Parents of our generation bribe their kids more than in years past, according to this AP story I read yesterday. The gist of the piece was that we all are too chicken to tell our kids to behave a certain way with the explanation “because I said so,” and as a result we beg and bribe our kids to do things like wait a sec while we change the baby’s diaper or go to bed without pitching a fit.
The experts in the article said we should assert our authority because we are in charge and also we should teach our kids that doing the right thing feels good without throwing in a toy or some candy to ruin the moment.
When I potty trained Sage I started with the idea that he would learn it because it represented growing up and being more like mommy and daddy. That worked for a few weeks. Then he promptly decided that potty training was boring and went back to wearing diapers. A couple months later I decided to try it again, only this time I told him we would going to play the candy game. Each time he used the potty he got an M&M. It worked like a charm. He’d stand at the toilet peeing and yelling, “Piece of candy!!!” Eventually we stopped having to give him candy every time he went to the bathroom and he stopped wearing diapers. Win, win as far as I’m concerned. This was in contrast to my mother’s way of potty training me which consisted of her deciding it was time and essentially locking me in the bathroom until I agreed. Much more of a “because I said so” approach!
We also tell him things like he can’t watch his favorite TV show unless he eats his dinner. I don’t love it that we do this, but we seem to have fallen into a pattern. What do you all think about bribery? Do you do it or is it “because you said so” in your house?