Throughout the years, parents have used many tricks, ploys, threats and bribes to encourage their children to behave.
I was raised by a single dad, who quickly learned that he was no match for five rambunctious kids. In order to gain the upper hand, he did what most parents did, back in the day when children were to be seen and not heard — he lied to us.
Now, I don't advocate lying, but, when a "time out" just wasn't working, I'll admit to resorting to this list of 20 lies our parents told us:
- Santa Claus couldn’t bring it because it was too big for his sleigh.
- If you swallow gum, it will take seven years to digest.
- Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.
- Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll freeze that way.
- Your pet ran away.
- If you sit too close to the television set you’ll go blind.
- You’ll catch pneumonia if you go outside with wet hair.
- The tooth fairy doesn’t come for teeth with cavities.
- Don’t talk so much or you’ll run out of your allotment of words.
- This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.
- Eat your spinach if you want to be strong like Popeye.
- You can’t watch cartoons because the TV is broken.
- Be good or Santa, (the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, etc.) won’t come.
- It’s not the ice cream man; it’s the “music box” man.
- Be good or you’ll get sent to live with gypsies.
- The brown spots on the bananas are the best because they contain all the sugar.
- The car won’t start if the seat belts aren’t fastened.
- Keep making that face and it will stay that way.
- You can’t taste your food if you eat while standing.
- If you swallow a watermelon seed, it will grow in your stomach and out your ears.
Even though I’ve learned that stepping on a crack won’t really break my mother’s back, and peeing in the pool won’t turn the water a different color, I’ve found myself guilty of not only perpetuating these falsehoods, but adding a few of my own.
One of my idle threats actually came true when I once told my daughter that if she didn’t behave, she would grow up and have a child just like her.
Grandchildren — a parent’s sweet revenge.