Wacky parenting

I just told my son that he may not use the letter ‘Y’.

You parents know the drill:

Do your homework.

Clean your room.

Quit torturing the cat!

No, you can’t susepnd marshmellows in a bromide matrix to create time-travel

and on and on and on.

I had to do something. So now he can’t use the letter ‘Y’, which of course includes any words containing the forbidden letter, until further notice.

That’s certainly one of life’s unexpected little moments. So I got to wondering - what wacky parenting things have you used with or kids - or worse, had used against you? Re-assure me that we’re normal! (or at least, not that bad…)

My son talked nonstop to me as a toddler. I once told him that he needed to be quiet. Mommy’s ears were full and needed to drain.

My dad had a college ring with a large red gemstone in it. He used to tell us (when we were tiny) that he had gone to the jungles of the Amazon and strangled a tiger with his bare hands, and that was the tiger’s eye. I don’t know why we believed him but we did.

I had a friend whose son was afraid of monsters under the bed. She got a can of aerosol freshener and would spray the “Monster Spray” under the bed so that he’d sleep.

Forgive me if this is taking the thread down an undesired path here, but I fell compelled to interject with this. Assuming your relationship with your son is loving and nonviolent (and I’m sure that it is, this is just to clarify my point), then forbidding your son from asking “why” is one of the worst, worst, wost mistakes a parent can make. It will only breed hostility and discontent, whether passive or active.

I’m 20 years old, so I’ve only been out of the house for about two and a half years, which I think gives me some perspective on this. My parents imposed an embargo on using the word “why” at one point when I was still in the nest, and it went terribly. Kids are naturally curious, and to forbid them to ask “why” is to squelch their curiosity. I understand that sometimes kids ask “why” only to be a pain in the ass. If this is the case, parents are best served by having a damn good answer for them anyway. Many times this arises as an attempt on the part of the kid to test their boundaries. Even if your answer is “because I’m your parent and I said so,” that answer is far better than telling them to stop questioning your authority.

*Disclaimer: I hope I don’t seem like I’m jumping down your throat here, and I very well may have taken the entire issue out of context. If so, I apologize, but I still stand by my statements nonetheless.


My daughter is 3 and “why?” is one of her favourite questions, and I think it’s a fun one to answer … she is genuinely curious about the answer, and often the answer leads to another question, which I think is interesting. I love learning more about how her mind works, and the direction it takes.

But you can ask me again in a year and see if I still feel the same. :slight_smile:

We don’t do any wacky parenting things that I can think of. I would guess that OTHER parents THINK that I am wacky because I always go along with my daughter’s games “Mommy, let’s pretend we’re riding horses in the grocery store” … “Okay honey! clip clop clip clop clip clop” and off we go …

She is our one and only kiddie so we are just trying to have as much fun with her as we can, until the “embarrassment factor” kicks in and we are just huge nerds in her eyes. :smiley:

Well, see, that’s the thing. I’m not talking about squelching the kids curiosity. It’s not like he asked me why the sky is blue. I’m talking about the thousandth time I told the kid to clean his room & he asked (yet again) WHY SHOULD I?? IT’S MY ROOM!! WHY DO YOU CARE?

There’s only so many times I can give a polite, well reasoned, intellectual answer to the same question. (And I do! I don’t jump straight to ‘Bad Cop’!)

Not at all, and thank you for your concern.

Well, I did have TheKid convinced for years that I really did have eyes on the back of my head. She would part my hair in the back “There’s nothing there!” “That’s because YOU can’t see them, only other parents can see them”. My mom and sister played along, which added to her belief they existed, as Gramma and Auntie wouldn’t lie to her.

This past summer I had a cyst excised from the back of my head. I told her that one eye wouldn’t go away so I was having it removed surgically. She actually believed me for a few moments. She’s almost 15. Heh.

“Why?” can be tolerated only so long, and responding “Because I said so” only goes so far. With situations like “Why should I clean my room?” come up, I respond by asking her if she wants bugs crawling on her in her sleep, or I respond that she doesn’t need to clean her room, just hope nothing bad happens in there as I will refuse to enter. Why should she do her homework? Well, I suppose the world needs ditchdiggers and Port-A-Potty cleaners. Why shouldn’t she torture the cats? They know where you sleep. I don’t respond directly to the question, I throw What ifs back to her, sometimes absurd ones. Why should she eat asparagus? Isn’t it neat to hear their tiny screams when you bite into them?

I did that. When my younger daughter was three, she was, for some reason, afraid of “bad owls”, so we got a can of freshener (she helped pick it out, to make sure it would work) and christened it “bad-owl-go-away-spray”. We let her give a quick spritz under the bed & anywhere else she felt it needed to be sprayed (explaining that only a little worked VERY well, because bad owls were VERY afraid of the smell). She slept well & her room smelled minty fresh.

Love, Phil

I don’t think this little girl needs Monster Spray.

Once, when my girls were grammar school age, they were being very tiresome, arguing with each other. “Stop that!” I told them. “Just stop all that quibbling and squabbling! In fact,” I added, " No more anything with a double ‘B’ in it!"

They were taken aback. Silence ensued. Then amusement, as they sought other forbidden activities. No gobbling. No babbling. No grabbing. No hobbling.

Some of these gimmicks are just ingenious!

Whenever I get good and sick of “why” I start answering with “a bunch of bananas”

“We need to go home now”
“Because it’s home time and everyone else is going home”
“Because then they’re going to lock the doors and we’d have to stay here all night”
“Because you’re a bunch of bananas.”

I also used to start breaking into song (“I sit and wonder why-ee-y-ee-y-ee-ooh why, you left me” or alternatively “be-cause be-cause be-cause be-cause be-CAUSE! Because of the wonderful things he does!”) which annoyed her no end, which I think is only fair!

I was walking around the supermarket recently and the woman in front of me was wheeling a trolley with her toddler sitting in it. He was giving a non-stop commentary about everything they passed: “We have that at home don’t we mommy? What are those things? Why are you getting that? Look at that. Look at this.”

It was all good natured, he wasn’t whining, but he just hardly seemed to draw a breath to talk. As I walked past I said to her quietly, “I bet you couldn’t wait for him to say his first words and now you just wish he would shut up.”

She just stood there and laughed.

When I was very young my Dad always threatened to take me to East Texas. I’m not sure what exactly was so scary about East Texas, and at 35 I’ve still never been there, but apparently that was an effective threat.

Dad tells a story about the family going on a road trip when I, at about 3, would not quit talking. He claims he told me that if I didn’t shut up he’d take me to East Texas. He also claims I didn’t speak again for 200 miles. Guess it worked.

We lived in SW New Mexico in a very small town that got a fair share of tourists, especially from folks from SW Texas (read: El Paso). It was never enough tourism to really help the economy, but it was certainly enough tourism to back up the traffic. Dad called the El Pasoans (El Pasi?) “Texas Drivers.” That may be what many others call “Sunday Drivers”. Spending too much time looking around and enjoying the weather and not enough time getting anywhere. Similar, anyway.

So, between the East Texas Threat, and the Texas Drivers, I ended up pretty confused about Texas.

Cut to when I’m four years old. We’re on our way from southern NM to Kansas to visit Grandma Ruby. The story is I fell asleep along the way and didn’t wake up until we’d stopped in Dalhart, TX.

I asked, “Where are we?”

Dad said, “Dalhart, Texas.”

Me, looking around amazed, “There’s PEOPLE in Texas!”

Dad asked, “What did you think was in Texas?”

And I replied, “Well. . . Texans.”

If I were to date any one of you, and bring you home to Dad, I promise that’s the first story he’d tell you. So I guess what I’m saying is: Either threaten your kids with Texas, or get ready for them to be confused about the letter Y.

Good Luck.

I’ve put the fear of the devil in to my children regarding car seats. I bought seats that can be safely five point harnessed until they hit 65 lbs, or until they outgrow the last set of straps. Oldest is 5 1/2 and youngest is coming up three.

A few days ago, I buckled in the youngest, and then just hopped in the car and started it up, completely forgetting about my oldest. He immediately burst in to tears and said ‘Mommy!!! I’m not buckled iiiiinnnnnn!!!’ He’s also a bit of an emotional ball of fluff.

Regarding the why’s… just answer them. :slight_smile: I was getting irritated for a while, but then I realized that he’s not asking to annoy me. He’s asking because he doesn’t know, and this is an opportunity for my parenting to shine. Instead of telling him the moon is made of cheese, I went in to an elaborate discussion of various theories on the moon, why it shows up sometimes and why it doesn’t, etc etc. When I am absolutely tired of answering questions, I say ‘I don’t know. Go ask your father.’ :smiley:

When they ask “Why? Why? Why?”, tell them “Z”! They’ll get a kick out of this, and it may help you catch a break.

How come?

When I was a kid, if I did something bad, my mom made me sit in a chair. She’d come back a few minutes later and ask me to explain why what I did was wrong. If I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t leave the chair.

Perhaps a variation would work here. When he says, “Why?” ask “Why do you think most parents insist on this?” And don’t let up until he gives some good ones.

E.g. cleaning the room. Some answers include:
A) you don’t want a biohazard in there
B) you need to be able to find your books for school etc.
C) if friends come over your room will be presentable
D) if family comes over and we need to use your room, it’s presentable
E) we want to instill this as a habit…5 minutes a day saves grief later
F) everybody in this family works—school=your work, but we all pitch in at home
G) having a clean dorm room will matter when you discover girls

So, if he says “Because you’re mean and want to make my life miserable,” that ain’t gonna cut it. Say, “What is illogical about that line of reasoning?” And wait till he tells you
A) you’d probably rather watch TV
B) you have to hassle with work all day
C) you’d rather have a positive interaction with your beloved offspring
D) you’ve got to clean your own room and don’t have time for this
E) hell, you pay the bills and this is a relatively small request

It’s CRITICAL to note the respective costs of the exchange involved, I think. He spends ONE WORD—Why?—and you have to spend a hundred to justify it. But wait, you’re the adult. Nah. Make HIM spend the hundred, even if it takes 30 minutes to do it. If it costs him time watching TV, playing with toys, whatever, he won’t be so fond of the argumentativeness.

And if you can get the words to come out of his mouth, there’s a much better chance he’ll own them.


I’m in awe.


I think this is the best parenting advice I’ve ever seen, on this board or any other.

I’m so going to steal it.