Mummy Confession: I bribe my kids. All the time.
Before I was a parent, I vowed I would never be, “one of those parents who bribes their kids.” My children would learn to behave. Little did I know, thinking like a future mum and actually being a mum are two different things. Plus the fact that bribing the children doesn’t mean they aren’t behaving. Let me tell you my tale of how I discovered the blessing of bribery. Some may call it “incentives ” or “rewards” or even a tool for positive parenting. But for me personally it falls under the category of bribery. (And for me, I’m not saying it as a bad thing at all!)
I don’t recall a lot of my childhood, but I do remember one particular bribe that worked well for me. I have always hated those closed slides at Play places. Well, I was stuck at the top of one long ago and refused to go down. Enter bribe. I forget the actual amount, but a certain cash incentive was brought fourth, and what do you know, I slid. Now, I just stay away from the staticky disasters. But, I digress.
Sure, I sailed through the first months with a baby who went un-bribed and it was going great! I first happened upon the trade of bribery when my fast-growing child was interrupting every chore and meal, and I needed something to distract so I could get something done or eaten. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to snack bribery. Little miss was given a treat of a rusk, though there would be mess for me to clean afterward, and mum was given time to eat.
Later in toddler-hood, small bribes accompanied us along our journey. The trade off was beneficial to accomplish cleaning, shopping, eating, and sitting through sermons on Sunday.
Generally, the bribe is an understanding between individuals. If they are given this, they will in turn do something, or if they do something they will receive this in return. While we still excercise discipline, bribery is a balance I am willing to throw in there as well. Generally, it is a reward for good behaviour such as Potty training time. Occasionally, it means putting on a DVD so I can hang the washing. Sometimes it even means promising a special treat when the shopping is finished.
One guideline I do have for my bribery, though, is that if my children are demanding, whining, or complaining for what I’ve bribed with, that they will not receive it. This is usually outlined in my original stipulations for their bribe. Let me tell you, sometimes this part is the worst, because all I want to do is give in to the screaming and hush it, but in order for the bribery to work best, I need to have this in place.
Whether it be a toy, stickers, screen time, or ironically enough chores, bribery helps my life as mum to be a little less of a chaotic jumble of screams and fights. It makes learning new things more fun as well, because there is a reward at the end! In the end, it’s about balance anyways.
So tell me, do you administer bribes in your house?