Re: Raising kids [was Re: Freedom or death? ]

Tony Hollick (
Thu, 14 Aug 97 19:33 BST-1



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> Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 22:28:21 -0400
> From: (Dan Clemmensen)
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> Subject: Raising kids [was Re: Freedom or death? ]
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> Darren Reynolds wrote:
> [SNIP about raising kids]
> >
> > As someone who will have to begin making these decisions in the very near
> > future, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
> >
> The biggest lesson I have learned while raising kids is that adults
> consistently underestimate kid's intelligence and overestimate
> their knowledge. I think the reason we do this is that we believe
> we are using logic and intelligence in many situations in which
> we are actually using memory of past events. Thus when a kid does
> something with an unexpected consequence, we think "stupid kid!
> Why didn't you infer the consequence!" instead of thinking
> "ignorant kid! Why didn't you have experience of this consequence!"
> (Aside: please examine our responses to Danny in this light.)
> I apply this bit of hard-earned experience as follows: when a
> kid does something "stupid", explain why the action is not
> optimal. Don't just say NO!, and don't just lay down a set of
> rules without reasons. Where possible, teach a lesson as you
> would like to be taught yourself, with examples and visual
> aids, not just words. My 14-year-old reminded me of an incident
> that happened when she was four. She threw a sharp object at
> her younger sister. Apparently, I saw this and first spoke
> sharply to her (safety first: I DO yell at kids when there is
> imminent danger.) I then explained that the knife could
> seriously damage the sister, and asked her to predict what the
> knife might do. she wasn't sure, so I used the knife to stab
> through a piece of cardboard, and asked her to make a prediction
> about the possible effect on her sister. Apparently, she really
> got it that time.
> What is the effect of this on the future of humanity? well, if
> we often use experience instead of inference, we may want to
> do two things: First, we may want to figure out how to apply
> inference to more of our actions, or we may want to make
> our experience more effective, as we extend our mentation
> using computers. To do this effectively, we need to be more
> aware of what we are actually doing when we react to a
> situation in every-day life.