The “It’s All YOUR Fault” Method of Divide and Conquer Parenting

by | Dec 19, 2013 | Bible, Parenting, Parenting With Authority | 6 comments

I mentioned this technique in a post in which I used it on Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and MTV, and I can’t remember hearing much about any of them since, so I’m going to assume it was a big success and they’ve all decided to turn their lives around.

In which case, you’re really going to want some more details, right?
Now I can’t really take credit for this method. I just use it. It was actually God’s idea.

If you have multiple children who can talk, you are Like God because you have gone through this exact situation:

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” 

At my house, it might go down something like this:

And they heard the sound of MOM who had just gotten up from a nap and was coming outside to look for them, and the children hid themselves from the presence of MOM among the bushes and shrubberies of the backyard. But MOM called to the children, and said “Kids? Are you guys out here?” And Bobby said, “I heard you coming, and I was afraid, because I was muddy, and I hid myself.” She said, “Who said you could play with water?! Did you guys turn on the faucet? Did you make a mud hole?!” He said, “Anita turned it on, and I was just trying to tell her she should turn it off, but then I forgot.” Then MOM said to Anita, “Did you turn on the faucet?” Anita said, “Gus said you would think it was okay because it was hot.”

So then there’s a whole bunch of back and forth about who said what and who turned the faucet on first and who had the idea to make a mud hole and who was the first one to start throwing mud balls.

our backyard mudhole as re-enacted by someone else’s kids

And I have to listen to all of that and figure out who the one kid is who’s MOST at fault. Right? Nope. Not if you’re handling it God-style. It’s everyone’s fault. Punishments for everyone!

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.19 In the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

So that’s what I do too.

Now, very occasionally, someone was just minding his own business when his brother came at him over the back of the couch in a flying karate kick.
But USUALLY it takes two to tango. And USUALLY every kid involved shares the blame. So, when my kids have an argument, my preferred method of dealing with it is to make sure everyone involved understands that it is ALL his fault. Or mostly his fault anyway.
If Frankie smashes a Lego creation Bobby left sitting on the playroom floor, I will tell Frankie that he mustn’t touch the big kids’ things and if he didn’t build it he can’t smash it. Then I’ll tell Bobby that we have little kids living in our house and if he doesn’t want his things smashed he shouldn’t leave them unsupervised on the floor. See? Everyone’s fault.
If Gus is cheating at some backyard game Jack made up, I’ll tell Gus he’s got to play by the rules that they agreed upon and I’ll tell Jack that his games have WAY TOO MANY RULES and how could anyone ever be expected to remember them all? Everyone’s fault.
And the best part of the “It’s All YOUR Fault” Method of Divide and Conquer Parenting is that if I never tell one sibling he was right and his sister was wrong, I never have to hear a kid say, “Hhmp, see? I TOLD you.” Cause ain’t nobody got time fo that.


  1. Laura Pearl

    I LOVE this post. I have five boys–all grown up now (the youngest is almost 21 and the oldest is 30), but this really brings me back. And although I never consciously thought about it, this is how I usually handled their scraps and disagreements. I would tell each one how the part of the situation he in particular was responsible for was wrong! I do think it's a good way to handle it–because when kids fight or misbehave, it's rarely truly all one person's fault.

    I love the way you write about parenting issues, with common sense but without judgment. I enjoy this blog so much. 🙂

  2. Jenny Cook

    Reminds me of the approach in 12 step programs (which of course swiped most of their material from Christianity): everybody sweeps their side of the street, and you don't take OTHER people's inventory, you take YOUR inventory. And at the end of each day when you're doing your 10th step (AKA examination of conscience) you ask yourself what your part was in any wrongdoing or bad situation of the day. That God, He certainly knows what He's about.

  3. Nanacamille

    You have omitted the 4th paragraph where God said, "And to you both your children will behave to you just like you behaved to me. They will misbehave and not tell you the truth when you ask who did it and they will be as frustrating to you as you have been to Me. However you will love them unconditionally as I love you. They will grow into responsible adults with you still wondering how that was ever possible. Be it done unto you as you have done unto Me". Nanacamille

  4. Kris

    In my house, if you are bickering, I really don't CARE who did what to whom. I don't even want to know. If you bring it to me, I will solve it for you both, which means time spent in your room and loss of many, many privileges. Results in a lot of solving on their own.

  5. Sophie שרה Golden

    I am really amazed how intelligent you are, Kendra.
    Your children are lucky having mum like you. And so is USA 😉 that country still has a hope even though its president does his best not to.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

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