There is not a parent alive that hasn’t given into their child’s demands, at one time or another, in exchange for good behavior or nonresistant compliance. I’m convinced that the only reason stores put the new toys and sweet treats by the registers are to make my life just a bit more hectic than it already is. Be strong; there is a way to get your kids to do what you want, and they won’t even know you are skillfully influencing them to do it.
Bribery is such an unpleasant word. For me, it evokes images of deceitful businessmen, gangsters or politicians. It seems like an unfair practice of persuasion, but it works, at least in the short-term. I have personally used them, and I do think that a bribe is sometimes worthwhile, especially if it averts a high-stress, immediate crisis. If you have used an occasional bribe or two, please don’t worry, your child is not going to fall into ruins.
Children are egocentric beings that are also highly intelligent. If you use bribes excessively, your child will come to expect a reward every time you request something from them. Bribes will encourage your child to focus on what they can get rather than on the intrinsic reward of doing something because it is the right thing to do. Children don’t need bribes to be good. Good behavior will come about from their desire to belong, to contribute, and to cooperate. Should parents bribe their children?
Child experts recommend using a discipline technique instead of a bribe approach. Children love to help, enjoy challenges, and generally want to please you, so you might try involving them before offering a bribe to get them to do something that they already enjoy doing.
An example might be that while you are grocery shopping, let your child know that if they stay close to you and help you, then you can save time. And that means there will be extra time to go to the park for some fun. Your child will help because they want to go to the park, and you get their cooperation without using a bribe. Bribing vs Rewarding
It is important that we use words which convey to the child that he has it in his power to take care of his problem, and not that he must do what we tell him to do.
Try changing If–Then statements to When-Then or As Soon As–Then to avoid an arrangement of getting something in return for behaving a certain way. For example, at dinner time if you were to say “if you eat your broccoli, then you can have some dessert.” This is a bribe to get your child to eat their broccoli. If you were to say “when you eat your peas, you may have some dessert if you like”, or “as soon as you eat your broccoli, you may have some dessert.” By changing the wording, you are letting the child choose their own behavior with the consequence of missing out on dessert if they choose not to eat their broccoli.
Remember that bribes are rewards for negative behavior, that unfortunately usually lead to and encourage more bad behavior. Rewards, on the other hand, are positive responses to more favorable behavior that will prompt future good behavior. By helping to teach children that praise and rewards can be earned through hard work and cooperation, they will also learn to appreciate the value of money.
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