Parenting Thread

Hypno

Crow
I know some of you are fathers like me.

I recently came across this article that you might benefit from.

How to Persuade People to Change Their Behavior
April 20, 2020

Government and public health organizations have been tasked with the challenge of changing behavior — getting people to not only practice social distancing and shelter in place but do it for weeks and potentially months. Not surprisingly, almost everyone is relying on the standard approach to drive change: Tell people what to do. Issue demands like: “Don’t go out,” “Stay six feet apart,” Wash your hands,” and “Wear face masks.”

While a lot of us are following recommendations so far, making sure everyone sticks with them for the long haul is a tougher ask. Some people are still or have resumed congregating in groups. Some churches, with support from their local leaders, are flouting stay-at-home orders. And protesters have begun to demand that businesses reopen sooner than experts suggest.

Directives aren’t particularly effective in driving sustained behavior change because we all like to feel as if we are in control of our choices. Why did I buy that product, use that service, or take that action? Because I wanted to. So when others try to influence our decisions, we don’t just go along, we push back against the persuasive attempt. We get together with a friend, shop more than once a week, don’t wear a mask. We avoid doing what they suggested because we don’t want to feel like someone else is controlling us.

Our innate anti-persuasion radar raises our defenses, so we avoid or ignore the message or, even worse, counter-argue, conjuring up all the reasons why what someone else suggested is a bad idea. Sure, the governor said to stay home but they’re overreacting. Maybe the virus is bad in some part of the country, but I don’t know a single person whose gotten it. And besides, many people who get it are fine anyway, so what’s the big deal? Like an overzealous high school debater, they poke and prod and raise objections until the persuasive power of the message crumbles.

So if telling people to do doesn’t work, what does? Rather than trying to persuade people, getting them to persuade themselves is often more effective. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Highlight a gap.
You can increase people’s sense of freedom and control by pointing out a disconnect between their thoughts and actions, or between what they might recommend for others versus do themselves.

Take staying at home. For young people who might resist, ask what they would suggest an elderly grandparent or a younger brother or sister do. Would they want them out, interacting with possibly infected people? If not, why do they think it’s safe for them to do so?

People strive for internal consistency. They want their attitudes and actions to line up. Highlighting misalignment encourages them to resolve the disconnect.

Health officials in Thailand used this approach in anti-smoking campaign. Rather than telling smokers their habit was bad, they had little kids come up to smokers on the street and ask them for a light. Not surprisingly, the smokers told the kids no. Many even lectured the little boys and girls about the dangers of smoking. But before turning to walk away, the kids handed the smokers a note that said, “You worry about me … But why not about yourself?” At the bottom was a toll-free number smokers could call to get help. Calls to that line jumped more than 60% during the campaign.

2. Pose questions.

Another way to allow for agency is to ask questions rather than make statements. Public health messaging tries to be direct: “Junk food makes you fat.” “Drunk driving is murder.” “Keep sheltering in place.” But being so forceful can make people feel threatened. The same content can be phrased in terms of a question: “Do you think junk food is good for you?” If someone’s answer is no, they’re now in a tough spot. By encouraging them to articulate their opinion, they’ve had to put a stake in the ground — to admit that those things aren’t good for them. And once they’ve done that, it becomes harder to keep justify the bad behaviors.

Questions shift the listener’s role. Rather than counter-arguing or thinking about all the reasons they disagree, they’re sorting through their answer to your query and their feelings or opinions on the matter. And this shift increases buy-in. It encourages people to commit to the conclusion, because while people might not want to follow someone else’s lead, they’re more than happy to follow their own. The answer to the question isn’t just any answer; it’s their answer, reflecting their own personal thoughts, beliefs, and preferences. That makes it more likely to drive action.

In the case of this crisis, questions like “How bad would it be if your loved ones got sick?” could prove more effective than directives in driving commitment to long-term or intermittent social distancing and vigilant hygiene practices.

3. Ask for less.
The third approach is to reduce the size of the ask.

A doctor was dealing with an obese trucker who was drinking three liters of Mountain Dew a day. She wanted to ask him to quit cold turkey, but knew that would probably fail, so she tried something else. She asked him to go from three liters a day to two. He grumbled, but after a few weeks, was able to make the switch. Then, on the next visit, she asked him to cut down to one liter a day. Finally, after he was able to do that, only then did she suggest cutting the soda out entirely. The trucker still drinks a can of Mountain Dew once in a while, but he’s lost more than 25 pounds.

Especially in times of crisis, health organizations want big change right away. Everyone should continue to stay at home, by themselves, for two more months. But asks this big often get rejected. They’re so different from what people are doing currently that they fall into what scientists call “the region of rejection” and get ignored.
A better approach is to dial down the initial request. Ask for less initially, and then ask for more. Take a big ask and break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Government officials responding to the pandemic are already doing this to some extent by setting initial end dates for social distancing measures, then extending them. But there might be more opportunities, for example when experts allow for some restrictions to be lifted — say, on small gatherings — but insist that others, such as concerts or sporting events, continue to be banned.

Whether we’re encouraging people to socially distance, shop only once a week, thoroughly wash hands and wear face masks, or change behavior more broadly, too often we default to a particular approach: Pushing. We assume that if we just remind people again or give them more facts, figures, or reasons, they’ll come around. But, as recent backlash against the Covid-19 -related restrictions suggests, this doesn’t always work over the long term, especially when your demands have no fixed end date.
If we instead understand the key barriers preventing change, such as reactance, and employ tactics designed to overcome them, we can change anything.
 

kel

Pelican
Like for good thread. I can't find it now, but Stefan Molyneux did a thing recently on homeschooling (or just generally raising inquisitive kids who like to read, maybe) that was good. I'd like him to do more stuff on child rearing given his experience as kind of a stay-at-home dad. It'd be more interesting to me than his thoughts on whatever internet drama of the day.
 

Cobra

Ostrich
Gold Member
I figured it's a great time to provide my thoughts on Parenting, given the current crisis. For context, I live in the USA, suburb in the midwest and have 3 young children.

We are under "shelter in place" rules due to COVID-19. This means that kids are doing e-learning at home. Either myself or my wife will guide the kids through the lesson plan my kids' teachers have created online under Google Classroom. At least once a week, the kids have "Zoom" meetings, essentially video chats with the entire class. Additionally, my oldest daughter's classical dance class is also now held in a Zoom format.

The pros of this are obvious. We get to control some parts of how the children learn, and do get to be more intimately involved in their schoolwork than we previously did. That said, it is not truly home schooling, as teachers have a lot of control on how they learn. They also get to spend more time with us on a daily basis. I suppose that at one point when they are older and we don't see them, we will look back on this time and realize how much we appreciate it.

Now the cons. This is an obvious one, but my children do not interact with the other children in close physical proximity. They need this. They are 10, 7 and 5 years old. A lack of social interaction I think diminishes their experiences. Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for "in school" versus "homeschooling." That's a whole different conversation. I'm just saying that the social fuel that children need is unsurprisingly absent from the current atmosphere. Then there is the attention they need. The younger your children are, the more attention they will need from you. So if you have a job that requires you to be engaged on a daily basis, your young children can hinder any progress. For perspective, however, let's just say that my 10 year old is fully self sufficient as far as school work. My 7 year old is moderately sufficient and my 5 year old is minimally sufficient. That means we spend a lot more time with our 5 year old in her schoolwork. However, hers is also the easiest to guide. There is also a feeling that I get in the form of opportunity costs. Every day that I don't do something with the children or teach them something new, I feel an emptiness telling me I should do more. This may not be true as there are not many options due to restrictions on sports and events, but the feeling is there regardless.

Just wanted to post my thoughts on the current situation since there was a thread. Maybe I will do a longer post on broader parenting ideas.
 

estraudi

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Every day that I don't do something with the children or teach them something new, I feel an emptiness telling me I should do more. This may not be true as there are not many options due to restrictions on sports and events, but the feeling is there regardless.
Great timeless conversation. I feel this dread every time me and my boy couldn't squeeze as much out of a day as we could have, as guided by my ability to keep him occupied. As is, without there being much to do within society I've fallen back on my hobbies. Telescope time, car repair, reading books, playing outside, but also smaller things/chores like re-organizing pantry, closet, toys, cleaning furniture, the yard, dishes. Anything I do has now become an extension for my son to be able to do. He's barely 2.5yrs old but this kind of engagement he seems to take really well as long as he's next to me doing the same thing then those moments are the ones I check off in my head, at the end of the day, that make me feel less of this emptiness telling me to do more and more, as well. Most of their formative years of learning don't always have to come by way of what's in books or screens.
 

Handsome Creepy Eel

Owl
Gold Member
I am not sure why a Parenting thread in the Relationship forum is focused on COVID-19. It's not like parenting was not already happening before this pandemic.

I work from home and my 2.5 year old wasn't in any sort of school anyway, so this situation did not burden me in any way.

That said, here are some things that me and my wife do similar to what Estraudi mentioned above, that might be useful to parents of children of similar age:

- We have a daily ritual of making bread (using a bread machine, so basically finding, measuring and adding ingredients). The first thing that he says upon waking up is usually "When will we make bread?" :D Then he gets out of the bed, recites the ingredients, puts them on the table and measures the appropriate amount of flour.

- We change the word of the day using fridge magnet letters, and have him find correct letters to spell it.

- When he's being changed, he's the one that organizes the required items: diapers, wet wipes, diaper cream, etc.

- We make sure to allow him to participate in all sorts of daily household activities, unless they're dangerous: wiping surfaces, washing dishes (give the kid some plastic bowls to wash), vacuuming (just shorten the handle to the minimum allowed), moving things from the storage into the pantry, running errands ("go plug my phone to charge", "bring me a rosary", "find the air conditioner remote"), filling the cat's food bowl, paying at the supermarket, etc.

Even if it prolongs the activity by having to watch out for him, it creates good habits. I bet that almost every teenager who refuses to tidy up stuff or do household chores was repeatedly turned away from them when younger with excuses like "no, you'll make a mess" or "no, you're taking too long".
 

bucky

Pelican
I am not sure why a Parenting thread in the Relationship forum is focused on COVID-19. It's not like parenting was not already happening before this pandemic.

I work from home and my 2.5 year old wasn't in any sort of school anyway, so this situation did not burden me in any way.

That said, here are some things that me and my wife do similar to what Estraudi mentioned above, that might be useful to parents of children of similar age:

- We have a daily ritual of making bread (using a bread machine, so basically finding, measuring and adding ingredients). The first thing that he says upon waking up is usually "When will we make bread?" :D Then he gets out of the bed, recites the ingredients, puts them on the table and measures the appropriate amount of flour.

- We change the word of the day using fridge magnet letters, and have him find correct letters to spell it.

- When he's being changed, he's the one that organizes the required items: diapers, wet wipes, diaper cream, etc.

- We make sure to allow him to participate in all sorts of daily household activities, unless they're dangerous: wiping surfaces, washing dishes (give the kid some plastic bowls to wash), vacuuming (just shorten the handle to the minimum allowed), moving things from the storage into the pantry, running errands ("go plug my phone to charge", "bring me a rosary", "find the air conditioner remote"), filling the cat's food bowl, paying at the supermarket, etc.

Even if it prolongs the activity by having to watch out for him, it creates good habits. I bet that almost every teenager who refuses to tidy up stuff or do household chores was repeatedly turned away from them when younger with excuses like "no, you'll make a mess" or "no, you're taking too long".
Hey HCE, out of curiosity, are you planning on homeschooling? My kids are little like yours, but the oldest is getting toward the age where I need to figure out how to go about it. I just can't see shipping my kids off to public schools with all the garbage they're indoctrinating them with there nowadays.
 

Cristiano

Newbie
So, let's say I'm a ten year old kid. My whole family is sitting round a 'table' and we're eating lunch. It's getting very hot in the June summer. The air cooler is within my reach and I'm sitting close to my father. As I turn the switch on, one of my ears is suddenly hot red and I can hear my parent's important discussion again as I stare at my delicious food.

Here are a couple examples of good parenting that I liked:

a) Here the father is out of frame but the kids show great character. So I'm guessing he's out earning bread for the family: A mother takes her kids to play by the creek, one kid slips and immediately gets out, his reaction, "I'm okay, I got out." While he drips in wet clothes his brother says, "I came running to help." as the mother records the funny video.

b) Here the mother is out of the frame as the father helps the kids to not get bored during this pandemic: A father built a box slide down the stairs as the kids missed the park. All three take turns. First the elder sister then the middle son and lastly their youngest kid brother. This example was fascinating to me due to obvious reasons.

The above statements could also show the importance of owning versus renting a house, in a marriage. Additionally, the reason I would gladly take back anything I have written is because I saw both the examples in short clips on social media so they're both recorded on camera, conveniently vis a vis behaviour in public versus private. Here's hoping someone throws some light on the former. Also, don't ask why I didn't attach the videos, let's keep it a secret. I couldn't help it.

Thank you,
God bless.
 
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Handsome Creepy Eel

Owl
Gold Member
Hey HCE, out of curiosity, are you planning on homeschooling? My kids are little like yours, but the oldest is getting toward the age where I need to figure out how to go about it. I just can't see shipping my kids off to public schools with all the garbage they're indoctrinating them with there nowadays.
I don't have plans for that, plus even if I wanted to, I think it's illegal in my country (Croatia). Our school system is decent curriculum-wise and is free of SJW nonsense other than some modernist reading choices in the Croatian Language class and a rather tame (not SJW) sexual education class amounting to a few hours per year; its biggest problems are A) overcrowded classes with 30+ pupils, and B) disinterested/mechanical teachers.

I am planning on solving both of those by sending my kid(s) to a private school (again, only high school, because this is a small country and doesn't have any private elementary schools), but honestly, SJW indoctrination isn't on my radar. I trust that my household is normal and traditional enough to provide a barrier against any blips of propaganda that may be encountered in school.

If I were in the USA, with its absolutely atrocious public schools, I'd make it my life's mission to avoid the public school system.
 

Waverer

Sparrow
It's not what a lot of people want to hear, but there is now an ever-growing mountain of scientific literature suggesting parenting style makes no difference. Kids raised apart from their biological siblings are no more similar than those raised together.
 

MiroKlose

Pigeon
I have a very fundamental philosophical question on how to raise daughters and what are the consequences of raising them in a specific way? I have a new born daughter. Now should I raise

1. Her in a way she never feels any difficulties in life i.e. as a protective father?

or

2. in a way she has complete freedom and she has to face realities/difficulties of life by herself?

or

3. A balanced approach?

How would a daughter turn out to be in their adulthood in those scenarios?
 
Would like this forum's opinion on having more children later in life. I'm 43 and my wife is 40. We'd like to have one more. The increased risk of issues appears to be about 1 in 100. Given our family dynamic, one more is a priority but very hesitant because of that increased risk.
 
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king bast

Woodpecker
I have a very fundamental philosophical question on how to raise daughters and what are the consequences of raising them in a specific way? I have a new born daughter. Now should I raise

1. Her in a way she never feels any difficulties in life i.e. as a protective father?

or

2. in a way she has complete freedom and she has to face realities/difficulties of life by herself?

or

3. A balanced approach?

How would a daughter turn out to be in their adulthood in those scenarios?
"Raising them" is sum of all the time spent with them over their formative years , so there's no way you'll be able do it in any other way than according to your instinct. You just can't consistently maintain an act for that long, without it becoming transparent.
You could intellectually decide to pursue option 2, but you wouldn't be able to live with yourself simply standing by in situations where she clearly needed a protective father.

It's natural for new and expectant parents to try and plan every detail of their childrens lives, and worry about every little detail, but really, you just do it. Your parenting ability grows commensurate with your childs development, so at the time, you'll know what to do.
 

bucky

Pelican
"Raising them" is sum of all the time spent with them over their formative years , so there's no way you'll be able do it in any other way than according to your instinct. You just can't consistently maintain an act for that long, without it becoming transparent.
You could intellectually decide to pursue option 2, but you wouldn't be able to live with yourself simply standing by in situations where she clearly needed a protective father.

It's natural for new and expectant parents to try and plan every detail of their childrens lives, and worry about every little detail, but really, you just do it. Your parenting ability grows commensurate with your childs development, so at the time, you'll know what to do.
I was already well into middle age when my first child was born. For my whole life I figured I'd need to read books on child care and study being a parent like I was getting a degree through an online program or something. Then I didn't end up doing any of that, had the kids, and mainly my wife and I figured it out on our own with occasional input from my mom and dad or casual conversations with other parents. So far it seems to be going fine.
 
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