Saturday, 10 May 2008

Bribing Children... Right or Wrong?

Today I am going to have a little rant about an article I read in the free Boots magazine. It was an article about getting through a holiday without your children being little nightmares and causing loads of trouble with countless temper-tantrums. I'd like to point out as I have no children I'm pretty much talking out of my backside and might regret saying this when I look over it in years to come. However I was once a child, and can remember how I was brought up. My Dad (who clearly has had children) agrees wholeheartedly with me on this, so I guess that gives me a little validation.

Basically the article gave lots of tips on stopping children being naughty during a holiday. All these tips involved bribary. There was the suggestion of hiding a new toy until your child starts to play up and then telling them that if they promise to behave they can have the toy later on. I think there's something very wrong with that. When I was little I behaved because that was how "good" people acted. If I didn't behave I was punished. I didn't behave to get a toy. I really think this is just teaching children to be devious and greedy. Surely the best way to ensure your child behaves most of the time is to teach them that this is just a nice way to act. I think a treat for good behaviour is a nice thing. I used to love getting a surprise packet of sweeties or a copy of Bunty magazine, but outright bribrary just would have never taught me to behave for the sake of behaving. Maybe the woman who wrote this article needs to learn that a bit of praise and some positive attention would be better than bribing a child with a toy and turning them into a greedy spoilt brat. I think the author could be making a rod for her own back. Will her children start trying to bargain with her? "I promise I'll do my homework if you buy me that new playstation game." or "If you get me an ice cream I'll go to bed when you tell me to." Maybe they'll just expect new toys and treats whenever they're supposed to be behaving, and be disappointed and misbehave when they don't get them?

The article wasn't all poo. It did remind people to pack snacks and plan games to play when travelling, but the whole bribary thing really bothered me. I'd like to know if this is just my skewed sense of morality, what do other people think?

Revision Update. 13 days to go.

The fact I'm reading free magazines says it all. I'm sooooo behind on my work today that it's freaking me out so much so that I'm finding it hard to sit down and do it.

Lily xXx

1 comment:

Anna said...

I totally agree. You're making a rod for your own back with bribery, because kids learn damn fast, and soon they won't behave unless they have a new toy. Then two new toys, then three, etc etc ad infinitum.

What you have to teach em is that kids who don't behave get a thrashing and no new toys ever... ;)