Recently, our children have gotten into the habit of using threats in an attempt to get their way. The problem (for them) is that many of their threats are, well... not threatening at all. For instance:
-"That's it! I will NEVER be your grandfather!" from Eva, upon being denied candy before dinner. She has also threatened to not be Daniel's father anymore.
-"Fine. If you make me leave now, I will NOT wear my coat outside!" from Daniel, upon being told that it was time to go to school. He was unmoved by Kyle pointing out that this does not make anyone else cold on a 40-degree morning.
-"I am going to walk out of this room right now, and you won't have ANYONE to fight with!" said Daniel to Eva when she wouldn't give him a toy this afternoon. Wouldn't that be a shame?
Sometimes, though, the threats are annoying, childish, and repeated so many times that I think I might lose my mind:
-"I will not be your friend ANY MORE!" said in response to any perceived injustice.
-"If you don't stop that I'm going to flush you down the toilet!" is a new favorite, a special gem introduced to us this week by Daniel's buddy Gus.
Occasionally, the threats get dangerous, abusive, or just totally out of hand, like when Daniel threatens to jump out of the moving car and actually pulls on the (thankfully child-safety-locked) door in the backseat during any of he and Eva's auto altercations. I've also recently overheard:
-"You aren't allowed to come play at our house anymore!" to their friend Peter, after an argument over a toy.
-"You are getting kicked out of this family."
-"If you don't we will rip your arm off," said Daniel to Eva (on the way home from church, no less), in support of Kyle politely asking Eva to remember to keep her hand in her lap instead of pulling on her hair in the car.
Really, it's these last ones that get me. Did they hear them from some tyrant child somewhere, or are they exercising their creativity in a seriously misguided way? Even considering my less-than-perfect parenting, the kinds of threats we make around here are, "Do you need a time out?" and "Should we move your behavior clip to yellow?" Certainly we don't use violent limb removal as a deterrent, and I'm fairly sure Eva's grandfathers have never mentioned disowning her...
Does Daniel threaten kids like this at school? If so, are we on some DFS watch list?
As funny as it can sometimes be, I hope this is a phase that passes quickly. I feel like the threat of threats is constant around here, and like I am a drip of water, trying to wear away a stone of unpleasant behavior. I've tried explaining, imploring, reminding how these words make people feel, suggesting alternate ways of solving disagreements, praising their kind words, repeating myself, complaining about the issue. I have downright forbidden talk of stunt-jumps from our moving vehicle. I am officially open for reader suggestions.
Seriously, though, if they don't stop it soon, I might NOT let them come play at our house again.