Parent Magazine recently published a list of 10 things we should never say to our kids.
Like many of our readers, I called, "BUNK" on what constitutes a "toxic" phrase.
But, rather than debate the phrases the magazine cautions us about, I thought it would be fun to see 10 phrases I use.
1. "First things first". Yep, that means don't touch that iPod or the TV until what I've asked you to do is done. Homework isn't complete? Dirty clothes all over the floor? Personal items strewn over every inch of the house? Well, those are "first things". Finish those, and you can move on to the fun.
2. "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Call me Yoda. The word "try" is simply too easy to mutter as an excuse. Kind of like how adults overuse the word "busy". Call me a hard-arse, but both words are simply frames for excuses.
3. "Get a move on, or I'm leaving." This would be my version of Parent Magazine's "hurry up". I am leaving. Right now. I gave you a 15 and a 5 minute warning. Let's go. And I'm out the door. In the car. Hope you can catch me as I drive away.
4. "I'm sorry that hurt your feelings." I don't ever want my children to ignore their feelings. How to respond when sad, angry, disappointed, or hurt, is an entirely different discussion, but I do try to acknowledge that their feelings matter. Even pint-sized people have legitimate feelings.
5. "We can't afford that." I say it. Why not? Sometimes, I add, "Maybe we can look into that later" and remind them of the tickets to Wicked and that ski trip we took - things for which we budgeted. But I see NOTHING wrong with telling my kids that we simply can not afford this or that.
6. "Healthy stuff first. Put it back." I'm a health coach. My kids know this. They also know that I will indulge them on whim. And while my kitchen just doesn't house a ton of snacks, we do have a supply of goldfish (cheddar-blast - omg, they are dangerously good), and some other fun yummies, that may ONLY be enjoyed AFTER a healthier choice is made. Often, they are not hungry for the less-healthy option afterwards, and if they are - OK. They know what healthy looks like, and while under my charge, it is my responsibility to provide them with options that are good for them. Hopefully, when they are older, they will remember what they've learned.
7. "Wanna workout with me?" We NEVER use the word diet in our house. EVER. For we are not on one. But, we do value exercise and nutrition. While we ask the kids to join us in our attic-gym space, usually only my son says "yes". They know Mom and Dad workout everyday, and not because have weight to lose. It's just what we do.
8. "Always." This is lways my answer to my son who constantly asks, "Mommy, can I ask you a question?" Now, if I am in the middle of something, I will add, "Can you give me 5 minutes?" but I ALWAYS want to be available to for their questions. Sadly, my 9 year old stumps me most of the time. Many of his questions, I can not even answer.
9. "That's not my responsibility." Shoes, jackets, gloves, backpacks, lunch bags, notebooks, iPods, phones, toothbrushes, - you get the idea. I've created a space for all of these things. Can't find it? That's a shame. Next time? Put it back.
10. "I love you." Daily. Often. Without reservation. Random. Spontaneous. No reason.
Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder of Daily Fast Fuel. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 12 and 8, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family.