Parents Share the Best Reverse Psychology Tricks They Use on Their Kids

©Unsplash,Colin Maynard

“Last time you ate it, you loved it and you kept asking for more!” That was the trick my parents used on me constantly when I was young. And it worked.

Hey, parents know what they’re doing (sometimes), and they know reverse psychology works on their little angels. These AskReddit users shared their best tricks.

1. Don’t let them steal me!

“My son was really impulsive when he was little and would try to run away from me when we would be crossing streets instead of holding my hand. 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.”

2. It’s a competition

“My dad used to play a game to see who could match and fold the most laundry he never once won.”

3. Go faster!

“My child was reluctant when it came to putting away toys. However he loves timed tasks and is very competitive. I’d instruct my child to Put away all the red toys as fast as possible. Then blue. Then green, etc.

Toys away.”

4. Brilliant

“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.”

5. Time to get dressed

“When I was a kid I refused to get up in the morning. 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.”

6. One big 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.”

7. You’re not doing it right

“Here’s how to handle the screaming and yelling tantrum:
Observe quietly for a moment.
Shake your head and say, “No, no, you’re not doing it right. You have to shake your body more, and really throw your legs and arms into it. Here, watch…”
Lay down on the ground and demonstrate your best full-on kicking and screaming tantrum.
Your mortified child will never, ever try that again.”

8. Silly Mom

“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?”


“Does it go on my head?”


“Oh, that’s right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?”


“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?”


[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.”

9. I’ll buy you dinner

“When my children were younger, I’d say “Hey if you do _______ (insert chore), then I’ll buy you dinner tonight”

They would get all excited and then go do the chore. Afterwards they’d say, “wait, you buy me dinner everynight” ? “

10. Tricked

“Not a parent but my mother tricked me into learning Spanish by telling me my brother was better at it than I was.”

11. You’re not a rebel

“Not parent. But once was a child (duh..)

Dad saw a pack of cigarettes lying around in my stuff. He was a smoker in his younger years and knew how stupid it was. But, he also was (and still is) a firm believer of “making your own mistakes”.

So instead of giving me shit for buying a pack of cigarettes and telling me how idiotic this habit is, he just gave me shit for having such a shitty lighter and gave me a better one, so that i wouldn’t “embarrass myself”. That was my parents approach to everything that was typical “teen rebel” stuff. Basically killing everything “rebel” about it. It did work almost every time.”

12. That’ll get ’em in there

“No, you cannot take this after school science extra curricular activity. They have robots, lasers, explosions, and other dangerous stuff like that”.

13. Begging

“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.”

14. Just say no

“When I was in 5th grade, I won the DARE Medal and got to speak at DARE graduation. 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.”

15. No salad for you

“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.”