So be good for goodness sake.
Ohhhh, you better watch out, you better not cry,
you better not pout I’m telling you why,
‘Cause Yule Yetta will come to your house.
One of the biggest strategeries parents have over their children to correct undesirable behaviors is the art of threats. Some threats are more affective than others of course. Parents often make the mistake of open-ended threats that simply are not affective and often just leave the child confused. If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about! If you don’t shape up, why, you’ll be sorry! These are examples of open-ended threats. They don’t really work. Sure, maybe the first couple times used by parents they may move to be affective, but as the child learns and becomes more bold in his more experienced age, he learns to ignore them, and continue with the undesirable behavior. These are threats of the lazy parent. The threats are easy to say, but the parent, like the child, have no idea of the planned actions that the parent will take that would lead to appropriate consequences. The parents are just winging it, trying to bluff their child into appropriate behavior. It’s just a matter of time when the child calls the bluff.
My parents used threats towards my brother and I to correct undesirable behaviors. They never used the open-ended approach. They had 3 threats in their arsenal, all quite powerful:
1) Sending me to Diaper School, (I didn’t actually know if any school existed, but I didn’t want to take the chance to find out).
2) Whipping out my broken Fat Albert paddleball game, which replaced the wooded spoon, when the threat of a swat was needed,(this was quite cruel. How sick is it that my parents would use one of my beloved cartoon characters to inflict pain and suffering on me?)
3) Calling Yule Yetta.
Number 3, was by far, the scariest, most powerful, straighten-up-right-quick threat ever used. Yule Yetta, as explained to me at a very young age, was the Christmas goat. Yule Yetta didn’t just work around Christmastime, but all year long. Apparently, Yule Yetta was a female goat who walked on her hind legs.
Now, we all know Santa Claus tours the world at Christmas with his great big sack upon his back, delivering presents and goodies to children. Well, Yule Yetta carries a great big sack as well….except she doesn’t bring presents to children. No, she goes to the homes of bad, naughty, misbehaved children, snatches them up, and stuffs them into her big, black sack, and takes them away. Where to I don’t know. I didn’t even ask. I didn’t want to know. All I knew is that I sure as shit didn’t want Yule Yetta coming to my house…for me. The phrase in my house, “I’m CALLING YULE YETTA!”, was a staple and worked every time to change behaviors and attitudes of my brother and I. It never failed to correct me. That phrase always corrected me. I tried to be a good boy because of it. I was scared to death of ever meeting Yule Yetta. I took those threats very seriously.
Sometimes though, a parent may make a threat for no other reason than for their own entertainment….
When I was a little boy, one time around Christmas, my parents thought it would be fun for me to talk to Santa Claus on the phone. Of course in those days, we didn’t have cell phones; we had LAN lines, (although I don’t think we called them that. They were just regular house phones and everyone had at least one). I was standing in the kitchen as my mom dialed Santa’s number on the rotary dial phone. I figured he must really live a long way away because she dialed about 20 digits. I found it somewhat odd that my dad abruptly left the kitchen where we were standing when she started dialing. I just assumed that talking to Santa at his age was no big deal anymore. Finally my mom stopped dialing. My heart started racing. I was getting nervous. What would I say? What questions will he ask me? Does he really know if I’ve been good or bad? The stress was unbearable….and then my mom started talking.
“Hi Santa! It’s Marcia! Bman’s Mom! Yes!…yea…he has!…yea…ok!…Hold on, he’s right here!”
I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. My palms were sweaty, which is strange cause I never sweated yet before at that age. I grabbed the phone and slowly put the handset to my ear…”Hello?”
“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas, Bman! This is Santa Claus! I hope you’ve been good, because I have lots and lots of toys for you! Have you been a good boy?”
Of course I was a good boy! I told him so! He asked me if I ate all my dinner, if I did my chores, and if I have been minding my parents. Yes! Yes! Yes! The conversation was going quite well, and my stress level had dropped to nothing…that is until I heard this: (
It was the most terrifying sound I ever heard. Gone was the cheerful, boisterous, jolly voice of Santa. My heart started racing again. My palms got sweaty. I knew something was wrong, and my instincts were correct when I made out a voice between the howling, screaming in my earpiece, “OH MY GOD!!! IT’S YULE YETTA!!!”
Yea. Diaper school has nothing on Yule Yetta.