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Kids Are Master Manipulators. So Use Game Theory Against Them

https://www.wired.com/2016/06/how-to-make-kids-behave/

wired.com

Kids Are Master Manipulators. So Use Game Theory Against Them
Kids are master manipulators. They play up their charms, pit adults against one another, and engage in loud, public wailing. So it's your job to keep up with them, Carnegie Mellon's Kevin Zollman says. His new book, The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting -written with journalist Paul Raeburn-explains how.

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Kids manipulate

Kids are master manipulators. They will play up their charms, pit adults against another and wail loudly in public. It's your job to keep up with them.

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Force Cooperation

For siblings who refuse to cooperate with each other, assign them a task that they can do as a team, like picking up the toys.

Over time, this will compel them to work together.

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Make Them Pay

Who will get the bigger room? Who gets to name the cat? Have the kids bid for it with their chores or allowance.

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Pick "Threats" That Benefit You

Don't make threats that will make you suffer too. "Don't make me turn this car around!" Pick punishments that benefit you. "If you continue, we're going to Grandma's instead of the movies."

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Make Them Lie

If you suspect your kids haven't done their homework, ask many specific questions: Which subject? What did you learn? How long did it take? What was the hardest part? The act of maintaining an elaborate lie will discomfort them. Telling the truth will be easier.

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Don't Bail Them Out

When your kids are in some trouble and crying bitterly, don't bail them out of trouble. It will reinforce bad behavior. Establish clear rules and meet out punishment when necessary. 

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