Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Like To Think Of It As - Negotiating

Is bribery, when used to discipline children - Okay?

Probably not!

I'm pretty sure that bribery is not mentioned as an appropriate technique to discipline children ... in any Good Parenting books or magazines.


I have been known to use bribery - MANY, MANY TIMES, over the course of the past 16 years in the raising of my kids.

I have!

"If you be really good at Aunt Ruth's house - I'll get you some candy."

"If you and your brother go all day without fighting - I'll pay each of you $5.00."

"If you go tinkle on the potty - I'll get you some candy."

I've used candy A LOT over the years!

I'm not against bribery.

Kids eventually KNOW you are bribing them - eventually, they get it! And ... they play you.

But ... I still use it.

I try different tactics.

Like ...

"Every time you scream at your brother, I am going to go into your room and take one of your toys."

That day - I had a pile of Alexis' toys in my bedroom that would have filled a pretty large toy box. Guess who had to put all those toys back - ME. I don't use this one much. As long as there are still toys left in their room - they are happy! They assume you couldn't possibly take all of their toys. This one doesn't work so well, unless you resort to taking IPODs or X-Boxes - which I HAVE DONE!

I have found that bribery works about 1/2 the time.

Any tool that has a success rate of 50% is a GOOD TOOL - in my book. That means I've got a 50/5o shot of getting the result I want.

I'm okay with that.

I guess people could argue that you shouldn't teach your children that they can get something through bribery, and you know what - they'd be right. I don't ever want to see any of my kids using bribery with one of their friends to get something they want.

I prefer to think of it as ... negotiating.

Alexis says, "I'll play on the trampoline with you if you swim with me after."

Yes - I prefer thinking of it as NEGOTIATING!

This is one tool that works often enough to ... keep it in my arsenal - whether you call it bribery or not.

This is JUST how I raise my children - what do you think? Do you use bribery when it comes to disciplining your kids or ... are you On The Flipside?

Give me your most honest opinion - whether you agree with me or have a FLIPSIDE view. But, please make sure you follow the comment rules and be nice to me and other commenter's. And please go over to my sidebar and answer the survey question on this topic.

Edited: Poll results - 21 took poll. 9 (39%) Yes. 14 (60%) Sometimes. 0 voted No.


dani said...

hi, kellan:)
i absolutely use bribery and will continue to do so!!! i think my odds have been better than 50/50, but i only have one child i have to bribe:b
ps. i totally love your new blog!!!

Jacey said...

I'm not a mother, but I am a nanny and a (training) teacher.
I use bribery. I mena.. basic bribery. LIke 'If you two stop fighting right now, and are nice to each other til bed time, you can have desert after dinnner'
Even in the classroom, in a more basic form 'If we're all good this week, we might get to do SPECIAL reading on Friday, and do some drawing to do with it!' (this is with 5 yr olds...)
But really... I mean, as long as you're not bribing kids with HUGE things,(cars, pony's, cellphones, etc) I think it's ok.

The Fritz Facts said...

I lurv bribery! I use it when I need to, and it seems to work pretty well I think. Somedays it is what it takes to make the world turn a little smoother.

Rebecca said...

I prefer to think of it as positive reinforcement. :) Like jacey said, if you are good and stop fighting you can have dessert after dinner. But the other side of that is if they AREN'T good they DON'T get dessert. So it's a cause and effect, choice and consequences scenario. But still bribery, you are right. And it works.

Kellan, I've also done the taking stuff away thing and it IS work. When Mark was about 2.5 he wouldn't stay in his bed for nap time. He kept on getting up and playing. That boy NEEDED his naps or he was a mess. So I told him if he got up to play again I would take his toys out of his room. He did and so did I. Even then, he got up again. EEK. So I went in and took the only toys left, (his stuffed animals out.) He was so teary and said angrily "Just take my pillow and my mattress TOO mom." I didn't do that but he DID stay in his bed.

Anyway! Great post! You are such a good mom!

E said...

It is a long positive history in psychology called Behavior Modification.
You are tempting them into better behavior.
Me too...Bribery works and it teaches kids how to work for what they want.
I say figure out their currency and then use it....

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

Bribery....yes, negotiating is defintiely a better way to put it... 20 years of kids (and there are 6), I think my success rate can be put a little higher than 50% only because when I am bribing more than 2 at once, they both usual cave!

kim-d said...

Hey, I say--WHATEVER WORKS, USE IT! And in all of those stupid seminars they used to send us to for work, Alexis' way would be called a "win/win" situation. Doesn't get much better than that!

I like it here :).

Kel said...

Yep - I use it. Not all the time, but there are instances and my daughter is old enough to know when it is being used. She even tries to use it back on me sometimes. I look at it like an ace up my sleeve. She know's it's there, but never quite knows when it will be used (never used upon request).

Happy Monday Kellan!

laurwilk said...

Oooh! Behavior Modification! All parents should thank Skinner for this one.

For the most part, I agree with bribery and use it with my sibs often (not yet a parent). However, I also believe in tough love and making kids do things because that's the way things ought to be done. Ha, which is far easier said than done and has a success rate of MAYBE 30/70.

Debbie said...

Oh, I've done my share of bribing too...I'm still doing it and he's almost 22!

I'll go get us something to eat if you'll finishing weedeating or I'll finish your laundry if you do such and such. Oh yes....

TheCynicalOptimist said...

My opinion? People that say no it's not ok are not parents!!! LOL. No bibery- good in theory, but not in practice! Heck yes we bribe! It teaches life lessons- you do A you get B. You eat your peas you get some pears. Magic! :)

Elaine A. said...

Can I ask a question about the poll? I know this is probably stupid to ask, but why is there a "Sometimes" answer? I mean if you do you do so the answer should be "yes," right? Just wondering...

I certainly use bribery. I think the first time I really remember putting it to use was when my son had to have his 3 year shots. He was NOT happy about it so we promised if he was good he could have a lollipop afterward. Worked like a charm. There are certainly instances when it is quite effective...

Adrian said...

I use bribery all the time, even on my grown children. I have a set of CD's on money management by Dave Ramsey and I am PAYING them $20 each to listen to it.

I'm even thinking of including my daughter-in-law on the deal. I figure it's well worth $60 (2 sons and my DIL) to me if I can teach them how to manage their money properly and not always be coming to me for loans (yeah right - LOANS, like they're ever going to pay it back!) when things cave in on them.

Bribery works and I use it unashamedly.

Ashlee said...

Bribery, huh? I think most parents use it to a certain degree. I think that too much bribery or the size of the gift you are bribing the child with can end up with a negative effect, but small bribes are like positive reinforcement. After a while they should learn to do whatever it is you were training them to do {such as clean their bedroom} and the positive reinforcement can simply be a verbal one.
The only problem I have come across with bribing my kids with money is that soon my son expects every good act he does deserves payment. Have I stopped doing it though? Nope. Not on your life. :0)

Amanda said...

I use this method every single day. I don't think i could cope with 4 children without it!!

Courtney said...

I use it. Not as often as my friends do, but especially when we are in the store. They know there are consequences if they are bad and rewards if they are good. I like to think of it that way.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

Rebecca had it right by using the term positive reinforcement.

It is bribing but when you use the term is just sounds so much better.

You take any children's psych class and it tells you right away that positive reinforcement works the best in any circumstance dealing with modifying behaviour.

Still works on do your job right, here comes a bonus!!

Now, before children of course I said that I would not use bribing!!! One of the many times I had to eat my words!!!

Loving this side...although I'm secretly incredibly excited for the darkside!!! :)

Andrea said...

ah, yes...BRIBERY!! I am a total fan of this technique, regardless about what parenting magazines say.

this blog is going to be so much fun! you rock!!

utmomof5 said...

I am all for bribery!!

When they are grown ups isn't a job like bribery: I will pay you this paycheck if you are on -time and do your job correctly and in a timeley manner. They sooner they learn some things the better!!

Brittany said...

I think everyone uses it at some point in time. I don't try to make a habit out of it, but sometimes it has to be done. I like to call it tangible encouragement! :)

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

Talking about negotiating and bribery and making Eagle learner's permit until you have your life rank and no driver's license until you get your Eagle. Now, don't ask me what I am going to do about the girls! :)

Brenda said...

I certainly have used bribery. I've used extortion too, however, it only has about a 20% success rate.

Sally said...

It sounds as though little Alexis has learned "compromise" which is a very good trait. I'm sure every parent has used some type of 'bribery' in their day.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I use bribery with my kids. I think ALL parents do to a certain extent even the one who claim they never do. Think about it, we do things that we don't particular want when we know we are going to get something out of it.
Besides there are days you would do anything to get your kids to do what you want.

Kami said...

Oh yeah, bribery is alive and well in this house but I agree, once they start using it on their friends or worse yet, their brother, the buck stops!

It has it's use and I think if you don't let it get out of use only in the most dire of circumstances and not every hour on the hour, it's very effective.


One Scrappy Chicklet said...

I hate to admit it but I have been known to use bribery for lots of things. I am real good at it when it comes to trying to get them to clean their rooms.
What can I say? I am the mother of three boys and they can be pigs.LOL


Journey of Truth said...

I have recently implimented the "If you don't do 'this' then 'this' will/won't happen". For example: If you do not do your school work by 3pm, you will not get to play after dinner, because you will be doing it for homework. Or, if you don't clean your room before bedtime tonight, you will do it tomorrow AND lose media entertainment in all its various forms.

It works thus far!

I used to bribe like mad, and it wasn't working and I was going broke and the dental bills were going up. He he he.

Kelly said...

I had to laugh when I looked at the sidebar and saw no one had voted 'no' yet! I don't like bribery but often desperate times call for desperate measures. I like to think of it as 'positive reinforcement'! LOL

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Bribery is a loaded word and while I do use it as a tool I like your term "negotiating." Sometimes it is also simply rewarding good behavior. If the child knows what the potential reward is ahead of time then I guess it does kind of fit the definition of "bribery." Regardless of what we call it, I think most experienced moms know it works.
For potty training I used mini m&ms or chocolate chips. I had no success until I did. I found nothing that worked better. And it's so easy.
I used to use quarters to get very young children to practice the piano.
I also used money for learning math facts.
Knowing you're going to get a reward is not a bad reason to do something. In fact, it's Scriptural. You reap what you sow. Actions have consequences.
I say parent should use what works.

yertle said...

Bribery was the answer to my potty training woes. One monster truck smash and crash stadium placed over the toilet got us the results we needed -- up until then he would not go #2 in the potty. He has not worn diapers since.

THopgood said...

I "negotiate" on a daily basis.

Today's negotiations alone:

"Give me 1 solid hour of helping me clean the house and I'll take you to the pool for a few hours this afternoon."

"If you can get through the rest of the day with NO picking on your sister I'll let you each have a friend over to spend the night."

"If you can get through the day with ABSOLUTELY NO WHINING I'll let you have a friend over to spend the night."

bichonpawz said...

Even though I only had one, I used the bribery technique and had about the same success rate as you! Love the new blog, Kellan! However will you find time to keep them all going?? Hugs, Jeanne

Toni said...

Isn't that why they teach money to kids in school....

rthling said...

I have used bribery as well, but think of it more like rewarding good behavior. The only problem now is, whenever I ask one of the kids to do something, they usually want to know what the reward will be for doing it. That's when there is no reward. You should be willing to pitch in and help even when it means no gain. They call that pulling one's own weight.

Tabitha said...

Yes ~ I am guilty too!!
Bribery is part of my every day life with my 2 kids!! It works a treat ~ most of the time!!
Love the new blog Kellan ~ well done!!! XXXXX

The Boyds Family said...

I think we, as mothers, have all tried that tactic at least once.

I'm on the fence with this one. I think there are times when it's okay and there are other times when it's not.

Me?? I say whatever works (within reason).

Jaina said...

I'm not a mother yet, but I've used this tactic on my little brothers. I think for me it depends on what you're using to bribe. It's all relative.