Him/her: I don't want to!
(1)You: But you have to...
Him/her: But I don't want to!
You: But I said you have to!
Him/her: Why me? You always tell me to do it! Why
do I always have to do it?
You: It's your job. Why do I always have to make
your breakfast, lunch, supper, wash your clothes...
(continue the list until s/he understands that it is
not a productive argument).
Him/her: Why can't Yanky / Sorele / Moishy etc.
do it? They can also do it!
You: Moishy is not back from yeshiva; Yanky did
it yesterday and Sorele did it two days ago and now
it's your turn. You have to do it!
Him/her: But before that I always did it.
(Pause for a moment of thought.) Why can't Chezky
do it? He has never done it!
You: Chezky is only two years old and he is too
young. He cannot do it yet.
Him/her: When I was two years old you always made
me do it!
You: You only started doing it last year!
Him/her: So let Yanky do it today and I'll do it
You: Yanky cannot do it today.
S/he now goes through all eligible members of the
immediate family, relatives and neighbors and you
explain why each of them is not a valid choice for the
Him/her: Why can't you do it?
S/he has now crossed the red line. If you would have
been so chutzpadik when you were a child, you would
have gotten a good potch on the duly designated part of
the body, even in front of impartial witnesses.
Nowadays, life is not so simple.
You: That is chutzpa (as if s/he did not
know). If you talk like that to me again, I will...
(Here insert some blood-chilling threat like "I'll
tell Abba/Ima" or "I will confiscate all your Rabbonim
cards" or "You will not be allowed to go on the
outing." Preferably, it should be something you can
Him/her: You are always threatening me! You
always pick on me! Always! Always! Always!
S/he starts to cry hysterically, acting the
oppressed victim -- a classic technique.
You: I'm not threatening you (tactical
withdrawal). I'm just telling you what I will have
to do if you refuse to listen to me.
Him/her: But I can't. My head / tummy / arms /
legs / whatever hurts. I can't! I can't! (S/he now
starts writhing and groaning in pain.)
You: Oy vey! What's happened? You were okay when
you were playing with your friends five minutes ago!
Him/her: (between teeth gritted in pain)
No! No! It's really been hurting me the whole time and
now it's getting much worse! (The writhing and
You: So let's go to the doctor! Should I call an
ambulance? If it's hurting you so much, you definitely
won't be able to... (insert here some sort of
unpleasant consequence like "play with your friends for
the rest of the day" or "go to the simcha
The pain now begins to recede and s/he gradually
Him/her: Okay! I will do it, but not now. I'll do
Him/her: Later. (Too vaguely defined --
clearly an open-ended delaying tactic.)
You: When later?
Him/her: Ummm... Ummm... After I've finished this
apple / read this chapter / do a homework assignment /
You know s/he can suck on an apple core for hours,
take all day to finish the chapter, do homework for
hours etc. -- another open-ended delaying tactic.
You: No! You have to tell me exactly when.
Him/her: Okay! I'll do it in ten minutes time.
You: You promise?
Him/her: Sure I promise! You know me! If I say
I'll do something, I'll do it!
You: (smothering the feeling of
Ten minutes later...
You: Nu? Ten minutes are up. You have to do it
Him/her: I don't want to.
You: But you promised!
Him/her: I didn't promise. I only said that I
would do it and the teacher said in class that only
saying does not make a contract.
You: You did promise and even if just saying is
not a contract, you still have to keep your word. And
anyway, I'm telling you to do it NOW!
Him/her: I don't want to do it.
Return to (1) at the top of the column and continue
Prayer for parents, to be inserted in "Shema
Koleinu" or to be said when required -- "Please
grant me an endless supply of patience!"
[Or the courage to administer the proper potch or
ultimatum at any designated point in the dialogue.]