Do you have mom phrases that you keep coming back to while raising your kids? I have many parenting phrases, but I have one parenting phrase that helps you get the response you want.
Raising kids is about teaching. Sometimes that comes with rewards and sometimes is comes with consequences. Often times it comes with teaching by example and other times by using words. The phrase I am offering today is a gentle phrase that teaches kids how to say things and respond to you in a more effective and respectful way.
Whining. Ugh. My kids don’t get what they want when they whine. Period. It amazes me how we’ve been so consistent with that rule and yet they still whine. If it’s whining for something that would be considered a bonus gift of some sort (a treat, a toy at the store, a t.v. show, etc.), the answer is automatically no.
However, sometimes they whine just to whine. They might be frustrated, and it is just one of those innate kid things that must be addressed as a parent. It is part of a developmental phase. I have one method of tackling the whining and crying, which includes giving them time to get self control. It’s a technique we have loved having in our tool belt.
One Parenting Phrase that Helps You Get the Response You Want
Another technique I have loved having in our arsenal to confront whining or a bad attitude is the phrase, “Try that again.” We got this phrase from the Pritchards, parents of 11 kids, who have an amazing online community and course available (affiliate link).
This morning was a good example. My daughter said, “Will you help me put my tights on, please.” That sounds very pleasant, doesn’t it? You can’t hear her shrill, whiny voice that went along with that question. Re-say that sentence in a whiny voice…not so sweet sounding anymore, is it? So, I said the phrase, “Try it again.” She did…not much improvement. So, I demonstrated for her what a sweet voice sounds like. “Try it again.” Ahhh…success. I was able to help her with her tights.
Let me give you another example. We want to teach our kids to obey, but we also want them to do it with a right attitude. I might ask my child, “Please pick up your jacket and hang it on the hook.” The child rolls her eyes, give a huff and bends over to grab the coat to do what I have asked. I would at that moment say, “Try that again.” That would indicate that the attitude needs to go away, and then she can follow through on what I have asked her to do.
Another phrase I try and teach my children is to respond with, “Yes, Mommy.” Sometimes they don’t. They roll their eyes or ignore me. I can give them a quick second chance to do what I’ve asked with a simple, “Try that again.”
Other times, my children have an attitude problem. They might growl at me (literally – really?) and scowl. They might walk through the door in fight mode. I will send them back through that door and say, “Let’s try that again.” They can come in with a more pleasant attitude. I want to know what is going on with them, and I will sit down and talk about what they are feeling. I know it’s important to show empathy.
However, kids need to learn how to respond appropriately to their feelings. I know it’s hard. It takes a lifetime of learning. I know there are days where I feel grumpy. I wake up and don’t quite feel myself. However, I have a choice to make. Am I going to make everyone’s life miserable and respond in a way that hurts our family or helps our family? Am I going to be able to communicate my feelings without bowling over everyone? They can express their feelings without taking out their anger on undeserving parties.
One warning is that you don’t want to make this into a dog and pony show. It’s not back and forth, back and forth until they finally do what you have asked in the right way. I give them one or two chances to turn it around, and then I have to give a consequence to teach them how to obey. I also want to encourage you to use a calm and gentle voice as you are parenting with this phrase.
Part of parenting is helping our kids make positive choices with their attitude and actions. “Try that again,” is a phrase that is great for this kind of teaching. I hope this is one parenting phrase that helps you get the response you want.