Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stop It Or Else...

“If you don’t cut that out I’m gonna…ummm...I’m gonna…”
I hate when I need to yell at my children but can’t come up with any credible threats.  Its such a humiliating Mommy moment.  And of course I have Carter who likes to exploit my weaknesses every chance he gets:
“What, Mom?  What are you gonna do.”
I’m backed into a corner.  If I don’t say anything he’ll win; if I say something I can’t follow through on he’ll win.  The panic beings to set in.
“I’ll…something.  I’ll definitely something.”
Ah ha!  Gotcha!  Now I’ve added the element of surprise to the punishment.  Now you don’t know what you’re dealing with.  You wanna risk that?  Huh?  Do ya?
Carter’s a gambler.  Nine times out of ten he’ll continue doing whatever it was.  I just screwed myself.  Better luck next time I guess.
Just as bad as coming up with nothing is coming up with something you can’t, or don’t want to, follow through on.
“Do not throw that car or I’m not feeding you lunch.”
I try to mentally beg him to listen to me because I just know he’s going to call my bluff. 
“Pleeeeease put the car down.  I am actually obligated to feed you, but hopefully you don’t realize that yet.  I’m going to lose all credibility if you chuck that Matchbox car at your brother and you are presented with a sandwich and yogurt as a reward.”  (See…I don’t ONLY feed my kids crap!)
Worse still is when you threaten to take away something that YOU actually want to do.  Playdates, going out to dinner, watching a show or movie…
“We’re not going to the zoo with Aiden if you keep using the vacuum attachments as drumsticks!”
The playdate is for him and he does want to go.  But in reality I want to go more.  I’m done being stuck in this house with you people and would like a little adult interaction…and a cocktail…do they serve cocktails at the zoo?
We use the counting method a lot in my house.  But that tactic is crap. 
Basically you warn the kid that you are going to be giving him at least three more chances to be warned before you are actually going to take any action.
“Stop it.  Do you want me to count? One…two…stop it now…two and a half…last chance…”
Do you know how many smacks to their brother my children can get in during this process?  It’s a lot.  And then you have to tell them good job for listening to you…on the 57th time you said it. 
It’s come to my attention that there is actually no perfectly effective way to discipline your children.  And that sucks.


  1. Ahh, empty threats! The ONE THING every parenting book can agree on...don't make a threat unless you can back it up.

    But none are ever good enough-- for you OR for them!

    I threaten to take away trains, but in reality, he has so many that he just finds more. AARGH!

  2. I found myself in the same boat just the other day! I started out with gusto, "Now listen! If you don't stop that RIGHT this minute..." and the moment I realized I had no idea how I was going to finish that sentence it's like the air in my lungs began to dwindle. My voice got softer and I started to mumble, hoping he wouldn't notice and just stop what he was doing before I had to come up with something. Aaahhh, the feeling of losing authority. Carol (

  3. Some day we'll get this right...probably not actually... =) Thanks for the comment!!