How to Teach Your Kids to Sound Smart (Especially If They’re Not)–Part 2

Posted on March 24, 2011


If you haven’t read How to Make Your Kids Sound Smart Part 1, make sure you do so here, so you’ll know what all the other moms were talking about at last week’s group therapy.

For those who did read Part 1, did you practice tips #1 and #2 with your ‘fork-misses-mouth’ smart child?

Remember, these tips are only meant to give your dim child a first impression of intelligence, followed by a vigilant silence to prolong eventual discovery.  If you don’t emphasize silence, Kayt Lynn will gain undeserved confidence from the positive first impression and quickly find herself in over her head as she seeks entry into social circles and career opportunities she has no business pursuing.  This undeserved confidence may make her dangerous to others, and at the very least, annoying to me.

Remember your goal is only to get Tyler through a job interview successfully.  A boss who hires someone incompetent will defend that hire for five to six months, no matter how many times Tyler says “I’ll send you an Internet,” when he means send an email.

Here are more tips to create opportunities to sound intelligent.  Remember to make a game of it as you train them to neutralize those nosy Brainpower Detectors!
(Brainpower Detectors=little league coaches, therapists, potential spouses)

Tip #3

Teach your child to use predicate nominatives obnoxiously.  A predicate nominative is a clause or a phrase that follows a linking verb and mirrors the subject of the sentence.  If Tyler is asked which unemployment forms he doesn’t understand, he should answer, “Those are they,” although most people will answer, “Those are them.”  But in this case they is a predicate nominative because those and they are both the subject and are acts as an equal sign.

If Tyler ’s ex-girlfriend asks, “Is there somebody in my closet?”
When Tyler jumps out of the closet he should shout, “It is I,” not “It’s me.”

Tyler ’s ex-girlfriend may argue “It’s me” is so common now as to be correct, but the point isn’t to correct others when they say “It’s me” but to get them to correct you when you say “It is I”.  It sounds so wrong when you say it, people will chuckle, give you an odd look, and correct you with condescension.  That’s when Tyler says, “Actually the I in this sentence is a predicate nominative and completes the subject It.  I guess I could join the knuckle-draggers and say ‘It’s me’, but I just wouldn’t feel right.”

Brainpower Detector neutralized!  Begin vigilant silence!

Luring someone into hinting at his stupidity and then aggressively smacking that person down will keep people from challenging Tyler when he is genuinely wrong almost all of the time.

Tip # 4

When referencing psychobabble, most people only have room in their brain for one name: Freud.  “That’s a very Freudian observation” or “That’s a very Freudian perspective.”  But your child should mention another psychologist like Carl Jung and start calling everything a “Jungian observation” or a “Jungian slip of the tongue”.

“That’s a very Jungian observation.”
“What was?”
“The thing you just said.”
“I said, ‘Would you like to see the wine list.’ ”
“And I said, ‘That’s a very Jungian observation.’ ”
“But it wasn’t an observation.”
“Sounds like you’re in a pattern of Jungian denial.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know Carl Jung, the father of analytic psychology?”
(Blank stare)

Well done, Tyler.  That waitress will defer to Tyler’s judgment if the tip doesn’t seem to add up to 15%.

Is the observation Jungian?  Probably not?  But what do most people know about Jung or even Freud for that matter?  Tyler can call just about everything Jungian, and if anybody calls him on it and asks him to explain, he should sound indignant and say, “Don’t you even know the father of analytic psychology?” and then chuckle.  If the questioner answers that he is indeed familiar with Jung as the father of analytic psychology, Tyler should get out of there immediately!

More tips soon!

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Posted in: Advice, Kids