Say What?: Frequently Asked Questions

Note: My answers may contain some spoilers for the book—please don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book!

Is this based on anything in your real life?
Indirectly. I started thinking about this book because I got sick of saying the same things to my kids over and over and over again: “Clean your room.” “Don’t make a mess.” “Don’t track in mud.” “Be careful!” Etc., etc., etc. I did wonder if they even heard me, or if my voice had just become background noise. But I didn’t resort to any bizarre discipline techniques, and my kids didn’t have to resort to any bizarre revenge.

Was there ever really a magazine article saying parents should discipline their kids this way?
No, I made that up. But, really, it’s not that must stranger than a lot of the ideas I have seen people advocating for how to raise kids.

Was it hard coming up with the “parentspeak” and “kidspeak” sayings?
Not really. The common parent sayings were very easy to come up with, because there are so many of them. The kid sayings were a little harder (I think Reed is right in the book, when he says kids are more original than parents.) But right around the time I was writing this book, I chaperoned a field trip for my daughters’ second-grade class, and that was very helpful. It almost felt like the kids on the field trip were feeding me lines for the book!

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