And there are a million more parenting books that contradict the first million.
For the most part, these books are written by either people who have never even had children of their own, people who have raised twenty kids (who didn’t really need raised because they had oodles of siblings to occupy them) or people who have alien spawns that always behave because they’re not real kids.
Anyhow, I’m not sure if I read it in one of these millions of parenting books, or it was just my own moral compass that led me to believe that bribery is wrong, but for the first three years or so of motherhood that’s what I thought.
Then, one magical day, my sister-in-law (who I hold at very high regard) let me in on a little secret. She bribes her kids. Like, a lot.
For example, she has trained her children to sleep in. How?! The child who stays in bed the latest each morning gets a piece of chocolate.
Where has this tool been all of my life?!
It’s taken me several months to process this tid bit of information. Sure, I’ve tried it out here and there, but nothing major or life altering…until recently.
A few weeks ago, we decided to take a road trip. Our older son had been begging for a fidget spinner. I’m not going to lie, I like to treat my kids. An ice cream cone here, a family movie night there. But our kids have SO much stuff, so I don’t typically give in when they beg for a toy.
In fact, we keep Amazon wishlists for both boys so that when they do beg we say, “Put it on your wishlist” and they either forget all about said toy, delete it when they review their list, or keep it on for birthdays, Christmas, etc so people actually gift them something that they want.
Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Back to the fidget spinner. I decided that I was going to buy each of the boys one for the trip, because I’m pretty sure that there is no greater time when kids are fidgety than when they’re in the car for four hours.
But it felt kind of wrong to give in and just buy it, so I decided to bribe them. “If the two of you clean your entire playroom with no help from Mommy or Daddy, put everything back where it belongs and do not fight while doing it, we will buy you each a fidget spinner for the trip”.
Guess what? It worked!
I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I thought for sure my plan was going to be foiled. But alas, my kiddos pulled through.
And so, my friends, this is how I plan on getting through the next three months, getting all of the household chores done AND make certain that my kids have an epic summer.
“Can we go to the playground?”…”Sure, if you put all of the clean dishes away.”
“Can we have a friend over?”…”Sure, if you fold those towels”.
“Can we go for a bike ride?…”Sure, if you vacuum the living room”.
See where I’m going with this?!
Bribery is a good thing.