The Pop Parenting movement now has a new model: Machiavelli. Author Suzanne Evans, pictured above with her children, explains how old Niccolo helped her to stop worrying and love the power play in her new book Machiavelli for Moms: Maxims on the Effective Governance of Children. This sweet new style involves setting your children against one another, lying to them when convenient and some half-hearted physical discipline (it seems it's easier on her conscience to lie and manipulate than to give a spanking). Apparently, her methods work just as effectively on her husband as on their offspring.
As peace and predictability began to prevail at home, I turned to Machiavelli's most infamous advice. Though often mistakenly recalled as "the ends justify the means," what he really says is subtler: that others will ultimately judge actions by results.
Either way, the maxim came in handy one night when my husband got into bed, pulled close to me and said, "You know, I'd really like to have another kid." To which I replied, "That's nice, honey, but what you're going to have instead is a vasectomy."
With our four boisterous young kids finally coming under control, adding another to the mix—an obvious threat to my hard-won dominion—was a result that I could not accept. My husband resisted this edict at first, but when I told him that until he accepted it he shouldn't expect any affection in bed, he quickly agreed to an appointment with a doctor.
There is nothing scheming or manipulative about following the path set down by Machiavelli. It is all about maintaining power and laying down the law with a firm hand. The great Florentine would be proud of his new disciple.
I don't know whether it's better to be feared than loved, but going by the emasculation of her husband and the hardened, despairing faces of the children, it doesn't take much educated guesswork to isolate which route Suzanne Evans has taken with her family.