As a parent, somewhere along the line I discovered the "When I was a little boy" trick.
My son, probably four or five at the time, was playing a balloon and like most little boys that play with balloons, he popped it. He was very upset. The world had come to an end. I said to him, "when I was little boy, I had a balloon and it popped and eventually, I got a new balloon." It seemed to help him cope with his loss and led to a fun talk about what it was like when I was a little boy.
That worked well as a consolation technique and I used it a several times over the next period of time. I did get into trouble once when his Monster Rancher 3 creature died. I talked about how my dog, Prince, had died in a car accident. This time, his response was, "Now I feel bad about two things!" I shied away from using the "when I was a little boy" technique for consolation after that.
Before the dead dog incident, however, I had also started to use the technique to convince him to do chores. "When I was a little boy, I had to go out and get the newspaper", "clean my room", "get Mommy her coffee cup", etc.
This too was pretty successful for a while, but he started to increasingly rebel against the tyranny of my childhood. One event, in particular, marked the end. I told him to bring the garbage cans from curb back to the garage. He argued and I responded, "When I was a little boy, I had to take the garbage back to the garage." He responded, "Oh yeah! Well when you were a little boy, that was STUPID!".
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