How to Tease Your Kids

Posted on March 8, 2011


My wife said I can’t tease the kids anymore.

I use the word anymore as though it used to be okay to tease and now it isn’t, but in reality she’s always said not to, only now I think she really means it.

It seems the kids were having trouble in school for a long list of problems she tried to pin on me.  For example, I encouraged one son to cite a fake encyclopedia (John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise) in a book report on America’s secret 51st state (I was trying to teach him a lesson about sources).  Also, other kids were teasing them because of the way they went to the bathroom (I’d told them as toddlers to raise their hands straight up in the air every time they went pee in order to open the body’s pee hatch).  How was I supposed to know they were still peeing like that all these years later?  I haven’t seen them pee in years.

She also blames their poor sleep habits on my bedtime story trilogy:

  1. Air Sharks–about sharks that can fly through windows.
  2. A Hug from Johnny Blanketo–about an escaped convict who looks like a blanket.
  3. The Pillow That Ate Heads–about, well, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say a pillow that eats heads is featured prominently.

I can only answer her thus, “If I’d known I couldn’t tease the kids, I wouldn’t have had any!”

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” said Plato, a saying he invented out of the necessity to win a best new sayings contest, and the need to tease more covertly has forced me to adapt my teasing tactics.  I prefer satirical teasing, citing a seemingly outlandish fact with a straight face and a sprinkling of idiosyncrasies that convince the listener it just might be true, but my wife and kids are trained to see these coming a mile away.  Now I’m experimenting with the bait-and-switch:


Dad: Hey Fonz, you got a phone call while you were outside playing.

Fonz: Who was it?

Dad: You know Chloe, that cute girl from class you’re always talking about?

Fonz: (Excited) Yeah!

Dad: Your friend Jeffrey called to see if you had her number.


Fonz: Dad, I’m bored.  I wish I had something to do.

Dad: Well, hmm…something to do…do you like playing video games?

Fonz: (Excited) Yeah!

Dad: Why don’t you write an essay listing all the reasons you love video games?


Dad: Do you want some candy?

Fonz: (Excited) Yeah!

Dad: Me, too.  I’d eat it all the time if it weren’t bad for you.  If you do well in school, maybe you can grow up to be the scientist who creates healthy candy.  Why don’t you go do some studying right now?

Though the bait-and-switch is better than no teasing at all, I feel I’m wasting my gifts.  I’ll keep working on it.

In closing, all I can do is ask the reader, would you like to get paid for sharing this blog post with others?

Me, too.  Please leave your ideas regarding whom we could trick into paying us in the comments below.

Posted in: Advice, Kids