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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Parenting experts say you shouldn't, but do you bribe your kids?

Experts Say Not To Bribe Kids. I'll Give You $10 and Stale Candy If You Prove Them Wrong.

I say it depends on the purpose, circumstance and just how you define bribe.

I don't bribe my kids with dessert, but I tell them that there will be no dessert if they don't first eat their vegetables. Dessert doesn't always follow - and they know this - but dessert is not even a possibility unless they eat the other portions of their meal. I started doing that after coming across research which essentially said that making sure your kids ate good food was more important than making sure they avoided bad food. The bad stuff should be in moderation, but the good stuff provides the nutrients they really need to be healthy and grow in ways you want them to.

In other instances I offer incentives, including money for top-level academic reports, and sometimes when they complete a particularly challenging chore I've assigned them. I am trying to teach them that actions have consequences, some good, some not so good, and that is definitely a lesson I want them to take with them for the rest of their lives. It reminds them that they have power, which is another way of saying responsibility.

Do you bribe your kids? Does it work?

And how do you differentiate between a bribe and incentive?


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