… on breaking my kids


Broken. London, 2010.

Dear Kids,

There is no easy way to say this so I’ll just come out with it.

You’re broken.

Yep, you two Jack. Even though you’re just a half kid, you are whole-y broken.

I know this is true because, today on my Facebook feed, I came across a link to an article in Good Housekeeping magazine entitled 50 Things You Should Never, Ever Say to Your Kids. Erase These Common Phrases From Your Vocabulary.

Oh the shame.

But, as the parent in this situation, I knew I had to suck it up and face up to this mockery of my own parental aptitude.

So here I am.

Facing the music.

Deep breath.


There were fifty things on the list, but I eliminated a large number of them from my vocabulary before you were born because I am naturally predisposed to good parenting, so we’ll only touch on 48 or so.

“I do everything for you”

I’m not sure if I ever said this one to you, but clearly I am supposed to avoid it. The expert they consulted says that saying this leaves no place for the child to put their hurt and anger because ‘if Mom and Dad do everything for me how can I be angry at them?’

So if I ever said that and you felt there was no place you could put your hurt and anger because you considered me perfect, I’m so sorry….

Wait a second.

No I. Am. Not!

When I said things like, ‘Look what I did for you and now you are acting like a little poop!’ (insert synonyms where you think you need to)… I’m pretty sure you were STILL angry. I don’t think you thought I was perfect and that you had nowhere to put your hurt and anger… I think Sam once dumped his hurt and anger all over my floor in the form of hurled toast and milk.

Scratch that one off the list and I am not sorry.

Let’s see…

“Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat”, “You’re fat”, and “I’m so fat, I need to go on a diet.”

Oh no!

Oh, no wait.

I never used those words, I was really careful.

Mac, you probably don’t remember this but when I was pregnant with Sam and Gabe I was careful to refer to myself as ‘rotund’ and ‘spherical’.

You’re probably fine.

B is fine, but A is better.”

Uh oh.

Jack we need to call Best-Friend-Bill-Li.

Remember when we laughed and laughed when Bill got a B and his Mom said, “Bill Li, you are Asian, not B-sian.”?

Seriously, Jack.

Call Bill at medical school and ask him if he is okay. Do it today.

Okay, now lets see…

“I hate when you <insert bad behavior here>”


I thought there was a whole movement a while ago to make sure we didn’t say “I hate you” to our kids. We were supposed to say I hate the behavior, so that you little twerps didn’t think we hated you.

But now it says, right here in Good Housekeeping, that we can’t say we hate whatever it is you are doing.

Welp, okay.

I don’t hate what you do.  I hate you.

“You make me so mad” and “You’re making me so sad”

It says, “The number one job of a parent is to stay calm no matter what happens….”

I had no idea that the number one job of a parent is to stay calm no matter what happens. Seriously. No idea. This is a problem, I know. I am so ashamed for crying at all of your graduations, and when I get so excited when something good happens and… most of all… when I completely flake out if the house shows any trace of anyone actually living here any time we are expecting company.

“Don’t do that

It says here that saying ‘don’t do that’ does not teach desired behavior, so instead of saying ‘don’t hit your brother’, try saying ‘this is how we use our hands gently’ and demonstrate patting or hugging.


I see this as a potential safety issue, but okay.

Gabe, remember when you were two and we caught you upstairs crouching with that bottle of raspberry shampoo? And we didn’t know what you were doing with it, but then we asked you and you opened your mouth to talk and a soap bubble came out and floated up to the ceiling and I grabbed you and said something like, “We don’t DO that!” and ran down the stairs and called poison control?

I think what Good Housekeeping is saying is that, instead, we should have drawn you a bath and taught you how to wash your hair.


Because a dead kid is way better than a traumatized one.

I told you so

Well, shit.

I even have cards that say “I told you so” for when I need to tell you that I told you so.


Photographic proof of my cards that say ‘I told you so’

It says here that saying “I told you so” is just bragging, and that it’s never helpful.


Sam, I shouldn’t have told you… that I told you… that you could totally graduate high school… and college… and get jobs in music and screw all those people who said it wouldn’t happen.

Sorry about that. My bad.

I think “Great job!” and “You’re so smart!” are going to be tough ones to take back.

I think we’re just going to have to rip off the Band-Aid on this one.

You guys always sucked at whatever you did, and you are stupid.

Moving on.

Oh no.


NO! NO! NO! I am NOT going to eliminate this one from my vocabulary!

Well, Jesus Christ tap dancing on a cracker, I just said this last week to DAD!


Oh, the humanity!

I can’t….

Don’t MAKE me turn this car around!

Noooooo! That is only one standard deviation (math) away from “Don’t make me come back there!”, a Dingle fam fave!



Good Housekeeping is making me sad, and so mad.

I think they are being ridiculous, and they shouldn’t do that.

I mean, I did everything they asked and read the dang article!

They are idiots!

They are doing it wrong!

And, dag nabbit, they are FAT!

Oh wait.

Uh oh.

Here we go again.

Mommy is not that great at following everyone else’s rules, is she?

She’s teetered off the reservation again, went all rogue… is marching to the beat of her own drummer…


Eh, whatever.

I told you so.

Thanks for readin’.


As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment <3