Bribes and Rewards – The Difference

Sep 07, 2013

Parenting is often confusing – we are thrown in this whole tub of responsibility with little or no training. We try all sorts of methods to get our preschool children to listen to us, to do things the way we want and often we get carried away with the right or wrong methods. Here are a few common scenarios…..

“If you use the bathroom, you can have a chocolate.”

“Thank you for helping me clean up your room. Now we can go to the playground.”

“I will get you your favourite ice-cream now if you promise to sit still at the dentist’s.”

Can you tell the difference between a bribe and a reward?

A bribe is something you offer to your child before a task is completed in order to get him to do what you want him to do. In the examples above, the first and third are bribes. A reward, the second example is something that is offered after the event.

Some parents wonder if it matters whether it is a bribe or reward as long the child co-operates. This really depends on what you are trying to teach him when you offer a bribe or reward. Are you trying to teach him to ask you what is in it for him every time there is a job to be done?

Maybe not. What you do want to teach your child is the gift of co-operation. You want to teach him that when he works hard at completing a task, he will feel satisfied by a job that is done well. You want to teach your preschool child that work comes before play; that responsibility is important. That it is important to consider other people’s needs. Your little toddler may not understand these goals but if you set the pattern from this time, he will understand it once he is old enough.

Happy Parenting!