Skip to content

Parenting the Un-Entitled Child: The Payback Policy

May 29, 2012

Deedle-the-Cat, doing what he does best

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?)

They dilly-dally.

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.

In chores.

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…

Deedle? Deedle.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethany permalink
    May 29, 2012 9:41 pm

    I love the payback idea! It seems as though clear rules and consequences established beforehand can save a lot of yelling and whining later. Brilliant!

    • May 30, 2012 7:31 am

      Oh, Bethany – I wish I could tell you that you’re right, but there’s still a lot of yelling and whining despite having rules and consequences established beforehand! On their part, at least…but someday, they’ll get it. I hope.

  2. Kari Coppinger permalink
    May 29, 2012 10:55 pm

    I heard Corinne Le say that if she gets a call from a boy who forgot his lunch or homework and she drives it to him, he owes her in chores the amount of time it took for her to do that errand for him. Similarly great idea.

    • May 30, 2012 7:33 am

      Excellent – yes! Exactly! I’ve also used the same for when there is excessive bickering – their arguing drains my energy and thus, they must help out more around the house so I can get my energy back. I think I stole that one from “Parenting With Love and Logic.” Great practical parenting book…

  3. May 29, 2012 11:21 pm

    See? This is EXACTLY why Aaron and I want to have kids. Free labor. We’re going to be such good parents.

    Really, though, this post is exactly why I look up to you as a mom. Entitlement is the biggest plague (in my mind) of my generation, and it’s part of every generation that’s followed. We grew up hearing that we can do anything and be anything we wanted to be, just becasue we were special for no other reason than that we were born. And we are a generation of boomerang children who are content to let others do for us to the detriment of the our own growth. Since your sons were born, I knew they would not grow up like that. You and G are too smart, too on top of it, and too dedicated to being the kids of parents your kids need rather than what the kind they might want, and I just hope I can raise the same kind of responisble kids that you are someday.

    • May 30, 2012 7:35 am

      The problem is, we won’t know if all the stuff works for another 15 years or so…thanks for the vote of confidence! xo

  4. Lisa permalink
    May 30, 2012 5:41 am

    Brilliant bit of parenting!!! They must learn consequences at an early age or they will be late adults!!! Keep up the good work and you will have a clean house because I guarantee, they will continue to deedle at least a little!

  5. May 30, 2012 8:34 am

    Love this concept!

    Also, the boneless toddler technique… I also had a big (orange) cat that would do that regularly. We call it going all limp-protestor… because it’s the same thing protestors do when police try to drag them off against their will. Haha!

I love comments! Go ahead. Give me a piece of your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: