Updated 11 February 2013

Man, what do they mean?

Have you often got the feeling that your parents say something, but mean something completely different? Here's a guide to parentspeak.


Man, what do they mean? A teenager's guide to parentspeak:

What parents say What they really mean
Are you going to go out wearing that? Not if I can help it, you won't
How was school today? Managed to stay out of trouble for another day?
Go and clean your room We need to talk about you, so disappear.
Got any homework? Must you slouch in front of the TV like that?
Please be polite  to your cousin today Remember last time you disappeared when they were here and you got grounded for a week?
Who is this boy who has phoned twice? We would actually like his full credentials from his last report to his grandmother's inside leg measurement.
I really like your friend John I really don't like your friend Peter.
We got a call from the school today Where were you on Monday?
You won't ever do drugs will you? We lie awake at night about it.
Please write to Gran to say thanks for the green jumper We know it was really hideous and too small by far, but we can do without her having a reason to get at us.
How was the camp? Did you ever sleep or wash?
Why don't you go to the movies with Cheryl again? We worry about you if your social life goes quiet.
Will there be adults at the party? Do you really expect us to sleep before you're back here again?
Shouldn't you be studying for exams now? You should be studying for exams now.
When you're older, you'll understand Life is difficult. We are older and we still don't understand.
Do you really think that looks nice? We think it's hideous.
Do you think money grows on trees? Get a part-time job
Shouldn't your school report have been here already? What did you do with it?
Be nice to your brother Do you know how objectionable you were when you were three? One more fight and we'll go crazy.
Whose turn is it to do the dishes? It's your turn to do the dishes.
You paid what for that CD? The lawnmower makes a more pleasing sound.
One day, when you have left home.. The mere thought of not having you here makes my stomach churn

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)


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