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These Parents Are Diabolically Good at Using Reverse Psychology to Trick Their Kids Into Behaving

‘My parents always told me that broccoli was the flower of the queen and that I really shouldn’t eat it, or else the queen would get very upset.’

Children have a habit of doing the exact opposite of whatever their parents ask, which makes them especially susceptible to reverse psychology. Does your kid love doing things that they know you hate? Tell them that you despise when the dishes are clean, and voilà: You’ve got yourself a little dishwasher. (Sidenote: The ethicacy of such parental tactics is debatable.)

Because of this convenient childhood quirk, many parents have become professionals in reverse psychology, as evidenced by the many responses in this Reddit thread that asks parents (and kids who were once victims of reverse psychology) how they trick their children into doing their bidding. Here are a few of our favorite entries from it (sic, obviously, throughout)…

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Getting Out of Bed

“When I was a kid, I refused to get up in the morning,” commenter mfiggfi writes. “My mom said we were going to trick my dad into thinking I was still asleep, so she made me put on clothes and then hide under the covers and pretend to be asleep. Then my dad would come in to wake me up, and I would ‘fool’ him because I was already dressed and ready. This worked on me for years, and I never questioned it. In hindsight, it’s pretty obvious that my parents just wanted me to get dressed without a fuss.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Eating Soup

“My mom would tell me that she only lets me eat soup after candy, and she’d only buy me candy that I didn’t like,” commenter turkeypr0 explains. “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.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Not Hating Shots

“I took my three-year-old son to one of those doctors visits where he was going to get a shot,” commenter blackbird77 writes. “He was worried about the shot on the whole drive overalmost 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 one shot, but five 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 five 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.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Not Saying Fuck

“Mom had sworn a bit around the house,” commenter GodOfTheThunder writes. “When I was four, while out at the supermarket, I said the F-word really loudly. Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said ‘Truck’ and said that it was a bad word and not to ever say ‘Truck’ like that again. I thought that was the bad word, so I used that when being naughty.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Moving Furniture for Them

“It seemed like the minute my son realized he was going through puberty, he developed a need to show everyone how strong he was, usually by carrying things,” sirdigbykittencaesar writes. “Now, my son was a rather small, wiry, hyperkinetic kidnot at all a football player or weightlifter type. Yet I noticed, starting when he was around 13, that if something heavy or heavy-ish needed moving, he was always right there with a need to show he could do it.

“I took full advantage. I don’t think I lifted anything heavier than my purse until he moved out. All I had to do was mention that I was going to put ‘X’ in ‘Y’ placeput the suitcases in the car for vacation, carry that gigantic load of laundry upstairs and so onand pretend like it was too heavy for me, and he would appear as if summoned from the universe to do it for me. The reverse psychology aspect was me saying, ‘Oh my! That looks heavy!’ and him proving to me that, ‘No it’s not!’”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Loving Broccoli

“My parents always told me that broccoli was the flower of the queen and that I really shouldn’t eat it, or else the queen would get very upset,” commenter Subwoofy explains. “I, of course, ate all the broccoli in a few seconds.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into Just Saying No to Drugs

“When I was in 5th grade, I won the DARE Medal and got to speak at DARE graduation,” commenter INeedAHoagie writes. “When I showed my mom the medal, she laughed and said, ‘Aw, that’s cute. We’ll see how you feel about drugs in high school.’ That pissed me off to no end, so I never did drugs just to prove my mom wrong.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kids into Cleaning Up After Themselves

“‘I bet you can’t.’ Both of them HATE the assertion that they’re not capable of doing something,” commenter bibbobbins explains. “‘Can you put your toys away?’ will almost certainly garner a hard NO. But ‘I bet you can’t put all those toys back in the box. There’s no way you’ll be able to’ will have them whizzing round tidying like demons followed by a very indignant, ‘See, I told you I could!’ Cue fake surprise from me. They’re only four and seven, so I know this has got limited time. But so far, it works like a charm every time.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kids into Loving Salad (And Books)

“One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved,” commenter cookiearthquake writes. “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, and 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.”

These Parents Tricked Their Kid into No Longer Playing in the Middle of Traffic

“My son was really impulsive when he was little and would try to run away from me when we would be crossing the street, instead of holding my hand,” commenter TimelyKaleidoscope writes. “So I started to tell him that he needed to hold my hand so nobody would try to steal me. It worked. He felt responsible for making sure nobody tried to kidnap me out in public.”