10 Things We Want to Say to Our Kids but Should Never


We are approximately 2 hours and 43 minutes into Spring Break in my house, and that means that I have four kids at home with me. Yes, I planned all my kids (except for number four – that additional baby hiding out in there when we decided to have baby number three was certainly a surprise) and yes we love them all endlessly; but that doesn’t mean they aren’t occasionally annoying. When you’re a work-from-home parent and you have two babies that nap most of the day and two who are in school most of the day, life is easy. When school is out for a solid week and it’s already pouring rain outside and the kids are two hours into a week of boredom, life is not so easy. Two hours, people, and I already want to change my name and run away from home. I’ve never uttered the phrase, “SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” so often in my life, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week (insert imaginary sarcasm emoji here). Right now there are about 1000 different things running through my mind that want to come out of my mouth, but I won’t allow it. Because you can’t just say anything you want to your kids. You can think it all you want, but you really, really can’t say everything that pops into your head (also, you probably should use this lesson in your daily life and not just apply it to your kids, too). Here are 10 things you probably want to say to your kids, but you just can’t.

Shut Up

First and foremost, it’s just not nice. Shut up is a term that’s kind of hurtful and mean, and we don’t want our kids to say it, so we can’t say it to them. You can think it all you want, because sometimes you do want them to shut up. When my kids are all telling me about their days at the same exact time – or telling on one another for looking at them for the 70th time in an hour – I want to tell them to shut up. But I don’t. Instead, I constructively ask them to take turns, use inside voices and only tell on others if there is imminent danger, which does not come from a look.

You’re Going to Get Fat

As my petite, tiny daughter shoves four pancakes in her mouth and then asks for four more, eats them and then asks for an apple and some gold fish, I want to look at her and tell her she cannot eat like this because she’s going to get fat. But I won’t. Instead, I will encourage her to eat in moderation, eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. Additionally, sending her outside to run around and burn off some calories means she will probably nap later and she will definitely be out of the house and quiet for a while. So, you know, it’s win-win.

You Make me Crazy

If you’re a parent, you get it. If you are a human with any sort of interaction with other humans, you get it. People make you crazy, but you can’t tell kids they make you crazy. They’re sensitive and it hurts their feelings and it makes them feel unloved and unworthy. Say it to yourself, text your spouse; whatever. Don’t say it out loud.

I Never Should Have Had Kids

We all think it at least once in our lives. For me, it was the day my 4-year-old drew a photo in the carpet with Desitin while our 1-year-old twins painted themselves and then while I was cleaning that up she used the potty, forgot to flush and left the door wide open so the twins could fish her trip to the bathroom OUT of the toilet and paint themselves and the entire bathroom with it. I thought to myself, “Why did I have kids?” I didn’t say it; and I didn’t mean it, but in that moment I could not find a single reason why I thought kids were a good idea. But I kept it to myself.

Why are You So Bad?

I have a good answer for you; because they’re kids and they’re learning and they don’t even always know they’re bad. They’re just being kids most of the time. Why are you so impatient and judgmental? I know I am, but that doesn’t mean we get to say it.

Daddy/Mommy is a Jerk

As a parent who is happily married to my husband and the father of my four kids, I can’t imagine ever telling my kids that their dad is a jerk. But I hear and see people doing it all the time. It makes me a little sick. All the divorced people in our family (okay, so we only have two divorced people in our large family so we aren’t experts by any means) are so good about getting along and always co-parenting and being kind about one another. Put the kids first; if their other parent is a jerk, they’ll learn on their own.

No, Your Artwork is Not Awesome

One of our kids is exceptionally artistic and the other is not. But we don’t tell them that they aren’t good at what they do. I have a friend who does this, and it makes me crazy. We don’t have to tell our kids they’re amazing at everything and not teach them life lessons, but we don’t have to be harsh about things, either.

I Don’t Care

Guess what? Sometimes I don’t care what my kids are saying, but I just mentally check out. I smile and nod and pretend that I care about so-and-so’s new shoes in art class, but I don’t. But I also don’t tell my kids I don’t care. The minute you tell them you don’t care is the minute they stop sharing with you. And trust me, we want our kids to share with us – especially as they grow older.

Go Away

It’s not all that nice to tell anyone to go away, but especially a child. So let’s not do it. Redirect them to another project or activity or something, but don’t tell them to go away. It’s not nice and it makes them feel unimportant and undervalued.

I Really Don’t Like You Right Now

Sometimes I don’t like my kids when they’re being kids. I love them, but I don’t like them. But I also don’t tell them this, and no parent should. There are plenty of people in the world that will not like your kids and will probably tell them, but they don’t have to think their parents are not on their side 24/7, you know?

Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images


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