Do you bribe your kids?

BY Denise Albert

I’ve always said that bribe is a bad name for negotiation. But lately, I’ve caught myself bribing my kids for more than just a negotiation. I’ve been bribing before a negotiation even begins. As soon as my latest bribe came out of my mouth last weekend, I realized, I must put an end to it!

I wanted to go to the gym (I mean, I might have access to blogs like but I still need to workout) and even though my 3-year-old son loves the babysitting playroom, he sometimes tries to negotiate with me about the hour long drop off. I didn’t want any issues. So as we were walking out the door I told him where we were going and without missing a beat, I jumped right in offering to stop at the store to buy him the thomas train I anticipated he was going to ask for in conjunction with being dropped off while I worked out.

The moment I paid for another train he didn’t need, I decided my bribes have got to stop!

I can’t be the only one who has used bribery for a little down time, right? I just have to go back to using my bribes better!

Here’s MOMmentary from Melissa, and bloggers Jennifer Brandt and Alex Fitzpatrick.


Come on moms! Children need to understand the word NO.

Have I ever bribed my kids, yes. Do I make a habit of it, no. I believe in raising kids to understand limits and rules.

There is a time and a place for a bribe. For me, it is a mechanism used for situations that are out of your hands. One example would be in a customs line at the airport or any air travel scenario where you are stuck.

My kids also know that their mom cannot be pushed over and if they begin to whine and not listen, I only become more firm on my stance.

I am however easily persuaded for requests from my children that involve “one more book mom” or “can I have just one more kiss good night.” That is when rules are made to be broken.

I bribe my son – Bribe with a capital B! I try to keep this tactic to a minimum but it usually comes in handy during the bedtime hostage standoff when he doesn’t want to brush his teeth and I bribe him (I mean “negotiate”) using the number of books he’ll get. The same goes for TV. TV is great for bribing. Honestly though trying to encourage my son to take his dental health more seriously is not easy! Getting your child to go to the dentist can be a struggle sometimes too. I was actually talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. Her son recently went for his first ever checkup at Oak Street Dental. She told me that she also finds it tricky to get her son to brush his teeth, but since going to the dentist he has shown more interest in taking care of his teeth as he wants them to be healthy and white. She still had to bribe her son with some fun stickers, but apart from that, she has apparently noticed a big improvement in his brushing habits! I suppose it is all about finding what works for your little one without trying to put too much pressure on them. Hopefully, we can get to a point where we can head to the family dentist practice without too many tantrums. The more time that children put into caring for their teeth now, the less likely they will be to need future dental procedures. As so many children don’t take care of their teeth, there can be issues with teeth staining and not being straight. To fix this, some people will have to choose whether to get lumineers or veneers when they’re older. Lumineers tend to provide less than perfect results, so most people do tend to choose veneers. Make sure children take good care of their teeth, or they may have to undergo cosmetic dental treatments to improve their teeth.

Bribery doesn’t have to be a dirty word…It’s all in the way it’s presented. Of course I bribe my boys. In fact, when done correctly I believe it actually is an effective tool in rewarding good behavior. Truth be told, I can’t imagine a trip to the grocery store without the promise of getting to choose a pack of gum in the check out line…as long as the boys behave. The key is, if they don’t behave then you have to follow through and no matter the howls or screams or disapproving looks of customers who clearly forgot what it is like to have young children, they don’t get to choose their gum treats. Bottom line, bribes work…I mean, what’s an allowance other than a bribe to do some household chores, right? Santa? He’s a bribe when you think about it, we get a good month or so out of him. An upcoming trip to Disneyland is always worth the price of admission! Bribery is such a harsh description…let’s just call it incentive.