How To Threaten Your Kid

Right off the top I want to say to all you would-be chastisers that you should not threaten your kid. Love them, punish them, reward them, and negotiate with them. But if you do threaten them, only make threats you are fully prepared to carry out. If you threaten to kick them out of the house, ya better be ready to do just that, by gum, otherwise they'll be pushing back at every threat you make ever again.

I am not talking about dire threats, bucko. I'm talking about threats that are going to get you somewhere, threats that will get a room clean or the homework done but won't make your kid hate you too much. Threats like this:

  • If you don't do your homework NOW, I am going to dress in a turkey costume, introduce myself as your parent and do a Thanksgiving presentation in front of your class.
  • If you don't clean your room by X o'clock, I'm going to clean it. Everything I find out of place that I like, I'm going to keep. Or better yet, I'll give it to your sister.
  • If you don't tell me where you are going and whom you are going with, I will get a Facebook page and friend all your friends.
  • If you don't tell me where you are going and whom you are going with, I will hunt you down and join you and your friends in whatever activity you are doing.
  • If you don't do your laundry, I'll do it with this lime green bathrobe and every piece of clothing you own - bras, underwear, socks, jeans - everything will be some shade of green. Yup. Every day for you would be St. Patty's Day.
  • If you don't put the notebook computer away when you're done with it, I will use parental controls to restrict your Internet access to Disney Kids sites only.
  • If you don't treat your nine-year-old little sister with respect, I will give you the same rules I give her. Yup, your bed time's gonna be 7:30 and you'll only be able to watch G-rated movies. Does that work for you?
  • If you don't take out the trash I will take something of yours you really like and take it out with the trash every single day until you own nothing.
  • If you are stingy with your sibling I will give them your allowance.
  • If you slam your door, I will take it off and put up a curtain. Slam that.

A nice touch, follow each threat with, "You have ten seconds to comply."

Do I use these threats? Of course not! MY kids are good.

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Comments 50 comments

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Funny! but more than a grain of truth here!


Jmell 7 years ago

I always liked to use the one of "I'll shave your head from left to right in a mohawk while you're sleeping!"


TamCor profile image

TamCor 7 years ago from Ohio

This is great, and soooo true...we've used several of those on our kids in the past, lol!

Can I add one more which always worked for me? When one of our angels acted up in the store...I would lean down and whisper in their ear that if they didn't settle down, I was going to pull their pants down, and spank them, right there in the store....worked like a charm, every time, since I never had to do it!:)

But, since you have such great kids, I'm sure you won't ever have to use THAT one, either, haha!!!


Lou Purplefairy profile image

Lou Purplefairy 7 years ago from Southwest UK

I threaten cutting off the internet supply to their PC's, putting up baby pictures around town of them, ringing their friends and telling them about their personal hygeine habits and a great one, for my 13 and a half year old son, friending every girl in his class on facebook and telling them he still sleeps with his blankee!

I also regularly go on strike and close the kitchen and laundry services, revoke the mum taxi rights for them, and i have even pulled the electric switch on the fuse box in the past when TV's were not turned off! Great hub. Who'd be a parent? eh?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

You guys are great!

Thank you, Gypsy!

I like that one, Jmell!

I'm so glad my kids are so well behaved, TamCor, I am such a liar

Wow, Lou! You're like a professional!


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

LOL some good ones I might have to use... I use this one a lot... If you don't stop fighting with your sisters I am going to make you sit and hold hands on the front porch during the time the school buses make their run carrying all your friends home :)


TamCor profile image

TamCor 7 years ago from Ohio

Ohhh, feeweewv...I used to do that, too--I had forgotten all about that one, lol...another threat that worked miracles...:D


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Humiliation is a powerful threat LOL


feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

Darn tootin


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ha ha ha


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

haha, Tom, great approach.


TamCor profile image

TamCor 7 years ago from Ohio

Tom(my husband, I mean, lol) used to make our kids write sentences when they got in trouble.

One time he made our 10 year old daughter write something 100 times, and our 9 year old son write it 50 times, since he was younger, and was mainly just gullible enough to follow his sister into a bad adventure.

Well, our son whined and asked Tom why his sister got 100 lines, and he only "got" to write 50 lines...lol...so his dad, laughing, told him okay--you have to write 100 also. Our son shut up then, and sat down to write, happy as a clam!!!:)

We realized pretty quickly that that wasn't a very effective punishment for that child, lol...


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, ReuVera!

Oh no, Tam! Your child is a *gasp* ... WRITER


TamCor profile image

TamCor 7 years ago from Ohio

lol Tom--You'd think, wouldn't you? Maybe he'll take after his dad, one of these days, lol...


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

You are so right about that.  Empty threats are no good.  You certainly do lose your rank.  You've given some great tips. What works for me as far as the room cleaning goes is a timer an x amount of minutes, and an already opened and ready to be filled trashbag that I will use to literally throw away anything I find, stuffed and crammed in "hidden places" or on the floor.  Once my son thought I would never throw away his clothes that he refused to pick up.  Guess what.  I did.  And he had to wear the same two outfits for three months untill it was time to buy the next outfits.  I have never had the clothing item problem again.

Great subject, Tom.


AshleyVictoria profile image

AshleyVictoria 7 years ago from Los Angeles

I had to write when I was punished as a child too!! Sentences like Bart Simpson writes in the opening credits of The Simpsons. "I will not disrespect my parents." It worked for me. I didn't want to be cooped up in my room all day writing the same sentence over and over again.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

These are great! I'm going to have to try this.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Very funny, Tom but also good threats that will work and that can be carried out if they must without any physical harm. I like these better than the ones I used to get, such as, "I'm going to tear your ass up like a can of kraut!"


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ya, I can't remember how many times my mom said to me, "Stop that now or I'll kill you!" Luckily she didn't actually mean it...


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ya I've done something like that, Freida!

I'll have to try the writing thing, Ashley. Thank you!

Thank you, RGraf!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I found washing everything with a red towel made a bigger (pink) impression than green would have.. You're such a good dad!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Excellent -- the funnier the threat, the more tensions can be counteracted while raising awareness about the seriousness of the transgression.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Depends on if it's a boy or girl, Candie. My daughter washed everything with a red hoodie and was just fine with the result!

Exactly, Teresa. The funnier, the better.


kee007 7 years ago

IT is not treat,it is love.lol


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

One time , I took everything out of his room except the bed for a whole week, didn't misbehave anymore, he soon learnt 'the look' Wonder why?


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I would love to see you in the turkey suit!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Girls wouldn't mind pink undies, my son would rather die!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Kee007.

Ha ha Hawkesdream, you're like the atomic bomb of parenthood!

I'm sure you would like to see me in a turkey suit, Candie. I'd look damn good, too. Personally I would not mind pink underwear, but then I'm not an adolescent male trying to figure things out, I'm a 50+ year old male who knows he'll NEVER figure anything out.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Well there you go, you know enuf to get crazy and know enuf to know how bad you're gonna feel tomorrow!!.  I doubt the name "Tom Turkey" escaped you.. but the picture of your tail feathers all puffed out has my heart all a twitter.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

It's no sin to want a little tail.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Uh huh!!!! Just a little or more!!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

That's right!


nazishnasim 7 years ago

Great advice for me ... for say ten years down the lane! Thankyou TOm, you're mostly a genius at everything!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Ya, that's me, Genius LOL

Thanks Nazishnasim!


nazishnasim 7 years ago

I was serious Tom - I really like your varied topics and how you excel at them all!


clickbankformula profile image

clickbankformula 7 years ago from Thailand

thank you, I like that style of your suggested threat. I think sometime we need to be cruel to be kind.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Nazishnasim, thanks for your kind praise. I'm off to read your latest poem again after this. It's very moving.

That's right, Click! Cruel to be kind - reminds me of a song


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Wow Tom ROFL these I think would do the job. I can just picture you standing there hurling one of these across the room. Hahah


lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Tom, great ideas!

Unfortuantely, my kids speak squeak.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Blondepoet! How could I have missed you! Thank you

Squeak? I am so sorry, Ixxy.


Stanley_19802 profile image

Stanley_19802 7 years ago

Hello,

I was laughing when I read some of these threats. Some I have seen done such as the taking the door off the hinges for slamming it. Now my brother learned to clean his room the hard way. He was into computers and somehow a important hard drive got moved under a shirt and he stepped in it and broke it. He was very very angry, but he had no one to blame but himself. After the hard drive incident though, he kept his room clean. My god father when I was 9 held me over the koi fish pond in the back and told me if I wouldn't behave he would feed me to the fish, he let them suck on my toe for a second. I was so scared. I didn't know at the time that koi didn't have teeth...lol

My mom though was the cruelest of my family though. If you talked back, fight to much with your brother, got sent home from school for any reason (I got sent home alot for defending myself from the school bullie. The school had the rule "If I didn't see it, it didn't happen". Funny how they always saw me!). So if you broke enough rules or any big ones, she was on that phone to the psychiatric hospital telling them that you said you were suicidal. About 20 minutes later there was a ambulance in the drive way and the moble psych team asking you why you are suicidal. And trying to tell them you are not suicidal, doesn't work. They don't believe you. Every time my mom called, I was locked up there for 3-7 days every time. My mom thought it was great, I was getting punished and she didn't have to worry about it. Hopefully no one here will do it to their kids, I was MESSED UP by it. Spinal injury from being "restrained". The dude wanted to show me who was boss. I remember every 6 hours when the vicodine and flexiril wears off who was in charge that day. I am also deathly afraid of the dark from spending 14 hours overnight in the solitary room with the lights off. Only feint moon light came into the room from outside. I have PTSD from all the things that happened in there. It's horrible. And when you check the charts, it's not on there waht they did. Keep that in mind when you think your child will benifit from some time in a psych hospital. They do alot of things they don't tell the parents about. My mom even sent my brother there for shoplifting. As if he wasn't scared enough being taken to the police station in handcuffs and spending a few hours in a cell. She added the hospital for a week onto that. Because of what happened, I have not talked to my mom in years.

Sorry for the rant, alot of anger from what happened. Yes punishments are a good idea for kids, as is threats. But make them reasonable. Not extream as my mom was. Again, sorry for the rant.

-Stanley


Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 6 years ago from drexel hill,pa

Hysterical. I'm definitely using this one: "If you slam your door, I will take it off and put up a curtain. Slam that." Great post, Tom.


Jess 5 years ago

another tip, there is a range of ages that threatening the kid can get the parent in trouble. (teenagers can turn tables and make it look like a domestic violence or dispute issue) and makes both you and the kid look bad, and in certain states, distruction/disposal of a person's belongings that arent yours, can get you taken in for emotional/physical abuse.

threatening to toss out your kid's stuff, if the kid is autistic/on the spectrum NEVER by means ever toss out their stuff, as their toys and the computer or other oddities or collections are things that can help them live in their own world and interface or communicate with others.

as for slamming the door, never happened to me but when i was in the middle school (mentioned in your door closer repair hub) i acutally had enough of the skinny door of the bathroom in the room slamming or being left open i acutally went to maintenance to ask if they can do a fresh install of a closer, they didnt add any closers to that room, but was givin a health lesson on water% in our bodies (74/75% water) guy was basically telling me that us people are hydraulic, and no need to install a closer to the bathroom door in back of the classroom


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

That's a good advisory, Jess! Accidentally getting arrested or the dept. of social services involved would be totally counterproductive ;)

I have actually suggested to my wife that we put a door closer on our daughter's door. It would stop the slamming, that's for sure, and it would be funny watching her try to slam it, too, as a side benefit.

Kids are all different, and of course this article is basically meant as humor with a little food for thought. But a good rule of thumb is, never make a threat you are not actually prepared to actually carry out. So if you are actually prepared to traumatize your child for life by disposing of their possessions, by all means, go ahead.

By the time a kid is deep in the throes of puberty, the time for humorous threats is pretty much over. You want to keep your kid safe. Other than that, it's best to make suggestions and begin to generally move toward the role of advisor rather than absolute ruler. You want to let them learn from their own mistakes within the bounds of physical safety as much as possible.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Blackmail them by threatening to take away privileges or dangle something special in front of them like a carrot.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Incentive does work well but becomes expensive. My kids all got to smart for suspension of privileges. They can almost always figure out some way to outsmart their old man.


Jess 5 years ago

door closer in the house will work, there are light duty arm type (ryobi and wright products) sell them at big box hardware stores,

only 2 things may happen if she tries to slam the door now, she will either hear shhh(hydraulic pressure inside closer cylinder) or if shes dont it too hard and for too long, a leak of the oil, if she causes a leak, have HER fix it! that will help in her learning responsibility to not slam a door,

closers also make great gag gifts........... she opens it up and goes "what's this for?" you can then say well now we won't hear you slam the door (don't know if she reads your hubpages, but who knows if christmas or her birthday is a good idea to give her one and you tell her or show her how they are installed, when you install it, install on room side, that way she has a visual reminder that there's a mechanical slave to society having to put up with her door slamming.

may be a downside to this though, (happened to me when I entered the 6th grade) FORGETTING to close doors due to I was so used to the closers, I was whipping them open like I had an attitude because I was used to the spring tension when opening the door.

so now the decision, to get one or not for her door.

as or social services and school counselors, kids have many ways (also with use of their cell phones/friends/computer TXTing) to get a hold of authorities when they feel something is not going as they planned and they can really twist words around and make parent look like a person who cannot handle responsibility to have children.

-Jess


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Jess! :)


Jess 5 years ago

if she's a strong door slammer, go for the 1260 LCN or one of them "leakproof" closers (guaranteed not to leak)

tip: they are not recommended for hollow core door use. they can pull away from door and strip the threads from the mounting holes on the door. (you may want to get her a solid core wood door before installing a closer)

another tip about parenting (no idea how old she is, but when and if they insist on locking the door, depending on how her friends are and how she is, that's up to you, but to many parents a child that wants a door lock (knob lock) that means thy either 1, have their friends over and want to do well.......(lets leave that to rated R and MA) or they have drugs in the room.

if she keeps insisting, institute a knocking policy, if no answer, don't open the door she may be asleep or changing.

hope this helps.

-Jess


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Now that we're on our third kid, we have our parental act pretty polished. We have a few rough edges to work on, but we're getting there.

Thanks, Jess

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