11 April 2008

The Art Of Bribery

My wife Emma gave the idea for this one. She tells me all of the little things that the girls throughout the day. What they did to make her laugh, small accomplishments and of course the terrible two’s driven tantrums.

When I said that I was stuck for something to write as my poor brain is all clogged up with work type things and an unhealthy dose of the man flu. She said why don’t you talk about me bribing them to get them to do stuff? Excellent idea!

As Lilly and Amy are becoming more aware, we as adults can start having conversations that they can, for the most part, understand. Now that we have a dialog open, we can start making deals with them. Well when I say deals I mean bribes really because they learn if they do things that they don’t really want to do then they get something as a reward for doing it.

Amy and Lilly love playing outside in the garden with their new outdoor toys. This for us is a very large bargaining chip so when at tea time Emma is struggling with them not eating she says “eat your tea and then we will go outside and play”. Well what do you know, 2 empty bowls and two happy faces ready to go out. When she went for a walk, to get the girls to sit in the buggy, she said that they could have their Wellington boots on and result, no complaining just happy smiles all round and the girls repeating what colour they were for the whole walk.

So there it is, a form of control that doesn’t mean shouting or ending in tears. Is this just another parenting tip that we have just picked up on? The bribe, deal or kickback?

As I am typing this, I think back to when I was younger and I can think of countless occasions when deals have been struck so that I would get things done. I can also remember a point when I started to make the terms and conditions of the deal. I will clean my room if you give me some money for example. So I'm sure when my girls get older they will try and open negotiations to get more.

So my loyal readers (I know there is one out there), I have questions:

Do you use bribery to get your kids to do stuff?
What is the biggest thing you have promised in return for something to get done?
Have they come back with an even bigger counter offer?

Let me know your thoughts and experiences….


Chris said...

Funny thing is I just blogged about this one last week.


Hope you check it out.

Michael said...

From cardiogirl:

I always said I wouldn't use bribery and I use it a lot.

However, I use it the way you use it in that I don't tell them they can have candy for doing something. I tell them we will go the library after they help me clean the kitchen and living room.

Or I have them clean their room before we go to the park. I feel like I spend a lot of time asking them to clean, which is true.

But I have held dessert hostage in the past, so they would eat all of their dinner.

Also, my middle kid is currently trying to stay dry overnight so we've told her if she is dry for five nights in a row we will buy her a new book.

Each morning if she's dry she gets a Jolly Rancher hard candy. I guess I do use candy as a bribe.

Bad Mommy.

Lulu said...

As a teacher I try not to use bribes but sometimes it is hard

If a child is having trouble finishing his lunch but I know he or she can actually finish it I will remind them that they get to play as soon as they finished. We also encourage parents to put in desert (In Japan this is always fruit or fruit jelly....They are pretty good about not giving sweets etc) in a seperate container and then the children are more likely to eat better because they know they get the reward of desert!

I also remind the kids that the will have longer time to play outside if they can sit nicely and listen to their friends and teachers during circle time!

Is this bribery? I think your form of bribery is fine.... It is actually just encouraging your girls to make the right decisions?!? hehe

I know when I have kids i will probably resort to bribery at some point, even though I would like to think I wouldn`t!

ps: The older the kids get the more it is likely to backfire...one five yr old is already saying `If I eat all my lunch can I have some of your strawberries??`

Bob O said...

I just blogged about something very similar and what happens when the bribery doesn't work earlier in the month.


Bribery is still the way to go no matter what those so-called experts say.

Biggest bribery? Cost me $120..couldn't get my son to potty train for anything..he was 3.5yrs old and still doing the poopin thing in his pull-ups. I told him if he stopped going in his pants..I would by him one of those Smart Cycles. It's pretty cool..they play games and get exercise at the same time. Well..he went a whole month..I got him the game..and we've been pull-up free and poop-n-the-pants free for 6 months now! Only problem is..those danged cartridges for the games are $20 each. So..I guess..this bribe has cost me close to $200 now!

val said...

i bribe my siblings once in a while.. they are really, really lazy.. and complains a lot!! so i feel that bribes will end things in a better way.. but what i've learned so far is that.. i'm not good at "the art of bribery", because I end up loosing more. :( and the prize just goes up and up and up.. (can't afford it.. and sometimes, it doesn't last long.. :( )

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

I am not a big fan of bribing when it comes to obedience issues. When we are talking about eating dinner, potty-training and such, anything goes. However, I think if the only reason they obey is because they know they are going to "get something" in return, it will foster a self-centered child. That's just my two cents worth.