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Bribing is an emergency parental tool in my opinion. I am sure to use it when I need a quick outcome to something, but it’s not a parental strategy that should be used all of the time. The best way to gain your child’s respect and teach them responsibility is to setup some sort of incentive program to get them to be 1) more independent and 2) responsible. As a parent we must teach our child, rather guide them, into the world of adulthood by setting up healthy boundaries, sticking with clear cut consequences and giving a bit of responsibility to them. Teaching a lot of the normal skills in the way I am used to parenting doesn’t work for all of my children, the first born and last born take kindly to my normal parental approach but my middle child has been the challenge.

My middle child is unique and thinks differently, my normal parenting techniques haven’t ever really worked for him. This is why I am always trying to be creative in addressing any issues that come from his medication being off or his changes as he gets older. Incentives is the way to go and I’m talking incentives to do every day normal things that he is capable of doing but can prove to be extremely difficult to get him to do. My middle child is more sensitive, his mood disorder plays a toll on him and he is a very literal child who is routine driven. I, on the other hand, am a fly by the moment person who loves surprises and just “wings” it. I have to train my brain to properly react to my middle child to ensure the best growth for him as a person.

During the Summer we had a schedule, this schedule was written up on a poster board, if there were to be any changes to that routine I had to let my middle child know ahead of time to avoid any major frustrations. The schedule worked amazingly to keep him on track and make our Summer full of fun. When school went back into session, the schedule no longer applied and was taken down. As my middle child’s medication stopped working fully I watched him withdraw from doing every day normal tasks such as brushing teeth, getting dressed on his own, wanting to do anything on his own, constantly needing someone there by him. It was rough and that’s when I decided to nip it in the butt with an incentive chart.

Incentive Chart

I decided to choose some tasks that I knew my middle child had to work on being encouraged to do on his own, providing him with more confidence in his own self and giving an incentive for his tally mark on the chart. Since my youngest and middle child are 1) both boys and 2) only 2 years 6 days apart, the incentive chart was created for both of them to work off of.

On the chart are tasks I want them doing on a regular and on their own, such as reading a book, cleaning up after themselves and getting their own self dressed both in morning and after bath for bedtime. I also wanted to get them brushing their teeth on a regular, as they were really getting frustrated with the idea of teeth cleaning again.

Since I started this chart, where they put one tally mark for each time they complete a task, I have seen amazing changes. My sons get themselves dressed in the morning before school, they brush their teeth on their own without me even asking, they have a love for books again and they love feeling accomplished in doing these things on their own.

At end of week, each tally mark counts as ONE PENNY, yes, they work for ONE PENNY each without complaint. Last week my middle child earn 23 cents and since he followed the chart so well, I gave him a quarter instead of 23 cents. While you may see this as a small amount, even my daughter will work for such small amounts because for my three children it isn’t about the money they are getting, it’s about the positive response from me beaming with pride and hugging them telling them how pride I am of them.

So you see, my kids work for incentives but it’s more emotional incentives than it is money based.

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Written by brandyellen

Brandy is a born and raised New Hampshire resident who loves being a Mom to three wonderful children. When Brandy isn't writing, she is working part time as an Administrative Assistant. Author, with her daughter, of Positive Girl - The Power of Your Thoughts Question about this post or something found within it? Read my Disclosure Policy as well as Terms of Use.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) (242 comments)

    I do offer bribes to my kids, but I save them for when I really need them, too. Sometimes it’s easier to bribe them when you really need something.