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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
parents panel

'He walks like his grandad': 7 parents share the family habits their kids have already picked up

Kids are like sponges, right? We asked mums and dads to share the traits their kids have learned from them.

WHEN IT COMES to being pregnant, or parenting a newborn, everyone’s just figuring things out as they go. That’s why it can be so helpful to hear how other people are getting through the mess of it all, from the first nappy change to the countless sleepless nights.

Our Toddler and Preschool Parents Panel is made up of parents with little ones from 24 months up to age five.


This week, we asked our panel about the habits they  see their children picking up, from the phrases they exclaim when anyone uses the loo, to the way they hold their hands when they walk down the street.

Most parents don’t realise they do some of these odd things until they wonder where it’s coming from in their kids. 

We asked the panel: What’s one habit your child has already picked up from you?

Here are a few of the best responses:

I was scolded for talking to strangers: My three-year-old has become a stickler for good manners and keeps roaring at us all to sit up straight and keep our elbows off the table. She also scolded me for talking to strangers the other day!

- Tracy Kilgallon

Our boys walk like their grandad: It can be tricky to recognise your own traits in your kids, but I can see mannerisms of our parents in our boys: they sometimes walk with their hands behind their backs like my dad does, and when they cough they say “my goodness” like my husband’s mum would say. It is hilarious coming out of the mouths of two- and four-year-old boys. The one thing our older boy is doing that I also do is holding his thumbs between his index and middle fingers when he watches TV. It’s an odd one but it’s definitely something he picked up from me.

- Kaisu Healy

My daughter inherited my ability to throw a dirty look: I can certainly see a lot of myself reflected in my daughter, particularly her ability to throw a dirty look! Her face can tell no lies and if she’s not impressed with you, you’ll be able to tell immediately. She certainly does not suffer fools lightly. Thankfully, I find her brutal honesty charming (and hilarious!).

- Nicola Barry 

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My three-year-old learned the F-word: We had an awful phase of the three-year-old using certain words beginning with F in very accurate and meaningful contexts. Not good and thankfully was a short phase! I do get a good laugh out of hearing colloquial phrases come out of toddler mouths though. I sometimes hear “Shur can’t I…” and “Shur I was only…”! The Clare accent breaking out in the Laois born boy!

- Michelle O’Brien

When we are on the loo we get asked, ‘Are you doing a poo or a wee wee?’: Currently the funniest habit that our daughter has picked up from us has been to do with toilet training. When you have young kids, you very rarely get to go to the loo alone, especially if you’re a stay at home parent. So Tara coming to the loo with us is nothing new, but since we started toilet training there is a whole new aspect to her coming to the toilet with us. 

We used stickers and loads of praise to encourage Tara to use the toilet. So now when we are on the loo we get asked, “Are you doing a poo or a wee wee?”, “Is it a big poo?”, “Come on poo, hurry up, you can do it!” When we finish we get an enthusiastic “Mammy, you did it!” and “Well done, you need a sticker!” 

On leaving the toilet she also likes to make sure that the people who weren’t in the toilet are fully updated on what you’ve been up to, “Daddy, Mammy did a wee wee and a poo poo!” All of this is quite funny when it happens in the privacy of your own home but can be slightly mortifying when it occurs in the middle of a busy restaurant!

- Deirdre McCormack

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My son is cursed with the affliction of over-apologising: It’s a typical Irish thing, but I know I apologise too much (sorry about that!). Alas, I’ve noticed lately that my son Jonah is cursed with the same affliction. A rushing woman knocked him over at the library the other day and he was full of apologies. He’s constantly saying “Sorry mammy” even when he hasn’t done anything. When arguing with his twin sister he is always the one to feel bad and say sorry. She, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word. Must take after her dad!

- Joanne Burke

A declaration of the sound of ‘music’: This may be a little TMI, but when our son’s bum makes plenty of ‘music’, we always say in an American accent,  “Ewwww you filthy animal,” whilst laughing. Now anytime there is a sound of a trumpet bum, be it a stranger or family, he says this mantra and laughs. Very funny.

- Cliondhna Kerrigan

More Parents Panel: What was the last tantrum your toddler threw – and where did it happen?

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