7 Magic One Liners for Parents

photo of mother and child

As a mom of three I always have a bag of tricks to dip into to try to get my kids to cooperate on any given day. Ideally we all want to avoid bribery and power struggles. I personally try not to over analyze the way I approach parenting. And if I know anything, I know simple is always best. There’s also a limit on how much your child’s developing brain can process. Sometimes what you want to say can get lost in a sea of words that they just don’t understand, or that will frustrate the both of you even more. Here are some of the best tried and true, brief phrases you can use to replace a power struggle and a ton of blather that, lets face it, goes in one ear and out the other anyways. Hopefully one or more of these one liners will work a little bit of magic for you.


  1. Try again.  This one can be a great line used for all sorts of negative behavior like yelling, grabbing, or being rude. Kids might be more cooperative if they have control over a situation and a opportunity to correct a behavior. So giving them a “redo” offers them a chance to start over. Fresh. And who doesn’t appreciate that?
  2. What do you say/How do we ask? This one can get your child thinking and sing his own memory on what manners they are supposed to be using. It’s also a great approach that avoids nagging which can trigger a rebellious response. Remind your child of the rules with a calm question.
  3. I love you too much to argue. This is a perfect Open and Shut response from an adult. No response is needed even if your child attempts to bargain with you. This usually does the trick for my strong-willed and stubborn oldest.
  4. What did I say? Be careful how you say this one so that it doesn’t sound like you’re scolding. If your emotions begin to escalate so will your child’s. Try asking this genuinely.
  5. I can’t understand you when you use that voice. When my third child was born my second oldest began reverting back to baby talk even though he was 5 at the time. It took a lot of patience on my part. And even a moment where I told him one day when he broke down crying in the middle of drop off at the daycare that I said “I can’t talk to you when you’re doing that cry face”. A few chuckles from passing parents and he immediately turned off the water works. I think making it clear that you aren’t giving them what they want because they choose to talk like a baby or cry lets the child know they can choose a more effective way to communicate.
  6. Walk, please! Instead of using “Don’t run!” or “Quit fighting” you can offer a direct and positive directive which redirects them to the desired behavior you’re wanting such as “Say Okay Mommy”, or “Walk, please!”.

Let me know if any of these have worked for you! And I am always in need of new ideas! Please share with us fellow parents. ❤



Fair Minded Mommy

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