Having had a particularly bad morning with my 8 year old daughter who, despite being the most intelligent, beautiful and lovable child in the history of humanity, does have a tendency to have some fairly unbearable moments, I emailed my favourite evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa. I asked him why children should have evolved the fairly universal parental-insanity inducing behaviours of incessant talking about absolutely nothing, arguing with everything (for my daughter this morning it was why I always say 'knives and forks' and never 'forks and knives' and 'habit' was not an aceptable answer) and asking for things in that whiny voice which almost never makes parents feel like granting the request. It occurred to me (and not for the first time) that this very common behaviour is unlikely to INCREASE childrens' chances of surviving to adulthood and procreating.
Here was his response which I found very interesting. I will not be taking his advice!