The tools you need to master the toughest negotiations you’ll ever face—those with your kids
As every parent knows, kids are surprisingly clever negotiators. But how can we avoid those all-too-familiar wails, “That’s not fair!” and “You can’t make me!”? In The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting, journalist Paul Raeburn and game theorist Kevin Zollman pair up to highlight tactics from the worlds of economics and business that can help parents break the endless cycle of quarrels and ineffective solutions. They show that some of the same strategies successfully applied to big business deals and politics—such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Ultimatum Game—can be used to solve such titanic, age-old parenting problems as dividing up toys, putting down those screens, and sticking to a bedtime.
Raeburn and Zollman open each chapter with a common parenting dilemma, such as determining who started a fight or who gets a bedtime story first. Then they show how carefully concocted schemes involving bargains and fair incentives can save the day. Through smart case studies of game theory in action, Raeburn and Zollman reveal how parents and children devise strategies, where those strategies go wrong, and what we can do to help raise happy and savvy kids while keeping the rest of the family happy too.
Delightfully witty, refreshingly irreverent, and just a bit Machiavellian, The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting looks past the fads to offer advice you can put into action today.
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“The small transactions of parenting?sharing, dividing, collaborating, and compromising?are fraught with peril. Solutions that feel fair are not always just, particularly in the eyes of our children. Paul Raeburn and Kevin Zollman achieve two incredible feats in The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting: they helped me find a way to be fair and just in my parenting while teaching me the basics of game theory. I absolutely loved this book, both as a parent, and as a nerd.”
Jessica Lahey, New York Times bestselling author