Klingon Parenting Tips and Tricks for Toddlers

@lil_spitfire:  As I arrived at the playground with my daughter, the truck parked at the curb roared to life. Immediately I saw three kids running and jumping off of the play equipment, heading over to the truck. They climbed in, the dad behind the wheel helped them buckle up and drove away. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation once they heard that truck start up.

All I can say is Wow.

Athol:  When the girls were little we had a very simple rule for taking them out somewhere fun like the park.

“If you cannot leave happy, I’m not bringing you back here.”

The rationale is quite simple, if this places make you cry, I’m a monster for bringing you here and making you cry. I’m not going to be a monster.

Some other parental tips and tricks….

(1)  Copious trips to the park and playgrounds, i.e. we really will be back. (It’s free entertainment, but you don’t know that lolz.)

(2)  “There is no X until Y”, i.e.  Please clean up the toys and then we can go to the park.

(3) Catching them when they are being good, i.e.  Thank you for being good girls, yes we can have an ice cream from the truck. 

(4)  The Faux Sense of Control Choice, i.e.  You can be mad and we stay home, OR you can be a good girl and we can go to the park.   Either way I win, so I don’t care which you choose. The kid gets a sense of self-control mattering.

(5)  Speak like a Klingon to toddlers. Alpha dominance, coupled with stripping away all the excess verbiage. Toddlers have limited language skills and you can overwhelm the message by too many words. Just limit the words to directives firmly spoken. Anglo-Saxon words are best.

Nap. Now. Quiet.

Dinner. Go. Table.

Shoes. Coat. Get Ready.

Carry to Car.

(6) Invent a older sibling that you killed shortly before they were born for their insubordination.  i.e. “That’s how your brother died.” 

It’s important to smile bigger and bigger and finally laugh with that last one and get them to know for sure it’s a joke. If they start to cry though, tell them their mother dropped them when they were a baby, so you’re actually the #1 parental option.


  1. SouthernOracle says:

    My parents used (6) quite a bit, probably why I’m such a horror fan.

    Also they’d threaten not to renew my contract on my birthday… I didn’t know what happened to other little kids whose contracts expired, but I very much didn’t want to find out.

  2. Vicomte says:

    When I was a kid my mother would threaten to give us to the local orphanage. Some times she would even ‘call’ and start making arrangements.

    I’m still not sure if that’s good parenting or not, but I do know that whenever we drove by it on the way to the mall, my brother and I would stare out the window at our impending doom, knowing we were only one mistake away…

  3. pdwalker says:

    Klingon speak, good.

    I’ve used it to great effect over the years. Perfect for co-workers. Not bad for the kids either.

  4. @Vicomte My grandmother used the orphanage trick on my mother and her sister (except that it was boarding school instead of an orphanage)… until my mother finally asked if she could please really go live there. That was the end of that parenting trick…

  5. Vicomte says:

    That’s probably why no one ever threatened me with military school.

  6. BookGeek says:

    This is the one and only approved lullaby at my castle:

  7. “That’s how your brother died.”

    I have to admit I laughed right out loud when I read that.

    My fellow McDonalds patron are now eyeing me nervously…

  8. holdingallthecards says:

    My first thought when reading the OP’s observation of the kids running to jump in the vehicle was that they were on their way to spend the weekend with their dad, who is divorced from their mom.

    Either way, it’s good to hear stories about kids looking forward to spending time with their parents.

  9. We began using a water bottle on my oldest child when he was a toddler. We would spray him whenever he tried to pull up on something that could tip over on him. He learned to avoid those things pretty quickly.

    Over the years, it has become our primary method of minor discipline and behavior modification, especially for throwing tantrums and back talking. He is now 10 years old and the phrase “go get the water bottle” will still bring any argument between our three kids to a screeching halt.

  10. wGraves says:

    When my daughter, who was five at the time, kept messing with my welding rig, I hit upon a ploy. I lit off the rosebud tip at high power. This produces a tongue of flame about 36 inches long with enough lateral heat to make anyone nearby uncomfortable. I accompanied this action with ‘Don’t hurt the baby, don’t burn anyone.’
    This worked quite well, and she stopped fooling with the thing.

  11. Well, I guess because I’m old my Momma had a slightly different system, a backhand quicker’n a striking snake. That is out of style now and children’s behavior is much the worse for it. Funny how one used to be able to eat in a café with a bunch of kids, all quietly behaving.

    People are oh so much smarter now, they think. While the world goes to Hell in a handcart.

  12. John Skookum says:

    “Cut that out, or we’ll sell you to the Gypsies just like the kids we had before you.”

  13. threemoreyears says:

    Whoa, Athol! Instalanche coming. Are your servers ready?

  14. Sigmund says:

    I recall a bon mot related by a friend:

    Of corse your parent know how to push your buttons,
    they installed the buttons.

  15. Down here in the South, you had to go “pick your switch.”

  16. My (now) aged and saintly mother is for some reason embarrassed whenever my younger brother reminds her of the one phrase she used to use on us to make us behave: “I will rip off your arm and beat you with the bloody end.”

    For my kids, we invented as an object example an older sibling, Timmy, who at any given time was either: (a) sold for medical research, (b) made to live in the hot attic and forgotten when we last moved, or (c) still chained up in the basement living on table scraps. The kids, now grown, still refer to him on holidays at family get-togethers.

  17. Parental threats were to be given to the gypsies (not even sold) and send me to the local reformatory. What worked for my kids was as a treat, the were allowed to stay up an extra amount of time to read. If they were bad, they were not allowed that time. ‘Please Dad!’ They would cry ‘we will clean our room tomorrow. Please let us read.’ Of course I always did. They still LOVE to read as adults. Win.

  18. My techniques was “How old are you, kid?”

    Kid answers “Seven”

    Me: “Do you want to live to be eight??”

    At some point, the kid replied, with a smile “Awwww, dad!!”

    We had fun. Seriously, I made an agreement with her that she would do what I asked, and that if she had a question about it (usually “Why?”), I would explain later. Good for when time was critical, e.g., “Get out of the street!” when there was an oncoming semi….

  19. Congrats on the Instalanche – great post!

  20. The False God says:

    When I did something wrong, what would be considered a cardinal sin of youth, my mother did one particular thing: she told me that because I had done it, I was grounded for a week. I would sit in my room, and I would have nothing. Not the “grounded” of this day and age, where you’re left with all your gadgets, and the parent gives up halfway, and tells you to get lost or coddles you.

    I sat in my room, with nothing but my bed and curtains. For a week. I was fed, showered, sent to school, and returned to my room. For the entire week. I was allowed to look outside the window.

    The only contact I had with my mom was instructions on what she’d be doing during the day, and that any deviance from my punishment would be met with something inconceivably worse. Oh, and one more thing. Every hour or so after she got home from work, she would poke her head into the room and tell me “This is what will happen every time. Next time, it’ll be longer.”, then close the door again.

    That week was possibly the most hellish week of my youth, and certainly one of the most instructional of my lifetime. I have only myself to blame, because she told me I would regret what I did before I did it. She said if I did it again, I wouldn’t get a bed.

  21. Keyser Söze says:

    “Quiet” is a Latin borrowing.

  22. A tale in the other direction.

    My bride of 11 years ago came with an old Pekinese dog that got progressively older and blinder and more arthritic. When she started slowly walking into walls and the dryer (bang!) we expanded on her life of car driving and juvenile delinquency by attributing to her a house of ill repute with a stable of humans and others. That was inspired by the fact that a cross-street about a block from us that has street walkers who actually walk the street, rather than stay in one place.

    The real dog died about five years ago, but her legend just continues to grow. Sometimes when my wife leaves me home alone for a few hours, we reference our party girl and how many guests she is going to have, and that I make sure the bottles (no needles or spoons) are disposed of before she gets back home. Things like that.

    Our grown children just don’t understand what we are talking about.

  23. “Eat your gagh!”


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