Sorry Kim Zolciak, Empty Threats Don’t Make For Effective Discipline

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Kim ZolciakMy daughter is a headstrong and opinionated little girl. I spend an ample amount of time trying to figure out the best ways to teach her respect and manners, all while supporting her strong personality. And when it comes to discipline, I’ve learned a couple important tips: Never threaten something you won’t actually do and never use physical force or anger when you can use logic.

For me, these are two important truths of motherhood. That’s why I’m a little suspicious of Real HousewivesKim Zolciak when she says that she carries around a wooden spoon in her purse to threaten her children with if they get out of line. “I’ve never used it; I just pull it out and they know I’m serious.” Something about that sounds fishy to me.

If I say, “We’re not going to go to Mimi’s house if you keep kicking my seat,” while knowing that I’m not about to turn the car around when my mother has already prepared a meal, then my daughter will call me on it. She’ll do it again just to prove that I wasn’t telling the truth. And then she’ll probably chastise me for fibbing.

Honestly, any time I threaten things that I’m not ready to back up, my daughter normally knows. And if she learns that I won’t follow through once, she’s more likely to test the boundaries for weeks to come. The best motherhood lesson I ever learned was to only discuss punishment that I was willing to carry out. And sometimes, sticking to those consequences can mean missing out on big family events, but that’s what we have to do to help my daughter learn the lessons we’re teaching her.

This is why I’m so confused about Zolciak’s claim. The lady has three kids. She has to have gone through plenty of discipline issues and mommy drama. I can’t believe that a mom could continue to rely on a threat that she had never actually used. That seems insane to me. If a child hadn’t been hit on the butt at least once with that spoon, why would they be afraid of it? My little girl would probably assume that the wooden spoon meant we were baking cookies or a cake.

Listen, I’m not saying that every mom doesn’t have their own form of discipline. Whether you’re a time-out queen, a talk-it-out mama or a screen-time denier, we all have our own ways of making the little ones mind. I just really don’t understand how one would instill fear and inspire good behavior with the threat of something you would never do. I don’t get how that works.

How do you keep the kids in line? Have you ever tried this “Wooden Spoon” technique?

(Photo: Hollywood Reporter)


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  3. NotThumper

    May 26, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I agree!
    My MIL used empty threats on my BIL (he’s 18 now) and then couldn’t figure out why he was a pain in her ass through high school. I told her to stop being his friend and actual parent the kid and perhaps things will change. He is a smart kid and learned too quickly that it didn’t matter what she said, what she threatened since she never followed through.

    Now when I was little my mom kept one of those sticks you stir paint with on top of the microwave. I was a pretty good kid but I did get a smack on the bum with it just once, and once was all it took. After that whenever I’d misbehave and she’d say “Do I have to get the stick?” I’d immediately change my behavior since I knew she’d actually do it.

    Please don’t think my mother whacked me with this thing, she didn’t. If you’ve ever seen a paint stirrer you’ll note they’re kind of flimsy. I think it was more the thought of being swatted at with a “stick” that was scary for a kid.

  4. Makabit

    May 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    When I was a kid, there were these kids up the block, whose mom, before we took off somewhere, would ostentatiously put the ‘spanking spoon’ in her purse. But she used it. A lot.

    I was always kind of horrified. My parents spanked me, like, twice. I think. Maybe once. Lifetime total. Having this damn implement, suggesting that a spanking might be a regular part of a trip out, just struck me as awful. Not because I thought it would hurt a lot, but the level of anger implied…ick.

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