I find myself bribing SB (Small Boy) quite a bit these days. At first I felt sort of guilty about it and would slink through the grocery store slipping him little toys – I must have looked like a drug dealer, talking out of the side of my mouth, sunglasses on…anything to keep him happy for 20 minutes so I could shop in peace.
Then, while we were standing in line one day, I had a spiritual awakening. Or something like that. I heard a mom tell her son, who was clearly not happy, “if you behave, you’ll earn a reward”. A reward? It’s not a bribe? Hey, this could work! So now we earn rewards – and I don’t have to feel like a total loser mom for bribing my son anymore.
I was giddy with the possibilities, and ok – maybe I got a little carried away, but who wouldn’t when faced with the chance to not be a loser mom? I made charts, spreadsheets, bought stickers, more stickers and even more stickers. Poster board? Bring it on! I let SB decorate his charts, put his stickers on, and we were all very pleased with ourselves. Then, tragedy struck – guess what happened?
SB got sick of stickers and charts, that’s what happened. So now our dog spends a lot of time with stickers on her, and they’re EVERYWHERE – the floor, the couch, walls, our bed, the bathroom, you name it. Between the stickers and the mini mosaic tiles stuck all over the place (who was the masochist who invented those?), I truly don’t think it’s possible for our house to look any uglier.
Another drawback to the bribery/rewards plan is that every time we go somewhere now, SB expects a reward. My husband (or Big Boy- BB), simply can’t understand how the Hot Wheels multiply like rabbits – but he doesn’t spend much time running errands with SB. If it costs me 94 cents to buy a little car and push a happy, contented boy around the store, then it’s money well spent. Or at least that’s what I try to tell BB. He’s still pretty skeptical.
Clearly this is going to have to end soon, since I can’t really picture myself bribing a teenager with the promise of a new car, or an adult – “son, if you come to visit us we’ll buy you a new house”. That would be a bit excessive, even for Southern California.
So we’ll have to start tapering off – I’m not real sure about how I’ll do that, but I’m going to figure out a way to reward myself this time. No new cars for SB? A massage for me. That could work…
Does anyone else out there resort to bribery – I mean rewards?
Make each “reward” like a frequent flyer mile…you know, 10 rewards gets you a night out with dad, 20 rewards gets you back to back nights out with day, etc ad infinitum.
You are a brilliant, brilliant man.