Sunday, April 25, 2010

More about bribing kids... read an article over Shabbos

So, I have a friend, an older lady who gets the Bina magazines her friend has already read and when she has read them, she passes them to me. So, she gave me one on Thursday and excitedly tells me that there's a story in there about a convert. However, my eyes land on another golden article that is on the cover and featured inside; "Buy Now, Pay Later-The price of parenting via bribery" p.38 of the January 26, 2009 edition of the Binah magazine.

The author is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has seen is over and over again. A parent is frustrated trying to get the kids to do what the kids needs to be doing. A highlight from the article is, "when a parent employs bribery, the message is, 'you may choose to do what I ask, but only if I pay you to do so.' "

A forgotten little nugget came to my mind as I read this article. I grew up in an apartment with my divorced mother and my widowed grandmother. My grandmother used to offer to pay me to do the dishes. Although, the dishes weren't really my chore at my mother's house. My chore was taking out the garbage, which I did on either my skateboard or a sled, weather dependant. My mother used to get so upset about this. In the end, though, it wasn't my chore and I knew my grandmother just wanted to see me doing more chores so, since she couldn't tell me what to do, as she wasn't my mother. I would tell my mom, "gram just wants me doing more. She's right, but, I'll take her money." In the end, my mother would tell me to go away and gram would pay me for doing dishes I didn't do.... I'm chuckling now writing this.

I was too little to reach the sink and I would get water ALLLLLLLLLLLL over the kitchen. It was with good reason my mother wasn't assigning me this chore. Actually, I used to set the table, too. However, it was done by whoever wandered in hungry and curious when dinner was.... "not yet, but, ya wanna set the table to keep your mind off the food?" my mother would say with an enthusiastic smile.... to which I would usually reply, "sure, why not?"

Continuing on with the article, the author points out that when a parent does this, kids are very enthusiastic at first but this wanes off as they start to decide what they are doing is not worth the work. Another problem is that they ask for continual renegotiations for more money. A thought I had, that the authors hints at without saying, if there are other children they might say, well if he gets paid to make his bed, I'm not making mine unless I get paid. Also, the author suggests that when a child is paid to do their chores, they should not get paid if they don't do them. I was thinking that while reading the article. Thus, they stand to lose by not doing what they are supposed to, making clear this is not an OPTION, even though I'm paying you for it. There are consequences if you don't do this.

The author suggests working with a human's natural instinct for approval, particularly from parents.

The author of the article in Bina's name is Simcha Ribowsky LCSW in Brooklyn 718-252-2078.

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