Sunday, December 2, 2012

Theme Thursday on Sunday:Parental Cliches That Wont Go Away

This week's Theme Thursday topic was "Things I've had in my mouth since I became a parent."  Unfortunately there were some delays in getting from first draft to Internet, so we are having Theme Thursday on Sunday.  Now then, on with the blog.

"I can still turn this car around"

"This hurts me more than it hurts you"

"Just wait till you have children of your own."

We all do it. We swear we won't and then we do it. We promise ourselves that when we become parents we won't repeat those same old phrases that our parents did, and then we do. Meanwhile, our own parents, if they are still around, are silently laughing with glee.

Perhaps because he wasn't around by the time my kids were born, I find my self quoting my dad more than my mom, who is still with us. My dad was a great one for the repeatable cliche. One of the fondest memories of childhood is bickering with my siblings across the back seat of our Hornet station wagon and being advised by our father that he could in fact turn the car around.  He would employ this phrase in what were clearly obvious not going to really turn around when we were sitting in traffic on the causeway into Cedar Point Amusement Park, after a 3 hour drive and with the tickets in my dad's pocket. We were in fact in a position where he couldn't turn the car around if he wanted to. But he said it anyway, and we would momentarily subside as if we believed him.

Since I am not a driver, I don't get the chance to threaten to turn the car around...though I have been known to say at the transit center..."I can get on that bus going back to our house just as easily as the one going to Grandma's". Not quite as effective perhaps, but we have to work with what we have.

But there are others that have stuck with me ever since and I use all the time. One of my dad's favorite expressions, employed when we wanted something out of the reach of economics or practicality was "People in Hell want ice water." Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as effective with my children, who were never really introduced to the whole hellfire and brimstone concept of afterlife. I still employ it though.  "People in hell want ice water," is just the perfect response to the more ridiculous concepts of entitlement that our kids develop.

Why do we do this though? Why do we repeat cliches we had from our parents that we ourselves swore we would never use. I think its a desire for continuity between us and our parents.No matter how much we, as kids, rejected what our parents told us, we find as parents that alot of it was pretty darn useful.  Employing the phrases they did with us makes us part of the parenting continuum.  We feel less like we are on our own out there.  And that's a good thing.

This post was written as part of Theme Thursdays, a group of bloggers writing on a select subject each week. If you would like to read more posts on this subject, or find out more about Theme Thursday, please click the button below.


  1. Oh, yes! This is soooo true. I catch myself doing it all the time, but I'm not upset by it. I realize why my parents said and did these things and agree. My favorite cliche is 'What does that have to do with the price of beans in China?' A favorite of my dad :)

  2. Oh and I forgot to mention the starving chidren wbo'd love to eat that meal they are turning their nose up at. When I was akid it was biafra or Bangledesh. Now it would be Haiti or Dafur...