Friday, October 27, 2006
The Art of the Bribe
This morning my usually easy going and school loving son was having nothing to do with going to school. He'd had good night's sleep, was not sick and had woken up easily and in a good mood. But the moment I mentioned getting dressed for school, the proverbial All Hell Broke Loose. He may on occasion fuss for a few minutes but the lure of riding the school bus is usually enough to get him in the mood. But today even that proved fruitless. He went to the bathroom (while crying), got dressed (while crying), got his backpack (while crying) and preceded to the garage (while crying).He repeated to me "I am not going any where" , "I am going back to sleep", " I am staying home" about 200 times. When I would occasionally interject a calming word, he responded with a "Be quiet" or "Shut UP" which I am ever so proud of. He has gone from one word caveman talk to some good sentences, expressing himself clearly and yes now, verbal disobedience. In many ways I am happy to hear this from him, but at 7:30 am,47 degrees and raining in my driveway wearing my pj's and a raincoat while my neighbor's next door are loading up their kids and hearing this exchange, not so proud.
He refused to leave the sanctity of the chair beside my minivan. While I patiently did my impression of Fred Astaire's Singing in the Rain Song and Dance, complete with umbrella. In the driveway, in my pajamas,47degrees-did I mention that. Ummm, this was not working. I calming put on my thinking cap. What could entice him onto the bus willingly.
Oh yeah, a bribe..... An airplane bribe.
My son LOVES airplanes.All kinds-airplanes to ride on, airplanes to watch fly overhead, airplane video games ,airplane toys and most of all paper,balsa or foam airplanes to fly indoors and out, to the roof of the house and to tie to the fan with some string. And didn't I just receive Wed. a big box of stuff from Oriental Trading that is still sitting in my foyer. Didn't that same box contain 5 different kind of airplanes-Styrofoam ones, balsa ones, cardboard ones and foam ones. Jets, biplanes, bird planes of every shape and color.
192 to be exact. For the low low price of about $30.
So the seduction begins. Enter stage right the voice of the Temptress.
"Riley, If you get on Ms.Baker's bus you can fly an airplane when you get home" His eyes lock on me.
"Riley, After school Mommy will have you some new airplanes to fly, OK? " OK, he answers warily.
"Riley, You want to play with some airplanes and tie them to the fan after you get home?" He stands up.
This incentive proves impossible to resist.
I walk over to him and he gives me a high five on the planes. I suggest he get his umbrella and join me on the driveway to wait for the bus and talk about the planes. He does.
We talk about what color he may want, how many and what we will do with them.
He has clearly taken the bait.
Hook, Line and Sinker. I have reeled him in.
He has no idea what just happened.
Bus arrives, he puts on his backpack and happily climbs about. Blotchy face and all.
The end justifies the means.
Victory.
Yeah,Yeah I have read all the parenting no no's about using bribes to get your children to cooperate.The intrinsic negatives of the dangling of the carrot to get them to do what you want. That they should learn to do what we ask purely for the face value of being an obedient child.
Horse Feathers and Bull Hockey.
Don't we as adults work on a system of self induced the forbidden fruit, the golden apple , the lobbying of ourselves to do this in return for that.
You work for the paycheck, you do 100 situps for that one chocolate chip cookie, you do housework today so you can go out to lunch and shop tomorrow. You encourage your hubby to go play golf, knowing next weekend your scrapbooking crop is scheduled.
Tit for Tat.
The old bait and switch has prompted many successful undertakings in my house.
Riding the Big Yellow Cheese Wagon excited my son about school.
Princess Panties lured my daughter out of diapers.
Hello Kitty sippy cup off of her bottle.
She traded her pacifier for a Cinderella DVD.
Two weeks worth of items from Dollar Tree hidden under her pillow in the dead of night from the
Sand Man for staying in her own bed, was well worth the sleep we are all getting now.
She will do just about anything for a Hershey Kiss or a Tootsie Roll
A swim in the jacuzzi or trip to the zoo or Children's science center has gotten my son to practice spelling
words all week, work in his handwriting or just be generally cooperative.
And I would never want to add the times that I have dangled a trip to the park, the YMCA, Chic Filet or MickeyD's has factored into the equation.
Without a doubt parenting requires love, guidance, patience, strength, continuity and courage of conviction
It also takes a dash ingenuity and imagination and quick thinking
some charm, coaxing ,luring, enticement,temptation and seduction
and a stash of goods, bribes, bait, awards, surprises,lures, decoys. And Airplanes.
You must perfect the art of tantalizing them into changing their mind, their mood, their emotions at times.
Never underestimate the power of being able to grease the palm , bait the hook or put the carrot on the stick.
Use it sparingly, wisely and without them being the wiser.
I have those 5 airplanes assembled and waiting on the kitchen bar for him.
He's happy , I'm happy.
Mission Accomplished.
Tomorrow will provide an opportunity for those other parenting skills of a higher calling
But today, I needed to have a trick up my sleeve.
Mothering, Tricky Business.


3 Comments:

Blogger Ani said...

Love it! Such good tips for when my time comes. Still smiling. Hope Riley had a good day at school.

Love this post! It was a great day when my cousin explained this to this new, young Mom. And thanks for the reimforcement. We love planes and the day could come that I hear the same.... :) Your blog is great fun. Thanks for sharing, MaliMai

Blogger MMrussianadoption said...

You have to have a trick up your sleeve now and then. I use it in class with my kids all the time. If they have something to work towards, they will work harder.

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