value focused parenting

Joshua Gans of the Game Theorist, one of my favorite blogs, had an interesting post on value focusing parenting. Gans addresses the problem of his children’s forgetfulness and writes:

The goal is not to build a respect for property but to get good habits established. The problem is that, in a world where you constantly remind kids or inquire as to the location of items, you are not doing that. What the child needs to do is sort out how to achieve the goal — not losing stuff — on their own taking into account all of the machinations and distractions that might be part of that operation.

Since Gans is an economist, he doesn’t label his Value Focused Thinking approach to parenting as such. But I smiled when I read his post because I just about had this exact conversation with my husband a few weeks ago (only I used some more OR terminology).

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