Why Do We Do That? Consequences That Make No Sense

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I was at the library with Margo and we were leaving to pick up Isaac from school when I heard an admonition from the mom beside me to her obstinate 2-year-old, "I am going to leave you in the car if you don't get out now." Really, mom? You're just gonna leave your 2-year-old in there, cops be damned? I get it, I have been there. I have been so frustrated that I come up with the absolute worst consequence ever. Not for my child, but for me. One I can't possibly uphold, and my kids know it, just like this kid.

He didn't budge. He knew his mom couldn't leave him unattended in the car, he called her bluff and he won. The mom had to haul two kicking and screaming kids into the library her consequence gone with the wind. And the 2-year-old now has more confidence to defy authority in the future.

Why do we do that?

I chuckled at the situation until six hours later I found myself making the same asinine mistake. "If you don't eat the ice cream you ordered you will never get ice cream again!"

Oh yes, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

What other stupid consequences have I come up with.

"If you don't sit on the toilet now, you can't go later," I say to the potty training 2-year-old. How's that one working for me?

"Eat your dinner or you will have to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow until it is gone." Wouldn't you know I threw that out with the trash.

"Pick up your toys or I will pick them up for you." Isn't that what they want?

Credit: slightlyeverything.

Or I will say, "Pick up your toys or I will throw them away." Because I do happen to be the cruelest mom ever? Didn't think so.

"If you don't get dressed now you will have to go to school as you are." Um, pretty sure there are dress codes.

"Whatever you have packed in your lunch box is what you take." So if there is nothing am I really going to send my child to school with no food?

So if you ever want really crappy consequences for your kids, just give me a call. I bet there are a few I haven't used yet.

What consequence have you given your kids only to realize it is 1) illegal or 2) never gonna happen?


Jessica blogs about her parenting failures and sometimes successes at Long Days, Short Years. Come laugh with her as we all survive the long days of child rearing.


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