I think most moms and dads develop phrases they use to get the attention of their children. We have of course, the classics.
“Don't make me pull this car over!”
“If I have to come back there...”
“Wait until your father gets home!”
In our house, the most used phrase is, “Get off your brother!” It's a handy phrase when you have two boys. There's no need to investigate the situation at length, because inevitably one brother will be “on” the other. It's generic enough that it has multiple applications.
Wrestling too hard for the younger one? “Get off your brother!”
Clinging and hugging too much? “Get off your brother!”
General pestering and annoying? “Get off your brother!”
Hear someone shrieking in misery? “Get off your brother!”
It's funny to hear their responses, because they admit their guilt without meaning to. After hearing the phrase, one or both will say, “But Mom, I was only...” It's especially good when they both have something to defend themselves with. Then you know it's a true brotherly spat and that both are partially to blame. A simple, “Get off your brother!” is all that's needed to rectify the situation.
Some situations are more complicated. “But I'm not ON my brother!” This said after some physical confrontation is over and though he is indeed not PRESENTLY on his brother, he sure was a minute ago, which I why I heard screaming. These are the ones that are harder to untangle and figure out the true culprit who must then be dealt with. Sure, the big brother may have put the little one in a headlock and caused discomfort, but why? Surely there was some instigation going on. I'm not saying there haven't been random cases of headlocking happening, but most of the time, the little one has done something irritating causing the older to resort to said method of restraint.
The phrase continues to be useful even now that they are teenagers. Of course The Transporter could best OYT in most altercations of a combative nature, but these days, the “on your brother” is more metaphorical. “Get off your brother!” “But he hasn't done the dishes! I'm just trying to get him to do the dishes!” My job, not yours. Get OFF.
We have a new phrase, too. They've really bonded this school year, and now I get to see them “playing well with each other” and say, “What a nice brother you have!”
Does your family have any handy phrases that you use repeatedly in the wrangling of your children? Did your parents? Please share.