Parenting the Un-Entitled Child: The Payback Policy
My two boys are wont to dilly-dally.
Or, deedle (as Auntie Cheryl calls it, and has so named her cat for the same action).
Goof off, fool around, horse around, monkey around, fiddle, diddle or generally do anything but that which they are supposed to be doing.
I think they were born with that gene, right along with the XY and the testosterone.
Sort of like all Dads are born knowing how to tell embarrassing jokes in front of teenagers, and older brothers know how to torture little sisters.
And how every toddler is born knowing how to go boneless when he doesn’t want to be picked up, or do what you want him to do. The expert dislocation of the limbs that disallows anyone from getting a good enough grip to pick them up. What IS that and how do they all know how to do it?!
My cat does it, too. Not Deedle – that’s Aunt Cheryl’s cat. Sophie the cat.
But I digress. (I wonder where they get it?)
And yelling, cajoling, scolding, scowling, lecturing, chiding, nagging…just isn’t effective.
And thus, we have come up with a parental policy of payback.
If you dilly-dally willy nilly, causing the family to be delayed or late, you must pay back that time.
Payback. Help a parent out, do a little diligence, make up for your meandering.
It is a beautiful thing. Even as I write this, one child is vacumming, the other is emptying trash cans. We were late leaving for school this morning, I was late to work, as such, they are now compensating me for my lost time.
Pulling weeds, folding and delivering laundry, washing windows. My personal favorite? Crawling around under the kitchen table with some cleaning wipes and scrubbing at all the little somethings that so casually collect under there. As early as age three, we help them to see that every action has a consequence – good ones, and not-so-good ones. In an age where (what seems like) the entire world is feeling entitled, we’re trying to raise kids who believe they are entitled to exactly what they have earned. Positive choices and hard work entitle them to rewards and privileges. Poor choices? Well, those can be costly. But they are entitled to painful consequences, too. You get what you earn.
While it is normal in the developmental history of a child at some point to believe that the world revolves around him/her, eventually they begin to understand the values of community and sharing as they grow older. An entitled person sees everything within the context of themselves: I need this, it’s all about me. They do not understand that there are limits and boundaries. Not understanding these boundaries, they are not able to develop the proper coping techniques required to adjust to the fluidity of their environment(s). The result is a person who is aggressive, emotionally stagnated and has the emotional IQ of a young child.
A Sense of Entitlement: An Epidemic Among Our Youth, by Zoha Natiq
Who needs a housekeeper when you’ve got kids?
In all seriousness, though, this is something we feel that, as parents, is our imperative – we must help them learn the painful lesson that the world does NOT revolve around them. What they contribute to the world is what they can expect in return. Kindness, thoughtfulness, hard work, patience…these all reap great rewards.
As Natiq reminds us later in the article, Dr. Phil always says: “People do what works.” If we never let them see what doesn’t work, how will they ever know not to do it?
So, go ahead and dilly-dally, guys. I’m not going to yell. I’m not going to scold. We’ll get there when we get there, but later on, little buddy, I’ve got a big basket of the family’s socks with your name on it.
‘Cause I love you that much. Oh yes, I do.
On a totally unrelated and weird note….I was trying to find a picture of my nephew-cat, Deedle, and found this enlightening info, instead:
From the Urban Dictionary: Deedle
Meaning “cool” or “I understand.”
An expression commonly used to show an advanced understanding of the matter at hand.
A placeholder for an otherwise inexplicable or unexplainable situation.
He bought his lunch and proclaimed such to his friends. They replied- “deedle.”
“I lost my pants!” The boy cried. “Deedle,” his mother exclaimed after assessing the new information.
I dare you to use “deedle” in such a way today…and post a comment here and tell us all about it. I double-dog dare you…