This column is not for adults. If you’re an adult, stop reading immediately, unless you’re reading aloud to children who can’t read, either because they’re too young or because they played football in the SEC.
Kids, you probably already know these things, but a few might not, so I’m going to clue you in. Certain strategies are virtually guaranteed to make your parents do whatever you want, whether it’s buying you something, taking you somewhere or just leaving you alone.
Note that these strategies would not have worked for me when I was your age. I would have been knocked into the next week. That you have no idea what I’m talking about simply means they will work like a charm for you.
Throw a fit. Parents these days get embarrassed when their kids make a scene. They don’t really do anything about it, they just get embarrassed.
OK, it’s not like they don’t do anything. First they try wheedling and cajoling, in that nicey-nice voice parents use when they want to signal to other adults that they’re really good parents, despite evidence to the contrary. Then they might pretend to be mad, perhaps even issue threats. Just keep making a ruckus. Ultimately they’d rather give in than be embarrassed.
Make it public. The more public your tantrum, the better. Some really good places to throw a fit include the grocery store, the mall and McDonald’s Playland.
Of course all those locations have the added benefit of offering something you really want, such as candy, new clothes, or to stay longer, which makes them especially ideal places to throw fits.
Use mom and dad’s own words. One of the most effective things you can do in an argument with your parents is to turn against them the very words they’ve used as they’ve tried, and failed, to keep you in line.
I watched at McDonald’s the other day as a little boy, maybe four, was dragged out of the Playland by his dad. The little tyke broke free of his father’s grip, ran back into the playground, and yelled at his dad, “Come here, now!” When dad didn’t move, he added, hands on hips, “I mean it, mister!”
Remember, kids: parents think that sort of thing is cute.
Heap on the guilt. There may be no better way to get what you want than to exacerbate the immense guilt parents already feel over their multiple failures. Phrases like “you’re mean,” “I’m the only one who never…” and “but you promised” tend to work quite nicely.
Just say no. If all else fails, simply refuse to obey. Your parents may warn and threaten, but rest assured that they will probably not follow through. Parents these days rarely follow through.
So there you have it — a quick primer for getting your way. And why shouldn’t you? You’re the future of this nation.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of “Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility,” available at Books for Less in Buford and on Amazon. Email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit familymanthebook.com.