Apparently not. Sure, we can stress all we want, but it doesn't help our kids act better. I wanted my nine-year-old to understand that by, "Cut it out," I meant, "Use kind words, soften your tone, and don't boss you sister by telling her she's putting too many croissants on her plate." Then I want my twelve-year-old to understand that the same "Cut it out," is directed at her as well, and it means, "Don't snap back at your sister that she's got crumbs on her shirt just because your feelings have been stomped on and you don't like being told what to do by a younger sibling."
I'm giving myself a headache just putting this down into words. How on earth were my children supposed to interpret that convoluted, wordy message out of a completely empty and curt, "Cut it out"?
I'm just lucky enough that when I slip up, they use more communicative words than their mother and kindly remind ME to cut it out.