Use Your Kids To Get Your Way

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Being strategic about what you say to your partner in front of your kids is pretty crucial. And most of that strategy involves what you don’t say. Around the time we realise that our kids are actually starting to understand our words, we’ve got to (mostly) rein in the cursing, we have to really consider how our word choices will make them feel, and we very quickly learn not to ponder out loud anything they might like to do that we’re not fully committed to yet.

Like, “Hmmmm, maybe today would be a good day to go to the zoo? Nah, you know what, it’ll probably be too crowded.” They weren’t even thinking about the zoo until you came along, and now you’ve ruined their day.

But if you’ve never thought to use what you say in front of them for your own personal gain, then you’ve got some work to do. Because if your interests align with their interests, your partner doesn’t stand a chance.

Broad requests

If you want to get out of the house for a few hours, you might say, “We should all go do something fun together.” If your partner isn’t game, they are The Boring One and you are The Favourite Parent. This one can be tricky, though, because your idea of fun and their idea of fun won’t always align. That’s why it’s probably best to try:

Specific requests

Craving ice cream but feeling lazy? I bet your kids are, too! “Wouldn’t it be so nice if Daddy/Mummy went and got us some ice cream?” Look, they can also get ice cream for themselves while they’re there, so it’s not the worst thing you’ll ever do to them. But you can keep it more friendly, too—a well-placed, “I have a taste for pizza tonight...” in front of the kids pretty much ensures that you will not have to cook tonight.

Of course, this trick is most evilly saved and used for the...

Big requests

If you do this one, you have fully committed to the hack and may actually be bordering on evil, but hey, that’s why we’re all here this week. Proceed at your own relational risk with something like:

“We should go to Disneyland next holiday!”


It's Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we're looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting shit done. We like to think we're shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That's up to you.


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