Monday, December 7, 2009

Bribery and the bad parent

Does bribing my oldest to have a good day at school make me a bad parent?
I weigh the moral pros and cons.
Am I teaching him to expect rewards for behavior he should do as a matter of course?
Am I setting him up to expect rewards for every little thing?
Am I just trying to help him and his teachers have good days at school, without screaming, fighting, and battles?
Am I reading too much into it?
I'm not exactly buying him a pony for these bribes.
I'm using an advent calender and the thrill of surprise and chocolate as a reward.
Bug loves to open the door and see what is hidden there, and last week, he had four out of five great days as a result.
But am I teaching him to associate food with joy?
As I spin in circles, catching myself coming and going with every parenting conundrum, I wonder--how badly am I screwing this child up?
And then I head straight for my chocolate.

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