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Parents Share The Best Examples Of Reverse Psychology That Worked On Their Kids

When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

I'm not exactly prone to winning things - but I do have one glorious moment of winnerhood that really is all I need in life. As a child, my church would throw Halloween parties every year. One year, I was handed a raffle ticket along with my trick-or-treat candy. At the end of the night, ticket numbers were called - mine was the last one called. I still didn't know what the prize was. Once I made it up to the stage to collect it, I was presented with a box of puppies and prompty LOST MY TEN YEAR OLD MIND. I thought I was just going to cuddle them, but nope! I got to pick out my brother and I's best friend for the next decade. We named out litlte box puppy Bear not knowing he would grow up to be a massive doberman who weighed triple digits.

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Listen to me, if you never take another piece of advice in your life, take this one: take any advice anyone gives you with a grain of salt. Yes, I'm fully aware of the irony happening in this article right now.

I've been on the receiving end of TERRIBLE advice. Example: I was explaining to an acquaintance how frustrating it can sometimes feel to be so short - not just because I can't reach things or because of my spinal pain, but because people often treat me like a child. They unintentionally treat me like I'm dumb, naive or otherwise incapable. That's when this person hatched their master criminal plot for my life.

I should just go ahead and park in handicapped spots and ignore any tickets I got for it. According to them, since I have occasional spinal problems I should probably have a tag anyway. I could just ignore tickets until I had to go to court, then show up in court and play naive and nobody would ever really punish me for it. Dude. No.

One Reddit user asked:

What's the worst piece of advice you've received?


Believe it or not, it gets worse. Here are some responses:

No Mom, No. 

Giphy

My mom told me that if I like a girl I should just follow her everywhere she went and give her gifts, like a vial of my blood (actually said that).

No mom. No.

- huazzy

Sleep.

"Never go to bed angry."

This was written in lots of wedding cards! We totally ignored this advice. Because if you're tired and getting more cranky you're more likely say something you will regret. We just sleep on it and in the morning, if its still worth discussing, you can go in with a clear head - or sometimes its not worth bringing up and you can both move on with your day.

- _northernlights

Never Trust The Roommate

Dating a girl in Uni, her roommate told me she "loves an*l, but is shy about saying it."

I learned:

A) Always discuss an*l in advance

B) Never trust the roommate

- billbapapa

No Effort Needed

To not put any effort into finding a partner. Just sit back and it will happen.

That might have worked once when people were more social and went to church regularly and things like that. Also it was common in the past for older people to make an effort to introduce single people to each other. Society just isn't like that anymore.

When I was single, my way of life put me into contact with very few people who were actually single and eligible and interested in me in return. If I hadn't put the effort in to meet someone I would have remained single.

- Waitingforadragon

Your Parents Don't Know Everything

My parents encouraged me to go to a University that costs $63,000 with no financial aid when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. "You'll figure it out" they said. They also had me deny the federal student loans I was granted through FAFSA as it wasn't worth it.

I transferred, graduate in May, and that 1 year in school is 45% of my 4 year aggregate debt. Declared a Finance major so I can make informed decisions and not rely on their shitty advice. I'm trying to get into one of the best Macc programs in the country and that debt level is seriously inhibiting my ability to go if I get in.

Your parents don't know everything.

- kingbrownied1

Change Him

"Marrying him will make him change."

Followed by...

"Having a kid with him will make him change."

Followed by.....

"Having a second kid with him will make him change."

Followed by....

divorce papers and child support.

- ghost0427

Because Other Men...

Giphy

I was once taking my buddy's girlfriend for a walk because he asked me to keep her busy while he was at work. While we were walking, I stumbled upon an old high school classmate of mine who gave me that look of "damn, what you got there?"

I didn't pay any attention to it and just kept walking. After a while he sends me a message on my phone, asking me if that's my girlfriend. I told him she wasn't, I told him she was only my buddy's girlfriend who I was keeping busy. He told me to "steal" the girl and I obviously told him that's ridiculous and that I would never do something that disgusting.

His advice to me was: "Just do it because other men will always do it to you." The most ridiculous piece of advice I have ever had the displeasure of hearing.

- SirOberon

Just Do It Fast

I was learning to drive and kept nosing out to turn but couldn't see if a car was coming (I am turning they would be going straight). My friend that was teaching me simply said, 'Just do it fast'.

- Bodymindisoneword

Not Allowed

Both the worst and best advice... I'd just finished my first day of work for a company who'd hired me to work as a DB admin. Instead of doing anything related to the job title, they had me doing data entry all day in excel. I was alright with it, believing that it was just a temporary introduction type thing. Certainly wasn't what I wanted to do.

Brother asked, "So how was your first day?", "Eh, kind of lame. Data entry in excel is boring and I don't get anything out of it."

To which he responded, "Word of advice, you're not allowed to not like any part of your job. You can like some things more, but never dislike something."

I quit the next morning after having a complete nervous breakdown resulting from thoughts like:

"Is this what working is? What's the point of even existing if I'm not allowed to dislike (and subsequently try to avoid) jobs? Why would I ever want to go through life doing what I hate and trying to smile about it like it's alright?"

I certainly reacted more poorly to that experience than I had to any before in my life, but it made me realize that I would rather be homeless or dead than live working a job I hate for someone I've never even met in a company that doesn't care about me.

I work for myself now, and sure there are still things I have to do for my own business that I may not like... and I may not be all that successful, but everything I do now is for me. I love what I do and wouldn't trade it for any amount of financial security.

- cascade_olympus

Break Up Because You're Happy

Some of my high school friends told me to break up with my boyfriend because we didn't fight. Apparently that meant there was no passion in our relationship. We didn't fight because we discussed problems in a rational manner, rather than screaming at each other in public displays (which were common among this group of friends).

Fifteen years later, I'm happily married to said boyfriend, and haven't talked to those 'passionate' friends since high school ended.

-othybear

So what's the worst piece of advice you've ever gotten? Tell us your stories.

H/T: Reddit

I object! Where is the open bar?!

There are a few requirements that are a must at every wedding, or at least they should be a must! It's a no brainer... a couple in love, music and a cake. Seems simple enough! It's suppose to be a celebration, not a prelude to a funeral. If your guests are having to put the wedding together for you during the ceremony, or fainting from starvation, or bored out of their skulls because you've allowed family and friends to relish in their fifteen minutes of fame threw self-indulgent speeches... YOU HAVE FAILED!

Redditor u/RedxSmoke was wondering what almost brought them to an "I Object" reaction by asking... What is the worst wedding you've ever been to? What made it bad? Now toss the bouquet!

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We should know our worth when we are working. This goes for anyplace: school, our jobs, our home life. And we know when we can stare somebody in the face when they're challenging our worth.

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They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and I guess that's true for major stuff. Like if someone assasinates your lord, leaving you and 46 of your homies as ronin samurai and then dude takes your girl, too then OBVIOUSLY you devote yourself entirely to plotting and exacting your revenge. Don't even get me started on the merciless vengeance that you can expect if you mess with John Wick's dog. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it's not to anger Keanu Reeves. He's just out here trying to live his life in peace, so he may seem like an easy target, but he WILL end you without even breaking a sweat. There's no sweat in revenge this cold.

But what about the minor annoyances life has to offer? Do they really deserve cold revenge? What about petty lukewarm revenge? Can it be just as delicious? Short answer: YUP. One Twitter user asked:

What is your most memorable story of petty revenge?

Honestly, these don't need a major introduction. It's a parade of pettiness that made several people cackle wickedly. James, whoever you are and wherever your doughnut fingers may be right now, we hope you're happy with yourself, sir. Yours was perhaps the deepest betrayal.

Concrete Pumpkin

I have a friend whose pumpkin\fall display at the end of his driveway would be run over by the neighborhood jerk. It happened every year. Friend decided to put a stop to it.

He withdrew money from his savings account so he would have enough to buy the largest pumpkin he could find, along with several large bags of Quikcrete. filled that puppy up and made a real pretty display.

The jackass broke the axle of his sh*tty car when he hit that pumpkin and could not drive away. My friend had his car towed away, too.

- cuddlenazifckmonstr

Lunchwars

My coworker throws out her lunch in the garbage can at my desk instead of her own, because she claims she can't stand the smell of old ketchup that's been sitting out for a couple hours. I've asked her several times to stop, but she will then just wait until I get up to go to the bathroom and do it, and hide my garbage can under my desk so she thinks I won't see it. There's no reason for it. The cafeteria offers lids for the ketchup cups, so she could just put the lid on it and throw it away - but she refuses to get lids and insists on leaving her food garbage to stink up my area.

Now, when she does it, I wait until she goes to the bathroom, take out the little plastic container that she had ketchup in, and put it way in the back of her bottom desk drawer. There's 6 in there now, the oldest is over a month old. So far, she hasn't noticed the smell. Gonna keep doing it and see how long it takes her to notice.

- Brunurb1

Ring The Alarm

Giphy

In response to an (admittedly pretty good) practical joke, I hid seven battery powered alarm clocks in the perpetrators room. Set them to go off one by one roughly every 40 minutes between 2 and 6 AM. Last one was hid in the ceiling.

- pancakesareyummy

Pay The IT Guy

Someone owed me $50 and refused to pay, so being in IT I reduced their Mailbox size so they could only hold around 10 e-mails, removed them from distro groups so they missed important group e-mails, and every day for like 3 months I went to their account and checked the little box "Must change password at next login"(We used an elaborate pw scheme).

- roguemerc96

The Austin Powers 20-Point Turn

There's a new truck in my apartment's parking lot. Whoever owns it always parks it taking up multiple spots, ALWAYS. Weird angles, close to the stairs, all over the place (no assigned parking unfortunately). Months of this.

I drive a much smaller car than that, and I'm petty/passive aggressive, I've been waiting for my chance. A few days ago was my shot.

I got home quite late and there were zero spots open in my lot. Big truck is parked across 2 spaces again, but there's juuust enough room on their driver side for me to sneak in there with my little clown car. I carefully pull in, making sure not to touch anything, no damage, no nothing. My passenger side mirror is half and inch from their driver side door. I giggled to myself all the way back to my apartment and set an alarm and waited. The following morning I wake up before the alarm to loud door slamming and stomping around. I check out my window and I see the double parking culprit walking around both vehicles, taking pictures, texting someone, taking more pictures, I'm shaking with glee. They then swallow their pride, let out a visual sigh, and climb in the passenger side, clamber over the center console, and Austin Powers 20 point turn their butts out of the spot.

I've never been so proud of myself and my sh!tty, petty, passive aggressive ways.

- Here2Lol

No Labels

My brother did something to his annoy his then-girlfriend. So she took the labels off all his canned food/tins in the cupboards. Are you opening a tin of beans? Or a tin of tomato sauce? Or cat food?

Kinda hilarious.

- WhoriaEstafan

Don't Mess With My Dogs

I found out my then boyfriend was cheating on me. And he threw my dog across the room when we were discussing what he had done. I moved out immediately. More for hurting my dog than anything. So as I was moving out I took his entire porn collection and microwaved them one by one. It only takes 3 second each. Took me about an hour to go thru them all. I put them back in the case, then back where they belonged. Not sure if the microwave was still usable, did not really care. He was also a manager at a restaurant and would bring home tons of food. They had really nice coolers that the food came in so I called the GM and explained I had moved out and that I wanted to return the boxes. He lost his job. Then I was getting collection calls for him, so I gave them the new girls work and personal number so they could find him. He's her problem now.

Don't mess with my dogs.

- Phoneprincess

James Has Doughnut Fingers

Giphy

Back in the late 90s I worked at Best Buy and one Saturday a month we had to come in 3 hours before the store opened (so 7am) for a mandatory all store meeting where we watch the video from corporate, give out employee of the month awards, go over department goals, and the like.

Well, there was a guy in our department James who was a pretty crappy worker and showed up to the meeting an hour late and the manager took him aside and fired him. Apparently the manager didn't watch him on his way out of the store and he went into the break room and stuck his finger in every single doughnut they brought in for our break. So literally the only mild positive of getting up at 6 on Saturday was ruined.

20 years later and I still miss that doughnut.

- profJesusfish

Brake Check

My friend in high school was such a drama queen but it worked out hilariously sometimes. He was cut off by a driver who had no brake lights and it pissed him off so badly that he followed until a cop was behind, merged around the guy and then brake checked him so the cop would see that he had no brake lights. The holler he let out when the cop pulled the other guy over is still one of the funniest moments of my life.

- ohheyitsshanaj

"Broken" 

When my wife and brother in law were younger, she got the best petty revenge on him for something they don't even remember. My brother in law did something to irritate my wife back when they were in high school.

My wife turned off the TV, wrote "broken" on a piece of paper taped to the TV, shut off the power strip, and flipped the batteries around in the remote. Took my brother in law several days to figure it out.

- SteevyT

H/T: Reddit