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.”