Controlling Your Child Part 2: Parental Guilt; The Double Edge Sword

The key to being a success at parenting is knowing how to control your offspring. There are several effective methods of control and we will, over time, explore many of those throughout this blog series.

Today, we are going to discuss the mother of all controlling mechanisms. It’s the time honored, most effective means of making your kid do what you want- Parental Guilt.

If you are a human and had parents, it is likely that you have been a victim of parental guilt and you have done something you didn’t really want to do because your parental unit made you feel terrible until you did it. The Guilt is a masterful stroke of childrearing. The best part is that it’s a universal tool for controlling your child. No matter what the situation, the Guilt can be used to make it go your way.

Learning how to execute the Guilt is a whole other ballgame than being the recipient of it. Now, since I am neither human, nor had a parental figure micromanage me enough to try the Guilt, all of the tips I am about to dispense are from my years of observing human interaction. You humans are ingenious for thinking up such a tactic as the Guilt. I salute you.

1.       The best instances of the Guilt are when the victim doesn’t even realize there is a guilt trip happening. The insinuations are so subtle and the guilt so pervasive that it almost seems like it is the victims make up their minds themselves. To achieve this is truly an art form. You have to be subtle. You have to be crafty and not make it fully apparent the thing you want your victim to do. You have to make it seem like it was their own idea. This level of ingenuity is usually attained the older the human gets. Grandmothers are the masters.

2.       The shame motivated Guilt. This is one of the more easily achieved forms of parental guilt, though it does require the victim to be a little older so that they “know better”. Usually that is the key phrase to evoke the trip: “You know better than that.” If you add in a disappointed face or a strategically placed tsk, it really adds to it.

3.       Making it all about you. More specifically, making the choices your offspring make directly affect you, even if they don’t. This is the classic form of parental guilt. Example: “How could you do this to me? You know that everything you do is a direct reflection on me! Why do you want to treat your family in such a way?”

4.       The silent guilt. This is perfected when all you have to do is give your offspring a certain look. the hardest part is to maintain your silence, though, depending on the verbiage you use, it can help your case. Refuting your obvious upsetness and also stating over and over again, “I’m not saying anything.”

If you want to get ambitious, you can also combine these techniques to customize the parental guilt experience for your spawn. Just be careful; kids are quick and they will use your own techniques against you. Be prepared to battle as much as you dish out.

                Remember, if it isn’t going to cost hundreds in thousands of dollars in therapy for your offspring later on, you’re not doing it right.

                Happy Guilt Tripping!


***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the earth, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*