When BLATANT Bribery Works As An Awesome Parenting Tool

My gosh, is it the morning already?

MamaBear has awakened, poked her nose out of her lair and decided that a 3-year long winter sleep would be most beneficial indeed!

Alas, as she has to rouse her cubs to school and continue with her writing and blogging…the chances of that happening are less than 3 parakeets inviting a Bald Eagle to tea, correcting her grammar, and living to tell the tale. 

But I digress.  🙂

Onto today's topic!

Have you ever bribed your child to get good grades?

If so, I do confess…I disagree with that parenting principle more so than I brutally shun coffee minus caffeine.

Like our job as parents/adults is to work at, well, our jobs, our kids' job is to achieve the best grades they possibly can.

Let's be serious, here, shall we…you just do *not* expect your boss to wheedle your performance with:

  • "If you make your deadline, I'll give you an extra window in your cubicle!"


  • "If you finish your deliverable on time, I'll add an extra $293 to your paycheck!"

Know what I mean, aye?

The same thing should go with our kids.  If they choose not to excel, you should pile on the consequences, not beg and plead with them to use their brains for more than roomspace in their noggins!

Still, however, there *are* times when blatant parental bribery for your kids….does indeed work.

Here's what happened to me.

It started off on Saturday.  The Husband had just returned from his business trip to China (and let me tell you, seeing all 4 of our cubs pounce on him when he came thru the door – it brought tears to me eyes!), and happiness and excitement sparkled up our happy home.

But then, all of a sudden…

A Dismal Grey Dimness of Despairing Distress Descended Upon Distinguished Daughter 2!

(okay now, admit it – you're wondering how I managed to create that sentence with so many Ds in it.  So, for that matter, am I.  🙂 It's really HD2, or Honorable Daughter 2, but hey…it works.  🙂 )

Yes indeed, the most horrendous of tragedies had enveloped HD2.

Her phone had donned on a Cloak of Invisibility!!!!!!!!  And it was evilly laughing at her from someplace in the Universe!

(what's that?  You need to hear what is sounded like?  Click here!  🙂  )

Yep.  We're talking massive amounts of panic here.

So!  Being the calm, cool, always-in-control parent that I am, I first suggested that she takes apart her office, and then asked her siblings to pitch in as well.  Since all 4 of my kids help one another, massive amounts of exertion happened….to no avail.


The next day (ie, yesterday), was Memorial Day.  After that excitement, I personally re-took apart HD2's office, figuring the phone simply had to be enjoying a relaxing vacation buddying around with the dust-bunnies under the printer….to no avail.

Oh well, these things happen.

But!  Right then, at that moment…

When the unicorns cried and the daisies wilted and gloominess seemed to envelop the known universe….

HD1 casually strolled up to me and said (hope you're sitting down for this!):

"Hey Mom!  I'd like these two particular books for my relaxation and enjoyment, can you buy them for me?"

Of course, you could imagine my reaction:

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Silly HD1 – doesn't she yet know that Mom is allergic to spending money, and would immediately reply, "Make money on your own and spend that to your little hearts' content?"

But then…HD1 came up with the most remarkable suggestion!

She asked me:

"Hmmm….how 'bout this Mom, if I actually find my sister's phone, can you buy it for me then?"

Gentle reader, imagine MamaBear's covert thought process at that exact moment.

It went something like…..this.

"Well now jeepers, let's see.  I can't find the phone.  If I don't find it, I'll end up spending money to replace it.  If I can't find it, she *certainly* can't find it, but hey, if she *did* find it, that's both money saved, HD2 made happy, plus it will be a great sibling bonding experience!."

So I agreed to it.

Later that evening, HD1 pounced upon HD2 and said, "We're going to go over every single thing you remember you did at the last time you used your phone."

And what did they discover?

Well, HD2 realized:

  • My school trip was for Great Adventure.  I put on a stylish jacket of stark grey and red colors that was totally fab..
  • I didn't have my phone then, I had left it at home because I am Electronics Conscious and realize that the Log Flume and Congo Rapids, married to my phone, would be a Very Bad Thing Indeed.
  • I came home from Great Adventure.  Mom picked me up.
  • I talked to my friend afterwards right outside the front door.

HD1 and HD2 retraced all of her steps!

Nothing was found.

So….HD1 went over the steps again, and then realized….

The jacket!  HD2 might not have taken her phone to Great Adventure, but she didn't take her jacket *off* after returning home!

Ergo…chances are, HD2's phone was slumbering in said jacket.

A huge race to find that jacket commenced!

…and it was located in the garage, next to my MooseMobile….and indeed, it was wrapping up HD2's phone all nice and cozy-like.


Thus, the end result was, HD2 had her phone, HD1 received her books, and MamaBear….was a very happy camper indeed.

For this situation, bribery really did work wonders! 

It delivered the following yummy benefits:

  • HD1 and HD2 beefed up their sleuthing skills
  • HD1 and HD2 worked as a team
  • HD1 did something really tremendous for HD2

and most importantly for MamaBear:

  • I saw the sibling lessons I've been pounding in my cubs….really take root and flower *gorgeously*.

Woot woot WOOOOOT!

In closing, bribery should never be used to get good grades, but when it acts as a catalyst to foster great times between your kids, it's a fantastic parenting tool indeed. 

What do you think?

Parent Powerfully,


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