When is a Reward a Bribe?

26 Jan

And is bribing your children a bad thing, or does it just show your ability to compromise?

Now I should start this by declaring that Reward is my job, my living. So I really should have this thing nailed.

I spend every day designing and preaching about the benefits of Reward schemes. I know that if you promise someone a big fat bonus for doing something, it encourages them to do it. I know that awarding someone vouchers for doing something good motivates them to do it again (as long as they aren’t HMV vouchers… tut tut).

So why does it feel just that little bit sordid when you’re doing it with your own child?

Now I know it works. Cue the “pillow fairy” who leaves stickers at night…….. hey presto, the boy stays in bed. Introducing the “goodboy jar”………. eh voila, the boy eats his breakfast. And worst of all, the promise of *shudder* “Old Macdonald”, which can always tempt a boy into eating his dinner. (Curse those Golden Arches)

I’m also pretty sure that what I’m doing is what most parents do these days. In fact Supernanny makes a pretty spectacular living selling this stuff as best practice parenting. But I’m still uneasy that perhaps I’m bribing my kid to behave, and that soon he won’t do a thing without the promise of some bit of toot at the end of it.

I’m also embarrassed to admit that as a control freak and doubtful mother, I don’t like these rewards because they somehow smack of desperation and expose my inability to convince my little terrorist to behave well because he damn well should in my house!

All that said, the terrorist in question is bellowing from his bedroom gate an hour after bed time……….

I’m just off to tell him the pillow fairy will give his Fireman Sam sticker to some other deserving boy if he doesn’t sleep soon. I have an evening of trash tv to watch after all 🙂

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