Bribery Or Rewards

Bribery Or Rewards Picture

Bribery or rewards – Do you know the difference? If you're a parent, chances are you get confused sometimes. Lord knows I do.

Have I said how much I miss infancy? That stage of perfect little pumpkins, where the challenges are about the basics – eating and sleeping. Then toddlerhood came and though I embraced the cuteness and curiosity, I must say I was hit by a whole new set of challenges.

For one, my child definitely began to show her independence.

What about you? What age and stage have you enjoyed most? Why?

When it came to my toddler and, now, preschooler, I have been pretty fortunate to have a darling daughter whose good behaviors far outnumber her challenging behaviors. However, we still have our "moments."

I've learned never to go head to head with her about her clothes. This is why, today, you'll find her in purple tights decorated with snowflakes, an orange striped skirt and a pink holiday shirt. Luckily, she is cute and little and can pull it off.

I've learned that she usually knows what her body needs. No nap means NO nap. No matter what.

And, I've learned that me having a little patience during toy clean-up almost always avoids confrontation between her timing and mine.

But, as I said before, we've had our moments. There are definitely times she has her own agenda that is nowhere near meshing with mine. It's at these times I've turned to bribery. Specifically, I've been known to bring out the big guns, such as ICE-CREAM, A NEW TOY, etc.

You do THIS. I'll get you THAT.

Have you been there? Done that?

Is it effective?

More importantly, is it necessary?

Child development experts will say NO.

No, it's not effective.

No, it's not necessary.

Instead of bribing our children to do THIS and get THAT, we need to focus on their intrinsic motivation.

Let's face it, we all feel good when we succeed.

It's important we help our children see that their efforts alone  – without any other reason – make a difference in their lives.

Their decisions count.

On the other hand, as parents, it's totally cool to use an occasional reward to celebrate success.

This means, celebrating the YOU did it and I'm proud of YOU.

Do you know the difference between bribery and rewards?

What works for your kiddo and why?

As for me, I'm still learning the difference. Sometimes I forget to give my child the opportunity to succeed on her own. To allow her the time to do it.

On the other hand, rewarding behaviors comes easily to me. After all, it's ice cream we're talking about. And, who doesn't like ice cream? lol



What do you think?

Bribery Or Rewards

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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  1. Mandy says:

    I don’t like to do it. sometimes I just let her throw her tantrums until she realizes that I’m not paying attention or that she’s not going to be getting her way. Its hard sometimes and she gives me headaches, but it works.

  2. I did not believe in bribery, but since our daughter became a toddler with A LOT of tantrums I have caught myself doing it so many times… For example: "if you use the potty you will get chocolate" or "if you go to sleep you can go outside after" and out in public I will say "if you are good I will buy you something". I must admit it does not always work. So, yes I am guilty of it.

  3. Jimmysmommy says:

    I do not believe in bribery. It is like Begging or pleading with your child to behave. I dont think so. My son is only 7 months old but i have worked with children my whole life and never would i bribe a child especially mine!! My mother sure didnt. It was either behave or get red legs when i got home. One time i went in the store with her. I threw down kicking and screaming cause i wanted a candy. My mother bought it for me and we walked outside and she threw it in the trash. I NEVER did it again. Bribery is wrong and teaches the child bad and good behavior is rewarded! And it is teaching him exactly what to do to get on your nerves so then he know what to do to get what he wants and doesnt even have to behave to get it!

  4. sayhola says:

    As I understand it, a bribe is something "extra," whereas a reward was something the child is going to get anyway. Rewards can be set up in "systems," too, like rewards for toilet training, getting dressed, etc. A bribe would be "(uh oh – you’re not behaving – quick, what can I offer to get you back on track)" type of thought, as opposed to – "wow, great job – here’s a sticker!" 🙂 Surely we all use them both!

  5. Fawn says:

    My son is 19 months and he is pretty well behaved. I know a lot of people say that about their kids but I really don’t have a lot of issues. He knows if he doesn’t listen to mommy or daddy he gets a time out or another form of punishment (usually something he likes or wants taken away). Like if he has a treat and doesn’t listen I will tell him, "Do I need to take your sucker? You need to listen to mommy or you’re gonna lose it". I know, you’re probably thinking he has no idea what I’m talking about but he knows he wants to keep his sucker and he will do whatever it is I am asking of him. My hubby and I also do not shout at him a lot, the only time he gets yelled at is when he is in danger. I can’t say whether we bribe or reward him, which one we could say it is, but I can say whatever we have done for him works and I don’t worry about him running off in the parking lot or out in the street while we are walking.

  6. lawmaria says:

    i think it depends on the age. i have teens so if they do what i ask them ill give them something. also if they get good grades then they get rewarded. i do however have an infant, so i have not gotten to this stage. not sure how i will handle this with him.

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