Why does s.i.l. make such bizarre threats to her kids? ETA.
My s.i.l. has this habit of making really weird threats at her kids to get them to behave. Things there is NO way she's going to back up and she knows it, and eventually they're going to know it too. Her oldest, (4 yo) already has caught on to it. She'll say things to one nephew like, "If you don't put your shoes on right now I'm going to put you on the porch and the squirrels are going to bite off all your toes!" Or to the other nephew, "If you don't come here right now I'm going to turn on the Roomba and let it suck you up!" The one nephew is terribly afraid of the Roomba, btw.
She makes these kinds of odd off the wall threats all the time. Wtf is up with that?! I've always made a point not to bluff at my kids. I don't make a threat I'm not willing to back up, because you never know when they'll call you on it, then you have no credibility anymore. Plus, some of the things she says are just cruel, because it really scares them.
Since most people are saying about the same thing I'll reply to it here instead of replies. I get what you are saying about it being a light hearted jokey thing, but that's just it, she's not joking, she wants them to think she means it. She's trying to scare them into complying. Why not just make a threat she can actually follow through on? Why not say, "...I'm going to spank your butt!" or, "I'm going to put you in time out."?