We all know that kids are born with +5 manipulation. It’s those adorable eyes and their little smiles that get me. In Carnegie Mellon’s Kevin Zollman and journalist Paul Raeburn’s new book, “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting”, they explain how to keep up with their wily charms using game theory.
Here’s an excerpt from Wired’s piece on the book.
Threaten Them—for Real
Screaming “Don’t make me turn this car around!” never works. That’s what Zollman calls a noncredible threat—kids see through it, because they know it means you’ll suffer too. So pick punishments that benefit you. Like: “Stop punching your sister or we’re going to Grandma’s instead of the movies.”
Don’t Bail Them Out
To make all these lessons stick, you have to buckle down. If your kid’s in a bit of trouble and sobbing pitifully, resist the urge to swoop in and save her by remembering something economists call moral hazard. Corporate bailouts incentivize bad behavior—avoid this fate by establishing clear rules and meting out punishment when necessary.
Sounds pretty solid to me.
Read more about this at Wired.