Designate a single door in your house Forbidden. If they open it, lock them in the attic for seven years.
Turn some, but not all, of your children into swans. Make whichever one isn’t a swan go live in the forest, maybe cut out her tongue.
Build them a tree house, only instead of a tree it’s a hundred-foot high nest of thorns, and also they have to live in there, and also they’re never allowed out and no one else is allowed in.
Enchant their shoes so they can never dance, or they can never stop dancing, one of the two.
Take the time to build something with your children, like seven-league boots or a linen shirt that confers bravery to its wearer.
Turn them into deer and hunt them for sport.
Betroth one of them to a demon-bridgeroom, or a prince who’s been turned into a bear.
Turn everything into a game! Refuse to tell them your true name; if they manage to guess it, scream “The devil told you that! the devil told you that!” and in your anger stamp with your right foot so hard that it sinks into the ground above your knee, then seize your left foot with both hands in such a fury that you split in two, and that is the end of you.
Show your kids that work can be fun by apprenticing them to an ogress as a weaver for seven years. Surprise! Seven ogre years are like three hundred human years!
Instead of a regular, boring backyard birthday party, take your children into the forest one by one as they turn nine and abandon them there.
Can’t afford presents? Hide something they love on a glass mountain.
Disappear after taking the Eucharist, then reappear as a single singing bone on your child’s wedding night.
Stuck inside on a rainy day? Give your favorite child the entire house as his inheritance, then send the others out into the world to fend for themselves with a spindle, a potted pink, and an old traveling cloak. Send a witch after them.
Turn yourself into a woodpecker, and follow your daughter as she is forced to change places with her wicked serving-woman and cry out to her deceived bridegroom night after night:
Seven long years I served for thee,
The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
Thy bloody clothes I wrang for thee;
And wilt thou not waken and turn to me?
Breast milk is best, but try feeding your children absolutely nothing until they run away.
Kidnap the Moon.
Hide all your jewelry in an enchanted apple, then fling it into the sea. Turn yourself into a castle; never speak again.
Every night, try to kill them in a different way. This will develop their problem-solving skills!
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.