Bribing has such a negative connotation to it, doesn’t it? But, bribing works for me when I am in a pinch. Before you judge me as an unfit mom, just listen. You may change your mind. In fact, you may start viewing bribery as a good thing.
Sometimes life brings us hurdles that seem to be impossible to jump. For me, it has been health issues that have escalated in the past four years. Maybe for you it has been financial, physical or emotional hurdles in life.
When those hurdles come, we can’t stop being a mom. The dishes still need to be washed, dinner has to be made and all the little munchkins still have to be bathed and tucked into bed at night. During those difficult seasons or moments in your life, something has to give.
Living in Cambodia, all the way across the world from my family, I have had little outside help to turn to when things have gotten tough. My husband helps when I am ill, but I try to avoid enlisting his help because he has so many other tasks to complete throughout the day. So, out of desperation, I started bribing my kids.
I didn’t feel guilty when the bribing started, and I don’t now. Actually, I am glad I started doing it and wished I had started earlier!
I remember several years ago I was chatting with another mom. We were discussing home-schooling issues and she paused. With a tiny bit of reluctance she said, “We bribe our kids when it comes to home-schooling.”
I wasn’t taken aback. I thought it was a great idea!
She continued to tell me that she would give her kids tickets when they made good grades, exhibited good attitudes and completed tasks in a timely manner. Those tickets could then be exchanged for bowling, movies, skating, ice cream etc. Sounds pretty fun to me!
But home-schooling isn’t where I desperately needed help. During the sick days, I needed help with laundry, cooking and watching my two youngest children. If I could overcome my chest pains, headaches and lightheadedness, I would force myself to do those things. But, when my body would not give me liberty, I bribed my kiddos.
Sure, I could just tell my kids to do the extra work, but it just doesn’t seem fair. They already have chores and schoolwork. I want them to be a kid! So, during bouts of food poisoning, low-sugar episodes and bad headaches days, I lean on bribing. When I offer the bribe, the kids find it difficult to refuse and actually look forward to helping.
I also bribe kids when I am in a hurry and can’t find an important item — like my keys or cell phone.
Many times I will make this announcement:
“WHOEVER FINDS MY KEYS FIRST GETS $1!”
Squeals are heard as little feet start scampering around the house desperately trying to find the prized item.
I don’t always bribe with money. I also give extra stay up time, treats, pens and notebooks and any other fun items I can think of.
Now it’s your time to confess. Do you bribe your kids? Does it work as well for you as it does for our family?