Over at The Cupcake Tent, Red talked about telling kids that the things in scary movies just aren't real... even though Red herself isn't entirely convinced.
That made me think about how FUN it is to lie to kids!!
Don't you all agree? I'm a parent and a former teacher. Some of my best fun comes from the lies I've told kids over the years.* Ah... the memories!
Think about all the lies adults tell kids... lies we say are actually GOOD for our kids. I'm not going to list them all here, because I don't want some of my fellow younger bloggers to learn the truth from me. But yes, I am talking about the Great Pumpkin and the Lucky Charms leprechaun.
My personal favorite is the one we (my ex-husband and I) used to tell our daughters. We were very young parents-- I was 20 when my oldest was born. Suffice it to say, we didn't have great parenting skills back then. I'm a much better mom now than I was in my early 20s. Trust me on this one. Don't have kids until you're finished growing up yourself.
But I digress...
Discipline is hard. You have to be firm and consistent. When I was young, I had a tough time with consistency. So, my oldest daughter learned from me that she could usually argue her way out of something. Getting "pwnt" by a 5 year old is not something I'm proud to admit. But there you are.
So, the ex and I made up this fabulous trick. If we wanted her to behave, we would just tell her about Ingrid. Ingrid was a mean, old, nasty [make-believe] babysitter. She [allegedly] lived in a broken-down, ancient farmhouse -- which actually did exist and just happened to be on one of the roads we drove quite often.
ME: "Oh, I know you don't want to throw that temper tantrum! Because if you do, then I'm going to have to call Ingrid to come babysit you. She takes care of little girls who throw temper tantrums. I'll just go give her a call!"
DAUGHTER: "NO! No! I'll be good! I promise!"
It actually worked most every time. Only once did she ever doubt Ingrid's existence. When that happened, I called my sister and asked her to pretend she was Ingrid. When my daughter got on the phone and listened to that witch-like voice, she was scared for two days straight.
Yes, I know. I'm going straight to hell.
Please don't comment and tell me what a horrible parent I am. I promise you that we stopped doing that after a year or so (when we decided it was cruel, but more importantly, figured it wouldn't work forever) and it became a big joke in our family. In fact, that daughter is a senior in high school now, and we still laugh about Ingrid. I'm hoping Ingrid will make an appearance at Daughter's graduation party somehow.
*Okay, not really. I'm a good person. Really I am.