Parenting
Parenting

Bribery Can Work Wonders With Children

| by Suzanne Venker
Whichever parent, or supposed expert, said bribery was bad is an idiot. Of course I prefer to call bribes incentives, which they really are when you think about it. All of us, young and old, require some sort of incentive to do something. What differentiates us from small children is that the intrinsic worth of doing something is often enough; young children don't understand this concept.

Let's say you want little Joey to eat his vegetables so that his body becomes strong and healthy. Little Joey could give a rat's ass what's going to happen to his body down the road; all he knows is that he'd rather eat the potatoes. So what's the age-old response parents have been doing for centuries? "Okay, Joey, but there's no dessert until you eat all your dinner."

Then some years ago so-called parenting experts called this bribery and said this isn't the appropriate way to parent a child. By dangling dessert in front of him, all he'll understand is that he has to do as he's told in order to get what he wants. The alternative, they say, is reasoning. Instead, talk to your child. Explain why he should eat his vegetables.

Yeah, that works! Then once you've had this nice little conversation, little Joey will say, "Oh, I see! You want the best for me. Okay, Mom. I get it now. Pass that broccoli right on over."

Now I ask you, please, how many of you who grew up the old-fashioned way are scarred in any way from this most basic parenting tool. Personally, it did wonders for me. My mother was as strict as they come when it comes to food, and my father had superb eating habits. To this day I can't eat anything sweet or generally unhealthy until I've had a decent meal. It just doesn't taste right in my body, which has served me very well in terms of weight control and overall health. More importantly, I learned good habits -- which is something not many people can say. And I have my old-fashioned parents to thank.

What's the lesson here? Go ahead and bribe that child. I won't tell.


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