Bribery Will Get You Everywhere

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I admit it: I bribe my kids. Well, I bribe Haley. Hudson, at three months, is less motivated by rewards— unless that reward is breast milk— and he knows he’s getting that no matter what. But his day will come. In the meantime, I offer Haley lots of things—new toys, movies to order through the TV, a positive recommendation to Santa, play dates with friends—really anything to get what I want. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it, either.

Once children leave babyhood and toddlerhood, you can’t really make them do anything. You can’t physically force them to listen, and reasoning with a three or four year old is an exercise in futility. So at times I advocate the “telling them what they want to hear” strategy. Often, they’ll forget what you promised (although sometimes they don’t, so be careful!) or it’s something they’re going to get no matter what (a birthday present you’ve already ordered) so you might as well make them work for it.

Bribery works to get Haley to clean up, behave in public, stay in bed—you name it. The most important time I bribe is when it’s time for Haley to take medicine. Haley has always hated taking drugs in any form and usually, it’s something she really needs to take for the sake of her health. So I do what I need to do. The other day, I brilliantly informed her that I could buy an app on the phone that tells you if you’re on the Naughty or Nice List at the North Pole. It’s expensive, but if she cooperated I would download it. She bought into it. I was able to administer the necessary dose and then inform her that—wait a minute—you are on the Nice List after all! I myself may not make the list after all of these shenanigans, but I’m at peace with that. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.

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