This is something that almost every parent has done, and most of us aren’t too proud of doing it. It can be very difficult to teach our growing tiny humans that it is wrong to bribe someone to do what you want them to, but we do it all the time in raising them. So if this is such a normal practice, is it really wrong to bribe your kids just to get through the current moment, trip or day?
It got me thinking the other day as we are bribing our son to eat new foods, does it really help our kids or is it hurting them? Brenn has always been a picky eater, but as he has gotten older, we realized that it is much more than that and he has serious issues with texture and will sometimes force himself to throw up rather than eat new foods. Well his current obsession is video games and he gets 30 minutes per day if he has a good day at home or at school. My wife came up with an idea that for every new food that he tries when we eat dinner, that he gets an extra 5 minutes on his video game. If he tries a new food every day for a week, she will take him to Game Stop to get a new (used) game of his choice. He immediately tried a piece of lettuce from my salad but almost started shaking when we tried to have him try some spaghetti. Is this helping him at all? Is forcing him to try something that he has already convinced himself that he won’t like worth it? Can we change the rules as we go?
There are so many questions about bribing and long-term effects on our tiny humans. There are so many jokes about how we refuse to negotiate with our tiny terrorists and parents on social media show great pictures of their kids smiling at a restaurant or a trip to the grocery store, but is that real life? I have seen so many times in person and might even be guilty of it myself, telling your kid that you’ll get them candy if they behave during the trip to the grocery store. How many of us give in to our kids when they throw a tantrum in public just so that they stop? That is one of my pet peeves; I will leave a store without getting anything that I want before I give in to them! I find myself telling them on a daily basis “You don’t get what you want when you act like that”. I never claim to be a doctor or an expert by any means, we all make mistakes but I don’t think giving in to their tiny demands helps in the long term. The trade-off from getting through a moment to how they act for years to come is not worth it!
There is a very fine line that we all need to walk between rewarding kids for positive behavior and bribing them to keep from making us look bad. There are so many different types of parenting and almost none of them are wrong, but we need to remember the future. Looking good in public is not nearly as important as some parents may believe, we all know that kids can be jerks and a lot of times there is nothing that we can do about it. Just go with it, other parents completely understand!
Stay strong out there dads!
You made some great points. Bribing could possibly cause them to act out in the future because they associate receiving a reward if they change the way they act in the moment.
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Exactly, great point!
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