“One-liners can help us remain calm and composed in stressful situations, as they provide a clear and consistent message to our children.”
psychologist and family interventionist Vanessa Kahlon says “By using simple and concise phrases, we can avoid getting into lengthy arguments or debates with our children, which can escalate emotions and lead to negative outcomes
Before you say something you’ll regret
We’ve all had those parenting moments where our child is emotional or just plain irritating, and we say something out of anger that makes everyone feel worse. Once you have a bank of one-liners to tap into, you can create a pause in the drama, allowing everyone to calm down.
“One-liners can be used to replace certain negative or ineffective reactions in parenting, such as it can help parents avoid the temptation to lecture their children, which can lead to boredom, disengagement, and resistance,” said Kahlon, author of How To Do Parenting With Confidence.
“Additionally, one-liners can also replace critical or judgmental comments that might hurt a child’s self-esteem and damage the parent-child relationship.”
- Instead of saying “you’re so lazy,” say “let’s get started” to encourage action. A short reminder phrase like “let’s get started” can also replace nagging, which can lead to resentment and defiance, Kahlon said.
- Instead of arguing with your child, say “I love you too much to argue.”
- Instead of trying to talk your child out of a tantrum, encourage them to express themselves by saying, “Let me know when you are calm so we can talk.”
- Instead of telling them what to do, ask “What choice do you want to make: A or B?”
- Instead of yelling “you need to listen to me!” say, “Let me know when you are ready to listen.”
Kahlon said, “let me know when you are ready to talk” is a versatile one-liner many parents can benefit from. It encourages children to express themselves with words, regulate their emotions, and problem solve.
“This one-liner can be used in a variety of situations, such as when a child is upset or frustrated and is crying, hitting or kicking,” she said.