children should be seen and not heard

Children should be seen and not heard is a cliche that should be taken in the literal sense. Children should be seen and not heard began as a biblical verse which used children and women in this phrase where they should be present but do not have a right to say anything, primarily to give an opinion. In modern day language, children should be seen and not heard is most commonly used as a sarcastic quip about the fact that children should not argue with their parents.