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How To Convince Your Kids You’re A Genius

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When I was 5 years old, my father had me convinced he could read my mind. Each morning, I would sit in the bathroom while he shaved and hold up a card (facing me, back of the card to him) and he would guess the card right EVERY TIME! When I thought back to this parenting trick when I was older, I realized he could see the card reflected in the mirror behind me.

Sure, I eventually figured out his trick, but for YEARS I never told a lie to my father because I thought he would be able to read my mind and know I was lying. A little bit of parental deception can yield a bounty of leverage and influence over one’s children. And hopefully, by the time they find you out, the habit of doing what you wanted them to do is so ingrained in them that it will be their fallback behavior even when you don’t wield as much influence over their actions.

I unwittingly stumbled upon the tricks required to trick your children into believing you’re smarter than you actually are. Hindsight being 20-20 though, I realized I could use my own experience to create a road map for other parents to follow. It’s too late for me, but you still have time to convince your kids you’re a genius.

Albert Einstein standing in front of a chalkboard with a math formula on it

Convince Your Kids You’re An Idiot

I realize this seems counterintuitive, but think about how much more impressed you are by someone who pulls themselves up out of poverty to become a self-made millionaire compared to someone who attends boarding schools and attends an ivy league college. So, when your moment of brilliance occurs, you want it to really catch your kids by surprise to make a bigger impact.

If you only have one child, you might actually have to try to look like an idiot. Mothers of two or more children should have no trouble at all. All those times that you call your children by the wrong name (and occasionally by the dog’s name) are finally going to work for you. Likewise, walking up and down the stairs from your bedroom to the kitchen to try and remember what it was that occurred to you when you were making your bed that you needed to do downstairs, will finally provide a benefit in addition to the inadvertent exercise you’ve been getting. I really started to pick up traction when I would literally lose my train of thought halfway through sentences.

Don’t Confront Them When You Catch Them Doing Something Wrong

This is a hard one. When you have evidence that your child has done something he or she shouldn’t have done, your instinct is to confront him or her with the evidence and give your lecture on why it was wrong and how you have higher expectations for behavior. Here’s what’s wrong with that approach—Instead of teaching your kids not to commit the offense again, it just teaches them that they need to be better about covering their tracks next time.

If you sit on the information though, you can pull it out when they aren’t expecting it. When you casually bring up something you knew about from weeks or months ago that they thought they got away with, they become convinced that you know a lot more about what they’ve been up to. This belief makes them think twice about everything they do, which is really what you want because until their consciences are fully formed, the little voice in their head telling them what is right and what is wrong sounds an awful lot like you.

Learn Random Facts On A Variety of Topics

I like to read a wide variety of genres. Every once in a while, small details seep into my brain from the things I read. Usually, these are inconsequential facts and don’t benefit my daily life in any meaningful way other than occasionally providing me with the answer to a crossword puzzle clue. However, on very rare occasions, I am able to throw one of these random facts into a conversation with my children and after years of convincing them I’m an idiot, the effect is mesmerizing.

Nothing stops a kid in his tracks faster than the mom who almost put a pile of the laundry in the refrigerator rattling off a bunch of facts about the Battle of the Roses with detailed opinions about the battle between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne (they don’t need to know this information was amassed watching “The White Queen”). Likewise, my husband likes to check out the school curriculum for the year and will study one or two units from each subject so that when the kids get to it in school, he can rattle off facts like he’s known them all his life.

If this seems like too much work for you, you can rely on knowledge obtained when you were a teen because it will seem new and revolutionary to your teen daughter when you share it with her now. My daughter was captivated by my hairdressing prowess when she walked in on me blow drying my hair while it was in a bun to achieve natural-looking waves in my ponytail.

Hopefully these tips will help you convince your kids you’re a genius and you can leverage the benefits for years to come, ideally with the outcome that they will end up doing the right thing even when they realize you can’t read their minds and they will value your opinion after they find out you don’t really know everything.

19 thoughts on “How To Convince Your Kids You’re A Genius”

  1. Pingback: How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Party #3 - How Do You Do It?
  2. This is hilarious! I love it and will have to remember these tips over the coming years. Thankfully, my husband loves random trivia, too.

    Thanks for linking up to How do you do it?’s parenting link up!

  3. This is hilarious! I’ve got 1 and 3 down but need to work on #2 more. I have done it on occasion and they’re always like deer in the headlights. 🙂

  4. This is a great post.. I try to trick the kids into being smarter than them… sometimes it backfires, my 9 year old would be like, “OOOOOOO YOU JUST GOT OWNED BY A 9 YEAR OLD!!!!?!?!??!” haha

  5. You really are a smart mama. I’m not sure which point is best, but I do think your Dad is a sweet man and that my kids will soon be in awe of their mom and all her random acts of brilliance! 🙂

  6. Your approach about not confronting them when they do something wrong is so interesting. I never actually thought of it that way, which is why I think it’s great. I used to think just like how we trained our dog, you see. You confront them as soon as they do it so they know that it’s wrong. So I’m gonna try yours from now on. I love all these great points!

  7. Great post! I love your dad’s trick! Too cute. I will have to try that one. I know a few card tricks I can use on my son. They are way impressive. LOL I seriously doubt I’ll be able to pull the wool over his eyes for very long though.
    I came via SITS and look forward to reading more of your blog!

  8. That is a great trick that dad played one! My own father tried to do many different magic tricks on me! Great memories! I love this post!

  9. It’s no work to learn random facts around here. I picked up my Dad’s tendency to effortlessly remember random facts and so did both my sons. He and my Mom would watch Jeopardy every night and get nearly every question right! They were smart people. Plus we tend to like some offbeat things. People were always amazed when in 3rd grade, my son could name all the Marx Brothers, recognize a Beach Boys song on the radio, and give a plot synopsis of Gone with the Wind (we listened to it in the car). Now he is 15 and reading Dante’s Inferno. Yep, he’s a nerd, but for a nerd, he gets a surprising amount of interest from girls – go figure. I guess he’s a cute nerd! #SITSsharefest

  10. I have teens, so they already think that I know nothing! 😉 Although last week when I rattled off a my take on a situation that later came true at school, I received a text saying, “Mom you are a psychic. I should listen to you more often.” Vindication comes in small doses, but that’s ok, I’ll take it!

    • LOL. I had a similar experience with my 16-year old son. I was both thrilled that I finally got some credit and insulted that he seemed so shocked that I would know something!

  11. Love this post! Visiting from #SITSSharefest 🙂 My dad was a GENIUS at the random facts, and I can attest – it totally worked for all of us kids!

  12. These are great! And I can see how they would work. Not confronting my boys when they do something wrong will be hard, but I like the reasoning behind it!

  13. Oh how I lived this post! From an empty nester who has “done it all”. I applaud you!

  14. This post better get popular because this can literally open up a lot of parents’ eyes!

  15. My kids think I know too much about nothing lol! They’re not usually impressed! 🙂

  16. My kids already think I am a genius 🙂 But I will have to keep this in mind for when they get older. Thanks for sharing!

  17. What great tips. I have one child and she used to think I walked on water until she became a young adult! Love the mirror trick! This is really a great article and one that makes me think and wonder if I did the right thing when my daughter was young.

  18. Not genius but they are hard working. I know their faults and weaknesses. I love that they are learning to self edit and correct (and learn) from their choices.


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