Skip to comments.Game Theory Secrets for Parents
Posted on 07/14/2014 12:59:50 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
Can't get your children to eat their vegetables or clean up their toys? Game theory offers some solutions.
The party is over, and you're down to the last bit of cake. All three of your children want it. If you're familiar with game theory, you might think of the classic strategy in which one person cuts the cake and the other chooses the slice. But how do you divide it three ways without anyone throwing a fit?
Game theory is, in essence, the science of strategic thinkinga way of making the best decision possible based on the way you expect other people to act. It was once the domain of Nobel Prize-winning economists and big thinkers on geopolitics, but now parents are getting in on the act. Though game theory assumes, as a technical matter, that its players are rational, it applies just as well to not-always-rational children.
A key lesson in game theory, says Barry Nalebuff, a professor at the Yale School of Management, is to understand the perspective of the other players. It isn't about what you would do in another person's shoes, he says; it's about what they would do in their shoes. "Good game theory," he says, "appreciates the quirks and features that make us unique and takes us as we are." The same could be said of good parenting.
So how to deal with the problem of dividing a piece of cake into three equal shares? Try this: After the first child cuts and the second one chooses, each child further cuts his or her own slice into thirds. The third child then chooses a third of a slice from each plate. It might get messy, but all three should feel fairly treated.
Here are a few more practical, game theory-based solutions....
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
“The Prisoner’s Dilemma.”
Who is who, here? /S
Or just let them go hungry. They'll eat food they don't like long before they'll actually harm their health.
And there's the problem, ladies and gentlemen; this compulsion to make sure 'everybody's a winner.' I'm sorry, but everybody's NOT a winner, life isn't fair, and sometimes, people get the short end of the stick.
Rather than letting the kids cut the cake, cut it yourself and tell them to shut up about who has the bigger piece. You're older and you have more insurance (with apologies to Cathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes).
Hey now! We can't have that! That's not fair to the little tykes. Just run right out and buy a case of Pediasure for those picky eaters.
I was the runt of the litter until I learned to stop complaining.
Here’s one that DOESN’T work:
Would you like to eat your peas first or your broccoli?
Don’t forget to hit them! LOL
Game theory Smame theory,
4 people, 3 pieces of cake, set a piece of cheese on the table. Take a knife start cutting the piece of cheese and fart real loud.
They run off you get all 3 pieces of cake.
what?! what?! what mind-think is being fed to our super-egos here under the keyword guise of 'fair'?? Why are children cutting the cake instead of a parent? And why isn't the child who did eat his broccoli or asparagus rewarded with a slightly larger piece of cake, cut by the parent, over the obstinate child who refused? If I lose an online game of solitaire, I don't get 'extra' points from some player down the line that won. Wow. Just wow.
Dog comes over and likety-split, eats all the lima beans up, and goes back under the porch for a nap.
Neighbor says to the farmer: "I don't think my dog would eat lima beans".
To which, the farmer replies: "Neither would he..... for a month."
It's called "game theory," a branch of economics, itself a social science.
How I handle it.
One piece of cake? Well, Bobby didn’t take out the trash as promised. Sue forgot her homework, but Claire did feed the dogs as she’s supposed to.
Claire gets the cake.
Those who do not work; neither shall they eat.
Then the 3 year-old will throw a tantrum, because her cake is “broken”.
Conversation (more than a few times) at the R2 house....
Kids: We’re hungry. What’s for supper?
Mom: Who knows? That dishwasher is still full from last night as nobody put the clean dishes away. Supper isn’t happening till that’s done.
> > Kids will sulk and gripe. But dishes get put away.
The last piece of cake dilemma is something I’ve never had a problem with.
Because I always eat the last piece of cake.
You would think so, but some people will actually starve themselves before they will eat “icky” food. I saw an episode of Survivorman where he had his son with him and his son would not eat mussels despite not having eaten for two or three days.
I grew up in a large family of 6 kids, too. You ate what mama cooked or you went hungry. There were no leftovers in our house.
Farts are like children. You can’t stand any but your own.
How about "If you three don't stop whining about how your brother or sister got a bigger piece, I'm throwing the whole damn cake down the garbage disposal and none of you will have any."
Please see my comment #19.
My kids love broccoli. Peas? Not so much. I don't think I ate broccoli knowingly until I was 19.
If my kids complained about “fair” I took a fork and started taking bites to make sure it was “even”.
I eat the cake and too damned bad for the kids....when they are mean parents, they too can eat the cake!!
Here’s how game theory worked at our house. I would take the three pieces of cake.
“We’re going to play a game. Pick a number from one to ten.”
Then I ate all three pieces.
Agree. Looking at the general size of kids these days, skipping the cake would be a pretty good idea.