How Not to Raise Brats

by Honolulu Mother

This Washington Post article has some thoughts on what leads kids to act ungrateful or entitled, and how we as parents can try not to promote those traits. The article is framed in terms of behavioral economy / psychology, but its suggestions can be summarized as:

– Train them to think about other people’s experiences and perspectives
– Avoid hedonic adaptation, i.e. don’t spoil them
– Show them how the world outside their bubble lives
. . . . especially by focusing on individual examples
– Don’t bribe them for desired behaviors

I’m not sure I entirely agree with the last one — sometimes bribery can be a way to get the ball rolling, especially if it’s phrased as a token of appreciation for their help and accompanied by verbal appreciation as well; and in a short-term situation bribery can be the tool that gets everyone through. But by and large, these seem like time-honored and common sense strategies.

Do you consciously try to follow these or similar strategies? Is the list incomplete? Have you ever been startled by some piece of entitled or ungrateful behavior by your child or children?

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239 thoughts on “How Not to Raise Brats

  1. My adds:
    – they need to live with their decisions. Some of these are directly financial, like how to spend allowance money, some are time management as in get your homework / chores done before dinner and we can ____________________ (watch a movie, play a game, go for ice cream before bed etc). Might just sink in by the time they’re in HS so they’re not up late every night because they frittered away productive time earlier in the day. Maybe.
    – be polite. Please can be used in almost every situation. Please pass the salt. Will you please hang up your towels in the bathroom? At restaurants: I would like the spaghetti with meatballs, please. Thank you, or even just thanks, also. Almost every time. Por favor / gracias, s’il tu plait / merci etc are ok at home, too, if someone is starting a foreign language.

  2. This is something I think about often. My kids definitely act entitled at times. Going out to eat was a treat when I was a kid. It’s just a normal experience for my kids.

    I agree with the start as you mean to go on. Anything routine becomes an expectation whether good or bad. If we start getting a treat after a ball game, the kids expect it every time. If I expect their snacks to include a fruit, then they are fine with it.

  3. I agree with a lot of what she says. However, I bristle at the upper middle class/totebag soup kitchen/food bank volunteer job to teach appreciation and humility. I think it’s of limited use as a volunteer at a food bank is of vastly higher status than one getting food at a food bank. To get a real appreciation of their luck and the value of a dollar a low status Sweetgreens, supermarket type job is a far better option. Obviously, that won’t work for little kids but it’s an option for teens.

  4. Yeah, the “chocolate chip pancake” section hit a little close to home, given that I have periodically gone on “pancake strike” when my getting up at 7 on Sunday to make pancakes has resulted in “not that again” instead of “thank you best-mom-in-the-world.”

    I think “bribery” is confusing terminology, because what it means depends on whether you agree or disagree with the approach. E.g., to some people, tying allowance to chores is helping kids learn that they need to earn their own way; to others, “paying for chores” is bribery that will teach kids they have the right to opt out if they decide they don’t want the money.

    We had this fundamental disagreement with one of DD’s teachers in ES, who just couldn’t understand why DD couldn’t just sit still. We talked about DD’s ADHD diagnosis and made a variety of suggestions for how the teacher could prevent the kind of misbehavior that distracts the class (primarily by giving DD opportunities to get the wiggles out, like cleaning the board or running the attendance sheet to the office *before* the energy just spirals up to critical levels). Every single suggestion was rejected, because the teacher did not want to “reward bad behavior.” From my perspective, these were proactive interventions designed to prevent/divert a problem before it started; to the teacher, it was bribing a kid to behave. (Of course, since her fundamental belief appeared to be that “ADHD” is a bullshit diagnosis designed to justify behaviors caused by bad parenting, our conversation probably just reaffirmed to her that she was right — because of course only bad/lazy parents would make excuses for misbehavior and suggest bribery as a “cure”)

  5. “I bristle at the upper middle class/totebag soup kitchen/food bank volunteer job to teach appreciation and humility.”

    ITA. Not a big fan of one-time-a-year poverty tourism.

  6. I completely agree with making sure kids have lots of experience doing scut work; when younger it can be chores around the house, helping with clean up day at Little League, etc to send the message that this stuff does not happen by magic. When older, working at a menial retail, burger flipping, customer service job where dealing with a wide swath of the public many / most of whom are not ‘privileged’ is important especially in the “jobs I don’t want to do for the rest of my life” sense.

  7. “Going out to eat was a treat when I was a kid. It’s just a normal experience for my kids. ”

    Isn’t it more about you not wanting to cook, clean up, in the mood for something you wouldn’t make a home, etc. It’s not always about trying to give them a treat.

  8. o get a real appreciation of their luck and the value of a dollar a low status Sweetgreens, supermarket type job is a far better option.

    IMO, this is the biggest reason for teens to get jobs.

  9. “LfB – does your firm do one-off “let’s go paint a fence/ help at a soup kitchen” events?”

    No, we don’t — hallelujah. Or, if we do, I think they are through the DC office. Our “help the less fortunate work” tends to be more legal pro bono type, e.g., wills clinics, asylum applications. I actually wouldn’t mind a Habitat for Humanity day, because I think that organization has managed to develop a process that allows untrained volunteers-for-a-day to actually provide a useful service.

  10. customer service job where dealing with a wide swath of the public many / most of whom are not ‘privileged’ is important especially in the “jobs I don’t want to do for the rest of my life” sense.

    It’s also about dealing with the privileged when you’re in a very low status role. Working at Sweetgreen when some law firm partner screams at you because you added kale instead of arugula, for example.

  11. Isn’t it more about you not wanting to cook, clean up, in the mood for something you wouldn’t make a home, etc. It’s not always about trying to give them a treat.

    Right. Occasionally it is specifically as a treat or reward for the kids, but usually it’s because DW and I want to go out.

  12. We have rules of our house. We explain to the kids why those are in place and have explained that other families will have different priorities and schedules so what may work for them will not work for us. This has helped in setting overall expectations and provided a framework of what they can and cannot do.
    Their friends are aware of this and it helps my kids with a response that they will check with me and get back.
    For things that they want – we discuss the purchase, cost and benefit, decide whether it is worth it and the timing of it. There may be some whining but by and large this approach has worked.

  13. customer service job where dealing with a wide swath of the public many / most of whom are not ‘privileged’ is important especially in the “jobs I don’t want to do for the rest of my life” sense.

    It’s also for the exposure to the “not priviliged” who are working in these jobs because they are unable/unqualified to get anything better.

  14. ” Not a big fan of one-time-a-year poverty tourism.”

    Right. Although some charities rely on it because many of their regular volunteers take time off themselves around the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter big one-time days.

  15. “Going out to eat was a treat when I was a kid. It’s just a normal experience for my kids. ”
    Not so true in our house. While we go out to eat more than when I was a kid, we still mainly go out because it is a birthday or celebration, or we are taking relatives or out of towners around in NYC or we are on vacation. I don’t think we have gone out to eat for convenience in years. Part of it is that with 3 older kids, it is really expensive to go out. But also, it never seems all that convenient. If pressed for time, I would rather open some Chunky soup or make tunafish sandwiches than have to schlep everyone out the door.
    We do eat takeout pizza or Chinese on Friday nights, but that is also a “fun” thing – it is a long standing tradition of movie night.

  16. “’Going out to eat was a treat when I was a kid. It’s just a normal experience for my kids.’

    Isn’t it more about you not wanting to cook, clean up, in the mood for something you wouldn’t make a home, etc. It’s not always about trying to give them a treat.”

    Exactly. But the problem is the difference in mindset/expectations. Mom sees going out to eat as a special extra, because growing up, eating out was not just a treat, but a very rare one. Fast forward 30 years, mom now gets takeout or goes out to eat a couple of times a week, and mom’s kids see going out as normal part of daily life.

    Ergo, when mom suggests going out to dinner, she expects to hear this:

    “OMG THANK YOU, what an AWESOME mom you are to take us out!”

    What she actually hears is this:

    “I want Chinese, not pizza”
    “Why can’t we go to [superfancy place]?”
    “AGAIN? Ugh. Can’t I just stay home?”

    Resulting internal dialogue:

    Mom: I am raising a bunch of ungrateful, entitled twits. I am a failure as a mom, they need to get a $%@# job and see how the real world works.

    Kids: WTF got into mom?

    (not that, umm, I have any experience with this dynamic)

  17. But also, it never seems all that convenient. If pressed for time, I would rather open some Chunky soup or make tunafish sandwiches than have to schlep everyone out the door.

    I agree, and there are only two of us. But unfortunately DH would say that soup or a sandwich “isn’t dinner”. So I cook a lot. But Doordash is awesome.

  18. I have done food pantry with the kids about once a quarter. There are days when you just stock the shelves and don’t deal with the receipients of the food. There are other days where there is a line of people waiting and based on the number of people in the family you have to put together a food box. The very basic nature of the food box was eye opening to my kids. Only the staple foods were in there, no extras, no treats. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t put more food than was allotted. They were also very busy on their feet keeping up with the orders they got so I think it was a worthwhile experience for them.

  19. going out to eat…agree with all that’s been said.

    Adding: youngest just had his b’day and one of the gift cards he got was to Chipotle (could have been anywhere). My point is that even he, at 17, wants that kind of experience that he can share by going with friends (not buying for them) more than a thing (sporting good, game, book, anything tangible). I understand my parents or us saying no more stuff for the house, we’d rather have ‘an experience’. Yeah, it’s only 1 data point.

  20. But unfortunately DH would say that soup or a sandwich “isn’t dinner”.

    Because it’s not. He’s a very sensible guy.

    Not that I find anything wrong with MM’s choices. From what I can tell her out of pocket vacation budget (China, the Netherlands, etc.) is far higher than mine. Which is a perfectly valid choice.

  21. Mooshi – by “go out to eat” I mean go to a local pizza or burger joint, not a “real” restaurant. We very rarely do that. We also get meals delivered pretty regularly. It’s all about convenience for us.

  22. “We have rules of our house. We explain to the kids why those are in place and have explained that other families will have different priorities and schedules so what may work for them will not work for us.”

    +1 Just had this conversation last week. I have to say, some of my boys close friends are very spoiled (and it will only get worse if they go to private school). What is wrong with those parents? (kidding and yet not)

  23. Kerri, if you mean “go to McDonalds”, then I would say that most of us went out as often when we were kids as we do now. Most people I know grew up grabbing McDonalds for dinner after soccer practice

  24. Mooshi – Growing up, McDonald’s was a treat for us. As was Ponderosa, Swiss Chalet, Denny’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, you get the idea.

    By burger joint for my kids I mean Bareburger, Five Guys, Shake Shack and the like, so a step up from McD’s.

  25. There is a difference between “brat”, which is usually a term used by people who don’t have kids when they see a kid having a meltdown or talking too loudly or some other transgression, and “ungrateful/impolite” (not saying thank you when you should), and “entitled”.
    I try really hard to teach my kids to seem grateful – to say thank you, to wait for others to sit before eating, to ask if they can help out, and so on. It seems sometimes like a losing battle – the culture around us is so impolite. And I don’t think it is possible to raise nonentitled kids in much of Westchester. I supposed I could make my kids go to school in Mt Vernon or something like that. I wish our schools were more economically mixed.

  26. There’s a common thing here to spend several thousand dollars sending your high school kid to some terrible place for 10 days where they “volunteer” for 5 and vacation for 5 days. It is ridiculous! I have a friend who works with international children’s charities who says lots of those places have a room or a wall that “volunteers” just paint again and again.

  27. One of the reasons I love our babysitter is because he reinforces good manners – clearing up after dinner, saying please and thank you, pushing your chair back in and so on. Who taught him? His grandma.

  28. “But unfortunately DH would say that soup or a sandwich “isn’t dinner”.

    Because it’s not. He’s a very sensible guy. ”

    Rhett is Kenny Banya:

  29. “Kerri, if you mean “go to McDonalds”, then I would say that most of us went out as often when we were kids as we do now. Most people I know grew up grabbing McDonalds for dinner after soccer practice”

    There were far fewer options in between McDonald’s and Mendy’s.

    Noodles, Chipotle, Panera, Atlanta Bread, Quiznos, Five Guys; Red Robin, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday, etc., etc. didn’t really exist, or at least not at the saturation level they exist now.

  30. I definitely want my kids to have jobs as teenagers preferably in food service like being a host, bus boy, server. I learned a lot from my job as a waitress such as I never wanted to be a 36-year-old grandmother, or that my life was a heck of a lot easier than my 18-year-old coworker who had 3 kids by 3 different fathers, or that for some people they couldn’t understand how I never had gone to court or knew anyone who ever stayed married.

    In the last week or so my son has commented on different economic situations he’s seen. When we dropped a friend off who lives in a huge house, he commented on how big the house was and how they had their own park. Later that week he had a lot of questions about why there was a panhandler. When I said he didn’t have any money, he asked us how much money we had. When I said “enough”. He asked again more insistently. I said that we had enough for everything we need and for almost anything we want. He’s 6, so I figure that is enough for now. But this post and an earlier one about kids and finances has me thinking about the money messages my kids are learning.

  31. Both Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday existed when I was a kid, and were in the local mall. We considered them to be “fine dining”, although the standard choice for birthdays in my house was Red Lobster.

  32. My kids are rarely bratty over material things. For them it comes out at supper, when the first words out of their mouth are “chicken again?” or “I don’t feel like having spaghetti” or “I don’t like pork chops.”

    I cannot even tell you the number of times I have told them that until they are involved in the planning, shopping, and preparation, they’d better not voice one word of complaint. (I have no problem with constructive criticism, once you’ve actually tried the food. Last night’s pork chops were bought from a different grocery store than usual and we all agreed they were terrible.)

    This is the one area that makes. me. crazy.

  33. I used to work at a Ruby Tuesdays!

    It wasn’t the lack of availability of restaurants, it was more of a mindset that restaurants (all of them) were expensive and only for special occasions. How times have changed. My mom now goes to Starbuck’s nearly every day.

    I really struggle with this because on the one hand, love the convenience, on the other, my kids don’t view many things as “special”. Currently we’re working on what should be done simply by being a member of the family and what can earn you more allowance.

  34. I think there is a difference between being polite and being grateful. Being polite is a good life skill that we should teach our kids, but it doesn’t have any affect on them being grateful for the bounty of UMC life. It’s an essential social skill, and I emphasize it with DS.

    As for not being “spoiled”, I am totally against false constraints just to make kids feel more grateful/less entitled. If we can afford to do the activities the kids wants/buy the new version of the video game every year/buy an iPad/get the clothes he wants, and it’s something that we decide to prioritize as a family, I’m not going to falsely hold it back just to make him appreciate it more. Take that to an extreme and you get the person in the advice column someone posted here where the fiance doesn’t want to buy a “big” house that they can easily afford because “some people have less”. Well, some people have less than us, some people have more than us. We’ll decide how to spend our resources responsibilty. We have more than either DH or I had as a kid, and we are prioritizing different things than our parents did, but so what?

    DS does tend to throw fits sometimes that could be called as bratty, but that’s what kids do. We tell him it is not acceptable behavior, enforce consequences, and move on.

    Agree with Fred on living with decisions. Now they are small ones, we will see how well I do at that when they are bigger. Agree with limiting “bribe” situations (but my definition may vary).

  35. +1 Lark – the “ungrateful” behavior at this point is almost never over material things at this point. More like what is for dinner, having to go to bed, having to stop watching videos on You Tube to do a chore, etc. It does drive me bonkers, but we deal with it & move on. I don’t think it means he’s going to turn into a sneering Rich Kid of Instagram or anything.

  36. tcmama said “I definitely want my kids to have jobs as teenagers preferably in food service like being a host, bus boy, server. I learned a lot from my job as a waitress such as I never wanted to be a 36-year-old grandmother, or that my life was a heck of a lot easier than my 18-year-old coworker who had 3 kids by 3 different fathers, ”

    I worked fast food in late high school and early college. My co workers were all fellow teens who smoked dope on their breaks. There wasn’t much to learn from them. I have said this before – I never got any life lessons from working fast food. It was a paycheck.

    One summer, though, I was a camp counselor at a camp that was used by the city social services, so there were a lot of foster kids with us, and kids from families that were poor enough to get subsidized slots. That was an eye opener – the 6 year old who was in foster care after terrible abuse, and who clearly had RAD (though I did not know the term then). the 4 year old whose mother lied about her age to get her in, the 13 year old boys with knives. We took kids from 6 to 16, which was a terrible span. One day, one of the 6 year olds decided she had enough and ran away. we found her marching down the rural highway that we were located on.

  37. On bribing: I have no problem with rewards and incentives.

    We had a good example of this after the storm. We got home, and the kids didn’t want to help clean up the yard. They said (well, one said and one backed him up) that it was our house so we should be the ones to clean it up. I’m not gonna lie, I lost my shit over that one. (Tactic #147 – call them out on their bratty behavior in a memorable manner). I was so mad at them.

    For whatever reason, it actually sunk in. They worked like crazy the next 3 days, particularly our oldest. True physical labor for hours and hours. At the end of it all, my husband handed each a nice sum of $$ and said, thanks for all your hard work, this is how much I appreciate it.

    I thought that was the right thing to do. We didn’t give the choice of helping out, and we didn’t make a promise to pay, but when they turned their attitude around and were genuinely helpful, they got rewarded for it. I know many would disagree with that, and say the satisfaction of a job well done should be enough, but I think external rewards for kid of their age for that type of effort is more meaningful.

  38. Milo,

    Also, I looked up prices in 1971. Milk was $1.17/gallon and eggs were .45/dozen. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $6.97 and $2.80 respectively. The average price nationally today is $3.22 and $1.47. I bet, as a percentage of household income, dinner for 5 at Chili’s about the same price as a home cooked dinner was in 1971. If not even cheaper.

  39. The times that really stand out with my kids have been when they’ve complained about the pre-tidying for the cleaning lady, and complained about “having” to go out on the boat “AGAIN.” We’ve had some discussions about privilege in those instances, but I understand their points, too.

    They’re also homebodies who never feel like they have quite enough downtime at home to do their own thing (and we’ve reduced their extracurricular commitments over the years because of this) but as far as going out on a Friday night, it’s not a lack of appreciation from them because they take it for granted; rather, they often don’t want to leave the house at all and would rather we just throw together peanut butter and crackers or something.

    But overall, they’re grateful, and they’ve gotten very good at helping around the house with minimal complaints. They can reliably load and unload the dishwasher, they’re pretty good at cleaning up, and the most significant improvement over just a couple years ago is that when all the slightly damp, warm permanent press laundry is ready to be hung up, they can grab whatever belongs to them and hang it up themselves. That’s huge.

    They probably assume that all grandparents own waterfront houses, since that’s all they’ve ever known. But one of those peculiar things that kids unexpectedly zero in on was the fact that my parents’ house on the Bay is only one story. A few years ago, my daughter was commenting on this to my nephew when we were all at my parents’ house. My nephew responds “Well, my other set of grandparents [a retired tax attorney and teacher who live in an affluent 55+ community in California’s wine country and drive a 7-Series] live in a house that doesn’t have any stairs, either, and” he adds in a very grave, almost hushed voice as if this is the kind of information that we should keep just among ourselves, “it’s the ONLY HOUSE THEY OWN!”

  40. My kids are usually not bratty about the dinner choice, but can be horrible about the grocery store. I tell them “we are stopping at the grocery store because otherwise you will not be eating tonight”, only to get met with a chorus of “Its not faaaaaiiiiiiiir”. They are also beyond brat when it comes to picking up their messes – they all talk back in fact. I don’t know what to do about it. This has been a battle for a while. The usual incentives/disincentives don’t seem to help.

  41. How you speak to your parents is a big marker for me regarding “brattiness.” I could never accept any kind of rude response to something I had asked my kids to do – and they knew that if they were fresh to me in front of their friends I would embarrass them even more than I did by just existing. “Talking Back” to your parents is something I see a lot more now than I did when I was a kid. I feel like I succeeded somewhat because now my kids will give each other a wide-eyed glance when they hear some obnoxious kid be fresh to his parents, and say that they can’t imagine every talking to me or DH that way at way.

  42. @ Lark – I wouldn’t call that a bribe. I’d call that an unexpected reward. A bribe would be if you offered them money AFTER they refused in order to get them to do it. I would do what you did.

    @Milo – DS doesn’t see going to a restaurant as a treat either. He’d rather eat at home. We go out on Fridays for ourselves, and he complains about it/puts up with it.

  43. We go out for fast food/ fast casual on Sundays. The other days it is home cooking. We do try nicer local places now and then. Our schedule means that we rarely end up at Chik FIL A (closed on Sunday) so if on a week day we find ourselves out for a fast food place, that’s where we end up. It is funny that no fancy restaurant can compare to an weekday unexpected Chik FIL A visit.

  44. Big brat moment at the relatives – a few years back, when DS1 was around 10, we were at the relatives for Thanksgiving. One of the BILs brought his mom. She brought, as her contribution, a green jello salad – the big molded kind that were popular int he 60’s. Now I grew up with these, but they are not so common these days here in the Northeast (my sister tells me they are still very common in the South). DS1 looks at it and loudly says “What is it???” in a tone of horror. I started frantically shushing him, He continued, “that is really weird”. At that point, I dragged him out of the room and gave him the lecture on not saying anything if you can’t say something nice. He usually is good about stuff like that, but I think he was really thrown by the green molded jello salad. I made him take some and try it.

  45. “when it comes to picking up their messes”

    Are you talking about keeping their rooms neat? Our one hard-and-fast rule on that front is no food in the bedrooms, which limits a lot of health hazards. If they want to live in a stinky room because they leave their dirty clothes in their, that’s ok. Eventually they’ll want clean clothes so the dirty ones will get picked up and washed. DW gets more freaky about this than I do, but I figure that eventually they’ll grow out of that stage.

    Or are you talking about a mess left in the kitchen because they made something to eat and then left everything out for the next person to deal with (we call this ‘surgeon mentality’ with our middle kid who started doing it once he got to HS)? That will not fly. Clean up your own damn mess.

    And, since (usually) mom made dinner tonight without any of your help, and mom and I paid for the food, dishes you ate on, the house you live in, you sure as hell can clean the kitchen after the meal. That they completely get. Never an issue. I will do the cleaning especially if there’s a big mess and if the kid(s) helped with the prep.

  46. “Talking Back” to your parents is something I see a lot more now than I did when I was a kid.

    That’s one of the differences they noted between affluent parents and poor parents. Poor parents don’t put up with backtalk but affluent parents engage in endless rounds of negotiation and argument. The theory is the back and forth builds the verbal skills required to engage with the world at a high level.

  47. The talking back when asked to do something is really where we are struggling, and I don’t know what to do . I usually do lose it – it makes me really angry. But then I start yelling. And the kids roll their eyes. My DH says he would never have talked to his parents like that, but at the same time, he doesn’t do anything about it.

  48. and complained about “having” to go out on the boat “AGAIN.”

    We get this too, as well as “having” to go to the beach AGAIN. But, so long as those preferences are expressed politely, I understand and try to accommodate as best we can. Our kids would definitely prefer to come home on a Friday, strip off all their clothes, and not leave the house again until Monday morning. Things that are relaxing to us (boating) are not always relaxing to them, especially once school starts up. So we have definitely had a babysitter come on a Sunday afternoon and leave them while we go.

  49. Oh we have the chocolate chip pancake situation frequently. Oldest DD is just inconsolable when she finds out we “only have plain pancakes!” Our oldest gets an allowance and has chores that are hers (but I really need to add more) and she can help with bigger projects if she’d like to earn additional money. She is usually pretty helpful, the problem is the younger two aren’t sharing the weight of playroom and room pick up. I haven’t quite figured out what to do on this issue but need to think some more about it. They are okay on please and thank you.

    I’ve actually read that parents who act like going out to eat is this big treat are screwing up their children’s relationship with food so maybe it’s a good thing that our kids are blasé about it. We only go out with the kids two or three times per month and they don’t really care, a lot of times they’d rather us just make pizza at home and watch a movie. They are homebodies too and really like their downtime, which we for the most part accommodate. We’re on day four of our renovation and we still haven’t gone out to eat yet (there is a surprising amount of food you can cook between the grill/toaster oven/microwave and Instantpot.)

  50. “The theory is the back and forth builds the verbal skills required to engage with the world at a high level.”

    I’m affluent by the standards of those studies, and I don’t put up with what ssk is referring to as “backtalk” when it’s disrespectful, but I will happily engage in back and forth, and we do plenty of it. So there’s a balance. And if they’re really going to learn how to engage with the world at a high level, they need to learn how to do so respectfully and appropriately with someone who’s senior to them.

    And that brings me to my observation about Lark’s story. “It’s not OUR house” is precisely something that my daughter would say, and I’ve come to understand that she usually doesn’t intend it the way it sounds. She really is [and I hate to be one of those parents who says a bunch of claptrap to justify bratty behavior] just trying out different lines of reasoning and logic. I have more patience for it than my wife does.

  51. “I’ve actually read that parents who act like going out to eat is this big treat are screwing up their children’s relationship with food”

    Huh? Why? I do not get that one. I would think that treating special meals as, well, special would make them appreciate the food they eat more

  52. Rhett – To your point, I think the Chili’s grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese and honey mustard that I always ordered when we started going there around 1991 cost about $8.

    Today, it costs about $8.

  53. “but at the same time, he doesn’t do anything about it.”

    At one point DH told me that his mother would never have tolerated such and such behavior and looked at me as if I should do something. I replied, “Feel free to go parent.” DH and I are more on the same page these days. I am no longer the sole enforcer.

  54. My kids are growing up in such different circumstances than I did. I just don’t know. My husband grew up with a lot more money than I did and is super hard working and not a brat, so I try to follow his lead on things/how to handle things. He doesn’t tolerate sassiness at all (I think he probably comes down too hard on them sometimes about it) but will negotiate with them about a lot of things.

  55. I also have one that is a big back talker. He is a born negotiator/arguer, and I have learned that for him, talking back is a way of engaging me in the negotiation. If I’m arguing with him about the sassy comment he just made, then he’s NOT doing whatever it is I’ve asked him to do. So I have learned (painfully) to just walk away from sassy talk. Which FEELS like “allowing” it and therefore is hard for me to do. But engaging over it is rewarding to a kid who enjoys the tussle.

    Parenting is tough.

    (And despite the occasional back talk, he is the sweetest, most polite, good hearted kid, so that’s why I try my best to employ the strategy of disengage. If we had other issues with him that wouldn’t be the right approach).

    On cleaning up after themselves – why is this such a monumental difficulty for them? Drives me bananas. What we do is this – we will ask them once – please throw your wrappers in the trash, put your socks in laundry, etc. 50% of the time (okay, maybe 40%) of the time, they’ll do it. If they don’t do it, I go ahead and do it, but later in the day or week when they ask us to do something (like use a paypal account or drive them somewhere) we say no. “No. You did not clean up after yourself. Because a tidy house is important to me, I went ahead and did it. But I’m still a little irritated with you about it, so I’m not going change my schedule to give you a ride to the pool. You can ride your bike.” This strategy is mostly effective, and it does sink in.

    But again, parenting is tough.

  56. To Milo’s point – I do also agree that sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between disrespectful backtalk and just general negotiation, which is another reason I try to walk away.

    But the yard issue was a hill I was willing to die on.

  57. Kerri –

    Just had this conversation last week. I have to say, some of my boys close friends are very spoiled (and it will only get worse if they go to private school). What is wrong with those parents? (kidding and yet not)

    Ivy –

    If we can afford to do the activities the kids wants/buy the new version of the video game every year/buy an iPad/get the clothes he wants, and it’s something that we decide to prioritize as a family, I’m not going to falsely hold it back just to make him appreciate it more.

    So which is it? It would seem that the Totebag consensus is that kids are spoiled when they have all the material goods that they want at a level that we could not comfortably afford. But when they have everything they want that we can afford, that’s not spoiled, because we can afford it and that’s what we prioritize. If we could afford to throw them an eighth grade graduation weekend where we flew them and 20 of their friends in our private jet to St. Bart’s, and then they expected at least the same for their birthdays, is that spoiled, or would we be falsely denying them if we didn’t?

  58. Oh no backtalk here. If you disagree with something then give me a calm, well reasoned argument but none of this “I don’t wanna” or calling me or anyone else names. Like others my kids will turn to me and be like “that kid is terrible. Why does his mom let him talk to her that way?”

    I think it is important for them to see you being kind and thoughtful. I’m a big tipper and I always tell my kids, “when in doubt, round up. That extra dollar means more to them than to you.” I had all kinds of terrible jobs which I think humbled me and did make me appreciate a dollar. I think it also gave me the ability to get along with all different kinds of people. My husband always had nice internships but he is also very polity and thoughtful and kind so I don’t think it is a requirement to have a crap job. I am more empathic but I think that is simply my nature.

    @Milo – I found a house for you. Come, come over to Maryland! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2016/10/28/a-secluded-maryland-estate-is-a-spy-worthy-fortress/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_1_na#comments

  59. My kids have to deal with their grandparents. They are patient and suck in any sassiness. They do try to explain things and when that doesn’t work – they will disengage. I give them credit overall.
    When my parents are around, they deal with another set of view points. What helps I think is the underlying values of both sets of grandparents are the same.

  60. This is related. The woes of an MMM-devoted couple who have children at a relatively young age and stretch to buy a house in an older, established Totebaggy neighborhood with good schools only to find out that the neighbors are all a decade or more older, even though their kids are the same ages, and the neighbors can spend freely on home renovations and private school:

    http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/the-joneses-are-seriously-getting-me-down/?topicseen

  61. Milo – When my kid is whining that he wants an Xbox, Wii U and Playstation 4 because his friend Jacob has them, I am not going to rush out and buy all three for him, even though we could afford it. I don’t buy into the need to “keep up with the Jones'”. I will say, “Isn’t he lucky, in our house our rules are different.” If Jacob was a sweet, polite child I might not think he was spoiled. With the real “Jacob” I had in mind, he is not a sweet, polite child and is spoiled.

    Spoiled for me is not a child who has everything he wants, rather he is a child who feels entitled to everything he wants, demands it, gets it and doesn’t appreciate it (and often is rude as well).

  62. DH is always giving the kids gifts even if there is no occasion, and I probably go too far the other way – it’s been over a year since I put an American Girl doll in DD’s closet to motivate her to learn the times tables, and it is just gathering dust.

    She suggested I give it to her for her birthday but I’m holding out for those times tables :)

    Since I am not going to change DH, I am trying to make sure my kids really understand that what they have is unusual, both from a local and a global perspective. Mine are still relatively young, but every year at Christmas they make the Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes and I have them watch the videos about the kids who will only get one shoebox of gifts that year.

    My kids find the videos fascinating and will watch them one after the other.

    As they get older, we will do more hands-on volunteering, especially when it involves working with the beneficiaries (vs. just putting a gift in a box). I think that changes the mindset more than picking out something that I’m going to pay for anyway.

  63. “’The theory is the back and forth builds the verbal skills required to engage with the world at a high level.’

    I’m affluent by the standards of those studies, and I don’t put up with what ssk is referring to as “backtalk” when it’s disrespectful, but I will happily engage in back and forth, and we do plenty of it. So there’s a balance.”

    I’m also stuck in the middle on this one. Because on the one hand, I was raised to question authority, and I very much appreciate the ability to argue and logical reasoning and a quick wit. OTOH, sometimes I’m not so fond of authority being questioned when I’m it and something needs to get done. :-) So I am constantly finding a balance here. The primary rule is that yelling and being mean/saying hurtful things are a no-go (as was whining in younger days — quickest route *not* to get what you asked for). But if it’s some kind of perfectly-appropriate comeback that nails me to the wall, part of me wants to go all Eric Cartman at being the butt of the joke, but I have to stop myself and laugh and say “good one.” Similarly, when she can logically discuss and try to persuade me on something, I am good with it — but once I’ve already said no and she just keeps saying “why” or arguing with me, then I whip out the standard parental tropes (“because I said so”; “just because I didn’t give you the answer you wanted doesn’t mean I didn’t give you an answer”).

    I’m 100% confident that at various times, I have totally screwed up and gone too far in one direction or the other (or, on a bad day, both). But life is messy and imperfect, and so am I, and I’m learning to maybe expect a little less perfection out of myself on this kind of thing.

  64. “I found a house for you. Come, come over to Maryland! ”

    It’s a beautiful house. But if you’ll allow me to brag a little bit, I can tell you that the water views will not hold a candle to what my parents have and what my in-laws’ have. In each of their houses, you can stand in the family room, or the back deck, or — in my in-laws’ house — the second-floor back bedrooms and feel like you’re on the deck of a ship. They are much closer to much more expansive, 180-degree water views.

    It’s pretty spectacular, in fact. From my in-laws’ back deck, you can simultaneously watch July 4th firework shows in Baltimore, Annapolis, and St. Michaels.

  65. “then I whip out the standard parental tropes (“because I said so”; “just because I didn’t give you the answer you wanted doesn’t mean I didn’t give you an answer”). ”

    Sometimes “because I said so” happens in the adult/corporate world, too. They might as well get used to it.

  66. “From my in-laws’ back deck, you can simultaneously watch July 4th firework shows in Baltimore, Annapolis, and St. Michaels.”

    Do they need a tenant? Another adopted child?

    A big water view is my not-so-secret vice — every HH I am rooting for the house that is right on the water. I don’t even want to get wet; I just want to sit on that deck/patio/balcony all day.

  67. Spoiled for me is not a child who has everything he wants, rather he is a child who feels entitled to everything he wants, demands it, gets it and doesn’t appreciate it (and often is rude as well).

    This 100 times.

  68. “A big water view is my not-so-secret vice ”

    You and DH could commute from Gibson Island.

  69. We live on an older street of the nicest neighborhood in town

    That doesn’t seem like a “for the schools” issue. Are there towns where the school quality varies that much by neighborhood?

  70. When younger our kids definitely preferred peanut butter sandwiches and another round of Star Wars to going out. If we let them eat the sandwiches in front of the tv, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven.
    It’s nice to know we aren’t the only parents with homebodies who cherish their down time.
    The talking back thing is awful. My most effective response was NOT to yell but silence. And then calmly asking them to rephrase their comment.

  71. We haven’t crossed this bridge yet – my son is a brat because he’s 21 months and lacks language skills to complain like a proper person. He was going through a drawer and I said “No, let’s play with your blocks.” and he looked at me, screamed, ran out of the room and plopped himself on the floor in the kitchen and cried. About a minute later he came back all smiles and wanting to play with the blocks. He’s also very entitled and demanding. Just as you sit down he’ll grab your arm and lead you to the kitchen where he will try to open the fridge door. Once the door is open he’ll point to his milk and grunt. Sometimes he’ll say “mok” and grunt again as if to say “hurry up you peon”. Once you give him his milk, he just walks away. Damn dictator.

  72. Milo – I think in time, the MMM poster’s neighborhood will settle into a groove and not all people will end up sending their kids to private school. The newness of everyone’s situation will wear off and some of it changes over time.

  73. “Interesting that they went with fall photos.”

    Strategic. Enough had already fallen so that the water views were more prominent, but there was still sufficient foliage to not appear winter bleak.

    I don’t think those are current photos. We haven’t reached peak color yet here, so they’re at least a year old.

  74. you know what, that’s not even a waterfront. they’re being coy with that picture of the view. I think that view is looking from the front porch, across the street, out to the bay.

  75. When we moved here 8 years ago, we joined the country club down the street for the pools. This is a very middlebrow club, nothing like the ones we couldn’t afford in DC. But the boys, then teenagers, noticed the entitlement mentality among the other kids. As in, they left their towels on the floor in the locker room and spoke rudely to the front desk person. Many people think of McLean as a bastion of UMC privilege but that was not our experience. Lots of Totebaggy people there who pick up their own towels at the neighborhood pool because the club doesn’t provide them. But also virtually zero exposure to other white people who aren’t UMC. Here it’s impossible not to remember that you’re in the 1% because you are surrounded by the 47%. I don’t know, maybe being regarded as “rich” makes these kids behave as entitled brats even though if they moved to DC they wouldn’t be able to afford McLean.

  76. they’re being coy with that picture of the view.

    I can imagine someone buying it as a summer home due to the water view only to find out come summer that they have no actual water view. I wonder if they have a duty to disclose?

  77. “I wonder if they have a duty to disclose?”

    “Buyer be warned: Leaves come out in the Spring!”

    And don’t think you can just cut down the trees, either. Ohhhh, no.

    People will try to poison them, of course.

  78. duty to disclose?

    if the water view is mentioned in the marketing of the place, I say yes. But the listing says “…with mature trees…” and nothing about the water view.

    caveat emptor.

  79. Rhode – love your description of the little dictator and his grunting.

    I did not abide back talk and entitlement/lack of appreciation. Those two things, along with a refusal to take personal responsibility, are/were my big things. I was perhaps overly strict on these issues, to pretty much a zero tolerance level. OTOH, I don’t see any of this at all from DS or DD (who are older than all the kids you’re all talking about so certainly should be better on these scores) and haven’t for some years, so I don’t regret my strictness there.

    That said, I was all for polite and respectful negotiation, and I would guess I gave in more than not at those times because the kids’ position was often more reasonable than mine (my position often being a knee jerk reaction not entirely thought through).

  80. Ergo, when mom suggests going out to dinner, she expects to hear this:

    “OMG THANK YOU, what an AWESOME mom you are to take us out!”

    I think that’s a matter of managing mom’s expectations, because going out to eat isn’t a huge deal to the kids.

  81. The guy who built my in-laws’ place was not a Totebaggy person by any means. He was an affluent homebuilder who did very well in the real estate boom, and he was the kind of person who had a cigarette/formula racing boat at the club, and a Dodge Viper in the garage. Not trawlers and MDX’s like a respectable person.

    He also had little patience for the myriad of building and environmental regulations as it pertains to waterfront development, and with his own house, adopted the attitude of do whatever you want and ask forgiveness later. (Not unlike some of our politicians, to be fair.) So the house is much closer to the water than would otherwise be allowed. The issue is that the Bay regulations require a certain amount of permeable land to filter the fertilizers and whatnot from water runoff.

    And then the builder lost everything in the housing bust, and the house nearly went into foreclosure before my in-laws swooped in with cash. Even still, he lied about having a pier permit in place; there wasn’t one. So FIL had to tread very lightly with the environmental regulators to get what he wanted, upgrading the seawall, building a dock, etc. It certainly helped to not be the same person who committed the initial offense.

    Still, they’d never be allowed to do anything like even screen in their back deck, because a deck is permeable to rain water, but a roof over a porch is not.

  82. “Spoiled for me is not a child who has everything he wants, rather he is a child who feels entitled to everything he wants, demands it, gets it and doesn’t appreciate it (and often is rude as well).”

    Agreed.

    @Milo – I guess I’m disagreeing with the Totebag consensus to a point. Am I going to buy multiple game systems for my kid? No. Could I technically afford to? Sure. But I’m also not going to specifically hold back buying one because it’s character building or because I worry that it will make him spoiled because his neighbor doesn’t have one. If I were wealthy, I wouldn’t hold back a trip to St Bart’s either to make a point. It’s not so much that I would buy anything he wants, but that the justification for saying “no” is never “well, but that would spoil him”. It is “well, we don’t need any more crap” or “I’d really rather spend the money on something else” or whatever.

    Conversely, I am pro UMC teenagers having a job as a way to earn/spend their own money with low stakes, to have another social circle outside of their school, and to learn how to be an employee (again with low stakes).

    @Lark – those are exactly the types of messes that I am talking about. DS’s possessions migrate all over the house, and so does his garbage and dirty laundry. We have frequent standoffs about him picking up his damn socks rather than jamming them into the seat cushions of the couch or leaving them on the floor in the middle of the hallway. It is like Groundhog Day because the scene never changes – he still doesn’t just do it himself, and I am never not going to be annoyed that he won’t.

  83. Ivy/Lark – we have a friend who used to put things his son left lying around–socks, dirty dishes, etc–into the kid’s backpack. So the kid would get to school and pull out all this crap–plates with crumbs and jam stuck on it, dirty clothes, etc. This was when the kid was in HS, and after a week or so of being embarrassed and grossed out by the contents of his backpack, he cleaned up his act at home, evidently. Sounded brilliant to me, though I never did it myself.

  84. Scarlett – I agree with your assessment. The kids around here have a lot. But almost all of the teenagers I have run in to have been polite and respectful.

    Here in the great commonwealth of VA, we don’t really have to disclose anything. Caveat emptor. The people’s republic of MD requires some disclosures, but I doubt about the view. You can look with your own eyeballs if you want.

  85. “Here in the great commonwealth of VA”

    Which reminds me – I’m currently reading COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett. Highly recommend. (And if you haven’t read her BEL CANTO, I recommend that one, too).

    Related, tonight we’re seeing A MAN CALLED OVE at the theater. Based on the book, which I really enjoyed. Entertaining and endearing. He has two others out as well — MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY (just finished — quite entertaining, as is OVE) and BRITT MARIE WAS HERE which relates to GRANDMOTHER (Britt Marie is a character in GRANDMOTHER).

  86. Milo,

    In CA a seller is required to disclose anything that could materially impact the buyers willingness to buy the property. Do you think more states should require such disclosure?

  87. “Do you think more states should require such disclosure?”

    No, it’s too vague and, in the aggregate, only adds unnecessary friction to the cost of doing business and the free flow of capital.

  88. Rhett – what is the standard? Reasonable person’s view on what materially affects the decision? Those types of things are hard because they are always judged with hindsight. I would rather have a list of things to check off – either I know of a problem with a particular thing or I don’t. But the nebulous standards make me nervous.

  89. Milo,

    only adds unnecessary friction to the cost of doing business and the free flow of capital.

    Isn’t that the opposites of what conservatives usually think? Rather than regulations we should just require disclosure.

  90. Noodles, Chipotle, Panera, Atlanta Bread, Quiznos, Five Guys; Red Robin, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday, etc., etc. didn’t really exist, or at least not at the saturation level they exist now.

    We had Friendly’s and some local places that were very similar.

  91. Reasonable person’s view on what materially affects the decision?

    There is a standard checklist but there is also a duty to disclose. I’m not sure what the standard is.

  92. “Isn’t that the opposites of what conservatives usually think? Rather than regulations we should just require disclosure.”

    Disclosure of what? (As Kate alluded to.) It gets really humid around my house in the summer; the woods contribute to that. Tons of leaves fall every Autumn, and it requires several afternoons of leaf blowing. The screened porch is awesome, but you may not realize that the pollen from the oak trees means that, for about four weeks in the Spring, every surface on the porch will be covered in yellow dust that may trigger an allergic reaction. My neighbor three houses down (already mentioned her drama to you) has a kid that likes to show another neighbor’s son porn on his iPhone — since banned from their house. I’ve had a refrigerant leak repaired on the upstairs HVAC system. I think that the problem’s been fixed, but I’m not entirely sure. There’s a black bear wandering the neighborhood at night, smashing people’s bird feeders and eating the contents. There’s also a small pack of coyotes roaming through at times. I think there may be a badger.

  93. Disclosure of what?

    Anything a jury would agree would have resulted in them not buying the house, I presume.

  94. “Anything a jury would agree would have resulted in them not buying the house, I presume.”

    So now, in order to sell my house, I need to carry additional insurance in case I need to defend myself from a civil suit? No thanks.

  95. We rarely eat out — pretty much it’s when we’re on a trip, or for a birthday, or maybe once a year when we’re going to a play or something downtown and decide to eat dinner out beforehand. And my kids do consider it an occasion, but they still don’t say “Oh thank you wonderful mother!” What I would really like is to have zero squabbling on such occasions . . . but there’s no treat so big that it will completely deter them from squabbling. We could be in a stretch limo stocked with favorite treats, with the streets cleared of traffic just for us, on our way to a new Minecraft theme park, and we’d still be hearing “I claimed the side with all the Calpico” “Well you weren’t there, you were over eating the skewers, so it’s mine now!”

    We get takeout so infrequently that it works as a treat / bribe. Like, we got pizza as a treat for dinner after the PSAT.

  96. in order to sell my house, I need to carry additional insurance in case I need to defend myself from a civil suit?

    I think I’ve mentioned an old co-worker who was spending a few grand a month defending himself from the disgruntled buyer of his old house. And that’s under the current system.

  97. Scarlett- that point about the difference between the two places you’ve lived is very interesting. I think I’ve observed similar dynamics in places I’ve lived.

  98. “I think that’s a matter of managing mom’s expectations, because going out to eat isn’t a huge deal to the kids.”

    Well, yes, that would be the ultimate lesson here. Some of us just dislike acknowledging that our kids are closer to reality than we are. :-)

    “we have a friend who used to put things his son left lying around–socks, dirty dishes, etc–into the kid’s backpack.”

    I have posted a fine schedule on the fridge, assessed every night after kids go to bed. It goes as follows:

    50c for a piece of trash lying around
    $1 for a dish lying around.
    Anything left on the island is mine. I can toss it, keep it, or ransom it in my sole discretion.
    Anything left on the ground that the cats pee on is trashed immediately. Even if it’s your only copy of your project that is 50% of your grade. Sorry. Sucks to be you.

    The island has been a total fail, because most of the stuff they leave on the island is stuff they don’t care about, so I still end up cleaning up their trash. The dish/trash fines have been much more effective, since both of my kids are now at a point where they want more $ for larger toys (even DS has now made the switch from Minecraft to playing PS4 online with his buddies, which apparently requires subscriptions, games, “map” packages, etc.).

    @Milo, you totally had me on that house, before you went and ruined it with the tree thing. Although for me, you’d still need to divide the list price by 3-4. :-)

  99. For those who don’t tolerate the sassy talk/back talk – do you have children (like one of mine) that actually routinely engaged in it and delighted in pushing the buttons, and you found effective ways to shut it down, or do you have children (like the other one of mine) that only occasionally tried it out, found the consequence not to their liking, and abandoned it pretty quickly?

    I really do want to know, absolutely no snark here. I am always curious how much parents who say they don’t tolerate a certain behavior were really tested by their kids.

    For example, my talk-back kid is an unbelievably polite kid to other adults. He looks them in the eye, shakes hands, responds in full sentences to questions and even follows up with questions of his own. I am occassionally complimented on “teaching” him this, but the truth is he pretty much did it on his own. I believe the 2 go hand in hand – he is not particularly intimidated by adults, so he is sassy with me, but the flip side of the coin is that because he’s not intimidated, he’s able to engage well.

  100. I don’t know, maybe being regarded as “rich” makes these kids behave as entitled brats even though if they moved to DC they wouldn’t be able to afford McLean.

    That makes sense. When I was working out in the Midwest I noticed that there was a pretty low limit on how well you could live. It wasn’t like if you made $500k you’d run into a bunch of people making $5 million that would make you feel poor.

  101. Also, just for more context, I think I get true sassy/back talk about once/week. This is not a daily occurrence, but when it happens he is COMMITTED to it.

  102. “Milo, you just need to live where there will be a jury of your peers.”

    There’s some woman on my Nextdoor.com who recently moved into the neighborhood, and she must just be playing us to see how dumb she can make her posts before people realize that it’s fake.

    In the most recent one, she was horrified and wanted to warn everyone that the builders are so careless that they left hundreds of nails sticking up on her stairs. Don’t they realize that she has a four-year-old, and another child who’s about to start walking everywhere? Her boy stepped on one of these nails and it went right through his toe. They’re on the carpeted stairs, on the edge. Her husband pulled up the carpet and they couldn’t believe it — they were everywhere.

    Someone replied “you mean the tacks that hold the carpet in place?”

    And WCE will appreciate this. A couple weeks ago, she heard from someone else that there was a man spotted in the area, walking out of the woods, with his face painted. Just be careful, watch your little ones, there are a LOT of crazies out there. It’s scary.

    And a few guys replied “Ummm, when you say ‘painted,’ are we talking clown or camo?”

    “I don’t know, just what I heard.”

    “Because you should realize that just down the road is a private hunting reserve. This shouldn’t scare you too much unless you’re a deer.”

  103. “you found effective ways to shut it down”

    I can be scary if I want to be. I learned it junior year of college. My DW can’t.

  104. she must just be playing us to see how dumb she can make her posts before people realize that it’s fake.

    I doubt that.

  105. “For those who don’t tolerate the sassy talk/back talk – do you have children (like one of mine) that actually routinely engaged in it and delighted in pushing the buttons, and you found effective ways to shut it down,”

    See, this is part of the reaon why I tolerate it, within reason. Because DD is *totally* an arguer, and the only thing that consistently shuts her down is when DH pulled out his “angry bear” voice and scares the hell out of her, and I didn’t really see that as the preferred long-term parenting option. So I worked on setting boundaries for tolerable back-talk (e.g., it needs to be funny/clever/logical, not mean) instead of shutting it down entirely.

    Sort of like the “sit still at school” issue, just verbal. Fundamentally, this kid is a force of nature — you’re not going to stop her without breaking her in half, so better to focus on directing that force in a reasonable direction.

  106. do you have children (like one of mine) that actually routinely engaged in it and delighted in pushing the buttons, and you found effective ways to shut it down

    My youngest spent our entire recent trip saying “Your FACE is [phrase someone just said].” We were snarky about the retort (“Oh, is this the latest in trenchant 7th grade witticisms?”), ignored a lot of it, and made some effort to speak in a way that wouldn’t provide a useful set-up. “My, this morning is fresh and pleasant.” “Your FACE is fresh and pleasant!” It helped that the older two were also unimpressed with the ‘your face’ retort and eventually were able to mostly ignore it.

  107. I don’t have an opinion about Baby WCE yet, but the boys are mostly unkind but not entitled. They are unable to ignore brotherly offense and most of my parenting is devoted to keeping the sibling rivalry/fighting under control. They are sometimes kind to other children, but in general, they are thoughtless rather than unkind.

    “Entitled” is a whole can of worms that depends on definition. We rarely eat out, but when I pull out the organized-and-correctly-fitting boots and snowpants, I don’t expect my children to be grateful that they have appropriate clothing for cold, wet weather. Maybe I should. When we go to the dentist (or eventually, orthodontist), I don’t expect them to be grateful that they are getting their teeth cleaned, filled, sealed or straightened. I just tell them what we’re doing and expect them to behave. We just bought a quarter of a beef that I expect to be very good, but my children probably won’t realize they are eating great beef because they’ve never had cheap hamburger. And Mr WCE and I agreed when we were dating and helped friends-with-no-money to move that we would both politely eat a piece of Little Caesar’s pizza, but we would never go there as the two of us.

  108. Rhett,

    Making of a Murderer had so much Totebag catnip, but I probably missed all of the discussions back when the program originally aired. Or streamed or whatever Netflix does. Anyhow, one bit that instantly made me think of this group was a comment by the Calumet County DA, who truly thought he was the “prize” because “I have the $350,000 house.”

  109. I can’t find the Election page from my phone, so my apologies. I am waiting to vote right now (with both kids) and there was someone videotaping the line of people waiting to vote. That is so bizarre to me. The line reflects the diversity of Houston, so looks exactly as I would expect it to

  110. “my children probably won’t realize they are eating great beef because they’ve never had cheap hamburger”

    But someday they will, probably at a friend’s house, after which you can have the conversation with them about not pointing out that your family knows what good ground meat tastes like.

  111. Milo – I’m coming for fourth of july then! I wouldn’t go to the mall if you had a gun to my head!

  112. I also happen to think that freaking out and yelling at your kids is important. I think it is good for them to know that people have limits and when you push to far you are gonna get the heat. I can’t believe that Caillou’s mom hasn’t ever lost her $hit on that kid!

  113. @ Scarlett – I’m not talking about silly stuff ( “YOUR FACE” ) – that stuff I have no problem with.

    More like the yard example – “t’s your house, not mine, so I shouldn’t have to help you clean it up.” Or, more egregiously, “come clean up this mess” “later” “now” “quit being so annoying, you’re not the queen” or something like that. Those things pop out rarely, but they make my blood boil.

  114. Anyhow, one bit that instantly made me think of this group was a comment by the Calumet County DA, who truly thought he was the “prize” because “I have the $350,000 house.”

    Hah, I recall watching a House Hunters and the guy and his wife we’re buying a $500k house and they carried on like they were the king and queen of the world.

  115. Lark,
    Yes, those are actionable comments. Would your child respond to instant fines that double with every subsequent sassy comeback?

  116. “I am always curious how much parents who say they don’t tolerate a certain behavior were really tested by their kids.”

    I wonder about that also. Totebaggers are a pretty compliant bunch, and I think they stand a more than fair chance of having equally compliant children. If you have a kid who tends to be oppositional defiant then it takes a lot more parenting energy and skill to manage that.

  117. “Milo – I’m coming for fourth of july then! I wouldn’t go to the mall if you had a gun to my head!”

    We watched from the deck when the kids were young and sleeping. Now I make everyone trudge with our camp chairs to the Naval Academy seawall. There’s nothing like it, and I’ve seen fireworks in a lot of places.

    You’re welcome to join us. Last year I ran into my senior prom date, who happened to set up right next to us with her family while DW and I were getting caramel corn, and she’s looking at my kids, who were being watched by Grandpa, thinking “I know them from Facebook, but who?”

  118. “Hah, I recall watching a House Hunters and the guy and his wife we’re buying a $500k house and they carried on like they were the king and queen of the world.”

    Were those the lottery winners? I saw one like that recently where the couple won $1 million iirc, and they were going on about how unbelievable it was that they were going to buy a $500k (iirc again) house. Never in their dreams could they have imagined it.

  119. “quit being so annoying, you’re not the queen”

    Lark, to me that is incredibly disrespectful, and goes far beyond normal talking back. For comparison sake, I’ve never had a kid say anything close to this rude to me, ever.

    I’d go zero tolerance on that sort of thing, with a punishment that is both swift and severe. Like, immediate loss of whatever’s most important to him at the time, and no getting it back until the allotted time of loss is up AND he has sincerely apologized for speaking so disrespectfully to you. If it happens again, I’d increase the punishment.

    I’d personally make it so severe there’s no way on earth the kid would ever dare talk to me like that again. And a “Don’t you dare talk to your mother that way!” from your DH would be a good add, too. It’s not okay for kids to speak to their parents that way or for males to speak to females that way — not sure which is going on here (kid/parent or chauvinism of some kind) but either way, good for your DH to get in there and show, as a man, he feels it’s out of line too.

    Obviously my two cents, and I’ve established I’m pretty strict about this sort of thing, so my way may certainly not be everyone else’s.

  120. Someone upthread noted the conflict between wanting to give kids a reasonable idea of what sort of lifestyle is typical, and wanting to give them things they want that you can readily afford. It’s an interesting question and I’ve been rolling it over in the back of my mind. I think the balance between those two has got to be subjective, and is going to be based on the society you’re preparing the kids to live in. To use history as an example, no one is going to raise their kids to think that after the 8th grade they should be prepared to leave school and work to support the family or that everyday meals will consist mainly of bread / potatoes / cornmeal mush with pickles and preserves on the side and maybe some cheese and a little salt pork, with fresh vegetables only in season and fresh meat only around slaughter time or for special occasions (killing a turkey for a holiday meal), and a bath once a week at best in tepid water because everyone’s using the same water from the head of the household on down, yet 150 years ago these would have been very normal expectations for much of the population and a child raised to expect to go on to high school and then college and to have hothouse vegetables and fruits all year and chicken so often that it becomes boring and daily hot baths would presumably be from a rich family, and would seem entitled to the average family. So who’s right? Well, that depends on where you expect them to be as an adult.

    I think the problem is that apart from time travel novels and reality tv shows, we have no reason to think that our children would have any cause to live a typical 19c lifestyle or interact with people who are themselves accustomed to that lifestyle, whereas there’s every reason to think that they will at least interact with people raised with what might be an average lifestyle for today, and they are likely to have some cause to live modestly at least as young adults, so even if we could provide everything they want all the time, we’d have reason not to if it’s going to give them a completely false idea of what everyday life is like for most people in their culture. On the other hand, if you’re living temporarily in rural Botswana, no matter how gung-ho you are about trying the local foods and participating in the culture you’re still going to insist on American-style expectations of education and medical care because you see their long-term futures in American society, not in Botswana.

  121. We’ve had the “It’s not my house” but we just respond with, “But you live here” and enforce the cleanup expectation.

    I dealt with egregious backtalk by DS1 (my definition, different situation but intolerable) by leaving DS1 in the dark and the rain (with a coat) for a couple hours until he was ready to comply and apologize.

  122. Lark,

    It took a while to get my kids to censor their knee-jerk reactions to having to help around the house. One thing I did was to give them plenty of warning about these kinds of tasks, and to allow them to decide when to do it. “We need to pick up sticks in the yard. Do you want to do it now, or in an hour?” When we had a huge pile of mulch to move, they were totally not thrilled but they did it. One of them sang slave-era spirituals while he loaded the wheelbarrows. When they were done, I gave them each $30, and they were so grateful because they expected nothing. Ordinarily, we didn’t pay them to do ordinary chores; when they asked how much they would get, DH’s standard response was “I won’t charge you room and board.”

    Last time college DS stopped by the house, I needed him for about 10 minutes to bring in some heavy container trees from the deck. I knew he would not be happy so I bribed him with $20 and he was thrilled. He would have to work much longer at his campus job to clear that much. I would probably have slipped him $20 anyhow, so it was a win-win. However, if the older boys found out, they would be annoyed and claim that I was spoiling him, and that back in their day they had to move the plants in and out of the house without a bribe.

  123. Lark, that kind of comment would get the pause, the icy stare, the “I BEG your pardon?” until eventually rephrased. Assuming no underlying excuse (kid running a fever or is way behind on sleep or something) I’d choose that battle to fight.

    more than fair chance of having equally compliant children

    You’re not talking about all of us, are you?

  124. I have said this before – I never got any life lessons from working fast food. It was a paycheck.

    You didn’t learn the “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life” lesson?

  125. For comparison sake, I’ve never had a kid say anything close to this rude to me, ever.

    But that’s sort of my point. I’m not sure that your kids don’t say things like that because you’re strict. I think your kids don’t say that because…they don’t say that. They’re not wired that way. I think if they were wired that way, you would quickly find that being strict escalates, rather than prevents or discourages, such interactions.

    I’m pretty confident on this point, because I have one of each. One of mine would never, ever in a million years dream of saying that. In fact one time he called me dumb and immediately burst into tears. He’s the kind that makes a rare poor choice, gets a firm consequence, and doesn’t make that choice ever again. If he were my only kid, I’d be CERTAIN that my parenting directly correlated to his behavior.

    MY other kid will say that sort of thing because he’s likes the rise it gets. He’s interested in the ‘dance.’ He WANTS the fight, because if we’re fighting, we’re not focusing on the fact that he hasn’t picked up whatever it is I asked him to. And this is why just walking away, but extracting a rueful price down the road is a much better approach for me. (“Sorry dude, you were kind of a jerk about cleaning up your stuff this morning, so no, I’m not going to run you to the store to get an itunes card.)

  126. HM, if I recall 7th grade correctly (and sadly, I do), I believe that you can respond to the “your FACE” stuff with “I know you are but what am I?” over and over and over until they subside.

  127. why just walking away, but extracting a rueful price down the road is a much better approach for me. (“Sorry dude, you were kind of a jerk about cleaning up your stuff this morning, so no, I’m not going to run you to the store to get an itunes card.)

    Lark, I’ve had that happen. For me, if I sensed that it was being used as a distraction (and it happens) I’d say something like, “That’s inappropriate and disrespectful. You still have to [whatever it was]. If it’s not done by [time], then [consequence — depends on the kid.]”

  128. I got a comment from my kid last week that I would define as bratty and spoiled. It concerns this party to celebrate after the religious service. I would have skipped the big party party, but she wants to celebrate with all of her camp and school friends. It is time to start selecting invitations, and I took her with me to the invite person to get her input on colors etc. She was very polite, decisive and mature in the meeting with the invitation person, but she was nasty to me as soon as we got back to our car. She told me that I was ruining her party because I wanted her to have a paper invitation, and there was no “wow” factor. She was acting as if paper wasn’t good enough because other kids use plastic, lucite, t shirts, metal, wood, view finders etc. That’s just about 10% of the kids, and most kids still invite via evite/paperless post or plain old paper. The kids post the invites on Instagram or Snapchat, so I didn’t realize that she knew about all of this “wow” stuff because our town is more of evite/paper.

    I explained that I am not going to spend thousands of $ on an invitation that is going to a bunch of 12 year olds even if I had all of the $ in the world. I think she understood after I finally explained to her how much money was involved, and why it was such as waste of $.

  129. HM actually, Botswana is very advanced. Universal free mandatory education through 9th grade, free medical care, social safety net, environmental focus. Interesting history of nation formation you can look it up I am on a bus now too much to type in.. Zambia OTOH is an example of persistent poverty and illiteracy.

    For my kids, working as a town rec dept counselor was a lot more like mooshis experience than working food service, which was hard work with people with few prospects

  130. Lark – you may be right that he’s a standard deviation removed from the median Totebag kid, but your response suggests that you don’t place a terribly high importance on speaking respectfully if the only response is that his iTunes card is delayed, and this happens weekly, more or less.

    To cite Rhett’s analogy, if he were a standard deviation removed in Math ability, you’d be less sanguine.

    That’s not to say anything needs to change, necessarily, but if you want it to change, I don’t think ignoring it until he wants an iTunes card is going to be effective, nor do I think it really matters whether others’ kids are more naturally respectful or not.

    That probably sounds harsh, and it’s not intended to be, but consider how much you really value it, and are you just giving up to keep the peace, because you really don’t care that much?

  131. @ RMS – It’s definitely more effective than getting mad, unless I am really willing to lose my temper (as I did over the yard, which I think was appropriate, but am not willing to do over dirty socks or granola wrappers). And, he’s a kid with a very strong moral compass. If he’s going to do something, it’s going to be because he believes it is the right thing to do, not because someone told him to do it. (And yet he follows school rules 100% – honor roll, never EVER in trouble, teachers love him)

    Another flip side of it – he’s pretty impervious to peer pressure. He just isn’t that concerned about what other people think of him. (Which, among his peers, makes him weirdly more popular rather than less). He’s never one to get pressured into do something, ever. It’s pretty interesting. I’m always trying to figure out what job would be a good one for this kid.

    His compliant brother, on the other hand, is very susceptible to peer pressure, knows who’s cool, who isn’t, always has the pulse of the room.

    I just find their personalities fascinating, and I’m not really convinced there’s much I do that makes them one way or the other.

  132. Thanks, Mémé, that’s interesting to know. I thought the just-north-of-South-Africa countries were all at a similar level and it’s good to learn otherwise.

  133. I agree w/ Scarlett’s idea about giving warning re: chores and some leeway over timing. Other ideas:

    1. Sometimes, I would thank them before they had a chance to respond. “If you kids could pick up all the x, y, z before dinner, that would be great THANKS SO MUCH!” And I’d beam at them as though they had offered it themselves. Hard for a kid to resist being beamed at like they’re awesome, or to ruin the moment with whining. (Hard. Not impossible).

    2. If there was whining about simple chores, I would tell them they obviously found simple chores to be way too big a deal, based on all the whining. So we needed to solve that problem by making them USED TO DOING CHORES. For that reason, I’d be doubling the chores I had just asked them to do. And I would tell them that if they whined about chores in the future, that would be an indication that they had gotten out of practice again, and needed a doubling up again.

    3. For big projects, I used a “Yeah, this sucks but we’re all in it together and doesn’t that make it better?!” strategy. “We have a ton to do around the yard today. DH and I will do X. You two do Y. You other two do Z. And then when we’re all done, we’ll get ice cream [or whatever].” And then while we were all working, I’d roll my eyes at them and say, “Ugh, I can’t wait till this is all finished and we can get that ice cream!” Hard for kids to whine too much if their parents are working alongside them, and are plainly just as miserable but are sucking it up and being positive and cheerful about it. Again — hard, not impossible.

    4. I always asked them very politely. Maybe this is obvious, but I recall as a kid my mom announcing at the dinner table, “I’ve decided that RISLEY will do the dishes tonight!” and it almost seemed like she was gloating. It wasn’t a nice request; it was a public announcement that I couldn’t argue with, and it always felt super humiliating and crummy. Had she said, “Ris, could you do the dishes tonight?” I’d have said yes every time. I think kids get frustrated when they think parents are punishing them with chores or take delight in making them do chores. Related, I thanked them profusely after and didn’t correct them or make them do it over again. I made them feel they had done me a huge favor and were my heroes just then. “You cleaned the kitchen! It looks terrific! Thank you so much! What a huge help that was!”

    5. When/if all of that failed, I reacted VERY strongly, and there was a Big Discussion about ungrateful kids whose parents do so much for them while the kids refuse to do the smallest things in return without a huge whining Fit. Years ago, I would make them write long lists of all the stuff *I* did around the house. Sometimes, they’d try to get away with “1. cook 2. drive 3. clean.” I’d send them back to their desk until they had a good loooooong list. Then I’d have a discussion with them about exactly who it was who was truly doing more than their share around here.

  134. For comparison sake, I’ve never had a kid say anything close to this rude to me, ever.

    “But that’s sort of my point. I’m not sure that your kids don’t say things like that because you’re strict. I think your kids don’t say that because…they don’t say that. They’re not wired that way. I think if they were wired that way, you would quickly find that being strict escalates, rather than prevents or discourages, such interactions.”

    Exactly. If you haven’t heard that then maybe you haven’t been tested, at least regarding this particular type of misbehavior.

    “You’re not talking about all of us, are you?”

    No, there are some exceptions. :)

  135. I would tell them they obviously found simple chores to be way too big a deal, based on all the whining. So we needed to solve that problem by making them USED TO DOING CHORES.

    That’s a favorite of mine too!

  136. @ Milo – to quote you – oh hell no. I find it APPALLING and if you’d told me pre-kids I would be someone laid back about this I would have thought you crazy. It is the thing I like least about him. But we have had the big fights, the ugly voices, the DON’T TALK TO YOUR MOTHER THAT WAY, the spanking, the being-dragged-to-his-room-and-door-slammed, the screen-time taken away, and I found that all it did was cause a lot of hurt and tears. It didn’t decrease the sassiness at all, but it put us in a bad place.

    THAT’s when I got more analytical about it and realized coming down hard wasn’t working (even though I believe it was the right first step). The best thing was to disengage – ugh, you’re acting ugly we just can’t even with you. And that has been so much more effective.

    It’s my old line – you can’t be the parent you want to be, you have to be the parent they need you to be.

  137. “I’m pretty confident on this point, because I have one of each.”
    There were so many parenting skills I thought I had nailed until a younger child proved that my “skills” were just my older kid’s compliant nature. As young adults, however, they behave pretty much the same, so there is hope for your challenging son.
    We usually met obvious stuff like “you aren’t the queen!” with something like “where’d you ever get that idea? Of course I’m the queen!” and then maybe riff on how the next thing you know, they will be telling us that a watery tart handing out swords is no basis for a system of government. Monty Python lines would always diffuse situations in our house, and eventually the sticks would be picked up.

  138. Lark, Punishment needs to be more immediate and severe for it to work. In our house, we will tolerate a little bit of banter or smack talk, but nothing at this level.

    What type of job is good for your child? He is an entrepreneur.

  139. I meant they behave pretty much the same as the good and compliant one, not pretty much the same as they did as elementary school kids.

  140. Rhett, that guy was definitely murdered by someone that wanted him dead. Even if I didn’t watch the Americans, I would never believe it was an accident.

  141. Lark – running out here but I agree w/ Milo. For me, I would find it imperative to say something *immediately* about that sort of disrespectful comment.

    I could also see doing the “I’m not driving you there b/c you were so rude earlier.” That’s human nature — when people treat us badly, no way are we going to jump at the chance to do something for them. Kids should learn that.

    But I personally wouldn’t walk away or stay silent after he said that sort of thing.

    Would HM’s suggestion work? It doesn’t ignore the comment but it’s also measured and perhaps would serve to not escalate things?

    I have one of each, btw — DS pushed every single limit he could, repeatedly. It’s hard to know if he was similar to your talking-back DS or not. Maybe he was a shade easier or a shade harder.

    My godson said things approaching the “you’re not the queen” thing to his parents, btw, and they rarely checked him on it. At 19, he is a gem who would never in a million years respond that way to them. So, maturity does solve a lot of issues, and many things get far better as they age. Something to hang onto?

  142. As parent in charge, I have at times let things slide but DH restates the rules with authority (Milo like) and there is no arguing with him. At other times, he is the more lenient parent.

    Lark – the situation is interesting.

    My DD gets along famously with her friends mothers. They all love to have her over. My neighbors have said that they feel like they are talking to someone closer to their own age when they talk to her. I find that a bit weird, because at that age I really couldn’t talk to adults like that.

  143. we will tolerate a little bit of banter or smack talk, but nothing at this level

    Okay, but again, have you really been tested on this? That’s what I’m curious about. Does anyone else here have a kid that would test you over and over and over again, and you finally found the punishment that worked? Because I’m all about immediate consequences, and they work great for my generally compliant kid, but I”m just not convinced my problem is that I haven’t come down hard enough.

  144. Lark – I understand what you’re saying. Just speaking personally, when they’re past spanking age, I find no-drama hard labor to be a good nuclear option (since 5 yo’s can’t effectively do hard labor, they get spanked.)

    So, with as minimal drama as possible, no yelling, no screaming, no hitting, no dragging, I might say that, as a result of the sassy comment, he has no privileges until the entire front hedge is weeded, or the garage is cleaned out, or something else equivalently drastic that’s well above and beyond normal chores. And until then, no nothing (phone, “screens,” friends over, Hell – no door on your room)

    And also, not to bring up the false equivalence of the sexes again, or whatever it was titled, but where the heck is DH in all this? What happened when he got home from work and heard how his DS spoke to his mother? He needs to summon LfB’s DH’s angry bear, again, NOT yelling or screaming, but definitely a little scary. If he can control it with his teachers, he can control it at home.

    My three cents, anyway

  145. and complained about “having” to go out on the boat “AGAIN.”

    We get this too, as well as “having” to go to the beach AGAIN. But, so long as those preferences are expressed politely, I understand and try to accommodate as best we can. Our kids would definitely prefer to come home on a Friday, strip off all their clothes, and not leave the house again until Monday morning. Things that are relaxing to us (boating) are not always relaxing to them

    This. People have different interests, and kids are people. Just because they complain because they don’t want to do something that their parents consider to be a great privilege doesn’t always mean they are spoiled or ungrateful. It can just mean that they don’t enjoy that particular activity.

  146. @ Ris – just to clarify, I don’t actually stay silent. I generally say, “that was pretty disrespectful, so I’m walking away.” Removing my attention is the immediate consequence (because remember it’s the dance he’s looking for).

    Re: the hang in there – thanks! But I’m pretty sure all of y’all are more concerned about this than I am. :) He’s a great kid. I dislike his occasional sassiness, and I frequently wish he were “easier” but it doesn’t seem to spill over to other behavior problems.

  147. I have been tested, and I will continue to be tested until my boys are 18 and I can legally kick them out of the house. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I got a panicked call from the principal when Twin2 had his first tantrum at school this year. My response was to offer to help and to explain why I’ve been so focused on behavior with him, since we’ve gotten to his third year in school without having a School Tantrum.

    I don’t know if my boys are like your child, and my responses are not always consistent as they should be, but two of my three sons have, on many occasions, no desire to comply. At 20 months, it’s already apparent Baby WCE is cut from different cloth.

  148. Lark, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing, then. If you’ve tried the standard strategies and they don’t work, then your way is the right one. Very interesting comment about your “sassy” kid being inner-directed and the other one being outer-directed. (Do they still use those terms? Inner-directed means taking direction from yourself and outer-directed means taking direction from others.) There are a lot of advantages to being inner-directed.

  149. Generally, my dad was good at the scary bear stuff. He would yell and had a bit of a temper, but was actually most effective when he was quietly angry and we could tell he was working really hard not to unleash upon us. It was more of a get the hell up to your room before I kill you type of thing. Even for my brothers who were tough and not very compliant, it was quite effective. My mom just didn’t have it in her to scare them.

  150. @ Milo – I do believe, if we came down hard enough, we could break him. I do. I think we could make it so that he would never utter another sassy word to me again. But at what cost to our relationship in general? We have such a warm, affectionate relationship overall. He’s a strong willed, spirited kid. I love that about him. I think on balance it will serve him well in life.

    Overall, it’s better for him to see that being obnoxious doesn’t send us flying into a rage, or coming up with progressively worse punishments, but that instead it just makes us create space (which he hates) and focus our attention elsewhere. It’s sort of like training a dog – you reward for the good behavior and ignore the undesired.

    Not a perfect analogy, because I”m not really ignoring it, or even accepting it, but I am disengaging on it, and saving the battles for the things I really care about.

  151. Does anyone else here have a kid that would test you over and over and over again, and you finally found the punishment that worked?

    Yes to the first, and on the second, they evolve and so do we. It’s an arms race.

  152. Lark, it seems to me that things are ok and you’ve found a way to deal with the sass that works for your family.

  153. Life helps to train them, anyway. When the kid is sassy or drags his heels on complying with teachers / coaches / chaperones, and then isn’t given the benefit of the doubt when there’s an incident of some sort, you can point out that the earlier behavior set him up to have authority figures think of him as a problem kid.

  154. “customer service job where dealing with a wide swath of the public many / most of whom are not ‘privileged’ is important especially in the “jobs I don’t want to do for the rest of my life” sense.

    It’s also for the exposure to the “not priviliged” who are working in these jobs because they are unable/unqualified to get anything better.”

    My kid was commenting on both these things a few years ago, when he decided he didn’t want any more yardwork jobs. I don’t see any reason to push him to get a job lower than he is actually qualified more (seeing as a HS kid isn’t qualified for much anyway). And, as I’ve mentioned here before, he gets plenty of opportunity to see poor kids every day at school.

    Completely agree with Lark at 4:12. Model the behavior you want to see, even (especially) when the kids are being ugly, irrational, and perhaps a bit physical (as in foot-stomping, door-slamming, etc). I have never heard “it’s your house, you clean it”, but I have seen enough procrastination on picking up his room to make me want to stamp my feet, slam the doors, and get physical. As I mentioned the other day, his room is his job; anything I do to clean it is entirely a gift from me, and not something he expects or thinks of as deserved. I sometimes pitch in with him if it has gone so far that it’s overwhelming. Other times, I’ve been known to leave the living room for as long as he leaves his room. It’s not modeling the neatness behavior I want to see, but I know he has that urge already. More important to me is that I’m modeling not loosing my temper or using physical aggression to deal with frustration, which I consider far more important.

    Bribery/trade-offs fundamentally don’t work with this kid. If he can’t/won’t, then that’s the end. If I tried to force him to do a 10 second job by not letting him eat til he did it, he’d go hungry all week. The thing I was trying to bribe him to do the other night also didn’t happen. Motivation for him has to come from the thing itself, not some kind of trade-off. I knew that already, but got a reminder that night.

  155. HM, I’m going to save that arms race analogy for going to sleep with during Mr WCE’s business trips.

  156. “My godson said things approaching the “you’re not the queen” thing to his parents”

    Mine tried “you’re not the boss of me” once. I got thoughtful for a minute and then, quietly, said, “yeah. I am, because that’s my job. I have to be in charge because I’m the parent”. Completely flummoxed him that time, and it has been referred to occasionally (usually by him) in the years since then.

    And spanking or any other kind of hitting isn’t simply stupid–it is also part of the problem in this country of might makes right, that overpowering someone is the way to get your way. So kids are brought up that way, act on the same principle at school, and are brutalized by a cop who has taken over the teacher’s disciplinary function. Then they do the same thing outside of school and are arrested. There are much, much better ways to deal with conflict than brute force. Kids need to be taught those, see them used, and have many opportunities to practice them.

    On the original topic of entitlement, sometimes it is honestly a difference of priorities. We were at the urgent care again the other night, still trying to figure out the fever. They had already done a strep test the first time around, then a $50 flu test this visit (both negative). They wanted to do a chest x-ray, $100. Fine. Kiddo was amazed “Mom, you wouldn’t get me an iPhone 7, but you’re spending $200 on this visit??” Think about that!” Sounded bratty about the phone, but I explained to him about the value I put on his health and ability to function as he should, and the very minor role a new cell phone plays, comparatively. Kid melted, came over & gave me a hug.

  157. Lark – I skipped ahead and didn’t read the other suggestions, but if my child said:

    “it’s your house, not mine, so I shouldn’t have to help you clean it up.” Or, more egregiously, “come clean up this mess” “later”
    “now” “quit being so annoying, you’re not the queen”

    he or she would have been in major trouble. Depending on your size versus your son’s, I would have swiftly grabbed him by the ear/collar/arm and yanked him to his feet and yelled in the scariest voice I could find. If the kid is too big for me to manage than DH would have done it. If DH wasn’t around I would probably go deathly quiet and then said something like “don’t you ever speak to me that way again. I am your mother and I will not tolerate that kind of rudeness.” Anything less than an “I’m sorry” would have gotten an even scarier “do you understand me?”.

    If it doesn’t stop immediately then you will have to find an appropriate punishment – not sure what to suggest but I”ll think about it. Since he has been able to get away with it in the past then you may have to take preemptive action – let him know that his rudeness has been tolerated in the past but won’t be any longer, and give him examples and consequences.

  158. Lark, I think I have a kid similar to yours. He’s 6, but I read your posts and I’m nodding my head because I’m pretty sure that is how my kid will be. I was NEVER going to be the parent who would spank their kids, but sometimes that’s the only thing that snaps them out of it…at this age. I’ve been wondering how it’ll be when he’s older. I read your posts and have a better idea. The thing is he is a fabulous kid and everyone loves him. And similar to your kid, I don’t think he’s going to give in to peer pressure.

    I have one of each as well. I’m a big believer that kids come pretty much with the personality that they have. My idea of being a parent went out the window once I realized I have to parent the way my kid needs me to be and not the way I want to be.

    A parent of a kid in my son’s daycare class said he didn’t believe in negotiating with their kid. His son is very meek. I almost snorted. My dad once told me he read a negotiating book for work and thought it would help him when talking to my kid.

    Did you see the article in the NYT about how some normal kids are harder than others? I read it and thought “A-f!@*%$#-men”

  159. Milo – remind me in June – I may well take you up on that!

    CostofCollege – I think you may be on to something. I’ve always said that I’m grateful that my kids respond well to correction and direction. So some good portion of them not being jerks is just hardwired.

    I have a son who is so disappointed to be going to France for Spring break as part of an exchange program. He wants to stay home and play video games the whole time. Maybe we’ve travelled too much?

    With the whining “but I want to do something else!” I always do the “well I’d rather be in Paris but I’m stuck here cooking sausages for you so we both lose.”

    I think what a lot of people are responding to is when the balance of power is off and it seems like the kid is driving the car – not the parents. Oh and Milo yes my husband will do the “You DO NOT talk to your mother that way!” bit. It is useful!

  160. Lark – I went back and reread more details about your situation and the steps you have taken. I don’t know if my approach would work because your son is so different from my kids. I guess I would keep repeating (as you are doing) that you won’t be spoken to in such a rude way and then leave, if that is what has the most success. Someone else’s suggestion about having your DH speak to him about talking to his mother in such an awful way – does he talk to your DH that way ever?

    +1 to Risley’s comments – well thought out as usual!

  161. But Lark pointed out that she’d tried that stuff and it just backfired.

    In addition to just walking away, I might cheerfully add “Okay, fine. Revenge is a dish best served cold”.

  162. Parenting is a long-term project, though. Success doesn’t necessarily equal stopping the remarks immediately. If Lark has made clear that the comments are rude, and the kid does suffer some consequences for his rudeness, then perhaps the long-term foundation has been laid for him to change his behavior when he no longer wants to come off as rude. It is, in any case, not going to come as such a shock when he tells his boss at the Quick-E-Mart, “Stop being so annoying. You’re not the queen!” and gets fired on his second day. (And if he’s not doing this out in the world, perhaps it’s because he already knows that it’s rude . . .)

  163. Parents eventually do get revenge if their kids have their own children. My mother always used to say, “I can’t wait until you are a mother” when I was driving her nuts. I hear this statement in my head on many days when my daughter is not speaking/behaving in a positive manner.

  164. When the kids are all yelling/hitting/otherwise being terrible, DH and I have developed a habit of looking at each other and saying, “It’s always going to be like this.” Now the kids have picked up on this and either preemptively say to us, “Mom/Dad, it’s always going to be like this!” or after we say it, then saying “No, it won’t! What about when we’re teenagers?” Always helps to defuse the situation. :)

    Our kids have a boundless appetite for fighting with each other. I remember being the same way when I was a kid, so I expect they will grow up and get along fine.

  165. I had moments of being Lark’s son. I was overall a good kid, and teachers and friends’parents loved me and frequently gave extra privileges. Because I knew I was a good kid (drinking notwithstanding), it just annoyed the hell out of me to be parented. I can remember distinctly the sting of my mother’s hand across my face. She is truly the sweetest, most easygoing woman in the world. My siblings probably wouldn’t believe me if I told them she slapped me – she never yelled. I don’t remember what I said, but am certain I deserved it. My dad was a 6’4″ guy who could have a temper, so I rarely pushed him. But I do remember him mentioning one evening that I was probably right when I had argued so vehemently about having to take drivers’ ed, because the savings weren’t worth the hassle. I said something fresh, he said when you’re paying your own bills you can do what you wNt, and I said “like tell you what an a*hole you’re being?”. The second it came out of my mouth it was like all the air had been sucked out of the room. I could see my mom put her hand on my sister to hold her still. I don’t know what my face looked like because my dad was silent, then started laughing. I think I barely left my room for weeks after that because I was so scared of the trouble I could potentially be in. It was not rational, but I just could not stand the fact that they thought I needed someone to parent me. I mean, I was 15. What could they possibly have to teach me that I had not already figured out? One of mine is wired that way. It sounds like Lark has an approach that works for them and that sassiness is the exception to overall good behavior, and is also confined to her at home, not in public, so it’s a thing between them, not an overall backtalk-y kid to all authority figures. I don’t think everything requires a sledgehammer.

  166. Lark – your description reminds me a little of my brother. What really triggered it was the inner-directed characterization. He’s always been that way, and even now, gets angry at certain ways of the world, and in a manner that is blind to any political ideology. So he gets angry at reports of police bias, and the poor conditions at Walter Reed, and at neocons like Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton.

    As a preteen and teen, he fit what you’ve described. My mom would sometimes react very harshly, and my dad was more like you. It’s impossible to say if either was more or less effective. He still can be an abrasive personality at times, but he doesn’t really mean it. I’m not sure if his wife is any better at dealing with it than our mom was. At the same time, he’s intensely loyal to his family (all of us) and he’s everyone’s biggest cheerleader.

    Recently, there was a family email exchange among our extended family (my cousins, uncles) and he replied all (as others were doing) with a joke that was intended totally innocently, but which in the most critical interpretation, could be misconstrued. My cousin said something back to him, replying all, that was really snarky. He replied all (not a great idea) with a sort of “lighten up).

    She wrote him back privately with “you’re an ass, and you’ve always been that way.” He didn’t reply, but showed it to my mom. I think he was somewhat hurt by it. My mom took it as a personal affront, again, not saying anything back, but hurt in a way that maybe only a parent can be hurt on behalf of a child, even when that child is 40.

    Just my observations. Your description rang a bell.

    Moxie – let’s do it! We’ll establish a secret wave.

  167. Rhett – that picture is priceless. The little guy will perhaps one day grow up to be King, but right now he better listen to his Mama.

    And Rhode – my now big guy at Baby Rhode’s age would roll on the floor, arms flailing when he didn’t get his way. You would think he was having a seizure of sorts.
    Now, the back talk I encounter is Yes Ma’am but said with a sassy tone.

  168. Rhett, oh totally. Did they check to see whether a guy with a floppy wig was lurking about? Or a woman with huge glasses?

  169. There’s a lot that I disagree with in this article, including the author’s multiple instances of using “white” as a pejorative and as a basis to dismiss the ideas, but it has some interesting perspectives and historical tidbits:

    The fact is, Westacott points out, generation after generation has yearned for a simpler version of life that they imagined to have come before them. Two and a half millennia ago, the Greek poet Hesiod wrote longingly of the era of the first humans, a “golden race of men” who were “free from toil and grief.” Seneca, writing 500 years later, pined for “the age before architects and builders,” before humans felt that their happiness depended on such luxuries as “hewing timbers square.” As time and technology progress, the baseline for what is considered a simple pleasure (let alone a necessity) rises gradually upward, such that even today’s simple pleasures—riding a bike, baking bread—are several degrees more complex than hewed timber and other excesses of yore.

    Ostensibly it’s a book review, but the author uses the platform to interject his personal criticisms of today’s frugal lifestyle bloggers, including MMM.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/10/frugality/504428/

  170. RMS – It is not paywall protected. But IMHO it is just the same sort of preaching to the choir article that can make this group feel smug. The premise is that at all stages of life the priority should be achieving millionaire next door status, or perhaps in most of our zip codes $5-10 millionaire next door status. That is a matter of personal values. The most salient point is that many people come into their 30s expect a much more luxurious lifestyle their their parents had at that age with 1 bathroom and 1100 sq ft and vacations in the station wagon. What is implied but glossed over is that life has time shifted forward a decade – 20 somethings aren’t settling down and accumulating wealth – they are still finding themselves in a difficult economy or at higher income strata increasing human capital via education. 30 somethings are in family formation. 50 somethings can’t do the big catch up to fund retirement because they are paying for college and the mortgage, and the “entrepreneurship” mistake may be because they have aged out of the regular corporate workforce.

  171. This morning my kids were surprised to see a neighborhood high schooler working as a bagger at the local grocery store. Prior to this they were younger and didn’t know the older neighborhood kids who might have worked at the stores. It was a good opportunity to discuss part time jobs they could take up. These are places they could walk or ride their bike to and there a bunch of options from stores, restaurants, kiddie play classes…

  172. From Milo’s article: a tendency to look favorably on those who make an effort to knit clothing instead of buying it and fix malfunctioning cars in the driveway instead of taking them to a mechanic.

    Always reminds me of one of my philosophy professors who also had a hobby farm and used to berate us because we didn’t know how to do anything useful, like slaughter a cow. I would wager that even WCE has never slaughtered a cow with her own hands. And here I’ve made it all these years without knowing that particular “useful” skill.

  173. Thinking about complaints of going to the beach house/boat again – those aren’t unusual.
    My parents have a rural country “farm”. They loved to invite friends and relatives for long weekends. We had to take all our provisions from the city, drive down on a Friday evening, spend the weekend with assorted relatives and friends and drive back on a Sunday. To me it was a lot of work and got old because that’s where we spent most of our long weekends and vacations. I was able to opt out in high school and was left at home because of academics. I used to get told what a fun weekend it had been. I was happy to have a quiet house to myself and didn’t have any desire to join in the fun.

  174. That is my favorite pic of Kate Middleton, ever.

    Ok, I have totally entered Old Fart territory. This AM we went to the kid Halloween symphony (they were playing “Night on Bald Mountain” — how could I resist?). So of course, kids – cute kids, most in costume, very low expectations. But this one little Spider-Man behind me (maybe 3?) just kept talking, and talking, and talking — they had a movie screen above the orchestra and were showing low-tech Halloween cartoon scenes, so it was stuff like “Is the witch coming? Is the witch coming? There’s the witch! What is that building? Is it a castle? Hogwarts? What’s that? Is the witch coming?”

    So, 3-yr-old, *totally* normal. What killed me is that NOT ONCE did mom say “shhh” or “we don’t talk during the music” or freaking *anything*. She would talk/whisper softly and try to get him to lower his voice a little, but she answered every. single. question. — as if it were a normal conversation around the dinner table, as if every question asked by a 3-yr-old requires an answer. (To give her credit, she had WAY more patience than I ever had when my kids were that age — I’d be telling my own kids to be quiet by the third “is the witch coming?”)

    I hate feeling like the mean old lady. But, man, how do you ever expect your kid to learn to behave in public if you don’t even tell him what the rules are and encourage him to follow them? Even my own DS was really cranky halfway through, because he was just so distracted and annoyed by the little kid chatter. I did the “turn halfway around and shoot a glance and hope the parents get a clue” a couple of times, but I couldn’t figure out how to say anything without being that Mean Lady who ruins it for everyone (“no, I am not criticizing your child, who is behaving completely age-appropriately — I am criticizing your utter lack of parenting”).

    Anyway, we had fun regardless — luckily the little guy left for the costume parade about 2/3 of the way through.

  175. “Most people I know grew up grabbing McDonalds for dinner after soccer practice”

    Showing my age, when I was growing up, nobody I new did this. So I know a lot of people who grew up doing neither.

    First of all, there were no soccer leagues or school soccer teams where I lived. Soccer was a foreign sport not played by Americans.

    We also did not have any McDonald’s nearby when I was a kid. I did get to go to one on a trip to the continent as a kid (near DD and RMS, and IIRC the burgers were something like 15 cents), but McD’s did not proliferate here until I was in HS.

    I’m curious how many others here are similarly in Mooshi’s minority.

  176. “Night on Bald Mountain”

    Totally geographically inside question–

    HM, does this make you think of a certain hill out in Kapolei?

  177. No McDonald’s and no soccer when I was growing up, but I’m a bit older. However, I started to eat McDonald’s in high school when I had money because I started working and we would go during lunch. No Big Macs though, just their basic burgers.

    Laura, you don’t qualify as an Old Fart because you apparently hesitated about saying anything. After a certain age, *cough cough*, you would probably have no qualms about telling the parent to please shut their kid up. (The only time I tend to keep quiet these days is if I perceive a danger, that someone may respond with a weapon for example.)

  178. We did not grab fast food after practice when I was growing up. You either ate a sandwich before you went, or mom saved you a plate that you could eat when you got home. We ate out every Saturday after 5:00 mass, but never any other time. That includes take-out, pizza or any other similar option.

  179. LfB, perhaps that mom really didn’t know any better.

    When I was a kid, the Symphony would have some concerts during school days specifically targeting kids, and we’d get bused to the auditorium to see them. Before we caught the bus, our teachers would always go over concert etiquette, e.g., not talking while the orchestra was playing. Perhaps the mom never had that sort of opportunity.

  180. A couple of years ago we went to a touring production of a Broadway musical and an elderly gentleman sitting behind us talked throughout the entire show. I just get the sense people have lost the ability to differentiate between when they are watching something at home and when they are attending a live performance. We’ve pretty much stopped going to movies in the theater for this reason.

  181. LfB – three years is a tough age and even the kids at church get fidgety, start going under the pews etc. If they start talking loudly the parents have to remove them from the congregation.
    Almost every kid behaves in church by late preschool/kindergarten age, so I give them a pass on the correct display of public behavior till then.

  182. I am also in the Finn cohort, though not by geography. We didn’t have soccer leagues, we had basketball and softball and swimming; and we certainly didn’t eat out after or have snacks at the practices either. The most I recall is in HS having an occasional end-of-season pizza dinner, maybe once or twice. We did get McD’s once in a while, but it was a treat, so I counted that as part of the “going out to eat” discussion above.

  183. Finn, no, I never knew that till I googled just now!

    I played soccer starting in late elementary, but it was the Big New Thing at that time — that was when Pele the soccer player was a big deal. We didn’t have McD, though. Nor were my parents ever, ever, ever in attendance at a soccer or other sport practice of mine. (They did attend their own practices.)

  184. RMS is right that I’ve never killed a cow and my elk butchering is limited to the unskilled labor. Since marriage, I have learned to clean fish.

    My ~23 year old step nephew has a job as a union meatcutter, aka butcher. He got it because he was working in another capacity for the grocery store and they were short-handed in the meat department, so he offered to help, since he’s butchered with his Dad and uncle who hunt. They could see he was competent and offered him a middle class job My cousin’s uncle works at the same grocery store chain as a produce manager and they have a strong promote-from-within ethos. There are still middle class jobs for people who don’t go to college.

  185. Here’s one for the “I swore I never” topic. When we moved into our house about 15 years ago, we needed a new garage door opener. DW went to Home Depot and bought one, and when they asked if she wanted installation, she said, “no, my husband can do it.” I told her she should have gotten the installation. Six hours later, I finally finished installing it. I still remind her that it was six hours of my life I’ll never get back.

    Last night, it finally died. I went to Home Depot to get a new one and asked about installation. Installation is now $167 (it was much less 15 years ago). I said screw that, I’ll do it myself. I figured it’s the current version of the same model, so I should be able to use a lot of the existing infrastructure. This time it only took five hours. So that’s progress.

  186. Speaking of retail jobs, a younger co worker of mine has a spouse working for a drug store chain who was going to be promoted from manager of one store to a district manager managing several stores. The catch was that he was given a choice of areas in other cities. The company will provide a full relocation package, but they have to move. They can’t keep refusing to move because after a while, the opportunity will be given to someone else. They picked a smaller city in WCE’s part of the world. This city makes the “Best Places” lists frequently. It is close to the National Parks and it seems like a great adventure and good opportunity for this family.
    I thought of Fred’s DS when I heard of this.

  187. I went to McDonald’s after soccer practice in HS in the early 90’s. The difference is that my parents were never responsible for driving me around. We would stop on our bikes or later piled into the car of someone who could drive. Mostly, we got soft serve ice cream cones and fries. Paid for with our own money (allowance and/or PT job money). My parents & the parents of many of my friends would be having dinner at home with younger siblings. I would heat up leftovers when I got home after practices/activities or buy my own take out. My parent did not place a priority on attending every concert/game/event that I was in. They came to a few each year. That was fine with me.

  188. Good morning all!

    Our ~15yo 27″ Thermador wall oven is dying. Well, actually, the cooking parts work fine, but the power relay board is going as evidenced by the intermittent beeping and code on the display. The part is no longer available, meaning a ~$400 repair is not an option. We need a new one.

    Looking around at a couple of places it looks like GE ~$1500 and Kitchenaid ~$2000 will meet our needs. There’s the next level GE (Profile) for about the same price of the Kitchenaid but the only real difference is the temperature probe which we have never used in our current oven, so no issue.

    Anyone want to offer their experience with either brand? We also considered Frigidaire which is a little less than the GE.

    I haven’t had time to look at consumer reports at the library yet.

    Also playing into the decision…probably due for a kitchen redo in 3-5 yrs when we’ll probably upgrade everything including at least some of the cabinets to accommodate a 30″ oven.

  189. I don’t quite understand the issue with the Democratic Party not supporting Bernie. He is not and was not a Democrat. Shouldn’t the party get to decide to support their own people over those who have not worked for the party? Certainly the Democratic Party has an agenda and wants to put forth people who support that agenda and work towards the goals of the party. Bernie is a political carpetbagger. Get your own damn party.

  190. oh, I played HS soccer in the mid-70s. We didn’t have a McDs near us, so Jack in the Box was the go to after games. It was a mile away the wrong way from my HS so mostly we just went home after practices. My actual town (HS between the two towns) had zero fast food places. Still has none unless you count Starbucks.

  191. From Milo’s article:

    “Whatever all these people—or, more specifically, these well-off white men—may say, perhaps the best lifestyle advice is to make loads of money at an early age (and then, for good measure, make clear one’s distaste for the system that allowed one to earn it). ”

    Ha!

  192. Denver Dad – Congratulations! They probably make them more complicated each time, so the one hour difference really is a victory.

  193. Ah, Jack-in-the-Box tacos. I can feel the heartburn now. Greasy, with American cheese. Yum.

  194. We did a kitchen redo with 27″ wall ovens and recmmend the kitchen aid. I think I recall that it had a larger interior capacity than GE. Overall I liked my kitchen aid better than the wolf range, Bosch dishwasher (the “mold maker”) or sub zero fridge (price of a decent used car). If I could go back in time, would have done all kitchen aid with LG fridge and spent the rest on a fancy vacation (or two).

  195. @Louise – The water bottle flipping sound is truly one of the world’s most annoying as the article says. DS is allowed to bring bottles to school, but they are only allowed to flip at recess and in after school. It’s crazy how into it the kids are – mostly the boys. DS is always looking for the perfect bottle for it.

  196. @Fred – I don’t know 27″ ovens, but I have had good luck with KitchenAid. Except my dishwasher, which seems to take 3-4 hrs to run sometimes and on which the door spring just broke. So there’s that. But if you’re remodeling in a few years anyway, why not just buy the cheapest version to tide you over? (For the remodel I highly recommend Dacor, btw).

    @Ivy: that was far and away my favorite line from that article.

    On the plus side, I officially “graduated” from Crossfit training camp Friday and am now a fully-fledged (yet still remarkably incompetent) member. I celebrated by buying myself a new pair of crosstraining shoes, as the classes seem to be just ripping the bejeebers out of my running shoes.

  197. Fred, I suggest you consider convection as a feature in your oven. We got a convection oven and use that feature frequently; it typically allows us to bake at about 25 degrees lower, and for a shorter time. When you’re baking something for dinner, getting it done 10 or 15 minutes faster is very nice.

    If you’re going to remodel in a few years, you might want to see if you can shoehorn a 30″ oven into your current space. If it’s built into your cabinets, and your cabinets have face frames, you might be able to either cut or remove the frame around the oven opening.

    If not, then you might just want to get the least expensive oven you can get.

    Unlike Mia, our experience with KitchenAid wasn’t great. The original appliances in our kitchen were KitchenAid, and their failure, one at a time, is one factor that pushed us to remodel. We’ve also had a lot of problems with our LG fridge (actually a Kenmore made by LG).

    OTOH, the one KitchenAid appliance that did not fail was the oven.

  198. “perhaps the best lifestyle advice is to make loads of money at an early age ”

    Any suggestions as to what major would best facilitate that?

  199. “Bernie is a political carpetbagger. Get your own damn party.”

    OTOH, the Dems created the situation that allowed Bernie to emerge. If it wasn’t him, it would’ve been someone else. Too many people dislike Hillary.

  200. Finn, we are approaching a similar oven replacement, though I hope to replace the wall oven/microwave and cooktop with a range eventually. Can you explain more about convection ovens? What are their advantages and disadvantages? I think I’m certain I want double oven capability (even if the second oven is a small drawer) so I have dual temperature capability and can, say, bake at 325 or 350 while roasting vegetables at 400 or 425.

  201. The water bottle flip was on the agenda for the safety and wellness committee at our middle school because a few kids have gotten hurt when some stray bottles hit them in the cafeteria.

    We’ve had quality issues with several brands, and our appliance store guys keep telling us that appliances are no longer manufactured to last beyond 7 – 10 years. We’ve had bad luck with Kitchen Aid refrigerators, but we’ve never owned a Kitchenaid oven. GE, and then Thermador when we renovated the kitchen. It has just been a few years, so no issues yet with Thermador oven.

  202. I’m not an expert on ovens by any stretch, but my understanding is that convection ovens have fans that circulate the hot air in the ovens and create more even heating. IME, ours facilitates the use of multiple cookie sheets simultaneously (our Bosch oven came with three racks).

    The main disadvantage I can see to a convection oven is higher price, since you can use it in a non-convection mode. You will save on energy costs over the life of the oven, although I don’t know if that savings would offset the higher purchase price, but for most totebaggers, I think the biggest advantage is being able to cook things more quickly.

    Are you looking to get one of those slide-in ranges? When we were planning our remodel, I noticed that those looked pretty good, and ranges tended to cost about as much as either a cooktop or a wall oven. We saw several with double ovens, but without the pan storage drawer under the oven that single oven ranges typically have.

  203. Finn -I thought it was for pan storage but apparently I have not baked anything that required proofing in an oven drawer. The Great British Bake Off was a revelation.

  204. Water bottle flipping isn’t a problem at my kids’ school, because plastic water bottles aren’t used much. Most kids carry metal vacuum bottles that keep their water nice and cold, and the school has installed a bunch of fill stations around campus.

    IIRC, several years ago a bunch of HS kids were looking at ways for the school to be more sustainable, and identified plastic water bottle usage as an unsustainable behavior that could be reduced. The school administration concurred, and installed a few filling stations, and the kids pushed to change the culture away from using plastic bottles. They were successful, and the school installed more filling stations and stopped selling bottled water in the cafeteria and snack bar.

    Efforts to get parents to bring their own water bottles to school events have had more limited success. A lot of parents don’t care.

    DD told me that at a party she went to last night, there were a few plastic bottles there just for flipping.

  205. Finn, I’ve read enough about convection ovens to know that a “true” or European style convection oven has a back element, vs. less expensive models that use a fan to circulate air from the bottom element so I understand the basics. My main concern is longevity and parts availability- are convection ovens yet another appliance with components that will fail and be expensive or hard to replace, not the initial cost of the appliance. I do not want a “more capable” appliance that requires repair/replacement prior to my 20 year horizon if the features that make it “more capable” are not important to me. I think I’m willing to trade a storage drawer for the second [drawer] oven. We just replaced the bake element in our current 22 year old oven, and a couple local appliance shops can usually offer advice about “durable” options Durability is my top priority.

    We haven’t done enough planning to know what type of oven to get (where we’d like to put the oven is right by our gas line, and we don’t know if ventilation in the new location is doable at a reasonable cost and/or if changing from electric to gas is doable)

  206. LfB – we have a Dacor cooktop…have always loved it. Agree with the cheapest that will do until we remodel, but DW is less certain than I the redo will happen very soon, so we’ll go toward the middle of the quality range. She uses it way more than I do.

    Finn – definitely going with convection. Costs $300 – $400 more than models without but given the amount of baking done, it’s a very nice to have.

    Thanks all!

  207. LfB — kudos to you on the crossfit graduation! I’m in awe.

    We have a convection oven with a fan at the back, and we use that feature occasionally. I should use it more often. Going on 15 years with no problem except for having to replace the control feature a few years ago. It’s a Jenn-aire, which is just about our only option because of the unusual set-up with a downward draft design in our kitchen.

    I should proactively replace at least four appliances in our house so we don’t have inconvenient failures in the near future — clothes dryer, dish washer, hot water heater, and oven. All these are between 10 (I think) and 16 years old, and have demonstrated some potential signs of failure. (We had the hot water heater replaced under warranty, and I think it’s time to get a new one. That’s probably the worst type of appliance failure.)

  208. Did anyone see this wsj story about a 25-year old nurse planning a graduate program?

    “Her base annual salary as an ICU nurse is $93,000, plus overtime and shift differentials. After graduation, she hopes to earn about $130,000, the average starting salary for a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

    Through her work at a nonprofit hospital, she has a 403b retirement savings account to which she contributes $350 from each biweekly paycheck. Her employer matches 6%. So far, she has socked away $36,000.”

    She has also saved $70K for her 2-year grad school program.
    Granted, she is working in NYC so perhaps that explains part of the high base salary. But still. Not too shabby for a person just three years out of college.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-graduate-school-nears-a-need-to-cut-expenses-1477274642

  209. Congrats LfB on the crossfit graduation!

    We are in the market for a new dishwasher. Is Bosch the “mold maker” because it lacks a heating element? Current dw is an 8 yo KitchenAid that leaves grit all over many of the items in the top rack, despite cleaning out the filter and running dw cleaner and vinegar through the empty dw multiple times. We use it at least once a day; yesterday we had family here and ran it three times. I really don’t care how much we have to pay for a new dw provided that it actually leaves the dishes clean and dry. People seem either to love or hate the Bosch line.

    That bottle flipping thing must be really annoying, but why don’t teachers and parents just start joining in and bragging about their flipping finesse? Fastest way to kill a fad. Look at Facebook.

  210. Scarlett –
    We are on our 2nd Bosch dishwasher, so there’s our vote of confidence. We have been happy with both, although this model seems to be a bit louder than the first one.

  211. Scarlett, I’m sure being in NYC is the primary factor in her salary. That kind of money for a floor nurse is completely unheard of out here, especially for one with only three years experience.

    And we have a Bosch dishwasher and love it. We got the ultra quiet model and it really is quiet, and it does a good job cleaning. The one drawback is it has less space because it’s the ultra quiet model.

  212. My mother works in a hospital in a NY burb, and those nurse salaries are not typical. I think that is really just NYC, and possibly even Manhattan. It’s awesome that this nurse is able to earn this much, and still think about her future earnings.

    As a comparison, my friend’s was just offered a consulting job in Manhattan. He is a senior and he is graduating from Ivy League with no student loans. Salary is $70k, and she was asking for my help to determine typical rents and expenses for NYC.

    We have a Bosch dishwasher. It is four years old and no problems. I do try to open the door when it’s done with a cycle to prevent mold.

  213. We are also satisfied with our Bosch dishwasher. We do keep it open most of the time when it’s not running, so mold hasn’t been a problem.

    CoC, you might consider having the anode rod on your water heater replaced instead of replacing the entire heater. I’ve heard that the typical reason for a water heater to fail is the tank rusting from the inside, and the anode rode prevents that until it disappears.

    Also, there are new regulations on water heaters, which tend to make newer heaters bigger, which could cause problems fitting a new one into your current location.

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