Continued from page 1

Pitman relies on “auctioneer-like repetition” of common-sense instructions.

Shelly Walker has a different strategy. She’s through paying for the stuff her 11-year-old daughter loses. “In a week she lost one running shoe and her iPod Touch at school. She understands the value of cash.”

Sally Treadwell in Boone, N.C., has two girls, 17 and 14. Like Walker, she no longer pays to replace all the lost, broken, destroyed or submerged stuff, but she isn’t ready to blame the brain.

“I think the idea of teens being incapable of hanging onto stuff because of their developing brains is a very modern idea,” she said. “There were five of us in our family. We didn’t have much money and what we had we hung on to. Part of growing up is learning to be responsible for yourself. The world isn’t disposable.”