Monday, October 25, 2010

Mutual Assured Disruption


It's really quite simple in my mind. If you have a toy and your sibling has a toy and you share, you have two toys. Even if you don't share, you still have one toy. But if you starting fighting over each others' toys, I come in and take both toys away, and now you have no toys. So which would you prefer: two toys, one toy, or no toys.

Alas, Aaron and Jada chose "no toys" a lot this weekend. It turns out sibling rivalry has little to do with a calculated strategy of toy maximization. I have a sister, but she is over five years younger than me, so we didn't fight over toys much, since we differed so much in our interests; if we were closer in age, goes the theory, there might be competition.

In contrast, an unscientific poll of my friends suggests that those of us with kids similar in age tend to experience a lot of this "mutually assured disruption." This past weekend, that strategy led to a lot of yelling, spanking, and time-outs, and not a lot of actual toy playing. What is it about siblings?
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