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Parenting: Why White Lies May Not Always Be the Best Idea
Parenting: Why White Lies May Not Always Be the Best Idea

In fact, we know that we shouldn't cheat, threaten, or bribe our children. Our columnist tells what happens when the "angry monster" we have just invented suddenly strikes back …

Parenting: Why White Lies May Not Always Be the Best Idea
Parenting: Why White Lies May Not Always Be the Best Idea

I admit: I am resistant to advice on many things. I don't like being told how to do something and I often think that I already do knows better myself - even if that is by far not always true.

When it comes to my kids, I'm at least a little bit less stubborn. Especially in times of desperation, I sometimes sneak a look at the other super moms and see how they do it all.

In such phases, you quickly end up with pedagogically valuable internet forums and self-help books. When I was two years old, I realized that these wise tips are not always something for me The climax of the defiance phase and regularly presented me with a sprawling drama in three acts on the street, in the supermarket and on the kitchen floor.

The angry monster in your stomach

It was precisely at this time that another mom recommended the "angry monster" to me. In such phases, one should explain to the child that the angry monster in the stomach just got out of hand and they will now lock it in the basement together.

Full of motivation I tried this upbringing wisdom when my two-year-old broke out again, which was not long in coming. The result: The child ran through the house crying hysterically and clung to his stomach in panic because it was there didn't want a monster in there. Parenting attempt: Fail.

After the disturbed child finally calmed down and I had assured him that an alien wouldn't jump out of his belly button, it was finally calm again. Until the toddler stared at my pregnant belly with wide eyes and began to roar again that mom's angry monster was so huge that it would burst out right away and eat us all …

"Come on, let's lock the angry monster in the cellar together!"

After the word "angry monster" from there with us avoided if possible became and a little later from mom's belly a little brother and not a monster came, at least this trauma could be successfully averted.

The "tiny" white lies

One educational tip that I'm still working on today is that you keep your children not with lies, threats and bribes should educate. Basically, that makes sense to me. But: Unfortunately, in practice this resolution is often used difficult to implement.


Or have you never tried to give your kindergarten children a tiny white lie to convince? I honestly never told you that Playground is "unfortunately closed" or the coin-eating toy excavator in the zoo is "broken" today? Then I take off my nonexistent hat to you!

I can tell you, however, that this "form of education" quickly ends when the little ones learn to read. On a cold, rainy day they have just been told with conviction that this Ice cream shop closed today unfortunately and you can't do anything, the proud first grader says: "Mom, it says 'open'!" Damned.

Bribing made easy

I also regularly reach my limits with the threat and bribery system. Don't get me wrong, I find it terrible myself when I promise my child that it will be a extra-large bag of gummy bears gets when it only sits still FIVE MINUTES at the wedding of your best friend in church. Or threaten him today surely there is no more television, if not the moment now Homework done will. My personal low point was when, on a particularly bad day, I actually heard myself say, I'll be right now "call the Christ Child and would tell him it's all Don't bring gifts should "if my boys didn't immediately stop raging around the house like madmen …

Apart from the fact that one feels miserable and helpless when faced with perpetual threats rather than pedagogically valuable, this form of education can also be quite backfire quickly. Let the one throw the first stone who has not been annoyed green and blue in retrospect that he has the Threat with the television ban actually pulled through. Because actually you wanted to cook dinner in peace in the 20 minutes that the children would otherwise have been allowed to watch TV, didn't you?

The thing with the red Lego suitcase

Other than that, the threat system with some children is simple guaranteed to fail. Raise the curtain for my younger son! At Christmas, the then three-year-old got a super bright red Lego suitcase from the Christ Child (which I hadn't called after all). The contents of the same were in spite of this a few days later repeated requests to clean up still scattered across the living room floor.

So I resorted to a threat again: "If you don't clear up the suitcase, then I'll throw him away! " Answer son: "Ok." So now I was standing there and had to translate my words into deeds. I still tried desperately "But then it's really gone, gell! "and" I would think about whether I should not clean it up now, we can help together! "… all to no avail.


So I packed the suitcase myself and demonstratively dropped it into the bag with the plastic garbage (which my son did with a acknowledged a casual shrug and an expression on your face that you might have interpreted as "Oh, what can you do, the material things in life are overrated anyway".)

Nothing in his fatalism changed by the time he went to sleep. No tears, no "oh mom you were right I'm so sorry! ", apparently no second thought of his brand-new Lego suitcase.

Well, I thought to myself - tomorrow he will regret his mistake. After my son was in bed, I picked up between empty yogurt cups and strawberry bowls took the suitcase out of the plastic garbage and put it in the storage room - ready to hand for his grand entrance, when I could finally say: "Well, because you've apologized so much now and i am such a nice mom you can now have this super duper Lego suitcase, for which I paid 70 euros, by the way."

Unfortunately, this moment did not occur the next day either. Even after subtle clues on my part like "So if you are really good today, I could see if I can bring the suitcase can get out of the garbage can again " or "Don't you want to build Lego so great again today?" My three-year-old remained pragmatic: "Oh no, you threw it away anyway, mom." Well

Even a week later he was firm in his opinion - and every day I felt more ridiculous trying to get him the dearly bought one Turning the suitcase back on. About two weeks later, one of us gave up - and it wasn't the three-year-old. Ashamed and gritted my teeth, I got it Suitcase from the storage room and explained to my son that I had taken him out of the garbage compactor in Siggerwiesen especially for him at great risk, because I love him so much (my son, not the Lego suitcase). He looked at me like I had not all the cups in the cupboard anymore, took his suitcase with dignity and built a Lego fire station without further delay.

Since then, I've thought twice about threatening my children. I am also comes to an insight which I might present in my own parenting guide: Raising children doesn't come from guide books - the children raise you themselves.

About the author: Susanne Holzer is a freelance writer from Salzburg. Together with Sybille Maier-Ginther, she writes in the honest mom blog and in the book of the same name "Hand on Heart" about what life with a child really is like. You can find more of the two on Facebook and online under "Hand on Heart Blog".

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