The other day my daughter was headed upstairs and she looked down at me as I worked on my computer. With doting eyes and a Kool-Aid smile she said:
"Daddy, you're my BFF!"
Initially, I thought, "I'm not her friend forever, I'm her father." But, I didn't watch for the hook. She came back, "…My Best Father Forever." I instinctively said, "Awwwwwwwwww…thanks, princess."
I sat smiling for a few moments, and then the hook connected. I asked her, "Hey, where did you get that from? Who really made that up, kid!?" She smiled. I didn't fail to appreciate the moment. I just realize that I have to keep my antennae up for "THINGS KIDS DO TO GET AN ADVANTAGE OVER PARENTS."
Afterwards, I was forced to remember that these kids are smarter than we are. They definitely wield a certain cute malice when it comes time to softening up the parents, especially those with unbreakable resolve like myself. But, if they put the right words together or give you a hug at the right time, you're giving them that fruit snack.
Here's the list: The Top 6 Slick Moves Kids Try
The first is cute talk. Now, my daughter has gotten really good that. At first, she was horrible at it, because she was transitioning from a baby to a young girl. But, as previously stated, she's gotten better…far more conniving - in a cute way. Normally, she is scheming on a snack right before dinner or some leniency on her nightly multiplication. I have to admit, there are times it works like a mind control technique. Other times, I snap out of it and catch her sweet talking as I'm trying to get her to open iPad math apps, not Temple Run: The Deluxe Edition.
You already know this one. Kids want to do what kids want to do. They don't want to eat green leaved veggies. They don't want to clean up. They don't want to do their homework. When they engage in these activities, they do so for fear of dire consequences. On the flip side, if they start doing everything perfectly, BEWARE. This generally means they are plotting a serious coupe. And if you have more than one child, I can only imagine that they are going to be double and triple teaming the weakest parent.
The truth is: KIDS LIE. I cannot even speak on this publicly in order to protect the guilty. But they lie and they lie better than most adults, believe it or not. See, they are not yet stricken with a consciousness that foreshadows punishment and consequences. Kids will also lie by omission. They will just NOT deliver the report card home. Or NOT tell about the parent teacher conference that will reveal that young Johnny is still languishing in single-digit multiplication. You have to stay on it and then drop the figurative hammer on them, allowing them to know they CANNOT get one past you. You are omniscient when it comes to parenting. I'm hoping this pays off as I enter the teen years with my young one.
Like her father, my daughter has a thing about snacking mostly. I think most kids have this issue. So, when Halloween rolls around, she gets about one day with her candy. After a week, its rationed out until it fades from her memory, which means I then have a years worth of sweets all to myself. I know its bad, but I eat that candy so she doesn't have to. But there are these fruit snacks and they are decadently more healthy and "natural." The only thing is: SHE WON'T STOP EATING THEM! It is hilarious to me, because I will find these wrappers under couch cushions, in her homework area and other random places. Oddly, they never magically appear in the trash, the last place I'd look. So, I have had to put them up very high so she can't get to them so easily. On a more serious note, we do speak lots on eating when you are hungry and not eating just to eat. That helps me too.
PLAYING DUMB: THE DAZED AND CONFUSED TACTIC
When cornered, all creatures have natural survival techniques they adopt to wriggle out of circumstances of detriment. For kids, its often playing dumb, but we prefer "dazed and confused" in the interest of being positive. My dear friends Ken and Jamie, who have been married longer than all my close friends, reminded me of the "dazed and confused" tactic their daughter ("my adopted niece") employs. Their daughter is so bright, so smart and shiny, but she's mastered this technique. This "dazed and confused" response normally comes when cornered about some chore that wasn't completed or a homework item that was forgotten (or left at school). When confronted, the child may mumble aimlessly or simply ask - for no apparent reason "who," "what," "where," "how." The funny thing is Ken humbly admitted that this hilarious act works on him! He said as the "dazed and confused" status progresses, she will say "Where am I? Daddy, is that you?" Even though she gets off the hook, he said he will tell her "I thought so!" just so she knows he's the BOSS!
THE STALL TACTIC
This is probably the most common of all the slick moves children have in their arsenal. When they are young, they try to delay going bed by having to use the bathroom or feeling sick right before bedtime. Before that they played all day with no issues, but that headache feeling arises at 8:25 pm on the dot. As they age, the stall tactic moves into all aspects of the kid's life. My god sons are a trip! They have always been full of shenanigans, but now they have mastered stalling when it comes to their Playstation 3 or iPad. They play onto their fathers fond memories of playing some ancient video game system like Nintendo or something. “Hold up Dad – I have to get to a point where I can save the game," the plead. "If I just shut it off now, I will lose all my progress and will have to start all over again." And before you know it, an hour has lapsed. My niece does the same thing, I've been informed. And she can eat a cookie for a full 30 minutes to stall a duty or delay her nightly bedtime routine.
Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur is a father, son and the co-founder of AllHipHop.com. He’s a cultural critic, pundit and trailblazer that has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), BET, TVOne, VH1, The E! Channel, MTV, The O’Reilly Factor, USA Today, The New York Times, New York’s Hot 97 FM and like a zillion other outlets.