When Good Bribes Go BadLori Garcia
As parents we pick our battles; we have to – otherwise we’d be battling for all of eternity without reprieve. Sometimes even when the battles are worth picking, we’re so worn down – we fold. And other times, when the stakes are high – we bribe.
Bribery is such an ugly word. The word even looks guilty and illegal just sitting there. By proper parenting law, bribery is arguably one of the greatest parental offenses.
Yes SuperNanny, I know children shouldn’t be bribed to exhibit good behavior. I especially know children shouldn’t be bribed to exhibit mere civilized behavior. As a standard rule, we expect civilized, and dare I say, good behavior from our kiddies and about 75% of the time they oblige. The remaining 25% of time is…well…challenging, especially with my toddler. Despite all the tricks in my parenting arsenal, when all else fails and I’m in a pinch, I bribe. Guilty as charged.
I know bribery backfires, creating a vicious insatiable cycle of demand; I’m living proof. The itty bitty habit of bribing BooBoo with fruit snacks began as a rather effective method to keep him busy and quiet while I helped my eldest with his homework. Who would have thought such an innocent gesture would snowball into such an epic parental failure? Obviously not me.
Now fruit snacks are expected for everything.
There aren’t enough fruit snacks in the world to compensate BooBoo for everything he’s come to expect them for. The habit has gotten so bad, he asks for fruit snacks after eats a pack of fruit snacks. He asks because he can. I use them when I have to because they work, like little artificially colored pieces of sugary parental magic.
Now I am tasked with the distinct parental privilege of breaking the nasty habit I myself have created. Regrettably, I have no one to blame but myself, making this arduous task such a stale fruit snack to swallow. I have decided fruit snacks are no longer allowed in my home, as much for him as for me. Cold turkey; I just don’t see any other way.
Even the best of us start bad habits; some are born out of ignorance and others out of desperation. That’s what I have; the desperate kind.
Have you started a bad habit with your child(ren)? How did you break it?
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