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The one thing we’re not supposed to say to our kids {but most of us do}

Fat Mum Slim /

He called us into his office, so I gathered my things and told the kids, “Can you please put the books back, and then follow me in here?”

He looked at me, and said, “Don’t ever say that.”

I was perplexed. I ran over what I’d just said. Was it the ‘follow me’? Or should we not have put the books back? I was absolutely confuzzled. My look must have given it away. He, my daughter’s psychologist, guided us into his room and explained, “You should never say please to your kids. It should just be a request, no please required.”

That was a year ago, and I’m still as perplexed. This guy is an amazing, no-nonsense psychologist who has changed the parenting game for me. We were enduring hour-long tantrums on the regular, and having some really big issues, and they’re pretty much non-existent now – thanks to the tools that he’s given us.

He’s a psychologist that is in the ‘trenches’ with kids everyday {he works in schools} and he’s a dad too. I loved when he told me that his son asked if he could play Fortnite, so he downloaded it and played it alone first to decide if he could. The answer was no.

No matter how much I adore and respect this guy, I still can’t stop saying play.

I mean, I’m intrinsically a people pleaser. I say sorry when the other person should be saying sorry. Someone can shoulder charge me in the supermarket and I’m still the one to say sorry, as if it were my own fault. I say please and thank you multiple times in a sentence when it’s probably not even required one time. It just falls out of my mouth, “Can I please order the eggs on toast, please? Thankyousomuch.” It’s habit for me to say please, and I say it often when speaking to my kids. Heck, I even yell it if needed, “CAN YOU TWO PLEASE STOP FIGHTING FOR ONE BLOODY SECOND!?!”

I tried to stop. Instead of manners, I made simple requests. “Put your bag away,” and “Flush the toilet when you’re finished,” and even, “We’re gonna be late, GET IN THE CAR”. No pleases. It felt weird though. My kids are humans and aren’t my minions. Sure I want to teach them to just do stuff that I ask, but surely a please never hurt anyone? Did it?

I never did ask him why I shouldn’t say please. It’s something, all these months later, that I’ve pondered regularly. While I love 99% of things he’s taught, I’m not entirely sure I’m sold on this manners rule of his. Next time I’m in his office I’ll have to ask him about it.

I’m just not sure whether to add a please when I ask him or not. We’ll see.


Do you say please when you’re telling your kids what to do? Should I stop? Or keep it up?