feel horrible about it. You know that your child will be irritated with you, will sulk and will tell all of their friends how terrible you are. Deep down you hate the fact that you're not going to be the most liked mom on the block but you have to put up a brave front anyway.
4) "And if your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?" -- What are you, stupid? You think that your friend is so wonderful and you're hanging off his every word. Little do you know that he's way too smart to jump off a bridge but you may not be as intelligent, I'm afraid.
5) "Life's not fair" -- Yes, you really should have been chosen as the beautiful princess in the school play but unfortunately your best friend was considered cuter and more engaging than you and was therefore chosen instead. Suck it up, Buttercup.
6) "No one said that it was easy" -- You've probably bitten off much more than you can chew and your mom/dad is trying to break it to you gently. Inside they're wondering when you're going to figure this truth out and hoping that it's soon.
7) "Money doesn't grow on trees, you know!" -- I really don't want to spend the cash on this ridiculously expensive toy/video game/trendy piece of clothing/Justin Bieber concert ticket and will accordingly remind you that I work just to spend most of my income on you.
8) "Eat all of your dinner! There are starving children in Africa who would love to have that as a meal!" -- I paid way too much money for that food for you to just play with it on your plate and then scrape it into the garbage. You're going to eat it whether you like it or not.
9) "Do as I say, not as I do" /"Because I said so" -- Variations on the same theme. See point #5. I really have no rational explanation for the fact that I'm totally contradicting everything I've told you not to do by doing it myself. This phrase is my way out.
10) "I'm going to count to three... " -- I'm about to commit filicide in three seconds if you don't stop what you're doing.
Follow Samantha Kemp-Jackson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@samkj27