How to Con Your Kid

Posted by Brett Cohen

I will start by saying that I love my kids. But, ahhh…the joys of parenthood. Their first smile. Their first word. Their first step. Their first tantrum. Their first defiant 'no'.

No matter how great of a parent we think we are, we will all eventually find ourselves in the cage match battle of wills. You know? The one that goes like this…

Me: "Please go upstairs and put your pajamas on."
Kid: (Ignores. Continues to play with toy.)
Me: "Did you hear me? Please go upstairs and put your pajamas on."
Kid: "Huh? Ok." (Continues to play with toy.)
Me: "Do you want me to take that toy away? Go put your pajamas on now."
Kid: "Oh. Sorry. OK." (heads upstairs)

(5 minutes later I head upstairs to find Kid playing with a new toy–still not in pajamas)

Me: "What did I ask you to do?"
Kid: "Um. I forget."
Me: "Please put that toy down and get your pajamas on now."
Kid: "But, why?"
Me: "Because it's bed time."
Kid: "I'm too tired to get ready for bed."
Me: "You didn't seem too tired to play with your toys. PUT YOUR PAJAMAS ON NOW!"
Kid: "I don't want to."
Me: "I'm gonna count to 20. Let's see if you can get your pajamas on, brush your teeth and get in bed before I am done."
Kid: (Rushes to get ready for bed)

Some days, this escalating banter pushes me to the edges of my own sanity. I feel like I'm alone inside the cage, up against an immovable force, armed only with my own accountability. In that moment, they only want what they want, when they want it (usually right that second). My wisdom is lost on them. No amount of reason or ration works.

Parents, you can all relate, right? I know that mine is just a small battle in a larger war of wills between parents and children. Well, if so, we are no longer unarmed!

Quirk Books just released the How to Con Your Kid app full of simple scams for mealtime, bedtime, bath time–anytime really! And, it's chock full of clever solutions (and downright dirty tricks) for getting kids to do what we want them to do without even realizing it. There are short cons, long cons, songs and even games (like the one I finally used above). It's easy to navigate and you can even store your favorites for quick access.

And, because there's power in numbers, the app includes a CONtribute section where we can all share our own techniques with each other. Check out some of the images from inside, below! And learn more about the app here

Small victories, right? Small victories. I will conclude in the same way I started–by saying that I love my kids.

Brett Cohen

Brett Cohen

Brett likes his vodka on the rocks, his meat on the grill, and his Sundays on the couch watching football.  As VP, he likes Quirk’s projects to deliver on time, the P&Ls to be on budget, and sales to exceed expectations. He's the author of Stuff Every Man Should KnowStuff Every Dad Should Know and the co-author of Recipes Every Man Should Know.