If You Really…….. Part 2

If You Really ……… Part 2

If you haven’t read the previous post then you should before reading this one (it’s short).

I first read Verbal Self-Defence in 1992. From that point onward, I would often share this strategy with my upper-level students. I didn’t realize that a few years later I would end up applying the strategy myself.

I believe my son was seven at the time. A movie he wanted to see was on television but, if he were to watch it to the end, it would be well past his bedtime. He had been up late the night before and was tired. It was in his (and our) best interest to go to bed at his regular time. We told him that he couldn’t watch it till the end.

He wasn’t happy.

He decided to go on the attack.

If you really loved me then you would let me stay up.”

Having read the book I was prepared:

Son, for how long did you think I didn’t love you?”

It worked. I got the presupposition (X) out of the way and then we talked about the (Y). He still wasn’t happy but I didn’t let him con me into something I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t going to be manipulated by a seven-year-old.

It was two weeks later.

He had been invited to a sleep-over by one of his buddies; however, the following morning we had a family event planned. It just wasn’t practical for us to have him elsewhere in the morning. I was the one to break the news that he couldn’t go to the sleep-over.

He wasn’t happy.

If you really loved me then you would let me go to Tom’s.”

REALLY, son? You are going to try this one again?

I replied, “For how long did you think I didn’t love you?”


Really, two weeks? For two weeks you thought I didn’t love you and you are just telling me now?”


Hmmmm. I figured I had better go back and re-read the book.

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