This post is a reminder about the beauty of brevity with the young
ladies in our lives.  I know. I didn’t keep this post to 25 words.  But
you’re adults. : )

Many times (a day) we want to get across a message, request, or
teaching point with our girls.  Here’s the scoop: avoid crossing the fine
line that brings your words of wisdom into the realm of “lecture” (or,
for younger children, the realm of “blah, blah, blah.”).  Once your quick
tutorial falls into the lecture category, humor evaporates, eyes glaze
over, and ears plug up with protest. 

So, instead of:
“Honey, I see you haven’t put away the clothes I’ve folded and left on
your bed.  We’ve discussed this before…do you want a room
overflowing with stuff or do you want a neat room with space to move
around?  I don’t know how you even sleep on this bed with those
clothes piled so high. So can you put away the clothes now?”
(63 words). (Really. I used the word count).

“Before you call Sydney, it’s time to put your clothes away.”
(11 words).

Or, (pointing at clothes):
“Honey, clothes.” 
(2 words)

If your girls are younger than about eight, they just won’t have the
attention span for a long explanation, no matter how logical. If your
daughter is much older than ten, you may start to see the “rolling
eyes” affliction when you’re too wordy.

If your young lady is already showing the negotiating skills of a future
lawyer and all you want is results, shorter is definitely better. More
words open the door for counterpoint arguments that usually send you
chasing each other down a rat hole. 

Here are some short-style examples.  The target age of the potential listener
ranges from younger to older:
“Once you put Polly Pockets away, I’ll help you clean your room.”

“Comparing myself to other people makes me feel worse.”

“No back-to-back sleepovers.”

“We’re going to stick with group dating right now.”

My point?  Direct messages work no matter what age.  That’s all, Mama.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to



1 Comment on 25 Words or Less

  1. shannonr341 says:

    This makes so much sense! Sometimes I just can’t shut myself up and I end with “and you haven’t heard a word I’ve said” or “you don’t really care, do you”. I’m going to practice this and see if I can get it to work because the lectures sure haven’t! When my husband was teaching each of the kids what different animals say, he also threw in this one: What does Mommy say? Nag, Nag, Nag. And that was before they were old enough to lecture to. Do you suppose this 25 word thing works with the husbands too:)? Thanks for the advice!

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