How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Are children deliberately cute? Do they flutter eyelashes and do cute things deliberately to get adults to like them? You bet.
On (or near) my first day in infant school, I asked my teacher to marry me. I remember doing it with a certain deliberation. I knew I was far too young (and she too old!) but I also knew that she's be tickled with the idea and that she may be nicer to me as a result. And it worked! I managed not to be over-needy and worked hard - partly because I knew that this would keep me in her good books. I met her years later, when she was retired and I was adult and she still remembered it with amusement and affection.
I don't think I'm that unusual. Sure, I grew up to be interested in how changing minds happen, some might say it's a bit of an obsession, but I think I'm mostly normal otherwise and was a relatively normal child. I got into scrapes and was not always the teacher's favourite (something I quickly learned was not a great idea with regard to some of the other children). Children don't have money or positional power, but they do have surprising influence over the people who are interested in them in some way, from peer to parents to teachers.
It also makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. When you are a weak and vulnerable child, you need the protection and support of adults for many years, so you'd better learn to keep them onside. You also need to live with the other kids, so need to balance your toadiness. Being a child is a classroom in the art of persuasion and influence, and those who learn well here are more likely to be successful in the art as adults.
I am a parent and I closely monitor the internet to protect my kids when
surfing online. One of the best guides for parents of kids age 3-10 years old is
www.dozenkids.com. It's simple,
user-friendly and has excellent content.