This post is not meant to be a lecture on how to raise children.

And trust me when I tell you that I do my share of threatening.

“You won’t get any desert if you don’t eat your beans.” 
“You wont get to watch the movie if you don’t finish your chores.” 
Etc. Etc.

The threatening that I am talking about is threatening your children that they will have to get stabbed in the mouth with a needle by the horrible mean dentist if they do not brush their teeth.

You may laugh, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

Mr. T

Children come in to get one simple cavity filled and they are out of control and crying before they even walk through the door. Their parents have scared them so badly that just the site of me sends them into a screaming fit.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the parent would then help me calm them down. But that, usually, does not happen. The parent will sit out in the waiting room and say things like … 

“You knew this was going to happen.” or 
“Okay, you have to go get your shots now.” or 
“Don’t cry, I told you he would drill on you if you didn’t brush.”

  • Do any of you know how hard it is for me at that point?
  • Do any of you know how hard it is on the child at that point?

Not only is it hard right then but, this kind of thing will build an emotional wall in that child that may remain for the rest of their life. Most people that hate to come to the dentist due to experiences when they were little children.

Bottom line is this. If you can’t get your children to brush their teeth by saying please or by using some other type of positive reinforcement that is fine. Threatening to cut off the x-box is, in my mind, a fine thing to do.

Just don’t tell them how horrifying it will be to see the dentist. It will makes things that much worse now, and later on down the road as well.