“We’ll See” – And Other Parent Phrases and Actions Teens Hate

parent phrases teens hate

I remember, not so fondly, growing up and asking my Mom for permission to do certain things. Her reply often was, “We’ll see.” As the bubble over her head formed, I could see her lips taking the form of a kiss to make the “W” sound and my body tensed up. My eyes became imaginary darts with her face as my sole target. I dug deep to find all the self-control I could to not scream at the top of my lungs, “Why can’t you just say NO if you don’t want me to do it!!!!??” “We’ll see” meant no. We both knew it. Why did we have to play this game? She knew I’d come back and ask again. Why did she want to have the conversation again if she’d already made up her mind?

As a mother I’ve caught myself puckering my lips together when the girls have asked permission to do something I’m not crazy about. If my mom’s favorite saying still causes me to cringe, we (my husband and I) must have some doozies of our own. Here they are:


“Fair does not mean equal.”

We actually can’t take credit for coming up with this one. We heard it from my brother-in-law on vacation years back and it’s become a favorite. It is our automatic reply for any of the following complaints:

  • She got a bigger piece of cake than me!
  • She gets to go to the mall with her friends when she is 12 and I had to wait until I was 14?
  • I got three new back-to-school outfits and she got four!


“There’s a storm coming.”

This one comes in handy when we’ve asked a million times for them to clean something, pick something up, complete a chore, etc. This is the last phrase we mutter before we blow. And, by blow, I mean lose all filters and concern about what might come out of our mouths next. We use this when the rage has reached its boiling point and there is no telling what could happen next.


“Why did you buy that?”

Apparently when they buy something (with their own money) that we think is a waste of money, we are better off saying nothing. If they’ve spent their own money, why should we care? We know why… because we want them to grow up to be responsible with their money. We want to teach them the value of a dollar. We want them to become smart-buying adults. How about that?


Demanding instead of asking: Empty the dishwasher! vs. Will you please empty the dishwasher?

We have no problem asking the first time. However, when it doesn’t get done after asking multiple times there is justification for the demand. (See “There’s a storm coming” above!)


Waking them up when they have nothing to do.

Apparently we are supposed to tip-toe around until noon or one o’clock when our teens decide to wake up and start their day. Did you know the “Don’t wake a sleeping baby” rule also applies to teens? We need to learn to sleep when they sleep.

If we did that, we’d all be homeless, because we wouldn’t be able to hold a job!



Barging into their rooms when they want to be alone with the door shut.

We get this one. Teens are entitled to their privacy. Just remember that anything in excess can be alarming – that includes alone time! If we think you are spending way too much time shutting us out, we deserve to let ourselves in.


Saying something they like, or do, is silly.

We may not agree with many of the choices that our kids make, but as they get older we need to accept that they can make their own choices. We need to learn to honor and respect their decisions. If they aren’t breaking a law, harming themselves or others, or destroying public property, does it really matter? If they choose dance over soccer, painting over running, black over blue, short over long, big instead of small, they should feel empowered to make the choice and not be ridiculed for it.


Are you struggling to understand the meaning of your teen’s vocabulary? This piece on teen language might help!









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