bribing your kids, Right or wrong?

Cynthia - posted on 10/12/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )




do you use bribes with your kids. Is it wrong to do so, why do you feel that way? give examples of what you think is ok and what is not ok? happy debating everyone!


Iridescent - posted on 10/12/2011




I do it. I'm also, as an adult, bribed to work. If another company can offer me the same bonuses or more and better pay, yup, I'll go there! I've gotten a reward for doing something. That's bribery, right?

My kids get rewards for various things. My oldest gets spending money for school treats every Friday if he remembers to take his medications like he's supposed to that week. It's teaching him two things - his medications are important, his responsibility, and necessary, and also that he gets a set wage for doing his job, and it's his choice how and where to spend it.

My daughter gets bribed for her medical stuff. Every visit, every poke, every x-ray, she gets a bead from Beads of Courage. She also gets a sucker, stickers, or toy from the staff for every one of those things. The beads are for her to remember her life and what she's been through and how it's made her who she is. The others are immediate rewards for doing well. These things give her a huge source of pride! She has every right to it. She LOVES getting pokes, despite the immediate pain of it, as a result of this approach. We do the same thing with every one of our kids.

It doesn't mean they don't get disciplined or we don't have rules - we're pretty strict to be honest. But we also know bribes have their place.

Cynthia - posted on 10/13/2011




My son has a sticker chart. at the end of each week he gets a new toy if he has all of his stickers. that is not a bribe, is it? i would call that incentive...
i think a bribe is rewarding bad behavior that is why it is bad. it teaches that a tantrum will get you candy.

Denikka - posted on 10/13/2011




In my mind, a bribe is something that is offered for a certain behavior before that behavior is expected to be displayed.
EX: "Be good while we're shopping and I'll buy you a candy bar."

A reward is more something that you may or may not get based on a a certain behavior.
EX: At the END of the shopping trip. "You were really good today, so lets pick out a chocolate bar as a special treat."

I try to reward rather than bribe. It's not working so well right now XD but I'm trying and I'm getting better :P My oldest is only 2.5 years old though. I think it will be easier to stop bribing once he understand a little bit more about delayed gratification.

I think the age has a lot to do with how bribing vs rewarding works. When a child is very young, they just don't understand. They want instant rewards, instant gratification. It's only as the get a little older that they start understanding more and you can reward.

Ez - posted on 10/13/2011




I guess a bribe is when you say 'If you do x, you will get y', but a reward is not spoken about until after, and then is used to reinforce the positive behaviour ('thankyou for doing A! Because you were so good and listened so well we can do B'. I don't know.. but that's how I understand it.


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Sal - posted on 10/13/2011




it isn't the way to long term sucess but a one off for a specific occation no real harm....for example i was trying to get a few chores done kids dressed and leave the house by 8.30 i told the kids if everything was done and we were in the car by 7.30 i'd do maccas breakfast....chores done, (plus some extra) 3 kids dressed and sitting on the front step 7.25 worked a treat, but i'm not about to do it everytime we leave the house...

[deleted account]

I mostly use a reward system. Good behavior or helping me with something I ask him to do gets a reward....maybe a candy, maybe a special trip to the park, maybe 10 minutes longer of tv time. Depends. That being said, I HAVE been known to totally use bribery in order to get him to behave in public. I haven't had to do it in a long time but he used to be HORRIBLE to take grocery shopping. So I would sometimes give him a candy bar and beg him to behave. It usually worked lol

[deleted account]

I don't bribe. I do, however, pay. ;)

When my son was not interested in going to preschool... We told him he would get a gumball after. NOT... if you go to school, you will get a gumball... BUT... when I come pick you up, I will bring a gumball. Whether or not he went to school was not an option, but it gave him something to look forward to when I came back. ;)

I'm also not above paying him a penny to let his sisters take him pee instead of me. Kid CAN go pee all by himself, but freaks out and won't go in the bathroom by himself most of the time. Then there are the random times that he goes in w/ no problem and no one even knows til he's done... This kid is an interesting one for sure. lol ♥

Brittany - posted on 10/13/2011




I do not bribe my kids as much as I choose to give them a reward. I do not say

"Caoleb I will give you a candy if you pick up."

I say

"Caoleb please go and pick up the living room."

He does it and I say

"OK here is a Twizzler, Thanks for picking up."

Becky - posted on 10/13/2011




I would say we use incentives and rewards more than bribes, but I have resorted to bribes before. I don't think they're a horrible thing to pull out once in a while, but I do see how they could actually cause your child's behavior to deteriorate in the long run if they're used all the time. The child will come to expect the bribe and won't behave without it.

If I tell my children I will take them for ice cream after they get a vaccination, but not that it's dependent on how they act during the vaccination, just that we'll go afterwards, is that a bribe? Or just compensation for having to get poked? :) We always got ice cream after our shots when we were kids, so now I do that for my kids (and myself, lol!) too.

Stifler's - posted on 10/13/2011




That's what I thought too. Bribing them is more likely if you're under the threat of them misbehaving at an inappropriate time.

Ez - posted on 10/12/2011




I think all parents have resorted to bribery at some point. If they haven't, they must have the most cooperative and easy-going kid alive!

I often offer a 'positive' to follow something she doesn't really want to do.

For example, 2.5yo wants to go outside to play but I need to do some housework. So I will frame it like 'if you help me clean up we'll be able to go out to play'. Or it's lunchtime and she wants to do some painting. 'After you have your nap we can get the paints out'. I don't really see that as bribery though. It's more that it's teaching her that after we be responsible and do what is asked of us, we get to do the fun stuff.

We have dealt with chronic constipation and withholding this year, and even the paediatrician recommended bribery and reward systems lol. I tried it, but it didn't work.

And I admit, there has been the odd occasion where I have 'bribed' her with a treat. Not often actually, because she has always been well-behaved in public (she saves the performances for home lol) but it has happened. As long as it's not every single shopping trip I don't think it's a big deal.

Stifler's - posted on 10/12/2011




My kids are too young but if Logan is good when we're shopping he gets a freddo frog or a fruit pouch which he loves.

[deleted account]

I bribe my kids all the time lol, but they still get discipline. I definitely use candy and sweets (not all the time though) because they work. Right now I have my daughter on a reward system because she has had some trouble in school. Everyday she has a good report she gets 50 cents and if she makes it all week I double it so she can pick out a small thing for herself or we go have ice cream. I give my son money for various things because he's obsessed with transformers. I use dessert when I know they won't want to eat coleslaw or potato salad and it usually works.

I don't think its a bad thing to do as long as they understand that you are the parent and ultimately what you say goes! When you have to bribe your child to get anything out of them, then its been used to much.

Vicki - posted on 10/12/2011




Overall I don't think it's right but depends on the situation. Of course I have resorted to the worst kind of bribery (that I NEVER thought I'd do) 'If you get in your carseat now then you can have chips.' Yeah not brilliant but I REALLY had to get going.

Tara - posted on 10/12/2011




Hmmm...I don't have a straight answer to that one, lol. I have "rewarded" my children for certain favours that have previously been arranged, Such as but not limited to the following scenarios:
"If you take your brother for a walk around the block while I clean out the van, you can have on extra minute of DSI time per minute you have him with you" So I get the van cleaned out, it can only take her about 8 minutes to walk the block and she gets her extra time.
"If you all get your chores done on time without me having to nag you, I will make sure we all stop at the park for a half hour before we go shopping" Or "If you behave while we are out shopping, we can stop at the park on our way home"
I don't do the following types of bribes, "brush your teeth and I'll give you a quarter, make your bed and you can have a candy, eat your dinner and I will give you sweets, be good and I will buy you something when we are out,"
It will be interesting to see the replies to this one! good topic!

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