to bribe or not to bribe July 01 2015

I know I shouldn't do it. I know better, but sometimes it's just so tempting to get your little one out the door fast when you're running late or when you need them to be calm as you grocery shop or even while you shop at the mall. "If you put on your shoes, I will give you gummies". "If you let mommy do groceries I will let you guys split a doughnut." "If you comb your hair for school, maybe I will have a surprise for you when you get home". I know I'm far from alone when it comes to bribing kids, I hear it all the time at the playground. It's funny how we all seem to say the same stuff to our kids in order to get them to do what we want. Most of the time I am in such a rush to get out the door, or to finish grocery shopping without a meltdown that I am not clearly thinking of the damage I am doing by my bribing antics. It really didn't click until I asked my four year old to pick up his room and his response was "fine, but if you give me a lollipop". I created a monster. It was my fault. Here he was using my own tricks on ME. How could I blame him if I was the one that had schooled him on the art of extortion. All I wanted was a little cooperation in exchange for a sugary treat, and never thought it could backfire. I have been teaching my kids to expect rewards for basic behaviors. What would they expect from their teachers for doing their homework? Or from their bosses for completing a special project? I'm sure they won't be rewarding them for every little accomplishment, so I need to try my hardest and stop rewarding expected behavior. Although it may help me short term, the long term harm I am doing to my kids is probably not worth the stress free few minutes...or is it??!

-Melina Harvey Read (mama of two)