Many parents wonder what the difference is between a bribe and a reward. After all, in both instances, your child is getting something for doing what you want him/ her to do. But what is good appreciation and what is bad, that we need to figure out as parents. Because reward can take be turned as bribery in the mind of the child.
It’s important to understand that bribery can become an ongoing pattern that ultimately teaches your child to act out to get what they want. We can see many parents who simply promise all manners of enticing treats and activities in exchange for behaving appropriately. Parents end up feeling as though they are desperately bribing their children to comply. Kids can come to expect something extra for simply executing their daily responsibilities, which can in turn lead to a false sense of entitlement.
To make things even more confusing, attempting to curtail your child’s unruly actions by offering a bribe might actually seem like it’s working in the moment. Take the classic example of a parent who is dutifully trying to get her grocery shopping done while her kids are running wild through the store. The parent is frustrated and embarrassed, so she proposes a deal: if the kids will settle down and get through the shopping excursion, they will each be given a candy bar. Great, it seems to work! But wait afterward, the parent is left feeling played, and she soon discovers that this tactic leaves her with a sense of powerlessness. This is because in this scenario, the acting-out child has learned another method of maintaining control. You can even think of this behavior as blackmail—you better give me a sweet payoff or I’m going to make you suffer Kids will likely continue to use this strategy as long as it is working for them.
To understand how good rewards work, it can be helpful to think in terms of how the work world operates. You do your job and complete the tasks that are required of your position, and your concrete reward is a paycheck. So now it is your call to differentiate what is good behavior that they have shown to be rewarded so that they get motivated to repeat it in various situations. If teachers and schools help in this along with parents it becomes easy for children to develop good qualities.