The simple and sweet response is an easy way to show empathy.

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An image of a father and daughter talking in bed.
Credit: Getty Images.

Every parent has been there. Your child asks for a trip to Target, a new toy, a day off from school, or something else that's actually pretty outlandish, and you're left trying to explain why that just can't happen right now. The conversation can quickly escalate from a conversation to a debate to an all-out temper tantrum.

Thankfully, there are two simple words that might diffuse the situation before it even has a second to spiral. A dad on Reddit, writing under the handle u/random_dude, shared that the phrase "me too" has been "working wonders" in his household.

"When our kid asks for things that are totally not possible, now we can just say 'me too,' and there's usually no argument!" he explained.

Here's an example of how it might play out, according to the original poster (OP):

His kid said, "I want to go on a boat!" Dad replies, "Me too." Kid says, "Me too." End scene.

"Previously, we would try to explain why it couldn't happen, and it would sometimes become a fight," noted the dad. "Saying 'me too' gives empathy and puts us on his side. Try it out, maybe it will help you too."

Parents applauded the OP's revelation.

u/ohsoluckyme wrote, "Yes! I say this too. It's good for emotions too. If kid is feeling mad, sad or frustrated. 'I'm sad too. I wish we could have stayed at the park longer.'"

u/abc5 shared, "This is parenting gold! I learned a version in a book called How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen. We use it for all kinds of tantrums. He wants candy: 'I wish we could eat candy all day every day and never stop!' He wants strawberries but we're all out: 'I wish our whole kitchen was full of strawberries all the way up to the ceiling!' You give them what they want in fantasy. It's worked damn near every time, and we usually end up having fun making up sillier and sillier hypotheticals and wishes. Tantrum averted!"

And u/Horst665 explained how it's a way to start a fantasy game. "'I wish I was on a boat!' 'Ohh, me too! What if the couch was our boat and everything else is water?' 'Quick, swim!' and so on. Our couch was so many things already, and the little one just grew into the right age for that kind of play. We have been on a boat, an island surrounded by water, an island surrounded by lava, an undersea science station, a diving spot, a spaceshuttle, a racecar, a cave, the wall of a cave, a cage with dangerous dinos outside..."

A child care professional noted that they use it every now and then. "I do agree, this does work!!!" they wrote.

And others discussed the merits of using the same technique on teens. u/kjtstl explained that "me too" isn't triggering defensiveness with them as anger would. It's "just empathizing."

Ultimately, sounds like the emotionally intelligent tip could help plenty of parents navigate tricky moments with kids of all ages.