Once upon a time, I started blogging on a different site. It was free for a limited time, I got a lot of spam comments, and then the whole site went up for sale. I don't think they exist anymore. Anyway, this was back before I could do wayyyyy technologically advanced things like copy and paste, so instead of transferring my old stuff over to blogger, I just deleted everything. Long story short, one of my most popular posts was something like this:
TOP TECHNIQUES TO PARENTING
1. "The Disappointed Look." This is useful for when you need to pack your kid's bags and take them on a guilt trip. It only works for sensitive souls though. Actually, it doesn't really work at all, but we still use it frequently. You can partner it with a long, drawn out sigh. Maybe squeeze a few tears if you can, but don't try too hard. Kids can smell manipulation, just like they can smell fear. The only child of mine that The Disappointed Look works on, is Anna. Sometimes I shake my head sorrowfully to go along with it. She immediately starts yelling, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't really eat my green beans - look! I'm eating them now! I'm SORRY!"
2. "The Furry Hand of Discipline." This was is a misnomer. I think once Mike gently tried to explain to his little angels the term, the firm hand of discipline. It didn't go over well since they burst out laughing and shouted, "the furry hand! Not the furry hand! aaagh!" To this day, we still call it the furry hand of discipline, and we picture it like Grover's blue hand coming out of the blue to strike fear and obedience into the hearts of little sinners everywhere.
Unless your kid has a fear of blue muppets though, this probably isn't the most effective threat. Which leads me to my next technique:
3. "The Idle Threat." This technique is as old as time. Eve probably used it on Cain and Abel, and look how - um, never mind. Bad example. But we can't seem to stop ourselves as parents with this one. We know we have to NOT let little Sue slide with whatever naughtiness she is currently involved in, but we really don't feel like full-on parenting at the moment. So we idly say something like,
Stop these shenanigans immediately or I will cancel Christmas!
Sometimes it's not that scary or over the top. Sometimes it's something like,
Stop these shenanigans immediately or I will come in there, so help me, God!
Either way, we're lying and we're not canceling anything or getting off the couch.
4. "Talking Them Half to Death" or "Preaching." This is especially effective with teenagers. They will do anything, ANYTHING, to get you to stop preaching. Even delete bad songs off their Ipods. Even if Lil' Wayne is the only one who understands them.
I'll leave you with some great parenting quotes. If you know of any others, or have one yourself, leave em in the comments! (and admire my copying and pasting skillz, will ya?!)
A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.
My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.
P. J. O'Rourke