About a month ago I read a parenting tip in a popular family magazine and I’m still disturbed by it. Now before I get started let me start with a disclaimer, sure I have given my kid a lollipop at 9 in the morning to get through a shopping trip. I think we’ve all done our share of bribing. Maybe getting your kids to finish their dinner with the promise of ice cream for dessert? I’m from the school of “do what you need to do to get by.” I’m not going to lie about it, but getting by sometimes and parenting that way all the time are two different stories. Tell me what you think.
Recap of paying for good manners:
The parenting tip begins with the story about how the parents grew tired of reminding their children to say “thank you” and “please” while they were away on vacation. Then they had a light bulb moment and offered to pay their children every time they used their manners – up to $5 a day. Not only did it work, but people even began to compliment the parents on what polite children they had. The parents were thrilled in a “We sure pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes kind of way.” The kids were happy to have money to buy souvenirs on their trip.
The magazine publishes the tip and gives the family $100 for sharing.
I think I missed something:
The last time I checked part of my job as a parent is to teach my children good manners. As with any job, it is repetitive and exhausting. I don’t parent to get a pat on the back from anyone. I hope that I model good manners and responsible behavior so that my children will follow doing what they feel is right. Now back to my disclaimer, I don’t want you to think that I’m giving this family the smack-down. We’ve all done a bit of bribing here and there. I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that we are constantly teaching our children behavior in our actions. Parenting is a never ending job. I’m curious at how this all worked out for them. Did they go home and stop paying? Did the kids learn good manners after being paid for a week? Would you consider this a good parenting tip? Would you be proud enough to publish it in a magazine? I have to be honest even telling you about the 9 A.M. lollipop bribe makes me shudder.