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Babysitting Advice - Is It Ever Right To Bribe Children?
Many new parents vow that their kids won’t be given sugary foods or stuck in front of a TV! They will only have healthy, well-balanced food and all play will be mentally stimulating and educational.
I’ll give in…just this once
If they’re honest, most parents and babysitters have fallen back on bribery at least once – usually a lot more than once! If you’re exhausted and crave a few minutes of peace and quiet, a little bribery seems the obvious way to go.
Babysitters are often in the awkward position of having to discipline the child – but not having the same level of authority as the parent. This is for two reasons. The babysitter isn’t the parent and doesn’t know the full history of what has and hasn’t worked with the child in the past. And bribery does work – at least in the short term – but what is it teaching the child?
Creating A Demanding Child
People who are steadfastly against bribery argue that it is encouraging children to behave badly as they know it will end in a bribe to stop that behavior.
It helps to look at the dictionary definition of a bribe. It’s ‘anything given or promised to induce a person to do something illegal or wrong’ – so that clearly isn’t what’s happening here. You’re using a ‘bribe’, but to induce good not bad behavior.
It’s Street">All In The Timing
Bribery is offering payment before the deal is closed. In other words, once the child has what they want – why should they do what you want? Especially when yet more bad behavior is likely to result in another ‘gift’.
The fundamental difference between a bribe and a reward is the timing of the action. Whether it’s intended to induce good or bad behavior, a bribe is given before or during the bad behavior, to stop it.
A reward is given after the good behavior. If the good behavior doesn’t happen, neither does the reward.
Make The Child Do The Work
A huge amount of effort can go into persuading, coaxing, explaining and finally bribing a child. It’s exhausting, frustrating and worrying. So stop doing it! The ironic thing is that in the early stages, the reward will have to be offered prior to the situation arising. For example, tell the child that if they are good while you’re grocery shopping, you will be able to get round the store quicker which means there will be time to go to the park on the way home. It’s then up to the child to work for that reward.
Make The Power Shift
When you bribe a child – they have the power in the situation. They are manipulating you in order to gain a reward.
When you offer a reward – you both have power. You can give the reward or withhold it. The child can earn it or lose it. You’ll be surprised how quickly they learn!
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