40 Sayings From Your Parents That You Swore You’d Never Use (But Do!)

Your parents probably used these common sayings, and though you try as you might, we guarantee you probably use these parental sayings too.

April 14, 2015
By: Monica Rodgers

Photo by: iStock


Last week in preparation to write this post I half-heartedly filled in my status on Facebook letting my peeps know about the article I would write and what I was looking for: I wanted to know what expressions their parents used on them that they could remember. The following morning when I got up to write my post I had over one hundred responses! I was laughing hysterically as some of my friends recalled things their parents (and mine) said that I had not even remembered until they listed them. You've got to love social media, and you've got to be honest.... how many of these phrases STUCK that you use with your own children? I'd love to hear the hand-me-down phrases that may not have been listed so please share them in the comments section below and by all means, forward this post to a friend you know needs a laugh this morning. Thanks to all who helped by listing their memories.

Lectures, threats and expressions our parents issued when it came to: being sassy, asking for money, friends, boys, manners, obedience, acting up, getting in trouble, or just plain being a kid.

Here they are:

  1. "Money doesn't grow on trees you know...." (famous)
  2. "Close the door! - were you raised in a barn?"
  3. "Here's a dime kid...go call someone who cares."
  4. "Because I said so." (There was nowhere to go with this one...)
  5. "If so and so jumped off a bridge would you jump off a bridge?"
  6. "Stop crying before I give you something to cry about!" (Always worked.)
  7. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
  8. "Your face is going to freeze that way." (I believed this would happen.)
  9. "Hold your horses." Which when pantomimed was usually followed by: "You think that's funny? We'll see how funny it is when you are in your room and the rest of us are...(insert something really fun)."
  10. "I'll wash your mouth out with soap."
  11. "When I was your age - I had to walk (10+++) miles to school....."
  12. "You're not made of sugar, you won't melt."
  13. "You'll live."
  14. "You brought this on yourself."
  15. "This hurts me more than it hurts you."
  16. "Can't never did."
  17. "If you do it and get caught and go to jail, you WILL spend the night."
  19. "I brought you into this world and I'll just as soon take you out!"
  20. "Just WAIT till your father gets home!"
  21. "You'll understand when you are a parent."
  22. "One day, God willing, you'll have one JUST like you."
  23. "And who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheeba?" (Is there even such a place?)
  24. "Come home when the street lights come on."
  25. "I was not born yesterday, Mister."
  26. "There are starving people in Africa who would gladly eat your dinner!"
  27. "Don't burn the candle at both ends."
  28. "You kids will be the death of me yet."
  29. "I suppose you think you are special, Lady Jane." (Who is Lady Jane anyway?)
  30. "Don't stir up the mud."
  31. "Hay is for horses."
  32. "Put a sock in it."
  33. "Knock it off."
  34. "You kids go out and play in the yard."
  35. "You can, but you may not."
  36. "A roast is done, YOU are finished."
  37. "We're not laughing AT you, we are laughing WITH you."
  38. They used the "F" word.... "I FORBID it." It was like a double-dog dare to cross them.
  39. "Wipe that smile off your face or I'm gonna wipe it off for you."
  40. and my all time favorite: "Don't you make me pull this car over...." (incredibly effective with my own children)

With most of the above - "If I heard them once I heard them a thousand times," - and I can still make the facial expressions that went along with most of them. My dad, in particular, would bite down on one corner of his lip (it's a wonder he did not bite it off) which was the signal that we were close to getting our heads knocked. My mother, on the other hand, gave us the silent treatment when she was mad at us, and then totally pulled out the big guns (tears) when it was time to "discuss" our behavior -- trust me -- it was NOT a discussion. All my dad had to do at that point was look at us in resignation and disgust to say: "You made your mother cry," and we would just hang our heads in shame and want to crawl into a small hole and DIE. It's not easy being a kid... but man these expressions come in handy and just seem to roll right off the tongue with my own kids. I stand in momentary horror as I realize that I have become my parents.... the very ones I said I'd never become.

And the final phrase I know all of us who have stood in the shoes of children around the world have issued to our parents: "When I have kids of my own I am going to be different...."

Uh-huh...we'll just see about that.

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