How Bad Is Bribery?

Is it really bribery or is it compromise? Maybe we can call it rewards? It may just be a sticker, an M&M, or a trip to the park. What ever you want to call it you know we all do it. I just don’t like the word bribery, it has a negative connotion…so I tend to words like compromise or reward. I’m guilty of it. I do it on a daily basis. Finnegan goes potty (swedish fish), Logan is kind to his brother (gummi worm), Deacon gives up the toy he is playing with to his crying baby brother (video game time). It’s a vicious little cycle. They are rewarded for behaving kindly. What? Wait a minute, the more I keep typing the worse this is sounding. Should you really be rewarded for being kind? How about just using the phrase “do on to others…”

The two older boys have a package at Grammie’s house right now and I’m holding over their heads. It’s horrible, I know. However, they have been a little out of control lately. I think they need their ears checked because they just don’t seem to listen lately. Even with the thought of the package sitting over at Grammie’s they still gave me a hard time about going to bed tonight. Well, I should correct that, only one of them gave me a really hard time. The same one who had a fit this morning because I wouldn’t let him have Easter candy and chips for breakfast. The big brother can just be plain thoughtless and rude to his younger brother and it drives me crazy. Breaks my heart actually. I think I have shouted the words “package at Grammies!!” twenty times today…I work all day so I’m only around them for approximately 4 hours a day. It’s ridiculous! So I think I’m pulling the plug on all the fun privileges…donuts, mattress in the living room on movie night, video games, sugary treats, and looking at toy reviews on You Tube (Logan). I’m done with it all. The only rewards they’ll be seeing is stickers on their chore charts if they’re lucky. I know it might be unrealistic, and I will cave on a few things I’m sure. A mom needs to pick her battles; but there will definitely be some changes around here. I don’t want to raise kids that feel entitled to something every time they do a good deed. A pat on the back will do.

16 thoughts on “How Bad Is Bribery?

  1. It’s OK… Tammy still rewards me when I do good. I pulled weeds today so she’s “still thinking about” letting me go grocery shopping tomorrow. haha…

  2. I’m in the same boat. I will definitely turn to bribery when all 3 attack me at once, but I’m doing my best to only use it as a last resort now! It’s tough, though!

  3. You’re not alone. When my kids were young, I definitely used bribery, rewards, whatever you want to call it. But as they got older and could understand consequences and I began to understand how out of hand it was getting, I backed off too. And they were OK with that. It became more of a “you guys have been really good lately, let’s go get ice cream” kind of thing instead of “if you can’t behave, you don’t get XX.” Good luck!

  4. I like to call them “motivators”. But you’re right, I hate it when my son asks “so what do I get ?” when he’s done something good he’s supposed to be doing anyway. I always respond back “my undying love” or “the satisfaction of a job well done” . He’ll usually just roll his eyes but he’s getting the point, he’s recently started fixing his own snack for school and making his own breakfast and isn’t expecting anything in return. . .

  5. Bribery works! It is one of the only things I can use sometimes – you want Santa to come, you want to go to the sleepover, your cousins can come over if – you name it, I use it. I am not proud, but it is an excellent motivator for my two dudes.

  6. I’m guilty of bribery all the time with my two year old. I think it’s so hard to figure out where to draw the line. I tried to stop rewarding Josiah from going on the potty but then he started to stop going on the potty and going on himself, and he didn’t care! lol It’s hard! If you learn the secret to how to stop bribing, let me know! 🙂

  7. My son is only 17 months now, but I like to think that once they reach an age where they start understanding civilized behavior, maybe the bribes won’t be necessary. However, I fully intend to use bribery when the time comes (which will probably be soon!)

  8. I’m guilty of this too… however it’s usually just little things like, “If you’re good while we’re grocery shopping you’ll get a cookie when we get home.” Not bad, right?

  9. So glad you are starting with chores early! As a teacher, I could peg the kids right away, who had nothing expe Ted of them. Sounds like you’re the boss applesauce as we say around here. I used to tell other parents that I had majored in threats and bribes…….
    Why does the oldest always pick on the little one who just wants to play?
    My oldest grandaughter 2 1/2 is not kind to her cousin 1 1/2, hoping when my grandson goes to school in August, they will be seeing they need each other and playing house and tea parties at Nana’s will ensue, Anew baby girl arrives
    In July….I will be one busy Nana!

  10. You don’t have to think of it as bribery, merely ‘positive reinforcement’. This method works well. Beginning with many tangible reinforcers for every little thing, you can then ease up and reward them for every second thing, then every fourth or fifth, throwing in hugs in-between, if you like. Or you could start with the little reinforcers and when they have collected enough of those, they get the BIG reward. It’s a system that worked well with a group of autistic kids I worked with a few decades ago, but there was a lot of charting involved and you really don’t want to feel like a clinical psychologist, do you? Putting such a procedure into practice is difficult. As a parent, I used a variety of rewards and ‘take-aways’ to mould desired behaviours. It’s a complicated matter of balance and consistency, but you seem to have a lot of it under control, already. It is very exasperating when they are young, but I think your boys will be just fine as they get older. Trust in yourself. From what I’ve read, I believe you are a great Mom! 🙂

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