In this article, Irini Girgis, a Child Behavioral and Parenting Coach, will answer to the question “What is the difference between bribes and incentives?”.
Examples of bribes and incentives
It’s time to go home from a playdate, your little one refuses to leave and starts screaming until you say,
“I’ll give you a candy if you go in the car now.”
“If you stop fighting, we can stop for ice-cream.”
Sometimes parents feel desperate for a little peace and quiet, so they tend to use these techniques to earn them.
The more you try to stop your child’s screaming, crying or stubbornness using ‘BRIBES’ as sweets, toys, money or entertainment, the more you encourage your child to maintain control.
Bribery makes you seem powerless: “You better give me what I want, or I’m going to make you suffer!”
The common question I am expecting from you now is: “I understand that it is not the best solution to ‘bribe’ my child to avoid/stop bad behavior, but what about a ‘reward’ to encourage good behavior?”
“When you tidy up your room, I will give you Dhs 20”
The moment your child says “What do I get if I do that?” you know that you’ve taken rewards way too far.
The indirect message you give your child when you ‘reward’ a good behavior is; this good behavior must be unpleasant, since you ‘have to be rewarded’ for doing it.
Rewarding good behavior makes kids focus on the reward itself, instead of the benefit of the behavior itself which should be the reason behind them repeating it. For example, brushing your teeth keeps your teeth healthy and helps you avoid lots of teeth problems as you grow; tidying up your room helps you find your stuff easily and teaches you how to be organized when you grow up; eating fruits/veggies builds your immunity system so you don’t get sick easily!
Children should feel good and proud when doing the right thing.
A University of Florida study published in The Journal of Research in Science Teaching revealed that grade-schoolers who were rewarded for answering simple questions became less certain of their abilities when compared with kids who didn’t get anything. And University of Toronto research showed that 4- and 7-year-olds who were overpraised for being generous wound up sharing less with their buddies.
So, does that mean I should not be using any incentives with my kids?
Here is How you can differentiate between bribes and incentives:
Bribes are immediate quick fixes. Incentives require time and effort Bribes are immediate quick fixes. Incentives require time and effort and produce long lasting effects. For example, when you brush your teeth daily for a whole week without any nagging, we can have more story telling time.
Bribes are planned and makes your child display a good behavior just to earn them. Incentives can be occasional surprises when your child displays good behavior without knowing of any incentives in return.
If you are stuck and not sure if you are bribing your child or not, ask yourself this question:
How do I feel when making the offer? Am I desperate? Am I forcing my child to do something he/she would not normally do? Then it is a BRIBE!
About Irini Girgis
Irini Girgis, the founder of Kids Summit, is a Child Behavioral and Parenting Coach. She has an 18 &16 years old boy & girl and has been living in Dubai for 13 years. Kids Summit provides personalized and customized techniques, for both children and parents, that match the child’s needs and the parents’ parenting style, with an understanding that “one size does not fit all.” Kids Summit offer close frequent follow-ups by the coach to ensure that all obstacles are overcome, and the journey is a pleasant one.
Irini has a Child Psychology Diploma from Brentwood University, UK, coupled with Neuro-Education courses. As a mother, she experienced hands-on challenges as well as enjoyable aspects of the unparalleled journey of parenthood. Throughout the years and her ongoing experience as a teacher, she has sincerely believed that every child’s needs should be looked at from a holistic perspective. Understanding the root cause of some of the challenges the children face and helping them, and their parents overcome it became her purpose. Although online searching, parental sessions and group talks are helpful, families often need personal advice for their unique challenges.
If you are parents who:
*Are struggling to find practical techniques to overcoming their children’s challenges;Have been investing time and effort in raising their children but are not seeing much results;Get enthusiastic about trying new parenting techniques but do not follow through;
*Have been attending group sessions but are not able to implement what you hear;
It is very common that those children with medically diagnosed challenges get professional help; however, those with behavioral challenges, who may be labelled as ‘difficult’ children are the ones who do not get any support. If you have one of those ‘difficult’ children, Irini is always there to assist and give you techniques on how to understand and manage your so called ‘difficult’ one.
Kids Summit is a personalized guide that changes obstacles into exciting paths for parents and children to follow throughout their journey until they reach their ultimate success – the summit.