Quid Pro Quo Parenting

Quid Pro Quo is latin for ‘this for that’ and is perhaps most well known in workplace human resources language. If you’ve ever had to attend a management training class where they talk about all the lawsuits that happen when seedy managers offer incentives to subordinates in exchange for special behavior in return.

I have coined the term ‘quid pro quo parenting’ for dealing with my 3 year old boy. He has always been very stubborn and challenging when it comes to doing most anything that he didn’t invent.

I have learned that any time he shows a desire for an object or activity, it is an opportunity for me to get him to do what I want him to do. Such as eating, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, sharing, etc.

It might sound cruel, but if you have a 3 year old you are probably smiling and nodding right now because you know exactly how difficult it can be to control their behavior.

So now when my boy says ‘I want that!’ my first reaction is ‘ok, you can have it after you eat your dinner..’

While this surely does not work all the time, I find that it has been a useful tool, and certainly works better than threatening a time out or what have you.

Another thing I like about quid pro quo is that it plants the seed of ‘nothing in life is free’.. I want my kids to have a strong work ethic and to understand that we don’t get free handouts out in the world. If you want something, you’re going to have to earn it one way or another.

Let me know if you have any special tricks for getting your toddler to behave.


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