Bribing Children to Behave
- Parent Category: Advanced News Lessons
- Category: Relationships Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Some call it a treat, as when a child is promised dessert if she finishes her Brussels sprouts. Others call it a reward, such as purchasing a video game for doing well on a test. Whatever innocuous terminology the action may be dressed in, though, promises of desserts, toys, or favors are actually bribes. What's worse, many parents readily admit to caving in to their kids, buying what previous generations simply demanded as appropriate behavior.
Parenting experts agree that rewards have a time and a place. But some parents have gone overboard. They pay their children to brush their teeth, go to sleep at an appropriate time, or even score a few goals at a soccer tournament! Although it may achieve results in the short term, it can lead children to become adults with unrealistic expectations of how the world works. There grows a sense of "What are you going to give me?"
In part, bribing our children to behave stems from the modern world, because past generations didn't have as many material goods to offer their kids. Parents are now busier than ever before, too, with both mom and dad juggling careers and parenting duties. Frazzled, overworked, and overtired, many admit that they don't want another power struggle. With each bribe, children up the ante. They demand more and more.
Of course, it's completely unrealistic to assume parents will never reward their children from time to time. The action should strike a balance and equal the reward, though. It should also be used sparingly. Parents instead should emphasize that it's rewarding enough to do the thing. For example, going to bed early will ensure that you feel well rested tomorrow. If that doesn't work, there's nothing wrong with saying, "Because I said so!"
Preview some of the lesson material:
Speculate: Write in the missing words for today's article title: "Bribing ( ) to ( )." Why did you choose this word for the blank?
Fill in the Blanks: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- Whatever ( ) words the action may be dressed in, promises of desserts or favors are actually bribes.
- Many parents readily admit to ( ) to their kids.
- But some parents have gone ( ).
- It can lead children to become adults with unrealistic ( ) of how the world works.
- Bribing our children to behave ( ) from the modern world.
- ( ), overworked, and overtired, many admit that they don't want another power struggle.
- With each bribe, children up the ( ).
- Rewards should also be used ( ).
- Parents instead should ( ) that it's rewarding enough to do the thing.
- For example, going to bed early will ( ) that you feel well rested tomorrow.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Do children behave better or worse than 10 years ago? 20 years ago? 50 years ago? Why?
- Will children behave better or worse in 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? Why?
- Have you ever (Would you ever) buy your child an ice cream just to make him/her behave? Is it okay to do so?
- What would you do if your child were misbehaving in the shopping mall?
- What is the most difficult part about being a parent? Why?
Google Search: Type "bribe" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.