After enduring nearly 10 minutes of non-stop bickering between his two sons in the back seat of the family minivan, Pennsylvania dad Mark Halder could take no more.
“I’ll turn this car around right now,” he snapped, glaring at his 10-year-old and 8-year-old in the rear view mirror. “Don’t even test me.”
While it wasn’t immediately clear what turning the car around would accomplish — the family was simply heading to the local Walmart — Halder’s promise somehow worked on the kids, quieting them for at least two miles.
It was the third successful “turn-around” threat Halder has employed this month. According to child psychologist Dr. Greta Benson, the tactic takes advantage of a common weakness in the minds of youngsters.
“They have a fear of the unknown,” said Dr. Benson. “What if dad turns this minivan around? What will it mean? Where will we go, they might think? Also, they probably just want to get to Walmart so they can convince their parents to buy them stuff.”