NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Jon and Karen Smith are the parents of four children from ages five to 15. The Taylors take their parental duties seriously and strive to ensure their children succeed in life.
It's Dec. 30 and time for the children's annual performance appraisal. Sara, 15, is the oldest and, as usual, is first.
Jon: "Sara, I know that you've been worried about appraisal for the past few weeks, so let's get right to it. Sara, we ranked you third among your siblings and gave you a two on our family's five-point scale."
Sara: "But, I thought you were proud of me."
Jon: "Sara, as you know, we have high standards in this house — a two is not so bad. If you work hard next year, you certainly might improve your score ... and rank."
Sara: "But, what did I do wrong?"
Karen: "Well, for one thing you neglected your chores at least five times. Just a minute; I have it documented right here."
Sara: "But that was last February. I haven't missed my chores even once since then; I thought you forgave me for that."
Karen: "That may be true, but remember that this is an annual appraisal — February problems count."
How might this appraisal affect Sara? Will it accelerate her growth and confidence? Will it help her be a better big sister to her siblings? Will it strengthen the bond of trust and the free flow of information with her parents?
From an HR viewpoint, Mr. and Mrs. Smith delivered an outstanding appraisal: tough discussions, behavioral examples and rankings to reduce positive skew. But to some, this is borderline child abuse. At what point in the human lifecycle do the scientific principles of human behavior reverse themselves?