Rule #20: Use God to Make Your Kids Paranoid

Kids not coming when you call them in for dinner? You know where to go for help.

Kids not coming when you call them in for dinner? You know where to go for help.

It’s easy to hit a brick wall when disciplining children. No matter what approach we take—whether it’s verbal coddling or threatening to take away important things like food and water—our words sometimes fall flat, and our children continue their rotten behavior.

Which is why you should threaten the use of the Almighty Hammer. That’s right, using God’s wrath as a threat to your children – especially in trivial situations – can be the extra ammo you need in your battle against your child’s general incompetence and lack of social graces.

It’s His Name, So Go Ahead and Wear It Out

Getting your child to believe that God brims with mystery, unpredictability, and the rage of a husky car salesman trying to give up smokes can be a powerplay that you can use to your advantage. Here are some simple ways you can keep your kids in check and foment the type of paranoia that only teams of therapists can untangle 20 years from now:

Mention that God is watching…always…like a mall security guard.

There’s nothing that will scare your child more than telling them there is an “old man” in the “sky” watching him. The more vague you can be, the more powerful the effect. This will get your child to reconsider behavior like wiping boogers on the wall in the bathroom and peeing on the toilet seat. In fact, you can probably rest assured your child won’t ever even go into the bathroom again.

Tell your kids that God only likes classic rock, and mostly the Eagles.

Maybe you don’t “get” young-people’s music, and your musical tastes don’t veer all that wildly these days. So you don’t want your kids getting into rap, metal, rap-metal, or, worse yet, show tunes—which is the gateway to acting classes and other oddball behavior.

Insist that God would never wear a mini-skirt or expose his bellybutton.

Worried about your teenage daughter going out looking like she’s on a lunch break from the brothel? Use a “What Would Jesus Wear?” approach to counseling her. Encourage her to incorporate long, flowing robes and other loose-fitting, shapeless clothing into her wardrobe.

Point out that too much inappropriate touching will force God’s hand.

Teenage boys treat their bodies like a sexual Cirque du Soleil. To stave off your son’s inevitable distractions, tell him that any form of, um, self-gratification will lead to God unleashing packs of crotch-gnarling badgers on the male teenage population without warning. It’s like the apocalypse, only more damaging to high school dating and future prospects of fatherhood.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shell December 29, 2008 at 8:28 am

“…crotch-gnarling badgers” is much more fear inducing than the possibility of getting crabs. Hands down…You win.


Mary Catherine December 29, 2008 at 10:50 am

This practice never seemed to work on my sons P*te and Bo*is. When I told them God would punish them for being bad, they would laugh at me. When I made them go to church for confession, they would rush off in their shorts, sneakers and t-shirts, confess, say the Hail Marys, and then do those bad things all over again. I don’t know what went wrong with those two. I was raised to know that God’s wraith was always with me, thanks to all of the wonderful teachings of the Nuns and my parents.


Grace January 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

My mother and grandmother used this one on me and my sister growing up. It was quite effective.


brent February 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm

there’s nothing that quietly strangles you more efficiently than the guilt trip.


sandra March 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm

my mother tried this with me when i was younger. i laughed at her and said that if god’s wrath was with me always then so was the goddesses love. imagine, a 3 year old raised as Mormon since birth saying that do a devout LDS woman….


Leo July 22, 2009 at 4:13 am

Lol. My mom does this to me. Never worked. I became agnostic.


Voice of Reason September 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm

My grandparents, and to a lesser extent, my parents, tried this with me. In response, I became a hardened atheist. During the last few years, I warmed up to the idea of God again, but even now, I still think that the best god is your own sense of morality.


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