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Stop trying to game your kids.

Praise them whatever. Love, security, praise, attention, just go for it.

I doubt very much that all the noise around raising children can be filtered out to be able to differentiate between sentences.

Just raise kids with love and fun.




"Caplan argues that parents spend too much time trying to influence how their kids will turn out as adults. Using research on twins and adopted children, Caplan argues that nature dominates nurture and that parents have little lasting influence on many aspects of their children's lives. He concludes that parents should spend less time and energy trying to influence their children" [1]

[1]: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/05/caplan_on_paren.htm...


I get what you're saying - kids aren't code to be optimized with objective best practices. But on the other hand, it's very head-in-the-sand to think that parenting with the best intentions and love will always have a positive outcome. It's a good course of action for guaranteeing a happy childhood, but unless you're so affluent that your kids are assured a life on easy street, happiness isn't your only responsibility as a parent.

May be that love and fun is all the kids need to be both happy and successful, but maybe not: I had very hippyish parents who didn't go much beyond love and fun and blind support. Myself and my two siblings all had very happy childhoods, but only my very self-motivated sister wound up finding success and happiness as an adult right off the bat, took me a decade to get my footing, and my brother - who was unquestionably the happiest and most loved kid in the family - is a broken and miserable adult.

Ultimately it comes down to regarding your kids as individuals and tailoring your parenting to each kid, which is what this study is trying to help parents do w.r.t. smart kids.


"Stop trying to game your kids."

i really like that, nice and succinct.

i figure that the ways that i am which are outside of my control, or even my awareness, dwarf the ways i am that are within my control. my efforts to be a good parent are almost insignificant compared to, i don't know, my posture and facial expression while speaking with the cashier at the grocery store, and all the other things like that.

maybe your last sentence should be, "Just raise kids with love and fun, and work on your own damn self."


Khalil Gibran: "Your children are not your children

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

And though they are with you, they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.

And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hands be for happiness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

So He loves the bow that is stable."


Yes, that. My role model is more likely to influence than my lecture.

Nice point


First time parent of a 1 year old, and while we're just getting started this is pretty much my perspective already. I can already see how time flies so quickly, too quickly to hyper-analyze and optimally re-assess our every interaction. Just play and talk with them, I don't believe that there is any other secret formula.


Indeed. Approach your offspring the same way you would (should) approach your friends, partner, or any other relationship.

Do not patronize, and do not try to apply cookie cutter logic. Be nice, be honest and pay attention to their individual qualities.


I'll skip the humility. I'm smart. Always have been. My parents realized it early on and praised me for it. I pretty much slept through high school because after a couple of minutes of explanation of any math, science or computer science concept I grasped it. I never did any work, although I read a lot about the subjects I enjoyed, because I enjoyed them.

The non-STEM stuff was confusingly ill-defined and in those subjects I was average, at best. And because I wasn't good at them, I avoided them: I didn't do anything to be smart, I always had been, so what could I do to become smart at reading Shakespeare? I had no idea how I could learn to understand something I didn't understand because understanding seemed to have been something I was just born with.

I did well enough on the SATs to get into a top college and decided to major in electrical engineering. I skated through freshman year, earning a low B average.

Towards the end of the year I met with my advisor, the head of the department for the first time. Without preamble he said "We made a mistake. You're not really the person you looked like you'd be in your application." I didn't really grasp what he was saying. "You're not getting the grades your record indicates you could get. You're not working hard enough. You should think about transferring to a less demanding school. In any case, EE requires a commitment and I think you should pick a different major."

I was stunned. This was the first time in my life that anyone had ever done anything but praise my academics. I was angry. How could this adult, who claimed to be some sort of mentor, talk to me like that? In fact, writing this years and years later, I'm still a little pissed off.

But looking around, all my friends and classmates were working their asses off, getting ready for finals. The guy may have been a jerk, but he was right: I wasn't working hard and I wasn't learning very much. Much as I dislike the guy, I have to admit he did me an enormous service. He recognized that I needed a kick in the teeth to take his advice seriously. The next three years I made sure I worked harder than everyone else around me, if only to prove that he was wrong, that I hadn't been a mistake. I stayed in EE and would have graduated near the top of my class if I hadn't had to factor in my freshman year grades.

So what does that prove? That you can make a kid neurotic if you push him hard enough? Maybe. But I know that if I had tried to skate through my post-college life being smart and not working, I would have got nowhere and done nothing interesting. Being super intelligent is like having giant biceps: impressive, but rarely useful. People admire intelligence, but they reward getting things done. Getting things done requires some intelligence, but much more it requires hard work and stick-to-itiveness. I'm not faulting my parents one bit: they manifestly loved me, found me good schools and interesting activities and fed my eagerness to do useful things. But I'm careful with my kids to praise the things they control and can change--like hard work and not being deterred when things are hard--and let the being smart thing take care of itself.


I agree. If you want to game something, game your own life so you can leave your kids trust funds.




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