Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Bribe or Not to Bribe: This is the question...

Me first-ting this morning to 2-year old:  "Time to get our pull-up off and go tinkle in the potty."

2-year old beauty:  "Nnnnooo!"

Me, thinking fast:  "But you'll get a mini-Oreo."

That's how the bribe went down.

And that's how we got the Disney princess pull-up off and baby girl's booty on the potty.

I could've sat there for 20 minutes in a power struggle and eventually ordered her on the potty.  Because, after all, as a good friend once told me,  "you're mom.  they have to do what you tell them."  Really?  Is that how that works?

But a power struggle and a yucky potty experience didn't sound good before my first cup of coffee.  So, baby girl got her cookie and got to eat it too!  And I got her pull-up off and got her to the potty so we could have an accident-free couple of hours.

Some very well-respected moms I know never bribe their children.  They use their power, and it works for them.  They are also probably a bit stricter than I am, have more time, and withstand meltdowns much more calmly than I. 

For a time, I wished I were more that way.  Stricter, calmer, with oodles of time.  But that's not my reality.  I have two smartie-pants toddlers who have their own strong ideas about things, I work, and at times, I'm just not a calmy-balmy type.  So I negotiate with them.  I barter.  I wheel and deal.  And they don't seem all that unhappy about it.  I'm not.  It's working for now.

But I'm a curious bug, and I wanna know:  what strategies do you use when you want or need your child to do something?  Is bribery out of the question?  Are there negative consequences?  I hope I hear from you!


  1. They are your kids - do what ever works for you. I have one child that has Autism and it to forever to get him trained. We coaxed, we begged, begged, we pleaded, and punished. It took a train trip on the Amtrak to Chicago and a lover of Thomas to make the transition. I told him that if he had an accident on the train that Sir Topham Hat would make him get of the train. That was the end of it. My 2yo old at the time, trained herself.

  2. Dawn,
    I have 3 children ages 15, 14, and 12; and they too were strong willed toddlers at one time. I completely agree with Robyn...do what works for you and your kids. As long as they are happy, healthy, and good kids then you are doing a fantastic job!! Always keep in mind that not all kids are the same, and neither are their parents. :)