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17 Times Our Kids' Parenting Advice Left Us Speechless

Photograph by Twenty20

About a month ago, I spent yet another morning trying to get my kids downstairs and ready for school. "Socks, shoes, coats," I fired off like a drill sergeant. "Don't forget your school bag!" No response.

My voice echoed through the house as if I were talking to myself. "Come on, boys!" I finally yelled. "We are going to be late!"

My kids came trudging downstairs, grim expressions on their faces. "You don't have to yell," my 6-year-old said. "We didn't hear you."

I just stared at him. "I called you three times!"

He shook his head and sighed as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. "Mama, if you want us to listen, just say our names first. I think you're talking to my brother and he thinks you're talking to me."

"But I said 'boys.' Who did you think I was talking to?"

He shrugged. "Just say my name and I'll hear you."

Could it be that easy? No, of course not. But I have found that if I preface my requests with their names, I do get a slightly quicker response time.

"Out of the mouths of babes … " goes the saying. As parents, we spend a lot of time talking (OK, and sometimes yelling on harried school mornings) to be heard. But sometimes, if we're quiet and listen, we get the very best parenting advice from our own kids. Here are some of the best tips straight from the source.

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"He's 19 now, but my then-4-year-old son told me, 'Mommy, if you want your kids to listen better, it would help if you didn't tell them what to do so often.' He still reminds me I never learned not to be so bossy." — Renee

"Wear your coat. You tell us to wear our coats, but you always forget yours." — Sherry's 5-year-old son

"When my sons were 11 and 13, I got home later than I'd expected from a date. They met me at the door, arms crossed, feet tapping and demanded, 'And just where were you, young lady?' (Not that that was ever a stance I'd taken with them! LOL) That was the beginning of our agreement to always let each other know where we were going, who we were with, and when to start worrying if we weren't back. It lasted through college. One of the best agreements we ever made." — Kathy

"Mum, you need to take a breath and count to 4." — Ann's 4-year-old son

"Mom, you don't have to be so harsh this morning. Your words are stabbing my heart. Are you hangry?" from Denise's 9-year-old. Her harsh words? "I need you dressed and ready for school before you come downstairs."

"Maybe you need a nap." — Holly's 3-year-old daughter

"My 7-year-old is very enterprising. He started a chore service, doing chores for his neighborhood friends and splitting their allowance with them. When I asked why he'd do the job for half the price, he gave me a solemn look and said, 'Any money is better than no money and I'm getting experience.' I told him I'll remind him of that when he's 16 and doesn't want to get a real job. But at the rate he's going, he'll be making more than I am by the time he's 16." — Rachel

"My son was 4 when he emphatically told me: 'Grown ups need to know kids have senses.'" — Maura

"If you fed me more candy I could have X-ray vision. Don't you want me to have that?" — Eli's 4-year-old nephew

"Once while driving with my daughter Mira, age 3, we got lost. I sighed miserably from the front seat. From behind me she said, 'Just take a step back and ask for help, Mom.'" — Kirsten

"Maddie was 6 when she put this gem in a sealed, addressed envelope in our mailbox: 'To John and Christina, My advice from me to you, don't call people brats and don't holler at people. Don't be grumpy a lot! Sincerely, a friend' And for the record, no one ever called her a brat or 'hollered' at her." — Christina

"You should have read the Terms and Agreement when you signed up to be a parent. Nobody ever reads the Terms and Agreement." — Carol's 16-year-old son

"My kid was having a tantrum, and I said, 'Do you ever see me freaking out over something this small?' And he said, 'You're a grown-up—you have more sense than I do!'" — Jennifer

"My son hated me going off track when I took a short cut through one of the stores from the car park behind it. Greg was 3 and he used to shout, 'Stay on the path, Mum! Stay on the path!' It became our family motto for focusing down and not getting distracted." — Kate

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"Aaron, age 3, tells me, 'The baby is crying. You should pick her up.' Thanks, captain obvious." — Axie

"A few months ago, I was trying to get E in the infant carrier. It was one of those days and she was screaming bloody murder because she was overtired. I couldn't get the top of the carrier snapped and was getting frustrated. Not getting the carrier to close coupled with the screaming in my ear was really overwhelming me in the moment. Aubrey says, 'Mom, she's just a baby.' Nothing like your 3-year-old to remind you that you're acting ridiculous." — Sarah

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