No matter the circumstances, adding another human into the equation of an already-complicated life will present some difficulties. There are unavoidable hardships (especially throughout the notorious teenage years) that will test your mettle—sometimes on a weekly, or even daily, basis. It’s why people say parenting, more than anything else, is the world’s toughest job. So, you know what parents don’t need to deal with? A whole lot of unwarranted advice on how to get the job done.
But, unfortunately for most, on top of everything else—constant messes, slammed doors, rolled eyes—there’s a whole lot of unsolicited information being thrown at you left and right. Whether it’s from your child or just a particularly snarky, opinionated neighbor, there are some key phrases no parents want to hear—ever. Here they are. And parents, you might want to pour yourself a glass of wine, pronto. Just reading these lines is sure to cause the hair on your arms stand straight up. And for the flip side, learn the 30 Things No Dad Should Ever Say to Their Kids.
“Can you come and bail me out?”
There are few things more terrifying for a parent than hearing that their child could spend a night behind bars. Unfortunately, all the finishing schools, therapy, and quality time in the world can’t keep every kid from getting busted with a fake ID. And for some sage advice on raising a teen, check out these 6 Helpful Tips for Raising Teenagers.
“It wasn’t me.”
Ah, the sibling blame game. So you’re telling me that you didn’t make that mess that you’re currently standing over? Suuure.
“But Emma’s mom let us have ice cream!”
Even if you won’t admit it, every parent still wants to be the cool parent—you know, the one whose fashion sense has remained in the current decade and always takes the soccer team out for ice cream after a big win. And phrases like this only feed into the insecurity that every parent feels—the one that tells you that, in order to be the best parent, you also need to be their best friend.
“Mom, MOM, mom, mom, mom, MOM….”
After a few years of parenting, you begin to forget what your own name—or silence—truly sounds like. And while you love the title parenthood has earned you, you love it a lot less when it’s being screamed at you over and over when you’re trying to read a book.
“I crashed the car.”
Nobody likes to hear that bodily harm could come to their child, and few people look forward to seeing their insurance rates soar. But if your kid is relatively unscathed, you’ve got to admit you both got pretty lucky in the long run.
“I’m dropping out of college.”
And just like that, the entire future that you envisioned for your child seems to be in jeopardy. While you want to support them no matter what, you know what kind of lasting effects this decision could have on their personal and professional lives—and as their parent, it’s pretty much your job to worry about it.
“I wish you weren’t my parents.”
Kids, by their very nature, are impulsive, meaning you’re bound to hear some less-than-kind words—perhaps even claims that they wish they were members of a different family—from time to time. And while no parent enjoys being on the receiving end of such a brutal critique, give it a week and they’ll have changed their tune.
“I don’t want to spend time with you.”
Even if you know in your heart of hearts that your kid would rather spend time with people their own age, it’s never easy to hear that they don’t want you around. The good news? Just a few years later, they’ll be begging to come home to get your advice on everything from relationships to taxes.
“I hate you.”
This phrase seems to get thrown around quite a bit in heated arguments between kids and parents, and it’s hard not to take personally. Fortunately, unless you’re guilty of some egregious parenting, odds are they don’t mean it.
“You love my brother/sister more than me.”
You try to play fair with your kids, but it won’t always feel that way to them. And while you may want to try to level the playing field, just know that even the most doted-upon children feel this way about their parents’ relationship with their siblings from time to time.
“I’m going to kill myself.”
Even if this phrase is used by a hormonal teenager who doesn’t understand what they’re saying, it still needs to be taken seriously. With the rate of teenage suicides on the rise, we must be diligent about noticing the signs of depression and suicidal thoughts in our children. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the biggest signs that your child is depressed is when they lose interest in the hobbies they once found pleasure in, their appetite changes, and they always seem to be irritable and on edge.
“Do you like my new tattoo?”
It can be jarring to hear that your bundle of joy is adding ink to their perfect skin. Of course, some of your fears about their body art can be put to rest: as tattoos become increasingly mainstream, that tiny symbol on their ankle or forearm certainly won’t make them unemployable. And parents, don’t worry: some pieces are really quite tasteful, like these 100 Amazing Tattoos for First-Timers.
“Stacy’s mom is just the best.”
Though you know that these people couldn’t possibly replace you, there’s still this persistent image in your mind of them baking Christmas cookies together…
“Can you pay my rent again?”
While it’s nice to imagine that your child will be financially stable the second they enter adulthood, that’s rarely the case. Like it or not, when the economy’s tough, you’ll still the first one they call to pad their bank account.
“I did much worse in college.”
You know your kids probably got up to some reckless behavior they didn’t tell you about when they were in college. And while you’re happy to have a relationship where they can open up to you, the thought of them doing keg-stands still sends a chill down your spine.
“I don’t want to be like you when I’m older.”
No child ever wants to be like their parent—if you’re a left-brain engineer, then they’ll want to be a right-brain creative. If you’re a filmmaker, they’re off to Wall Street. Humans have felt this way since the beginning of time, and we’re sure that you felt identically when you were growing up. And, though studies have shown that children are actually greatly influenced by their parents’ careers and, therefore, often choose a career within the same field, it’s no secret that teens find it supremely uncool to pursue their parents’ passions—they want to have their own. Rest assured, parents, there’s a chance they will eventually follow in your wise, wise footsteps.
“You were never there for me.”
As a parent, it’s normal to feel like you might have failed your kids in a few respects—so hearing this line only confirms one of your worst fears. While whether or not you actually failed them is up for speculation, this line confirms that your child at least felt neglected under your care—something that can feel like a knife to the heart for most parents.
“Ugh, I don’t ever want to have kids.”
In an instant, those dreams of adorably smushable grandbabies have flown out the window. And while your child may be certain that parenthood isn’t in their future now, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily feel that way forever. Of course, if they do, grandpuppies are pretty cute, too.
“You haven’t checked out that new TV series yet?”
No, you haven’t. Between cello lessons, soccer practices, and family dinners, it’s no surprise that catching up on the latest season of Orange is the New Black isn’t at the top of your to-do list.
“We never hang out anymore.”
Though you value friendships that you’ve created before and after having kids, finding free time (and a babysitter) proves to not really be worth the effort for a night out with your friends. That said, it can be incredibly frustrating when your friends think that you’ve neglected them or purposefully flaked on plans.
“We’re hosting a party, but it’s strictly adults-only.”
What’s so wrong with bringing your well-behaved kids to a backyard barbecue anyway? Also, the no-kids-allowed party people are often those without kids—meaning that they have no idea how hard it is to find a babysitter on a Saturday night.
“It must be so relaxing to stay home all day long with the kids.”
Sigh. When your child-free friends utter this phrase, it can make even the calmest parent want to launch into a lecture about how much work being a stay-at-home-parent really is. While others get the quiet respite of a cubicle for eight hours a day, you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing peanut butter off the floor—not exactly a vacation, by most standards.
“You look tired.”
No parents—especially parents of a newborn—want to hear this. While you knew what you signed up for, you don’t love hearing that you’re wearing visible signs of those sleepless nights.
“Your child is sick.”
No matter how serious the illness, no parent ever wants to hear that their baby is sick. Fortunately, unless it’s something particularly serious, odds are your little one will bounce back in no time.
“Your child wasn’t at school today.”
While you appreciate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off just as much as the next person, does anyone really want to know that their kid’s “sick day” was actually spent at the mall?
While this fear may only apply to those with children under a certain age, it is still a bombshell no matter what the situation may be. When your daughter (or son) shares this delicate information, you instantly fear for their future, and how this baby will push them off of the track that they’ve set for themselves, or, alternatively, that you’ve set for them. Even more horrifying is the new title that comes with this revelation: Grandparent. Is that a strand of gray hair you’re spotting in the mirror? And for more of the strangest moments of motherhood, check out The 20 Funniest Tweets About Being a Mom.
“I love dad/mom more.”
Kids often vacillate when it comes to their affection toward one parent or another. But, like most things with children, their feelings are bound to swing the other way in practically no time.
“I can’t wait to move out when I turn 18.”
The bad news: Your kids are counting down the days until they can legally care for themselves. The good news: If nothing else, this shows you’ve imparted a spirit of independence and determination that might actually benefit your kid further down the line.
“Can I come crash with you for a little while?”
Yes, housing your 27-year-old can be a pain. But let’s just call it a make-up session for all those times they refused your company as teens.
“I’m moving to Paris.”
Whether they’re moving a few states over or all the way across the Atlantic, the thought of not seeing your child on a regular basis can be devastating. Fortunately, this is one long-distance relationship that’s unlikely to falter.
“Just wait until they’re a teenager.”
Parents of older children always love to sharply remind us that our innocent babies will soon turn into one of these surly, hormone-fueled creatures. Is there really a need to remind parents of young children of their impending teen-ness that will, apparently, sully any memories of youthful charm?
“Was it planned?”
Just like anything having to do with your body or health, it’s pretty rude to have someone ask you such a personal question. Whether or not your pregnancy was planned is your business and yours alone.
“You should learn how to take care of yourself first.”
It’s a common misconception that parents constantly crave time without their kids. In fact, for most parents, spending time with their kids is incredibly rewarding and inspiring. So, while yes, it would be nice to occasionally read a book without interruption, it’s a small price you’ve had to pay for raising amazing children.
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
It can be undeniably frustrating to hear your children insist that you stop giving them advice and instruction. After all, if you didn’t tell them what to do, then they’d be sticking gum in their sister’s hair every day and eating dryer lint for dinner.
“You’re such an [expletive]!”
Nobody likes being called names, and even when it sounds a little bit amusing coming from the mouth of someone who still can’t say “spaghetti” properly, it still stings.
“You already told me that.”
As we age, so does our recollection of whether or not we’ve already told that one hilarious antidote, and unfortunately, those closest to us often have to suffer through the same story over and over again. And, though this can get annoying for our children, we’ve changed their diapers and sent them off to bigger and better things—so the least that they could do is sit through a story or two.
“I bet you can’t wait to get back to work.”
This frustrating phrase is something your child might throw your way when you’re disciplining them for something. Of course, to be perfectly honest, the quiet hum of the office does sometimes seem more appealing than a screaming match.
“Call mom/dad and see if it’s okay.”
Mischievous kids constantly attempt to find the cracks in their parents’ armor—which is why it’s always beneficial to be on the same page as your co-parent, lest they use this line on you.
“Your son/daughter just isn’t understanding the material.”
It’s always heartbreaking to watch your children struggle through course material—especially when they’re working so hard to understand it. Fortunately, just because they’re struggling now doesn’t mean it’ll happen forever—and not everyone needs to be a genius at calculus, anyway.
As a parent, behind every moment of silence is a scene of potentially horrifying chaos.
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