The other day, I witnessed a man intentionally turn his children against their mother, putting himself in their favor. The scene went something like this:

The father spots the toy slingshots.

“Hey!” he says, “honey, every kid needs a slingshot.” The mother looks over and shakes her head.

“No, they don’t,” she says.

“Oh, come on,” the father persists in a childish whine, “kids, don’t you guys want a slingshot?”

“Yeah!” the children shout excitedly. The father picks up a slingshot and shows it off to his kids, strengthening their desire for the toy. The mother must put her foot down.

“No,” she says in a tone of finality, “we’re not getting any slingshots.” The children wilt, disappointed. The father replaces the slingshot, and then puts on a show of empathy for the children’s loss at the hands of their mother.

“Sorry kids,” he says with a shrug. “I tried.”


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