post by jefftk (jkaufman)
The older kids have been playing with the concept of contracts, which
has often involved attempts to trick the other into signing something.
Like the time when Anna (6y) couldn't read yet and Lily (8y) prepared
an unfavorable contract and "read" it to her by making up something
with much more acceptable terms. We talked about how a contract
requires both people to understand the agreement but it seems not to
Yesterday the kids started exploring various forms of contract fraud.
Anna wrote a very one-sided attempt at a contract, and didn't consider
Lily's unwillingness to sign it to be an issue:
That's Anna forging Lily's signature. I explained that if you write
someone else's signature it doesn't count, but it turns out this
wasn't the right level of explanation. Lily got Anna to sign a blank
piece of paper (an "I want your autograph" should have been very
suspicious given the earlier contract shenanigans) and then pasted it
onto a contract:
We talked about how that's also fraud, but they weren't very
interested in my explanation.
I also wanted to get into how in addition to lacking mutual assent
these contracts lacked mutual compensation and were probably
substantively unconscionable, but they went off to play something else
so I explained it to Nora (1y).
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comment by avancil ·
2023-03-01T04:30:13.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I remember as a kid, about 12, loaning my less-mathematically-astute younger brother $4, at 10% interest per day, compounded daily. I remember gloating about how much money he was going to owe me. I was going to be RICH, mwuahh hah hah!!
My Mom told that loan sharking was illegal, and my Dad told me that contracts with minors were not enforceable. My brother I think borrowed some money from one of his friends (on much more favorable terms), paid me back with one day's interest, and never borrowed money from me again.
Replies from: lc
comment by RamblinDash ·
2023-03-01T14:34:20.939Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
In my household, my older daughter (7y) will sometimes try to make deals with my younger son (3y). Once she got him to agree to trade a small piece of candy for giving away one of his favorite Christmas presents. We told her that he doesn't understand that these kinds of deals are "for keeps" - and that any deal she makes with him needs to be approved by us. But yeah, kids this age are crafty!
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke ·
2023-03-01T09:30:28.886Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
My kids were making agreements and bets and when trying to get them enforced learned that it helps to have it written down or having a witness. One of my sons, when 12, made a contract with me to have the right and responsibility to shovel snow for compensation for one winter season.
That's how children learn what a contract is and get an intuitive understanding of where the edges are. Though I haven't heard it done among 6-year-olds.
comment by Douglas_Knight ·
2023-03-02T02:40:26.381Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
A lot of people seem to think that signatures are magic. Would you agree with that description of your children? It would be interesting if you could figure out where this idea came from, either spontaneous generation or transmission.
Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke
↑ comment by Gunnar_Zarncke ·
2023-03-02T15:31:28.528Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
A lot of people seem to think that money/property/guilt are magic. Or, for that matter, more physical processes like electricity, GPS or refrigeration.Replies from: Douglas_Knight
↑ comment by Douglas_Knight ·
2023-03-03T17:24:16.763Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
The first thing to do is to distinguish human things from inhuman things. Physical things really are run by rigid laws. Social things like contracts, money, property, and a guilty verdict are caused by humans and this should make it obvious that they don't have rigid behavior. (The feeling of guilt is yet a third category.)
Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke