Is it true?

If it’s not true, then they must be kidding.

If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is.

These two phrases give children perspective. And, when repeated word for word in applicable scenarios, they become boilerplate mental responses.

For example – this morning my child was saying two children in preschool were telling him they weren’t his friend.

Now, I could dispute the merits of their comment, e.g. “that’s not true, dear.” Or, I could fire off an anchor that’s been established and reinforced since he was old enough to hear me say these things to his siblings.

These two phrases work in tandem inoculating the range of uncertainties.

They are universals – they cover all scenarios.

The only things that don’t get kicked out are truths. Even mean truths can be subject to the later phrase.

What if they are too young to understand the individual words? Who cares! Use congruent tonality and conviction and playfulness to instill meaning so that when they do understand at a more surface level, what’s under the surface will surface.

Here’s how this interaction and many others went …

If it’s not true, then they must be kidding.
If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is.

Is it true?

  • No.

Then, they must be kidding.

Are Billy, Bobby and Joey your friends?

  • Yes.

They are just teasing you.

If it’s not true, then they must be kidding.
If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is.

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