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An excellent read, but my only doubt is whether this is effective because all your peers have been raised this way.

Ie - If someone raises his/her child like this in our western society it might be conflicting for the child to learn how to behave like this at home, and then spend the majority of their time at school where other children behave completely differently.

I certainly recall being raised to never answer back to your adults. And then I saw other kids answering back to their parents (and getting away with it) and then all that upbringing went out the window.




In my experience, you acquire (i.a.) your behaviors, your values, and in particular your coping mechanism to most degree from your parents (or whoever raised you).

Your peers never have enough lever on you. The way kids look up to and depend on the love of their main care-giver(s) is irreplaceable.

I'm not talking about superficial things, like swearing, walking, etc.

It is sometimes frightening to realize how much of you is "just acquired". The way you treat people, the way you react to situations, the way you talk to your loved ones when you're angry. Once you realize there would be other ways: shocking.


I once told my daughter that intelligent decisions in life are made by being dispassionate and using logic to reason the optimal course of action.

My wife then snorted and said "says who?". Parenting fail :(


I'm probably projecting my own experiences onto your wife, but I always get annoyed with people who hear something like "be dispassionate and try to be as logical as possible" and immediately discount it- primarily because I notice they've never tried it.

I used to make a lot of emotional decisions based on my gut feelings and intuition, and it took me a great deal of work to get over that and to start thinking about the "optimal course of action" whenever I had important decisions to make. My life has drastically improved, and all of my relationships are more stable and my goals have proved to be more attainable.

But when I try to preach this to people, a lot of them give the same reaction your wife did- and I get annoyed, because I observe them constantly having their feelings hurt, getting frustrated, missing their goals, and feeling stressed out, because they're operating off of anything but "optimal course of action reasoning".


I think the reason why this type of attitude gets mocked is that it seems robotic and condescending to emotion, as if emotion is not a real, legitimate source of information. It shouldn't be the only source of information (and maybe that's what you're getting at). But the idea that once emotion enters the picture, the discussion is no longer "rational" is stupid to me. Maybe that is a straw man.


Well, I think that emotion isn't really a legitimate source of information, primarily because it's so subjective. How many relationships dissolve because one party is connecting their experience of an emotion to the actions of the other party, but it's all a complete misunderstanding?

Emotion serves as an indicator, but not as justifiable evidence or information. I still get angry, fearful, heartbroken, elated, etc. but I now spend a great deal of energy trying to make sure that I don't attach my experience of an emotion to a belief that the emotion gives me real, trustworthy information about the true state of the world.

I thought a great deal about this while I was reading "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, which I highly recommend.


I don't see why we should go from "emotion shouldn't be considered an infallible source of info about the world outside our consciousness", to "emotion isn't a legitimate source of information." There are many situations in life that aren't accessible by pure reason, such as basically all aspects of social life.


Yeah. It's just another tool. Emotion works quickly over large and/or vague sources of information using heuristics. Sometimes this is useful, and sometimes it isn't.


Some emotion is a tool for sensing the world, but other emotion is the process of our actual being. It is truth in itself. If something makes me feel bad, that's a fact. Maybe it can change, maybe it can't. It's not a heuristic, it's not judging or discerning anything, it just is in itself the essence and existence of my being.


isn't emotion basically system1 in thinking fast and slow? optimized for making snap decisions yes but far from being an illegitimate source of information. there are a lot of examples where system1 gives you the wrong answer, but IIRC there are also plenty of examples where system1 is exactly right especially when there is time pressure. the book "Blink" is basically its antithesis offering examples where trusting system1 leads to better outcomes than overthinking it with system2.


Emotion is not a real legitimate source of information, it's an inspiration to tell the brain to pay more attention to something and then work it out logically (like when you have a bad feeling about something), but to make any non trivial decision entirely out of emotion is simply foolish.


Emotion is not a real legitimate source of information, it's an inspiration to tell the brain to pay more attention to something and then work it out logically

Technically that is information! Like, what if instead of feelings, there was this little light and slot on your chest, and at the appropriate time, the light would flash and a little slip of paper came out saying, "It's time to pay more attention to something and then work it out logically!" Wouldn't that be information?

About this I'm right. Technically right. The best kind of right! (Irony left to he reader. Please interpret in the cheeriest possible fashion.)


I specifically did not advocate making decisions entirely out of emotion


Very recognizable. Still, I think the annoyed reactions have more to do with people in general not liking being preached to. In my experience many people take offence with advice. They want to find out for themselves, even if that means getting hurt in the process.

Point in case, I have a floundering friend who won't take business advice from me or that of a mutual friend of ours, despite the fact that we both founded and operated successful businesses. Frustrating.


That's a good point. Considering I only really ever bring this topic up when there's something to get emotional about, it probably comes off as maddeningly condescending.


I once told my daughter that intelligent decisions in life are made by being dispassionate and using logic to reason the optimal course of action.

My wife then snorted and said "says who?". Parenting fail :(

Not necessarily. I think that little story is very instructive. A smart child could well synthesize it thus: There is value in intelligent decisions made by dispassionate logic. Not everyone is going to recognize it, though.

Reality is difficult and messy. If we smart people are truly the smart people, then it behooves us to deal with it gracefully and win. If we end up just railing against the unfairness of the universe and all of the idiots around us, what does that really say?

One of my friends once made this observation about Ward Cunningham. He was convinced Ward was one of the smartest men alive, because he came to realize that Ward always managed to learn something, no matter how smart or how stupid the people were he was interacting with.


"I once told my daughter that intelligent decisions in life are made by being dispassionate and using logic to reason the optimal course of action"

This is the 'most HN' comment of the day.

Maybe someone should start collecting these gems.

On a serious note - I think this is inherently about managing emotions, responses, triggers etc. 'in the moment'. It's ultimately a social issue, not one which can be driven with data as we would like.


On a serious note - I think this is inherently about managing emotions, responses, triggers etc. 'in the moment'. It's ultimately a social issue, not one which can be driven with data as we would like.

It's driven by data which was processed by our ancestors, even before they were fully sentient. There's no sense in not considering that "data as we would like." It's as much a part of us as anything else.


I once told my daughter that "everything bad that has happened to you in your life is your fault". She ran away crying.

I meant this in the context of things not being inherently good or bad, its all your perspective, which is under your control.

I was trying to distill everything I have learned from meditation, Buddhism, stoicism... but I'm not great at communicating, and even if I was she isn't ready for some of the concepts.


I once told my daughter that "everything bad that has happened to you in your life is your fault". She ran away crying.

On one hand, that's a general truism. On the other hand, if she's young enough, it's not that much her fault yet, and the injustice of it might be a little much so soon. On the gripping hand, it's good she ran away crying. It indicates she really understands the magnitude of the situation.

I was trying to distill everything I have learned from meditation, Buddhism, stoicism... but I'm not great at communicating, and even if I was she isn't ready for some of the concepts.

This was one of those times when you should show, not tell.


> by being dispassionate and using logic to reason the optimal course of action.

Even with all the logic in the world, it is very hard for most people to overcome their own biases (because they are not always obvious to oneself). So, not sure if it's a good rule to set.


Agreed. The most charitable view of the GP’s definition, is that few decisions are “intelligent”. In a less charitable view, it’s equating rationalizing with being rational.

His wife had a duty as a parent to call BS.


This is probably the entire crux of their parenting style. Kids take social cues from their peers, not their parents.


> Kids take social cues from their peers, not their parents

Which makes our current system of isolating children by age group and then leaving them virtually un-attended look somewhat insane.


I've been amazed at how well my kids' teachers establish social norms in their classrooms, early in the school year. A single adult can be very effective at establishing an environment that promotes positive social interaction and behavior.


It takes a heroic person to achieve that in such an unnatural environment as a single-age classroom.


I am not sure if this isolated anecdata or not, but I watched my daughter absolutely flourish when we put her in daycare. She barely could sit up on her own when we put her in. There were some "older kids" in the class that could stand and move around while holding on to the rail. By the next week or two, she was sitting up, and attempting to stand by pulling her self up. I am convinced it is because she watched the other little ones doing it constantly. If she stayed home all day with us, I am not sure where she would have learned this from.


My boy just started spending some time with the older group in the last two weeks so the actual group change in a week is not too brutal.

He went from being a bit lazy and not really trying to walk (he did stand up by holding on to things, and shuffled sideways) nor really say actual words, to trying to say a couple new words, standing up in place and trotting around the house all the time.

I did 2 years in elementary teaching back in uni, one thing that stuck to my mind is that imitation is one of the main learning strategies in childhood, up to high school age where discovering their own individuality takes over a bit.


I can assure you, should your baby daughter have stayed to grow at home, you'd have seen this same development. It comes from a natural drive to explore that all babies have. It's a constant adaptation to the environment, to parents, to new body, new everything.

As for the daycare factor, you could sure think of an equivalent 'beam' in your home. That could've been a chair, a something 'interesting' higher up, say, mommy's voice coming from above - anything!

Babies find the ways. Unless the home environment is devoid of attractions and baby is confined to safety of an infinite carpeted floor surrounded by soundproof glass. That's a sci-fi kind.


True, however it’s likely that exposure to older children helped accelerate things a bit, through imitation.


>Kids take social cues from their peers, not their parents

How do you figure? Maybe it depends on the person but every interaction I have and have had with people has been framed by the lens of my relationships with family, not my peers.


I don't have all the cites handy, but I highly recommend the book NurtureShock. It's evidence-based parenting. Twin studies and adoption studies show that children's personalities are about 50% genetic and 50% from peers. Adopted children reflect very little of their parents' personalities.


It's both, and more.


Kids do take social cues from their parents.


In my experience (anecdata abounds in this thread :P ), everyone here is right! Kids act like their friends in school, and then once in adulthood become more like their parents than they often would like to admit ... so the stuff you teach them as you raise them gets embedded deep, and resurfaces later on (arguably when it really matters ... school is so short in the grand timescale)


Also age is a big factor, grade 2 is a lot different than 4, when kids start to be focused on being cool. My kid complained about this specifically, because it was less fun.


It doesn't matter what they do. It matters what you do.


In order for them to appreciate what you do, you need to explain to them WHY you do what you do.


Why do you need them to appreciate what you do?




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