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Today I Made Good on My Bribe

By Jen at PIWTPITT |

Today is the last day of first grade for Gomer and I just made good on my bribe.

Yup, I bribed him.  I told Gomer that if he worked hard this year and got good grades at the end of the year, I’d buy him a Nintendo DS.  I actually bought it right after Christmas when they were on sale and I put it on a shelf in the guest room closet.  This way he could ogle it every time he didn’t want to read another chapter in his book or practice his spelling words one more time.  All I had to do was whisper, “DS…” and he’d take one look at that shiny box and get straight back to work.

Some of my friends were horrified that a) I bribed him and b) I flaunted his reward in his face for a whole semester.  I don’t see the problem.  For Gomer, it worked.  He aced every single spelling test but one and he read 440+ books this year.  His grades were good and his test scores were excellent.  I flaunted the DS, because I’m cheap and I wanted to spend as little as possible and I knew that seeing his prize would motivate him when he was thinking of quitting.

Don’t we all work this way, really?  I don’t work for free.  Do you?  I do my job and I get paid.  It may not be called a bribe, but that’s basically what it is.  We all want to be rewarded for our hard work and Gomer is no different.

Now Adolpha is starting Kindergarten next year and I have no idea if this strategy will work for her.  She’s a different breed of kid who can’t be bought as easily.  All she wants is a real live dog and that’s a WHOLE other post about why I’ll never have a dog.  Whatever her weakness is, I will find it and I will use it to motivate her too.

Do you bribe your kids?  Give me your ideas – maybe one of them will work on Adolpha.

Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).

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Read more of Jen at PIWTPITT – Do You Ask Your Child or Tell Your Child? andMy Rules for My Kids at Playdates and Am I Raising a Mini Hoarder?

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Photo:  Free Digital Photos


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About Jen at PIWTPITT



Jen is a blogger and author who recently published the book Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She started her humorous blog, People I Want To Punch In The Throat, in April 2011. She has written for Babble, and has also been published in The Huffington Post. She resides in Kansas with her family.

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12 thoughts on “Today I Made Good on My Bribe

  1. Jaclyn says:

    We do a similar thing with our 4yo Ben when he doesn’t want to clean his room. We’ve got a stash of cheap toys (because he’s four and still likes those things) that we pull one out every so often to flaunt with him. He immediately perks up and gets to work. We also do this in conjunction with a sticker chart so he has to earn so many stickers to get his prize. I do not think this is wrong. He has a job and should get paid for it, just as his parent’s do.

  2. Laurie says:

    The good thing about bribing kids with stuff is that you can take the stuff away when they are pissing you off. It is like “Little House on the Prairie” over here right now. My two sons refuse to stop fighting and they have lost everything electronic except the TV (yet!).

  3. Sheryl says:

    I think bribery implies no work to be done on the part of the giftee. You bribe an official to look the other way, i.e. do nothing. You pay someone for a product or service. You are paying Gomer for good work products. Better products are worth more. The “payment” can take many forms – cash, goods, whatever. I work in software development and the highest reward you can get at my company is an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation. This is offered as an incentive to go over and above what is normally expected of you at your job.

    We expect our kids to get good grades – of course. But good grades for the sake of good grades isn’t enough motivation for some kids. One of mine, a high-achieving 8th grader, is motivated to be at the top of her class, because she’s exceptionally competitive. My 4th grade boy? Notsomuch. We’re still working on the best motivator for him (though regular heavy praise has always been best for him. ) We each know our kid best, and how best to motivate them for their own good. Congrats to Gomer for a successful year, and WTG Mom!

  4. Mandy says:

    I think they key to parenting and unfortunately it’s missing from every parenting book is bribing! I do everyday. I’ll do it when she starts school too. Just have to find what motivates your kid and start the bribing!

  5. Ki says:

    We bribbed our 12 y.o. with ferrets. She has been asking for one for 4 years, so this year we told her if she could make honor roll the whole year & then deminstrate that she could research the care & keeping of these fuzzy friends we would get them for her. Needless to say, every school report has been ferret related, and we will be picking up the fuzzy butts from the shelter as soon as we get back from the beac

  6. Mon3186 says:

    When I was a kid, my parents paid me and my siblings for our grades. We didn’t receive an allowance and getting gifts that weren’t for a birthday or holiday were rare. Well, my brothers and I always had straight A’s! I always planned what I would buy with that money and that kept me motivated throughout each semester. I know I’ll be doing something similar with my son :-)

  7. Kim says:

    I don’t think of it as bribery or paying your kids, I look at it as positive reinforcement. Kids Gomer’s and Adolpha’s ages are too young to appreciate the inherent joy in a job well done, they need something more tangible. Hell, I need something more tangible!!! :) If you do something good, you get something good as a reward. For some kids, that’s a DS. For others, it may be a night out with Mom and Dad or an ice cream cone. I don’t know what to tell you about the dog, because I don’t want anything else in my house that poops! So, good luck with that one!

  8. Kacy Faulconer says:

    Sweet DS. Have you picto-chatted yet?

  9. Jennifer says:

    Bribery IS in the parenting books, mostly referred to as rewards. And blackmail is there too, labeled as consequences…
    Thanks for always keeping it real!

  10. Nicole says:

    I think its great, I do also think its good to remind the kid about the importance of education, yadda yadda. Yes he will still be doing it for the ds but i think to be reminded that its not just for the toy and to affirm him after with all he accomplished is awesome. I think its great too for him that he could see the reward and had to wait. To many people dont know how to wait (often myself included) or save up. With so many people in debt for things they HAVE to have right now! Its good that your son learned that yes, he could wait and now that he has it, its so much more statisfying knowing he did a really good job to get it

  11. Kristin says:

    We were bribed with cash for good grades. Honestly, as a teacher, I see nothing wrong with it. We’re not all born with the intrinsic desire to succeed. Sometimes some extrinsic motivation will eventually lead to intrinsic desire.
    The only time I had a problem with bribing was when this parent, who had two children in two different grades, pitted them against each other and compared them. You cannot expect one of your children to be just like the other and hold it against them if they’re not. Let them set their own standards. As the girl’s teacher, I felt horribly guilty for not “giving” her better grades (that she didn’t earn even though she was a hard worker) when she lost out to her brother. That mom would be a mini-punch :)

  12. Nicole says:

    Your daughter is big on clothes right? Tell her if she does her hw she can choose her outfit for school but if she doesnt want to study, thats fine but you get to pick her outfit for the next day which would mean no pink and probably some crocs ;)

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