We’ve all been there. Your child’s room is dirty, and he doesn’t want to clean it. You just want the room clean, and consider offering him an incentive in the form of a few dollars, or maybe some candy. You need help with the dishes after the family meal, and your daughter doesn’t want to help. Maybe she would help in exchange for a new toy. All you want is for the chore to be done, and you’re willing to pay your child in some way to get it done. Is this the wrong way to handle it?
The act of convincing someone to do something against their will by offering a material incentive is bribery. Many parents use bribery to accomplish various things with a child, and there could be serious consequences to this method of parenting.
To begin with, a child might begin to believe that she is entitled to payment for anything that she does to help out around the house. In her eyes, everything you are asking her to do is really your job, and she shouldn’t have to do it unless she is compensated. This way of parenting technique can lead to severe behavioral problems in the teen years.
On the other hand, bargaining is something very different. A bargain is an agreement that is struck between people. For example, your son would rather watch television than clean his room. In this case, you could negotiate with your child that you will record his favorite show for him to watch after his room is clean. Allow your daughter to choose whether to load or unload the dishwasher in exchange for some time on the phone. Bribing your children will only convince them to perform a task once, and it will cost you. By bargaining with your children, you are reinforcing good behavior.