Guest Post: Shock Tactics: How far is too far?

April 8, 2013 Off By Laura TMOT
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Not electric shocks, don’t worry!

You probably know all the classics already. If you pick your nose, your head will cave in. If the wind changes, your face will stay like that. If you suck your thumb, I’ll send you to live with your dad and you’ll never see us again.

Ok, maybe that last one was just my own mum.

They’re great though, aren’t they. You can pretty much make up whatever you want as a parent and your little ones will believe it.

That is until they start to realise that what you’re saying is complete tosh and refuse to be the subject of these so-called ‘facts’ any longer.

That’s what’s started to happen in our house. Our eldest is seven going on seventeen and she began to discredit our made up facts roughly six months ago when her hair remained straight after eating the crusts.

Perhaps crusts secretly keep the hair straighteners industry in business. That’s a nonsensical debate for another time, though.

I did go through a phase of telling the girls crazy facts on a daily basis, purely for my own amusement But then they started to take this new knowledge to school with them.

Our eldest might have already seen through it, but our youngest is still only five and remains heavily suggestible, which is fantastic.

But I fear I pushed it too far the other night and may well have blown my chances of our youngest continuing to believe my wild, and perhaps what some might consider dangerous, statements.

Allow me to set the scene. It was a few days ago, perhaps last Saturday, and my partner had just had a new handbag delivered – which she regularly does now that she’s discovered vouchers websites like Wowcher, Groupon and the like.

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Mrs. B assures me this was a bargain

At the bottom of the bag you’ll usually find a little sachet of silica to keep the bag smelling fresh. You know, that little sachet of bead things.

Anyway, Mrs B. had put the sachet on top of the fireplace – potentially dangerous in itself – and little K had picked it up and was fiddling about with it.

We told her to put it down and not to play with it again because if the sachet splits, the beads will go everywhere and the cat might eat them. Little K put down the sachet and we didn’t think anymore of it.

It got to about half six, half an hour before their bed, and I noticed a few silica beads on the floor, glistening in the light from the television.

I asked little K if she’d touched it, to which she denied all knowledge. I could tell from the look on her face that she was the culprit, though.

We usually come down hard on them when we catch them lying but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to shock our youngest into never lying to us again.

I calmly informed little K that if, just for instance, she had split the sachet and any went on her hands, she’d wake up in the middle of the night with bright red hands and they might even fall off if we didn’t get her to hospital in time.

The look on her face was priceless. You could see her weighing up whether or not to tell the truth. But still, she insisted on maintaining she hadn’t touched it.

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These sachets can make your head fall of you know

At this point I thought I’d ramp things up a level. I told her that if she had then sucked her thumb after touching the beads, there was a strong possibility her head would fall off in the middle of the night!

Little K sat there in absolute silence while we watched our nightly dose of You’ve Been Framed, clearly preoccupied by the idea that her head was about to fall off.

Me and mummy kept exchanging glances throughout the programme, trying our best not to laugh at the look on little K’s face.

So we took them upstairs to bed once YBF had finished, tucked in little K and little C and bid them sweet dreams.

It was probably five or ten minutes later when little K came running downstairs to tell us her hands were hurting.

We asked her again if she had in fact touched the sachet of silica. This time she told the truth – but we didn’t tell her off.

Rightly or wrongly, we carried on the rouse that her hands would imminently drop off, quickly followed by her head, and told her to run back upstairs to get changed because we were off to hospital.

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Norfolk and Norwich Hospital just up the road

When she came flying back downstairs fully clothed and in floods of tears, we told her that the whole thing was made up, gave her a hug and told her not to lie to us ever again.

She wouldn’t believe us, though! She’d spent the last hour thinking she was about to lose her hands and head, which are clearly vital components of anybody’s existence.

“Do you promise daddy? Do you promise? I think I had a heart attack!”

I’ll be honest, I felt really bad afterwards, but we’ve taught the girls that it’s wrong to lie and we’re hoping that will be the last time. Highly unlikely, I know.

If that hasn’t worked I’m not sure what will!

I’d love to hear which shock tactics you’ve used on your little ones and whether or not they worked at all?

It’s only been a week since sachet-gate but, to the best of my knowledge, little K hasn’t lied about anything since. That doesn’t mean she definitely hasn’t though!

It’d be great to hear your stories in the comments box below. Surely some of you must have told your kiddies some wild things over the years!

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