Believe it or not, parents are not immune to mistakes. We do and say things out of frustration, disappointment, hurt and anger that we usually regret later on and wish we had never said.

My children will tell you that if you ever come home and find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, or if I am cleaning out closets, that it is a sure sign of one of two things: either I am really upset, or I am really upset.

Not too long ago, after a run-in with an insurance company over a robbery claim, I set about scrubbing the front foyer. My kids came in the back door running through the house and upon arriving in the front hall, screeched to a whoa just as I straightened up and glared at them.

My 10-year-old asked what was wrong. Instead of explaining adult issues that would not be as important to a child as to me, I said childishly, “If you step on this floor, you’ll never see your next birthday.” She laughed and walked away saying, “Oh, Mom, you always say that.”

Later, reflecting upon and regretting my poor mood, I wondered if other parents ever said things that they wished they had not. I polled some friends and the following are some samples:

1. (The most often used and most famous): “I’ll kill you.”

2. “Is your life worth doing that?”

3.”I brought you into this world, I can take you out, and make another kid that looks just like you.”

4. (Mother to child) “Don’t make me run away.”

5. “They swapped babies on me at the hospital.”

6. “Are you trying to make me old before my time?”

7. “Every gray hair in my head has your name on it.”

8. “I’ll put you on the backside of the moon (if you do that again).”

9. “You can do that again or die, the decision is yours.”

10. “If you are good, God will get you (whatever).”

Of course, no parent really means this. It is just hard to get children’s attention today. They don’t take life seriously enough or the above edits would frighten them.

My kids are not frightened. They know that I love them more than my own life, and that whatever I say is much more dangerous than anything else with which I could threaten them.

But seeing it in print does look a lot worse than it sounds, doesn’t it? Although I had never thought about running away myself. What a great idea!


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