Boys, Books and Bribery….It’s A Good Thing

boys and booksboys and booksboys and books (2)The child experts who preach, “Never bribe your child” obviously don’t have any kids.  Bribery is the bread and butter of parenting. You just have to know how to work the system so you get what you want and your child thinks they are the winners.

This morning I had a whole list of things I needed to get done in the house and two restless little boys sliding across the floor in their underwear.  They desperately wanted to go swimming with their goggles: I desperately wanted my house cleaned up.

The third time they asked  about going to the pool I showed them my list of the things I had to finish. “Sadly guys there are so many things on this list I don’t know if I’ll have it all done in time to take you to the pool. If you help me, I promise we’ll get there in time. If you do two jobs each, I’ll even  take you to Books a Million  and you can each pick out a chapter book.”

Back to school is a week away and I’ve got to get their brains going again. The idea of anything new always always always get’s eleven year old’s excited and they each picked two jobs.

First, Sam pulled the cushions off the couch and vacuumed, Sandor unloaded the dishwasher,  They both put clean sheets on their beds, cleaned all the window sills and took the garbage out.

We were done with everything on the list in an hour. BRIBERY I Win!!!! (I’d high five myself if I could)

Once we were in the book store it took about thirty minutes for them to finally decided what  they wanted. Then we went swimming. On the way home Sam and Sandor asked if they could jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler when we got home.

“Sure you can, after you read the first chapter of your books.”

They knuckle bumped this victory.

Once we got home they were silent, sprawled on the couches reading. BRIBERY I Win!!!!

If  you are going to use the powerful tool of bribery you have to be smart and cunning about it. You should get what you want and it should be good for your kiddo. So, when the experts grill you, it looks like your bribery was a brilliant act of parenting.

But you have to use this took wisely. Don’t say to your children, “If you let me pick the tv show I’ll let you eat this giant bag of Cheetos.”  Don’t tell them “If you’ll get my cigarettes out of the car, I’ll let you have a sip of my beer.” Do not say “If you’ll let me sleep another hour you can play video games all day.”

Bribery is a good thing, don’t make it ugly. And when you get really good at it, your kids won’t even realize how you manipulate and control them. And that’s the ultimate goal, right?