“I don’t want to bribe my kids!” Or do you?

by Kathy Kuhl, adapted from Encouraging Your Child

“I don’t want to bribe my kids!” Or do you?

Do you ever reward your child?

Some parents say rewards are unnecessary: “I want him to do chores because he’s part of our family.” “The world isn’t going to give her prizes for getting out the door on time. Why should I?”

Sure, we want our kids to do good because it is good. But the universe is built so that good behavior is often rewarded. (Not always.)

For instance, the world does give a prize for getting out the door on time. The prize is a better chance of keeping your job.

Since children cannot be so farsighted, we must work to instill good habits. Rewards are one tool we can use to develop them. People do respond to rewards.

Would you keep going to work without a paycheck? When visiting Peru years ago, I learned the customs workers had staged a work slowdown. Why? They hadn’t been paid. But they were still going to work! I don’t know that I would.

A child’s work is to play and learn. Each of those should be its own reward. But sometimes learning is hard. A little reward can honor the effort made on work that doesn’t have much intrinsic payoff. Just as adults appreciate paychecks even when they love their jobs, so children appreciate rewards even when they enjoy their work. How much more when they don’t!

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