Six Clever Ways To Be Sure Your Kids Won’t Want to Tell You Anything, Ever
- Make past-based comparisons regarding how much harder your life was or how much easier theirs is. Be sure to mention how they don’t know what hard work or suffering (go crazy here and fill-in-that-blank like you mean it). Never forget to tell them how much meaner your mom or dad were than you are. It is really important to most people when dealing with their own life stuff that others within earshot one-up one or all aspects of that person’s current experience. This one is really useful which is why it’s #1. Here’s why: You can really stagger down memory lane for a while, reliving your own unhealed pain, making all of what your kid is trying to share WITH you about YOURSELF, which makes it truly impossible to hear what they are saying or feeling so they are far less likely to come back to tell you anything for a while. Studies show 2-3 weeks in most cases but since you can use this one for so many different reasons, they are stackable.
- Make everything into a lesson. Like everything they do or say or think or don’t do or don’t say or don’t think can and should be turned into a lesson or a teachable moment. Correct EVERYTHING they do that’s wrong and/or not scalable for their future roommates, lovers, spouses, bosses, and in-laws. If you’re not telling them the difference between right and wrong at least 12 times an hour, then you need to step it up. If you don’t see your kids during the day because of work/school, then remember, you can text, email, DM many lessons or even make and send videos of your wisdom for maximum impact. They need to know that they don’t measure up and that they are never doing anything right. They can even make facial expressions that are wrong and when you’ve practiced spotting this one for a few months, then you’ll even be able to detect MICRO facial expressions that will tell you everything you need to know about things they are failing on, and hence, everything you need to talk to them about correcting. The longer and more detailed you can get on these, the better. Don’t let them explain or speak. Always assume they are full of shit. Such a time-saver!
- Be dismissive of their experience and feelings by telling them how they should feel, that it’s not that bad, and that they should get over it. What you do is this, exactly: when you notice your kid is feeling any way at all, you tell them that there is another way, a different way that they should feel in this moment about this topic. This works for thoughts as well as for feelings. If they think one thing is true or important or is upsetting or cool, you can jump in immediately to let them know (and it’s ok to be very direct here and turn the volume way up) that there is another way, a different way that they should think about that topic. You don’t even have to say why. You just tell them it’s wrong, silly, stupid, immature, ridiculous and they will stop talking to you. Make sure you let them know that what they feel is bad is really NOT bad and what they feel hurt or angry or sad about is NOT important and that’s why they should get over it. If you have any quotable quotes on hand, from dead US Presidents or CEOs or anyone really, about attitude, NOW is the time to sprinkle those in. You’ll be amazed that the second they walk out of the room, they truly are OVER it. Just like magic!
- Make fun of them because they are so overly-dramatic, angry, over-reactive, sad, or disappointed. I mean it really is funny, isn’t it? It’s not like their 401K is tanking or something real like that. It’s hilarious. My best practice when these fun opportunities come up is to try to cover up my mouth, as if I’m trying to hide my laughter. I pretend I think it’s rude, but then I do this snorty thing where I just let loose and crack up. I’ve even cried before from laughing so hard at their ludicrous rants. I mean, come on! “So and so said such and such and then BLOCKED me and deleted me from the group chat!” Wah Wah! Internet friends aren’t even REAL people anyway. JFC. Am I right? In these trying times of darkness and doom, it’s important to keep looking for people to make fun of. Oh, I almost forgot, one of the top ways to make sure they don’t talk to you for up to three months (!!!) is to start mocking them or making fun of their style, their hair/makeup, the fact that they’re in puberty, the people they like, the artists they idolize...read closely....WHILE they are just around the corner...THEN they get to hear you making fun of them to someone else and it seriously just seals the deal 10/10 times. See number 5 for more details.
- Talk about them and their life without permission to others while in their presence as a way to make your point or prove them wrong or receive validation for yourself. This one works seamlessly everytime, but you have to get used to the timing. There’s a rhythm to it. So you’re on the phone or facetime, zoom, etc. and you hear your kid coming. You change the subject suddenly to how JOHNNY thinks (really emphasize their name here) that it’s a great idea to...now enter anything from numbers 1-5 that pops into your mind. Shit, make it up if you have to. No points for accuracy here. In time you’ll be able to just create a symphony of laughable moments, shameful, teachable tidbits while highlighting how much tougher and more resilient you are than your kid. A real bonus is if it’s your own parents, siblings, boss, family friend or neighbor who you get to say this to, in front of your kid, you will really come off as such a together and in control parent. It’s highly impressive and you’ll score big points all around.
- Be busy all the time with everything/everyone else and treat them like they are a bother or a burden when they have something going on. Keep your nose in your phone, your fingers on the keyboard, your thumb on the remote. Be very generous, sweet and forgiving of all the other people in your life. Make sure you know that your kid knows that you are very different to others than you are to them. This will just get under their skin and they will truly not be sure which version of you is real. You’ll drive them crazy and while they are trying to figure out which one of you is which, they might really slow down on the incessant jabber about their day, their life, their feelings, their worries. It’s awesome really, sort of a trickier one. So, just to break it down- be VERY busy and don’t make time for them. Like even if you’re browsing amazon or unsubscribing from junk emails or scrolling strangers’ socials, act like you’re paying bills or working. You have to stay consistent here. That can be hard, but don’t stop trying. Then when they ask you for something (which is funny because remember when you got mad at them for NOT asking last time??), you get very irritable and tell them not to ask such dumb questions or you can also TELL them they ALREADY know the answer to their question. So to recap, you have the benefit of confusion AND sarcasm here ON TOP OF changing up your stance on well, anything really. You’ll literally leave them speechless. The main benefit of this one is that they’ll know how kind and important you are, but not feel like they have the right to your precious time.
With all of the noise in today’s crazy environment, it’s important to minimize your input. We must protect our minds and hearts from the flood of crap that comes out of our children’s mouths. If your kids want to talk, it’s very important that you remember these six clever ways to make sure they either think twice before they do, or regret it immediately after. Imagine what you can do with all the peace and quiet! Imagine how quiet your grandkids will be someday as well! These skills, when practiced consistently and with fervor, can truly become the stuff of a rich family legacy of skillfully imposed silence.