Friday, 4 November 2016

I bribe my son and I feel it's not that bad

Today I am going to admit of what many parenting experts may consider wrong. I am an unashamed briber of my son and my husband also does that without thinking much about it. My son is not much fussy about eating but many times I say "Finish your plate and you'll get a Dairy Milk." Then happens when he is not ready to be quite while combing his hair, we use this bribing trick, "Once your hair are done, you'll get my cell phone."  I know the army of parenting gurus can be judgmental and they would criticize me that I am extrinsically rewarding my son. Rather than giving him intrinsic benefits, I am taking a wrong step of rewarding him based on his acts. To which I would say "Is that really so bad?"
Sometimes kids are non compliant, non-cooperative, who not only don't know what's good for them, they even don't go with what their parents think is good for them. For example, tooth brushing, getting homework done, sitting quietly, not jumping over the bed and hell long this list can be. I always get confused when I think about intrinsic benefits in doing activities like cleaning teeth and sitting quietly. I don't see it a normal expectation that my 21 months old tot can understand the joy of having clean teeth. Like many other kids, my son only understands that his mother is behaving normal if I allow him to play with tooth paste without forcing him to correctly use tooth brush inside his mouth. When it's hard for me to understand the meaning of giving "intrinsic benefits", I am very sure my son would not be able to feel them. 
I think, as a parent, my responsibility is to make my son's life enjoyable. Honestly, I give least value to this term intrinsic benefit and I am in favor of giving him extrinsic pleasures that he can cherish fully. For example, having a chocolate, playing with my cell phone and jumping over bed. I am mature enough to make a balance for these activities like too mush of chocolate is not good for teeth, too much of cell phones are not good for health. I use bribe when I need speed, when I am asking a-lot and getting no replies from my son. I go for rewards when I want to my son to do things which he hates and they are actually good for him.
I have read in many expert's article that continuous bribing can make kids less interested in doing things and it also hampers their creativity. But, with due respect to experts, I would say it's not a mathematical formula that should be applied everywhere. Those who have time to argue with kids in a sensible manner for getting things done or they are able to make them understand the intrinsic benefits behind doing those things, are really lucky. They are blessed with incredible strength and patience, or they have easy going kids. Mine is tricky and I don't feel bad about bribing him at times. I call it "motivating" and "encouraging". After all I want him to enjoy his toddler-hood, good habits he can learn slowly. A little cheating with rules is allowed in my house!

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