“Influence,” and the Application of the Psychology of Persuasion to Child Rearing

I used to read between one and two novels a day, school bored me and I didn’t really need to study, so I read. Science fiction mostly.

This continued, to a lesser degree, through much of my adulthood, until about eight years ago. Around that time I noticed that fiction bored me. Even authors I whose work I had read multiple times, when they released something new, I found it hard to get through.

Also around that time that I realized I wanted to make a change in my life. I found myself becoming as bored with my career choices as I had become with science fiction.

As I began casting about for a new path, I began reading about topics much different from the fantastical stuff I read in my youth.

Copywriting, neurology, and history, amongst others, became my new reading. At the moment, I’m working my way through Robert Ciadini’s Influence, one of the more important works on psychology of persuasion.

I wish I’d read it 15 years ago.

I look back on the things I’ve done right, and the things I’ve done wrong, in raising my boys, and the contents of Influence jump off the pages at me. The things I’ve done well have been in accord with the principals of ethical persuasion, and the things I’ve screwed up ran counter.

A simple example?

The threat of punishment will get a child to behave in a particular way. Except the behaviour is short lived. In contrast, the use of persuasion principals will have a long lasting effect.

I did discover that the carrot works better than the stick, eventually, but it would have been nice to have known it a little earlier.