It’s not unusual for parents to repeat themselves. That’s where I am these days with my kids – “Finish your dinner,” “Brush your teeth longer,” “Get your finger our of your nose,” and “Stop hitting your sister!” are phrases that I say constantly.
To quote my mother and father, I sound like a broken record. Remember that? Depending on your age, you either said this all the time to your kids or heard it all the time from your parents while growing up. I heard it all the time from my parents but unfortunately, I can’t say that to my kids.
Why? My kids have no idea what a record is and no idea how a broken record sounds.
There are so many classic disciplinary phrases that our parents said to us while growing up that we can’t use these days. My husband’s favorite to use is, “I’ll give you something to cry about.” Really? Will you? When my husband the softy actually follows through on this threat, it will be a miracle. Not that I want him to follow through on this particular one, but c’mon, hun. Be real.
I inquired to my Facebook friends to help me come up with some other phrases like “I sound like a broken record” that were said to us growing up that our kids wouldn’t get. I hit the jackpot. To give proper credit where credit is due, I am going to include the first name of those who submitted.
Heather (my college roommate): “Go look it up in the encyclopedia” – Do classrooms actually have encyclopedias anymore? I don’t even know if they have dictionaries in the classroom. I have taken up playing Scrabble with my 7-year-old daughter and found that a dictionary comes in quite handy. We didn’t have a good one at home so I bought one – at the dollar store. If my daughter has a question about why the sky is blue or why butterflies are different colors, I follow with, “Let’s look it up on the Internet.” Everything on the Internet is true, right? If encyclopedias were the “truth” before the Internet came along, how do we really know that everything in encyclopedias was the truth?
Lacy: “Thirsty? Go drink out of the hose” – This is a great one because I did this all the time growing up. We never thought twice about disturbing our game of baseball out in the cul-de-sac to run inside and get water. There was a perfectly good water source right there in the front yard and it was called the hose. As long as you didn’t touch the metal part with your mouth, it was OK. The look that would appear on my kids’ faces today if I suggested doing that while they were playing outside would be priceless. How is drinking out of the hose any different from drinking out of a water faucet after gymnastics class?
Lacy/Mike: “Listen for your Dad to whistle to come inside for dinner,” “Be home before dark” and “When the street lights come on, it’s time to come inside” – First of all, do kids even know there are street lights on the street they live on? Do they know that those lights served as the timer for us playing outside? When those lights came on, you better get inside or you’re going to get it (Oh, that’s another one!). Most parents would never send their kids down the street to their friends’ houses to play after school or on the weekend by themselves these days as freely as we were allowed to. Most kids only play in their family’s backyard these days, never knowing the wide world of adventure that exists in the front yard.
Gina: “You’re on restriction” – This is a good one because a lot of my friends growing up were put on restriction. It was the ultimate in punishment. Some friends were “grounded” and that was the lesser offense. If you were put on restriction, man were you in trouble! I barely send my daughter to her room when she’s broken a family rule. If I ever put her on restriction, she’ll have to do something really bad.
I think I am going to head out to Goodwill, buy an old record, scratch it up and take it over to my dad’s house (because he still has a record player) to play for my daughter so she can hear what I sound like all the time. Then I can start to bring back some of these classic phrases.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.