Scary things parents say to kids to keep them in line, mess with them or scare them straight.
The Scraper Man
When we went to bed at night, my mom used to tell us that if we didn’t behave and keep quiet, The Scraper Man would come down from the attic and take us away. She took it even further. When we weren’t being quiet, she would walk down the hall scraping her fingernails along the wall… Needless to say, we shut up pretty quick! And we were scarred for life!
Sometimes, for no reason, my mom would look me straight in the eyes, and in a creepy voice, she would tell me she was not my mother. She said she was an alien that had taken over my mom’s body, and my real mom was gone. After a couple minutes of me crying and her laughing, she would hug me and say she was just joking.
My mom said if I didn’t behave she’d send me to live with my father… My dad died when I was two.
My sisters and I used to always run away from my mom while we were shopping at the department store. One day she asked us, “Do you know why all of the china dolls in the toy section look so sad?” We had no idea, so she told us, “They’re all the little children that ran away from their moms in the store. They got lost and after the store closed for the night they all turned into dolls, and now they never get to go home.” After that, I was never able to stray more than 6 feet away from my mom.
Dark Spots in the Road
When we were kids, our parents encouraged us to hold their hands and not run out into the road. They told us all the dark spots and black blotches on the road were the squashed remains of kids who didn’t hold their parents’ hands. They had us convinced that those kids had been run over, leaving just a grease spot behind.
My aunt told me that the oil stains on the road were children that tried to cross the road without an adult. I was also told that ground beef was made from children that misbehaved in the grocery store.
I had a doll that I played with constantly. My mom let me watch the horror movie Child’s Play on TV. Then, she told me to keep a close eye on my doll because she might be the next Chucky. I never touched that doll again.
My mom told me that if I swallowed watermelon seeds, a watermelon would GROW INSIDE ME. Seriously, how scary is that?
My dad also scarred my childhood by telling me that if I accidentally swallowed a watermelon seed, it would grow inside me. I cried for an hour behind the couch because earlier I had eaten almost 9 or 10 of them and I was convinced I was going to die.
My mom told me there was a girl who loved to eat watermelons and she swallowed the seeds. One day, she noticed her stomach was bloated. It kept getting bigger and bigger. Her parents thought she was pregnant. When she was in the school gym, she was climbing up a rope and she slipped. She fell to the ground and her stomach burst open and a huge watermelon rolled out.
When I was little my Dad convinced me that if I swallowed a cherry pit, a tree would grow out of my bum. Despite always being extremely careful, I accidentally swallowed one. I ran down to the basement and started crying. My Mom followed me down and asked me what was wrong. I told her I needed surgery I didn’t want to have a tree growing out of my bum. She had no idea what I was talking about.
My sister tood me that if I ate sunflower seeds they would grow inside me. I used to have night terrors about giant sunflowers growing out of my eyes and mouth.
Sitting on the Toilet
When I was little, my dad told me and my brothers that if we sat on the toilet for too long, our intestines would fall out. I was terrified for years that this was going to happen so I would jump off the toilet after finishing my business.
For no discernable reason, my dad told me that dragonflies have needles on their asses and that they sew people’s mouths shut…
My mom told me that bad men put bombs in soda cans and left them on the street. That’s why we shouldn’t touch them, no matter how thirsty we were because if we did, we would get blown up. Also, she said that old men vomit on McDonald’s tables so I shouldn’t let my food touch the table.
After losing my first baby tooth, I ran to show my dad and he responded by saying, “Now just wait until you start losing your baby fingers…”
Picking Your Nose
My mum used to tell me that if I picked my nose, it would cave in and dribble out through my nose. I woke up one morning and my nose was full of dried mucus. I obviously had a cold with a blocked nose but I believed my Mum’s prophercy had come true. I never picked it again (until I was older.)
My parents told me that if I picked my nose, I might detach one of the cords that held my eye in place, and my eyeball would fall out of my head.
I was told that when you picked your nose, the booger was a piece of you brain and eventually you would pick out your entire brain and die.
I was picking my nose and my mom caught me. She said if I dropped it on the floor, it would become a bogie monster and if I ate it, I would become a bogie monster… I didn’t know what to do, so I put the booger back up my nose…
When I was young, I used to pick my nose a lot. This was because I believed the Boogie Man lived under my bed and I thought the only way to keep him from kidnapping me was to leave boogers on the wall beside my bed as offerings to appease him.
My mom told me that if I swallowed gum it would block my anus and I’d have to poop out of my mouth. The mental images I formed from that still pop up whenever I chew gum.
My mom said if I swallowed my gum it’d get wrapped around my lungs and I would choke to death. Right after she told me that, I accidentally swallowed my gum. I screamed about it until she told me I wasn’t going to die.
My mum explained to me that it wasn’t healthy to swallow chewing gum. She made a big deal out of saying that I should never swallow it, ever! I became terrified that it would turn into a gum monster in my tummy.
My mom told me that when I chewed gum, little men in my mouth ran down into my stomach and told the little men down there to start disgesting. And then when no food came (since it was just gum), they’d start digesting my stomach instead.
My dad told me if I swallowed my gum, I would fart bubbles. I swallowed my gum by accident once and had a full-scale meltdown at Walmart.
Don’t Lose Your Voice
My parents told me that humans only have a finite amount of voice, so I should only speak if i have something important to say, otherwise I would use up all my voice and by the time I was an adult, I would be mute. That shut me up.
Call the Police
When I was four years old, I accidentally stole something in a store. I didn’t really intend to steal it. It was more like I put it in my pocket and forgot to pull it out once I got to the counter with my mom. After we left the store, my mom saw it and took me back. She explained to the cashier that I was a thief and forced me to shamefully hand it back. On the way home, she took a different route. When I ask where we were going, she said she was driving me to prison.
My mom used to tell my brother that if he didn’t behave, the police would come and take him away. She even went so far as to get an empty suitcase out and set it by the door. Then she pretended to call the police and let them know he was ready to go. One time when I had done something bad, my mom told me she had phoned the police and they were coming to get me. I was so scared I climbed up a tree and hid there for about 2 hours. The police never showed up.
When I was a child, we lived in an apartment building. One day, I found an envelope sticking out of someone else’s mailbox, so I pulled it out and brought it upstairs with me because I didn’t know any better. When my mom saw the letter, she said “That’s stealing. Do you want to get arrested and locked up? Don’t EVER steal.” That was responsible parenting, but then she told me that the cops were probably on their way right now to come take me to jail. My mom then started knocking on a table and told me, “That’s them at the door. They’ve come to take you away.” I ran to hide out on the balcony but when I looked down, I saw a bunch of cop cars and fire trucks outside. There were cops and fire fighters standing in front of the apartment building. It just so happened that there had been a false alarm for a fire and my mom knew that they were outside. I started to scream and cry and began telling my mom “I’m sorry” and “Please don’t open the door.” My mom opened the front door, went out for a minute, then came back. She said, “I told them you weren’t here and I gave them back the envelope. I think we’re off the hook.” I was so relieved to know that I wasn’t going to be arrested. I didn’t actually figure out until a few years ago my mom had been making it all up. To this day, I don’t go near other people’s mailboxes.
Monsters in the Mirror
When I was a kid, our local mall had mirrored pillars throughout. These pillars were often covered with the dirty handprints of other children. In an effort to get me to behave while we were at the mall, my mother told me those mirrored pillars had mirror monsters in them and they ate bad children. She said the handprints where actually on the inside, left there by the bad children who had already been captured and eaten…
Get Out of the Bath
My Dad told me that if I didn’t get out of the bath quick enough, I could get sucked down the drain. I was terrified of this for years and even now the sound of a draining bath makes me uncomfortable.
My mother used to say “The water company called, they say its time to return the water in the bathtub, get out now or else they will be forced to suck you down the drain with the water to teach you a lesson!” This is why I cant read in the tub anymore.
When I was little, my mom told me, “You better stop misbehaving or Santa Claus won’t bring you any gifts.” This tactic was so successful that she started using the threat all year round. “Don’t do that. If Santa Claus sees you, he’ll get mad!” Soon, she was just telling me that Santa was watching me all the time. “He was in that window over there, and he just saw what you did!” I would frantically look around, but he’d disappear before I caught a glimpse of him. I started to resent this jolly old man who was now my stalker. Before long, I couldn’t stand the sight of that white-bearded menace with his rosy cheeks and his judgmental sneer. I even began to believe I saw Santa Claus out of the corner of my eye. Even when I had done nothing wrong. I would run to my mother and beg her to “Tell Santa to go away and leave me alone!” I also started having nightmares about him. He’d be hovering at the window, just staring in at me… Waiting, watching, never blinking… I hated that big fat creep.
My dad told my sister that when she was born, he had a microchip implanted in her head so that he always knew where she was. My sister freaked out and asked our grandmother if it was true. Granny’s response was, “I can’t be sure with all the modern technology around today…”
We lived in a really old house and our basement was much bigger than the of the house and was not safe for kids. My mom knew I was a huge fan of Batman, so she told me that the Joker lived in our basement. One day, I sneaked down there to take a peek at him. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I came face to face with the Joker and he chased me back upstairs and all the way out to the front yard. Just a few years ago, my mom confessed that she bought a Joker mask and waited for me in the basement to give me a scare.
When I was young, I was afraid of heights. My dad loved to freak me out. One day, we went to an amusement park and he convinced me to ride the rollercoaster. He waited until we were strapped in before he said, “Don’t worry, the bolts holding the tracks together only come apart 1% of the time.” Then he started describing how rollercoasters are designed to be put up and taken down quickly so there aren’t many things holding them together. When the rollercoaster began moving, my dad began screaming “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” I was terrified and shouted, “DON’T SAY THAT!!!” so my dad said, “Sorry” and started screaming, “WE’RE ALL GONNA LIVE!!! WE’RE ALL GONNA LIVE!!!”
The Killers on the Train
When my dad was a boy, he grew up in a small town. There were train tracks running through town and the locals were convinced it was just a matter of time before one of their children strayed onto the tracks and got killed. The parents all got together and decided to tell their kids that there were bad men on the train and they would shoot any children they saw when it came through town. The kids believed them, and every time a train came through town the kids would scatter and hide, screaming bloody murder. They were all terrified of that train. Years later, my dad was thinking about the killers on the train and had an epiphany: “Why would they let men on the train shoot at kids? That doesn’t make any sense…” No duh, Dad!
My dad would tell me to hide under the seat in his car every time he parked in the bank lot or else I would be kidnapped. He started telling me this when I was 4. When I got older, he would tell me to always keep my ID on me at all times because “if you end up dead somewhere, I want them to be able to identify the body”. My dad is like Liam Neeson without the fighting skills.