Sunday, October 24, 2010

Praise Inflation

A couple years ago I noticed I was being too negative with Bagel, and he was going to bed upset. So I started looking for chances to praise him, and then in the evening we'd recap all the praise right before bed. He enjoyed it very much, but it wasn't long before he started fixating on counting the number of praises. I didn't want him to do that-- partly because I wanted him to focus on feeling praised rather than meeting his quota, and partly because I was so exhausted that at the end of the day I couldn't remember (and he'd get quite upset if I didn't remember). So I started giving him "super-praise" instead. One super-praise, I explained to him, was worth 10 praises. At the time he couldn't count much above 10, so I deliberately chose a number he'd find too immense to count.

And it worked, for a while. But he's learned more about numbers now, and super-praise just isn't enough. So we invented super-duper-praise (100 praises) and super-duper-looper-praise (1000 praises). It was all downhill from there. Now he regularly claims super-duper-looper-pooper-praise, and even higher denominations of up to 1 million praises.

I think we've hit the point of praise hyperinflation and it's only a matter of time before the praise currency collapses.