Before I became a mother, I was a wonderful parent, full of ideas of what I would do and, more importantly, never do. On the "never" list was bribery. My children would obey me out of respect and preservation of there back sides, not because the got something out of the deal. My children wouldn't ever be the ones laying in the aisle of Target screaming bloody murder.
Ahhh reality, sometimes such a bitter pill. With a few year of parenting under my belt, this is the conclusion I have came to: there is a difference between bribing and compensating or rewarding. Grown ups work for compensation. We have an agreed upon amount that we work for and know that if we fail to do our work, we cease getting compensated. Its called employment. We don't things simply because we want them or refuse to cooperate without them.
For children I believe the difference between the two is similar. I can say " I will be serving cookies to all children who have there toys put away by the time the timer dings" and I am compensating my children for a job well done. If I tell them to put away toys and they don't and then I start offering them things for obeying me, I am bribing and teaching them that my words are not enough to spur them on to action. On that note, here is a recipe for super easy cookies that take about 15 minutes from start to finish, just about the amount of time it takes to pick up toys.
1 cup peanut butter ( I like crunchy)
1 cup sugar ( sometimes I do half brown and half white)
chocolate chips, it you want
Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Scoop balls of cookie dough on to cookie sheet and slightly flatten with fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve to obedient children as reward for a job well done.
When I see small people screaming on the floor of Target, I like to think I see them with grace that only experience can bring. Sometimes, children are tired or hungry or just plain naughty and it doesn't change that fact that you need milk and bread from the store.