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I was in Charlotte teaching my Parenting with Confidence material and it got me thinking about little magic phrases that were repeated in our house when our children were little. No, I can’t point to a verse backing each of these up. But they do fall under wisdom application. Use them if you think they might be helpful. 
 
“Freeze” – This was our code word for absolute unquestioning obedience. Sharon and I would only use it for semi-life threatening circumstances like walking across a parking lot. With four children in six years, there were times that there was only room for one or two in the shopping carriage. That meant the other two had to walk close by. Or we might need the command for walking in the parking lot after church. We had fun training our kids to comply. We would tell the children to imagine there was a wild snake behind them that Mom or Dad saw. When we said, “Freeze!” they needed to freeze because their life might depend on it. It was kind of like freeze-tag and they loved it.
 
“Please don’t” – This was our code word for when sibling-to-sibling wrestling or teasing should stop. Young kids can horse around and wrestle. We want them to do that. But sometimes, in our house at least, the bigger ones might take advantage of the smaller ones. All the smaller ones had to say was, “Please don’t’.” When we would break up inevitable squabblings, one of the first questions was, “Did you say, ‘Please don’t’?” If they had, that settled it. The bigger one was the guilty party. If not, then the younger one needed to learn he should have said to stop.
 
“Understand?” –  I have written a whole post on why, “OK?” is not OK. In a good desire to soften our direct command, we end with “OK?”  However, what our child hears in that moment is a suggestion that he may or may not want to obey. Instead, to soften the directive, we would end with, “Understand?” That took the edge off our command but let them know we were still giving a direct command. 
 
“Please may I appeal?” – This was heard around our house many times (on a good day!). We did have to remind our children at times. This is the proper response to a direct command that our children may not want to obey or may have good reason to not obey. For example, “Jason, stop playing and come to dinner.” “Please may I appeal?” “What more do you want to tell me?” “I am almost done with building this tower. Can I have five more minutes?” “Sure, I will set the timer.”
 
“Yes, Mom.”– This was supposed to be the proper response to calling their name and getting their attention. The point of using their name was to get their attention and break through their concentration of what they were doing. The point of the response was to help us realize they had heard us. A scenario might play out like this: “Jason?” “Yes, Mom?” “Could you help your sister with her coat?’ “Yes, Mom.” It didn’t always happen like that idealized exchange but that was the goal.  

If you want to see more practical suggestions like this, check out our Parenting with Confidence material. 
 
Do you have phrases like this that you use? I would love to hear from you. – Chap