Parenting Bribes vs Incentive Goal & Paper Chains

PAPER CHAIN FUN!!
PAPER CHAIN FUN!!

Mothering Tip~Incentive Goals

How many times do we say to our children, "If you do this, I will give you....." Or if you are good in the grocery store, you can have...." The use of bribes establishes false motivation for obedience. Obedience should be rewarded with hugs, love, and praise! We don't want our children to obey because there is something "in it for them". We want them to obey out of the love of virtue. Instead, we can "rehearse good behavior" with our children.

Always remind your children what is expected ahead of time...."When Mrs. Magilacutty offers you pickled pigs feet for lunch today, what will you say?" "No thank you Mrs. Magilacutty". We never say "Oooh, that's icky"! Have fun with the rehearsing. My children enjoyed that and looked forward to my scenarios!

Incentive goals work!. If there is something you have been working on with your child, say potty training, putting away toys, turning off a light in their room or making their bed, make a paper chain with your child. Twenty-one links long for older children. Seven links for younger children. Place a picture of an incentive goal (remember that waiting makes it an incentive goal, not instant gratification or a bribe~something inexpensive, a sleepover. When my daughter gave up her pacifier at two we put a photo of a Cabbage Patch Stroller from the Penney's catalog at the top of the chain and hung it above her bed) Hang the paper chain in a place that will be seen often! Then take one chain off each night at bedtime, or in the morning when there is success! It takes two or three weeks to form a habit. This eliminates frustration and allows the child and the parent to see progress. It is entirely up to the parent as to whether or not you would add links back on to the chain.

We have used this idea to accomplish many goals for our children. They thoroughly enjoyed it and we reached many of their goals with much less frustration.

Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Colossians 3:20

Comments 8 comments

mommygonebonkers profile image

mommygonebonkers 5 years ago

Thanks SherrieAnne! He normally does well at bedtime now since cutting out naps, just the usual stalling techniques which we have gotten pretty good at squashing..and we broke out the bunny clock again since the time change to let him know when it's okay to get out of bed and it only took about 3 nights (early mornings rather) to stay in bed until bunny is up. I just find it odd that when I try to introduce a rewards method it backfires...every kid is different though I guess


SherrieAnne profile image

SherrieAnne 5 years ago Author

Mommygonebonkers~I wanted to take some time to really think about this question before just spouting off some flip answer to you. By the way I love the name you chose~we all have at one time of another eh? I believe you may want to work on some security issues with your child if he is acting out at bedtime. Just a thought. I noticed this particularly with my own children when my husband use to travel a lot, if we had too much on our schedules or if I was just too busy to spend time reading, snuggling & praying with them before bed. On the other hand it could be just an act of defiance testing you and you may have given too many choices during the day making your child think this too is a choice. If you wish to know more about this, please email me. Bless you~


chiefmomofficer profile image

chiefmomofficer 5 years ago from Massachusetts

My daughter is on the verge of learning to read but she is always hesitant to sit down and try. The times I've been able to convince her (usually with a bribe of some sort), she has done very well. Perhaps a paper chain will be a good way to encourage her to try on a consistent basis. It's definitely worth a try!


SherrieAnne profile image

SherrieAnne 5 years ago Author

Chiefmomofficer~ so glad you enjoyed reading the idea about the paper chain as a tool. I am in total agreement with you on not rewarding for expected behavior and only for that which is above and beyond.I hope you will have fun with this!


chiefmomofficer profile image

chiefmomofficer 5 years ago from Massachusetts

This is a great idea! We do a star and check mark chart with my 5 year old, but I have explained that stars are only given for behavior that goes above and beyond what is expected. Meeting expectations does not earn a star. A check mark on the other hand comes when there is any kind of bad or negative behavior. She likes the idea but I think the paper chain is great as it focuses on one goal at a time. Thanks for sharing!


mommygonebonkers profile image

mommygonebonkers 5 years ago

I will definitely try this with my almost 4 year old! We are constantly working on him staying in bed until it's time to get up. I've tried the sticker charts, but that fizzles after only like 2 nights!

I've also noticed, that for bedtime in particular, when I bring out the sticker chart with some kind incentive attached, he seems to test really hard and starts acting even worse at bedtime, so I've done away with it. Has anyone else experienced this?


FitFamily profile image

FitFamily 5 years ago from Lynnwood, Washington

I love this idea! I'm accustomed to using paper chains to count down the days to a special event, but what a fun twist to ADD a link for each accomplishment. I just forwarded this to a friend who is potty training her son. Thanks for the idea!


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 5 years ago from Virginia, USA

This is a great idea, I love the simplicity of it! Voted useful.

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