Behavioral Economics

Loss of possession is 9/10ths of the screaming 2022

The original post on this is worth quoting.

Humans have a well developed and easy to exploit sense of loss aversion. (Kahneman and Tversky) We experience far more pain when losing something than the pleasure we experience from gaining.

Three years ago, it was easier as we could just give Fleur another thing we agree on her having to negate the loss aversion. Today, we have many conversations a day about why she cannot have something. The most difficult are the ones resulting in her not getting something she already decided she would get.


  • We want her to eat dinner before dessert, expecting her to fill up on the dessert.
  • There is a toy at the store she wants, but we don’t want.
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on

The strategy is still to give her something that she wants. For meals, we strive to make sure it is something she likes plus is nutritious and are not hard-set on eating it all. Which, of course, means quite a bit of “just two more bites” and “that was a half-bite.”

I also find myself reconsidering how strict I want to be on a specific confrontation. Sometimes, in the evaluation, I realize that her having the thing is not so bad, so I let her keep or get it. But, I encourage her to explain why she should. I hope to foster a habit of argumentation.

Not argumentation as in constant confrontation, but using logic and persuasion to get her way instead of fussing. Negotiation also works in this space. The brain is built for this, so I want to foster her using it to the fullest. (More about Dunbar.)

Her Elementary School teachers are going to despise me as a parent as