How many times have you heard this refrain? This is likely number 1, or at least 1A on my list of irritating things a parent would say to their kids during a visit to our pediatrics office over the years. The kiddos are often scared enough as it is; they don’t need their parents, the ones they likely trust the most, to conjure up a vision of an evil doctor filling a 3 gallon syringe with a 2 foot stainless steel needle filled with who knows what. All the while ready to plunge it into any misbehaving miscreant of a child at the slightest provocation.
Why would a parent say this? For some reason I don’t think it started one day, many years ago, when some mom told her kid to behave and when the little tyke didn’t, the doctor piped up and said, “You know, I have just the thing to make that little turd shape up!” and proceeded to call in his large, beefy, nurse to whip out a needle and plunge it into the derrière of the reprobate child. Thereupon, the mother, seeing this wonderful discipline technique, proceeded to spread this new gospel far and wide, where it has stuck in the consciousness of America’s mothers ever since.
I suspect the more likely reason is because their parenting skills are so stunted or they are so lazy that they can only elicit good behavior by threatening their children with made-up images of bogeymen in every aspect of their children’s lives. I wonder what else they say to their offspring throughout the day-
“You’d better behave or that taxi is going to come over here and run you over!”
“You’d better behave or that cook is going to come over here and scald you!”
“You’d better behave or that lifeguard will drown you!”
What I often found myself wanting to say was, "No, Johnny, I'm not going to give you a shot, but I might have to give one to your idiot parent."
At any rate, this is not the best way for parents to encourage the establishment of a nurturing, safe, and effective medical home. It is more likely the way to encourage the same behavior in the next generation.