Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Empty Threats?!?!

I recently read an article on a website called "Mom Logic" about a mother who gave her son an empty threat while on an airplane. She basically said, "If you don't stay seated and calm down, I'm going to ring the flight attendant's call button and get the flight attendant to take you away."

Okay parents...confession time! How many of you out there have given an empty threat to your kids? Have you ever threatened something you knew you could never follow through with? (I am raising my hand over here, too!) Why do parents do this?

I think we get so flustered and stressed sometimes that we say things we don't mean or that will never come to fruition in hopes of stopping an unfavorable behavior.

Here are a few examples of empty threats parents may sometimes give their children:

- "If you don't hurry up and get ready for school, I'm going to leave you." (Hello, child services! You can't actually leave your young child alone.)

- "If you don't pick up your toys, I am going to give them all to goodwill." (Seriously?)

- "If you don't stop throwing the ball at your brother, I'm going to throw your ball away in the trash can." (Most parents would not want to deal with the meltdown that would occur from actually throwing the ball away in the trash can. By the way, this one happened at my house recently. My husband said it and I suggested he follow through with it. It wasn't pretty.)

A parent that makes these kinds of threats has lost control and their children are winning! Kids are perceptive. They quickly begin to understand that you are not going to follow through with your threat, so why should they modify their behavior?

When you make ultimatums that you cannot carry through with, you undermine your authority as a parent. So next time you are trying to discipline your child, remember you are in control! Make discipline choices that fit the crime and that you can actually follow through with.

You are the parent...you are in control. You are the parent...you are in control. Keep chanting this to yourself until you actually believe it!

Have you given a funny empty threat lately? Leave it in the comment section below.

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