I often wonder what the difference is between a bribe and a reward. After all, in both instances, your children (or hubby) are getting something for doing what you want him or her to do. But is one better than the other to teach better behavior? Or are they both harmful?
I am one of “those” parents that use bribery (or is it rewards?) on a fairly regular basis. I have been guilty of telling Junior that if he behaves during our trip to Kroger he will get a package of his beloved Starbursts at check-out time. Does it work? YES…on most days, anyway. Bribery was partly what made Junior’s potty training a success too. His wonderful Grandma’s bribery (or reward system) of wrapped toys got him to use the potty religiously. I am even guilty for bribing J and Sassafras to complete homework, do chores, or behave appropriately during church or formal occasions. Shame on me!
Even the hubs seems more compliant when bribes or rewards are involved. After all, don’t we all love being rewarded in some way for doing what we need to be doing anyway?
I find I use the term rewards when referring to students in my classroom. Because… quite frankly, it is not considered socially appropriate for a teacher to say “today your child was bribed to do______________” as opposed to saying “today your child was rewarded for ________________”. Some of the rewards I use are for behavior, homework, caught-being-good (also known as sitting quietly and doing your work), and accelerated reader.
So often the line between bribery and rewards are blurred…or maybe it is just my cloudy mommy-muddled mind that can’t distinguish between the two! So from now on I will refer to it as reward bribenly. I am a teacher so I believe that gives me entitlement to make up words like bribenly, right?
Now tell me how you reward your own children, grandchildren, or students bribenly. Please tell me I am not the only one who utilizes this parenting tactic.