Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves. Ephesians 4:25.
I think if I got a dollar for every empty threat I gave my 3 kids as they were growing up, I’d have a nice little savings account!
As parents, we don’t set out to give empty threats. It just happens–perhaps out of desperation, exhaustion or anger. And empty threat-giving can be addictive. It makes you feel like you are doing something, when really you aren’t doing anything to help your child at all. But the honest truth is that an empty threat is basically a lie, maybe done unintentionally, but still an untruth.
And as the verse above says, when you lie (make empty threats) you are hurting each other, and this includes your children.
Perhaps some of these empty threats sounds familiar?
This is your last chance! How often do you say that to your kids when they do something you are not liking? And mean it?
If you speak to me like that, I will not listen. Or do you say it and then still listen and respond?
I am not going to tell you again to _____(Whatever it is you want them to do). One warning is all they should get before consequences follow.
You are grounded! (from technology, from going out, from TV, etc) This one is tricky because we hate the thought of pouting, bored kids and we don’t want to punish ourselves as parents in the process. If you ground them, let them know up front how long they are grounded. Think it through before you set the length, so you don’t have to change it later because you over-reacted at the time of their infraction.
I will not tolerate that behavior. This phrase can be said endlessly with absolutely no repercussions when your child does it again. You can say it until you are blue in the face, but if nothing happens as a result of his behavior, then you’re just blowing hot air because you actually are tolerating the behavior.
Empty threats are one of the biggest deterrents to effective parenting. Your child has figured this out. He’s paying attention to you even when you don’t think he is and he knows when you are going to follow through and when you’re not.
If you are going to make an ultimatum, you must follow through. It’s hard, I know. I’ve been there. It’s much easier to throw empty threats like verbal hand grenades and hope they stop the battle.
But that tactic rarely works because you’ve done it before and your child knows that it amounts to nothing.
Parents, here’s the bottom line: Effective parenting means you Say what you mean and mean what you say! Period.