I have to be completely honest here. I don’t always have my kids under control. My four and seven year old – they don’t always listen. Can you believe that? I prefer not to spank, and I try not to raise my voice – mostly because I don’t want the whole neighborhood to hear me attempting to parent my children – so most of the time I end up bargaining with them or threatening them. Bribing and reverse bribing if you will.

bribing kids

“Please, you guys. Please clean up your mess before Daddy gets home. He doesn’t want to see that. If you do it I’ll give you a treat.”

“If you want to do something fun tomorrow, please stop yelling at each other and fighting.”

“We can’t go to your grandparents’ house if you’re not going to behave. Want me to call them?”

And so on and so on. Because a simple “Hey guys, let’s clean up,” just doesn’t seem to get their attention anymore.

I bribe my kids. A lot. I bribe them before we go somewhere in hopes that they’ll behave, and then I might bribe them afterwards if they did.

It’s not always treats I bribe them with though. Sometimes it’s a show they want to watch, a lego guy, a trip to the bowling alley, etc. I actually don’t buy candy or keep it in my house, so it’s not usually an option.

There are other ways to get your kids to behave, but none of them have worked for me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Reward charts always seem like a great idea. I get all crafty with them and begin filling it out. We add a few stickers but then the earning goes slowly and the kids lose interest and motivation. I’ve tried to take away privileges as well. Nothing can be worse than having to give up your favorite toy, right? Not for my kids who have voluntarily given up toys when they got in trouble.

So I bribe them. And it works for us – mostly. Sometimes I get a little worried about someone overhearing me in public, but oh well. As long as my kids are meltdown-free and I can get through a Target trip unscathed, it’s totally worth it.

What methods do you use for rewards and punishments?

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