When you’re a child, you promise never to use the silly and embarrassing clichés that seem to come so freely from the mouths of adults.
As you get older and start your own family, however, you realize that there’s a reason why these old-hat expressions never seem to die: parents teach them to their children, who will eventually break down and use them in a fit of desperation in the face of their own kids’ baffling behavior. These are 10 of the most venerable and well-worn silly sayings passed down from generation to generation, despite kids’ vows never to pick them up when they get older.
- “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” – Kids have a way of wanting every product they see advertised and insisting that they’ll never have another friend again if they’re not wearing the newest and most expensive designer labels when they turn up to school. While you may have sworn that you’d have calm, rational discussions about budgeting with your own kids when the time came, there’s a good chance that you’ve let this gem fly a time or two.
- “You Weren’t Raised in a Barn!” – Whether it’s leaving the door open to run outside or making rude noises at the dinner table, kids have a knack for being thoughtless and, in the eyes of adults, horribly impolite from time to time. That’s usually when an admonishment about a barnyard background will come into play, even if the speaker has always held that the phrase is one they’ll never use.
- “Because I Said So!” – Kids love to use the word “why.” If an adult says it, there will be a child nearby that wants to know why that statement is applicable, why it was used, why his parent feels that way and why he has to listen to it. Though it’s one of the most infuriating phrases a parent can use, there’s still a fine line that, once crossed, will leave a parent explaining that the whole reason boils down to “because I said so.”
- “If Your Friends All Jumped Off of a Bridge, Would You Do It?” – Of course a child isn’t going to jump off of a bridge, even if all of his friends are doing it! When your own parents asked you, with a straight face, if you were planning to take a header off of a bridge at the request of a friend, you probably rolled your eyes and made a mental note never to ask your own kids that same question. In the end, though, you will almost certainly pose it to your kids when they’ve followed the crowd into some particularly ill-advised antics.
- “Your Face is Going to Freeze Like That.” – Kids love making funny faces, and parents love poking fun at them for doing so. Every child has, at some point in his life, also had the passing fear that if he crossed his eyes just one more time, he would never be able to uncross them, thanks to this favorite comment of parents.
- “Hold Your Horses!” – While a pack of excited kids may sound like a herd of wild horses running through your house, there probably aren’t any mustangs in sight. That’s what makes it so silly to tell a rushed child to “hold his horses,” but parents still continue to use and pass the phrase along as their own kids get older.
- “I Can’t Wait Until You Have Children.” – Most parents aren’t in an rush for their progeny to start having babies, but that doesn’t stop them from wielding the phrase, “I can’t wait until you have children that act just like you act!” Kids tend to disregard the statement out of hand, but they’ll also say it in a fit of frustration when their own start acting like little hooligans.
- “Hay is for Horses.” – No parent wants to hear their child shouting, “hey!” all the time, which is why this gentle admonishment about proper language use is still surviving. That, and the fact that it seems to be absorbed by kids to be spat out when they’re parents themselves.
- “Can’t Never Did Do Anything.” – Encouraging your child to be enthusiastic and fostering a sense of determination is the goal of most parents. After all, you want them to believe that they really can do anything they set their mind to. Instead of summing that sentiment up in a germane manner, however, most will just toss this favorite of motivational posters out there, waiting for their kids to parrot them back at their own little ones later.
- “Eat Your Carrots So You Can See in the Dark.” – While carrots are part of a nutritious diet and good for macular health, they don’t give kids infrared night-vision. That doesn’t stop parents who are desperate to get a vegetable down their child’s gullet from saying it, though, nor does it stop those adult kids from taking the same tack when faced with their own finicky little ones.