How not to use fear as a discipline tool.

Remember when you were little and you had a fear of the dark? Did you also have a monster under your bed? I bloody well did!

I recall leaping from the doorway onto my Holly Hobby doona in a manner that the ogre, who resided under my bed, could not grab me by the ankles and drag me under. It was so real.

We also had a witch who lived in a fibro shack smack bang in the middle of a paddock at the top of the street. The paddock was filled with thistles and local legend had it that if she saw you, she would curse you with a made up ailment which would see your demise before your next birthday. 

When my kids were smaller and unruly, I told them about a mean old lady called Irene. Irene lived in this really ugly brick box a few streets over from our house. Irene had a fondess for decorating her front garden with a gaggle of ugly cacti and her dirty lace curtains were always shut. 

I was often telling my kids about Irene and the role that she played in our community.

Irene would take in the local children who were too naughty for their parents. She would feed them stale bread and they only had one toy to play with, which just happened to be a coat hanger. Irene had a nasty black cat called Scratcher who would swipe at you with long, dirty claws.  All of Irene’s furniture was black and really smelly, due to the fact that Irene existed on a diet of cabbage and would spend her day sitting on the couch, farting and yelling at the poor unfortunates whose parents could no longer handle them.

My kids would listen wide eyed as I told them wild stories about Irene. It was a total winner when it came to discipline.

“I know a little girl who got sent to Irene’s for far less than that!” I would warn them after they had behaved like delinquents.

Then shit got real. 

One day we nervously walked past Irene’s house and spotted a black cat sitting on the front step, generously giving itself a hearty dose of oral sex.

We saw a curtain twitch and heard someone yelling from the backyard. And that is all that needed to happen for me to pull the plug on the whole shebang. The kid were freaked and it would not be wrong of me to admit that I may have been a little rattled myself. I mean I had been waxing lyrical about Irene and Scratcher for a year and some part of me had started to believe it. 

Yeah, the rational part.

So as quick as Irene had arrived on the scene, so she left. She packed  up her house, gave all the kids back to their parents and moved to Fiji with Scratcher.

Fess up!
What is YOUR irrational fear?