I’m Guilty of Ignoring, Threatening, Bribing, and Lying to My Child

First, let me start out by saying that I love my daughter more than anything. She is never neglected or knowingly put in harm’s way because of my actions. In fact, on a spoiled scale, she’s probably closer to the spoiled end than she is to the not-spoiled end.

That being said, there are moments every day where I either ignore, threaten, bribe, or lie to her.

She’s two years old. Need I say more? Probably not, but I’m going to.

I ignore my child when…CrabbyToddler

She’s being a crazy, whining, monster. Yes, I just called my child a monster. Because that’s what she is sometimes and there’s really no better way to describe her in those moments. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely has her fair share of sweet, angelic moments too. But lately we seem to be having more monster moments.

Why I ignore my child:

She is going through that toddler phase (at least I choose to believe it’s just a phase) where she thinks she needs my undivided attention 24/7. Not her daddy’s attention. MY attention. All day long I hear things like, “Mommy play,” “Mommy help you,” “Mommy hold you,” “NOOOOO! MOMMY DO IT!!!” When I ask her to play nicely by herself for five minutes you’d think I just asked her to cut off all her fingers and toes with the amount of screaming, whining, and general tantrum shenanigans that ensue.

So yes, sometimes I ignore her so she’ll know that throwing a fit isn’t going to always get her what she wants, when she wants it.

I also ignore her when I’m trying to get work done. I work from home and have deadlines to meet so there are days when I HAVE to get some work done. When she comes trotting into my office begging me to play with her I say, “I can’t play right now, but when I’m all done working we’ll play together. You can play while Mommy gets some work done.” This usually doesn’t go over well and the mild whining begins. From that point on I ignore her. I know she only wants my attention for the sake of having my attention. Not because she really, truly NEEDS something. 80% of the time she ends up getting bored and goes running off to entertain herself, at least for a few minutes. And like most other moms, I know my kid’s cries. I can tell when she’s crying and needs my attention and when she doesn’t.

So yes, sometimes I ignore my child when I need to get stuff done. I think it encourages her to be independent and to use her imagination to entertain herself.

I threaten my child when…

She gets a case of the sillies and doesn’t let me brush her teeth at night. I’m incredibly lucky that my daughter is usually very good when it comes to having her teeth brushed. She opens her mouth nice and wide and lets me brush all her teeth and her tongue. But some nights when she’s all riled up and acting silly she thinks it’s funny to refuse to open her mouth. When this happens, I usually say, “If you don’t let me brush your teeth now, there won’t be time to read stories before going to bed.” That usually does the trick and her mouth pops right open and we’re done in a flash! That girl loves her stories!

Another common threat these days is that we can’t go and do {you name it} until we put pants on. I find myself saying all too often, “If you don’t want to put your pants on, then we’re not…”

Why I threaten my child:

The short and the long of it is to teach her that there are consequences to her actions. Wasting time being silly instead of having her teeth brushed means we don’t have enough time to read stories. Not wearing pants means we can’t go outside to play, or go to the Children’s Museum, or go out to a restaurant.

The threats I make are actually ones I’d be willing to carry out. But in most cases, the threat does its job and she’s going to bed with clean teeth and stories, and heading out the door with pants on.

I would like to point out that I never threaten my daughter emotionally/psychologically or physically. Just in case anyone was worried about that.

I bribe my child when…

I want her to eat something other than cheese. Our meal times involve a lot of bribing. Sometimes the bribe is dessert if she eats everything on her plate. Sometimes the bribe is more of one item if she eats some of another item. A very common meal-time bribe lately is chocolate milk.

Why I bribe my child:ChocMilk

To get her to eat a more well-rounded diet. If left to her own devices she would eat nothing but the Lucky Charms marshmallows for breakfast, cheese for lunch and dinner, and M&Ms for snack. All washed down with giant glasses of chocolate milk.

I lie to my child when…

I don’t want her consuming any more cheese or chocolate milk. Those are the times when the restaurant has run out of cheese and chocolate milk (she only gets chocolate milk at restaurants). Bummer! Maybe next time.

I also tell my daughter that she can’t ride on the carousel at the mall because the horsies are taking a nap. That seems to work every time (at least for now).

Why I lie to my child:

Because it’s easier than dealing with a tantrum when I say she can’t have it or do it.

Am I a horrible mom for ignoring, threatening, bribing, and lying to my child? I don’t think so. I think I’m just a mom who’s trying to make it from one end of the mall to the other without a tantrum because a certain little lady can’t ride the horsies or have chocolate milk for lunch.

Are you guilty of any of these things? Maybe you’re guilty of others! Let us know in the comments below!

Becky is a Minnesota Native and Wisconsin Badger fan living in the heart of Hawkeye Country. Since graduating from high school, she has lived in Duluth, MN; Birmingham, UK; Minneapolis, MN; Louisville, KY; and Madison, WI, but is now happy to call Iowa City home. She and her husband have been married for ten years and have a spirited four-year-old daughter and a mischievous baby boy. Becky juggles working from home and keeping two kids happy each and every day. In her free time, she enjoys working her side business, spending time with friends, relaxing with a good book, and eating snacks.


  1. We use the same threat for brushing teeth- we are going to run out of time and not read a book! And if you eat every thing on your plate you can get dessert or chocolate milk! Those both work great.


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