Friday, July 29, 2011

Bribery: making kids do stuff since the dawn of time

I read one potty training book. Most of the way through.  I read one child-rearing, behavior-y book, post-college. Happiest Toddler on the Block. Eh. Good theory: speaking "cave kid" to your supposedly non-verbal toddler. But when she argues back in full sentences, it isn't particularly effective. Although the looks I got from passers-by were priceless. I read a stack of child psychology and classroom management books in college, for what that's worth.

Let's face it, people: 
They can be bought.
You just have to find the right currency. 

What? I personally love my 9 to 5 (my 7:30 - 4:00), but 99% of us don't go to work every day because we LOVE fighting traffic and getting asked if we have a case of the "Mondays". We go because we're PAID to do so. Elementary classrooms everywhere are working for good behavior-related tickets, marbles, checks, stickers, and pizza parties. It's an intro to the pattern of societal give and take. Like it or not, children observe from the very beginning that it's the part of the way the world works.  However, we don't need to abuse it.  Only when it really matters.  Like when great Aunt Myrtle is visiting, or your little flower girl refuses to go down the aisle, or you're, um...tired?

I know, I know. Intrinsic motivation. Self-esteem. Social consciousness.
Explain that to my youngest when she's going all jelly-legged and raging as only a toddler can... at her physical therapist.
Sometimes, a "thing" is necessary to motivate a child.
You know, to get away from that roadkill, stop wailing like a banshee, go potty, try two bites of that food on your plate, suck it up and go on the big slide like that other kid who is 2 years younger than you, and stop talking about different varieties of poop in church.

I won't even get into my classroom management systems. However, in the interest of full disclosure...
Things I have offered one or both of my children, at some time, in exchange for a desired behavior:
  • Pony. Both the real, and "My Little" variety.
  • Money. The highest actual amount I promised was $10, and that was a potty chart reward. Yes, I'm awful. Yes, I would have gone so much higher.
  • Crackers.
  • Cookies. Barnum's Animal, preferably, for E. Miss M would eat tofu if you called it a cookie. 
  • Juice box. Hit or miss; Miss M doesn't really like juice, cause she's a werido.
  • Lollipop.
  • Ice cream. Mainly because then I get ice cream too.
  • Sticker.
  • Many stickers.
  • Whole book of stickers.
  • Trip to dollar store to pick out a toy from China that has lead paint, small parts, and probably bites small fingers.
  • Trip to Target to pick out a better toy, but you better actually hit the potty this time.
  • Trip to playground.
  • Trip to Bounce U. Again, because who doesn't love places where they let grown-ups bounce for free?
  • Dip in the pool. Sure, by her ankles...
  • Princess-Fairy-Somesuchcrap Barbie. Don't even get me started.
  • Powerhweels. Yeah, fat chance. That was never going to happen. When you get a full ride to Harvard, that's when I'll buy you a Powerwheels. 

 Parents, teachers, people who have had to control kids at some point:
come clean. 
What have you bribed 'em with? 
What worked and what didn't? 

1 comment:

ashley said...

oh my gosh, you crack me up!! I actually read this to my husband, laughing the whole time. and it's all so true!!

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