Picking Up the Rope – Don’t Do It !

( Beware the “Hoover Maneuver” )

    “No!”
    “You can’t make me!”
    “But why?!”
    “But I don’t want to!”
    “Yeah right!”
    “You and what army?!”
    “Ain’t no way, no how!”
    “Get outta here!”
    “That’s bullshit”
    “Come on, be cool” (invitation to be their buddy)
    “Look, this is unreasonable, let’s talk about it” (not a sincere request)
    Sound effects: “Pfft” “ka” “gawh” “awww” “maannnn” “dude!” “geez” “What the . . .”
    And then there are the wonderful delay tactics and silence options. Sometimes campers will give YOU the look.

Kids (and even adults at times) will try and throw you a rope so that you can play tug of war with them. They know that something has to be done, and they usually know why. There really isn’t any discussion on the matter at hand, for example cleaning their room, but they have learned that arguments can get them out of things, can be fun in some twisted way, or that they can end up doing less.

So, kids become experts in throwing adults a “rope” and hoping that we will pick it up and start “playing” with them. It has also been called the “Hoover Maneuver” because they try and suck you in.

The only way to win that game is not to play. Don’t pick up the rope. Don’t get sucked in. Of the above strategies for dealing with behavior quickly, ignoring works well as a first attempt. If they keep slapping you in the face with the rope, don't respond with:

  • “just please do it”
  • calling them names
  • threatening them
  • attempting to humiliate them
  • punishing them
  • rewarding them
  • or picking up the rope in some other way.

Instead, use some strategies like humor, eye contact, or perhaps stating your feelings – Level 1 stuff. If all of that fails it is appropriate to go through the success counselor steps and have “The Talk.” In any case, don’t pick up the rope!