Parenting Bribes vs Incentive Goal & Paper Chains
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