Bribery. It works.

There is a serious amount of bribery that goes on in my house. Is it this way in everyone's house? I always swore I wouldn't be that mom to bribe her kids, that they'd be well behaved enough to do it on their own. Add that to the list of "things I swore I'd never do" that I now can't imagine NOT doing.

And I totally get why bribery works with them. I mean, it would totally work with me too! If I got a piece of chocolate every time I pooped on the potty I'd be eating extra Fiber 1 all day! Geez, maybe I'm onto something here... I should tell Tim that if he doesn't want to hear me complain about the daily goings-on in the Shaw household, he should woo me with a gold star at the end of each day that I don't whine and after 7 gold stars - VOILA! A new pair of boots!

In just one day I dished out close to 10 bribes. Mind you, I'm sick and getting Hannah to do what I want was even more necessary because I just couldn't deal with "normal appropriate" parenting. It all started at 5:53 this morning when she came into my room fully dressed, boots and all.

"Good morning mommy! Do you see how beautiful I look?" she asked.
I didn't want to upset her by telling her it was still pitch dark out and I couldn't see her face let alone her outfit so I went along and said, "Yes, Hannah, gorgeous. (which then screwed me in getting her to change her outfit when I saw after the sun rose that she was wearing brown pants with pink and purple polka dots and a black and white striped shirt with a huge hello kitty on the front. I pick my battles). Climb into bed Hannah, it's not even 6:00." I continued.

"No! I don't want to take my boots off mommy! I already have them on and I'm NOT taking them off!", she huffed.

Bribe 1: "If you take them off, you can cuddle with me (cuddling involves full body hugs which aren't often allowed at this hour) and I'll turn on the TV".
Into bed she leapt.

An hour later we were downstairs entering the first meal debate. She likes to eat her breakfast in front of the TV (she'd probably like to eat EVERY meal in front of the TV but "good mommy" tries to avoid the conversation for lunch and dinner). I'm trying to break her of this habit so I told her I wanted her to eat in the kitchen with Luke. "Come into the kitchen Hannah, your breakfast is ready."
"I want to eat in the family room!" I heard her shout from the other room.
"No, you need to come in here. We're eating in here today." (yeah, consistency is not one of my strengths).
"Wah, wah, wah, wah" couldn't quite make out the words but knew it was not looking good...
Bribe 2: "If you come in and eat breakfast with Luke, I'll give you CHOCOLATE MILK!".
TV was off within seconds.

She had an appointment at 9:30 this morning which makes for a very rushed Monday morning. When it was time to get moving, she had just started the project of bandaging up all of her hurt babies and animals. Think: wet paper towels wrapped around arms, legs, necks and heads. She had only tended to 2 out of 6 of her hurt patients and my patience was wearing thin... we HAD to go.
Bribe 3: If you get your jacket on NOW, I'll tell you a special story on the drive to your appointment. (Note: "special stories" are elaborate, made up stories involving princesses, animals, kids, whatever... they are reserved for bedtime and getting them at any other time of the day is very hard to come by). "A super duper long, giant sized story?" she asked. "YUP!"
Jacket on and zipped in no time.

She then had a bit of a meltdown (possibly from the 5:30 wake up? You think?) right before lunch over Luke trying to rip the bandage off of one of her maimed dolls and in order to snap her out of it before all hell broke loose...
Bribe 4 (a reverse bribe): If you don't stop screaming, I'm taking away your goodnight stories.
Kept screaming
Kept screaming
No end in sight
Still screaming
Stories going, going GONE
Reverse bribes don't work.

I pulled out our paper mache project (yes, it's true, this mommy does paper mache!) and that calmed her down until her grandma arrived and I got a couple hours break from the bribing.

Until it was time for me to go to the grocery store which I planned on doing ALONE since grandma was still helping me.
"Mommy, I really want to come with you. Please mommy, don't go without me, Please?"
Huh? Hannah was choosing the grocery store over time with grandma? This could not be happening. This never happens.
Bribe #5: If you let me go alone I'll get you something special at the store.
"Maybe like a lollipop? A lollipop on a really long stick?"
"Sure, a lollipop Hannah."
Off with Grandma she skipped.

Then dinner time... I am one of those a-la-carte moms who gives choices for dinner. Her choices were Rotisserie chicken, hotdog or turkey.
"I don't want any of those things."
"Those are your choices, that's it."
"I don't like those choices."
Bribe #6 (upside down bribe since the bribe itself was Hannah's idea). "The only way I'll eat one of those things, is if I can have a Winnie the Pooh yogurt WITH my dinner."
Well alright then. Turkey was served.

Bedtime was approaching. The long bedtime routine was not sounding appealing, especially when the stories have been taken away and a fight is sure to ensue over the removal of the stories. And I was tired. And still sick. Email from daddy came through, "6:20 train", it said. I love the 6:20 train. It means he's home BEFORE bedtime! He can put her to bed! I started doing a little happy dance.
"Guess what Hannah, DADDY is going to put you to bed tonight!"
"I don't want daddy to put me to bed tonight. I want YOU!"
Bribe #7: If you let daddy put you to bed tonight, I'll let you have your stories back.
"A super duper giant size story?"
"Yeah!!! Daddy is putting me to bed tonight!"

My name is mommy. And I bribe my kids.

And. It. Works.


Loukia said...

OH yes, bribery is a regular part of my day. Funny, it usually always involves some form of chocolate! ;) Hey - it works, right?

Sarah said...

Truth is, we do what we have to do. Sometimes I feel guilty and then I remember to let it go. That I am giving my kids a good life. That I love them to pieces and that's what counts the most.

Cynthia at A Shimmy in My Spirit said...

Hey it works for adults - we get paychecks. Welcome to SITS I think you will enjoy it. Your family is adorable

Shaunells Hair said...

Oh you cute thing, you aren't bribing--you are showing them the benefit of making good choices!! You are doing effective parenting--don't let yourself feel guilty for an instant and tell yourself you are bribing your kids!! Good for you! I myself do this type of stuff daily :). And this is the speech I give myself! Your kids are darling!

Summer, but I do go by "Mommy" said...

Bribes are how the world works! My house wouldn't run without them. The only one they don't seem to work on is my two month old…

becca said...

Loukia - yes, chocolate has always worked the best in my house for my kids AND me!
Sarah - thank you. You are right, my kids are pretty well adjusted, I think, and a few bribes here and there won't kill them!
Cynthia - good point! I think I'll have to tell my husband that a paycheck would help me to do my job better at home. ;)
Shaunelle - I appreciate your kind words. I do feel guilty at times but honestly, it's the only way to get my daughter MOVING sometimes! And if the piece of chocolate is what is going to get her to make a good choice, so be it.
Summer - I know, my 18 month hold hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet either!

Thank you all for coming by! Visit again soon!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Bribery has a bad rap. I think it's an excellent parenting tool. Call it 'positive reinforcement' if it makes you feel better! =D

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