Okay. Okay. I admit it. There is no implying. I look him right in the eyes and tell him I don't think he can do it. For an example (taken from real life) simply read the following scenario:
1. Tucker: "Math (super whiney voice) . . . I don't want to do math."
me: "Well, that's probably because you know you can't do it. No problem - I'll put it away."
Tucker: "I can do it! Give me a pencil. I'll show you!"
I was truly so surprised at the effectiveness of this method, that I had to try to take it further. So after school was over, I attempted to see if this really is a working 'Tucker method," or if I just got lucky. The following series of events then ensued.
2. me: "Wow. This bathroom is really dirty. It's a shame you don't know how to clean a bathroom, Tuck."
Tucker: "Oh yes I can! I'm going to get the cleaners right now. You'll see."
Tucker, 15 minutes later: "Mom - I did it. You weren't right!"
me: "Hmm. You sure did do it. It's a shame you can't vacuum, though."
Tucker: "WHAT?? I CAN VACUUM!"
me: "Really? I'm not sure that's true since the dining room floor is pretty messy and you walked through it and didn't do anything about it. I think that's because you can't do it."
Tucker: "I'll show you!"
me: "Well, we'll see . . ."
Tucker, 15 minutes later: "Mom - I vacuumed the floor. I told you I could do it."
me: "Well, I'm pretty surprised. But I think you got lucky."
Tucker: "What do you mean? I worked hard!"
me: "I'm sure you did. But, I was noticing that the hall that goes to the dining room is pretty messy, and you left it that way. Maybe it was just too tiring to do the dining room and the hall. I could always call someone stronger . . ."
Tucker: "I AM STRONG! See?" (big show of muscles)
me: "Well, I guess there's only one way to see how strong you are . . ."
vacuum starts back up
Tucker: "Mom - look at the hall. See how strong I am?"
me: "Wow, Tucker. Maybe you are stronger than I thought. But, don't worry about the living room - I'm sure you're worn out and I should have someone else handle this next part. You're still pretty young to do so much . . ."
vacuum starts back up
Tucker, 20 minutes later: "I can do anything the bigger kids can do. See - look at the Living Room!"
me: "Wow. I am really impressed. You did do all that vacuuming. You must be really strong -much, much stronger than I thought. But, you know all the older ones can do all this and change diapers. I don't think you can do that, too."
Tucker: "I'm going to find Abigail and Elias. I can do anything!"
I watched from around the corner as he adeptly changed both Abigail's and Elias's diapers on the quite clean living room carpet. And as I walked down the freshly vacuumed hallway, past the shining bathroom and into the spotless dining room, my mind began thinking of dozens of ways to exploit my new-found knowledge.
Insert evil mother laugh here.