Wednesday 25 September 2013

Bribery Vs Reward - what's the difference?

We have all done it I'm sure.  Whether it's promising pudding if they eat up all their greens, or giving in and buying a magazine because they're making a fuss in the shop.

But what is the difference between a bribe and a reward?  I'm the first to admit that sometimes the lines can become blurry.

Mum to two, Helen Neale, who owns which provides beautifully drawn personalised charts for children helping with everything from staying in their own beds to potty training, says:

"Sometimes parents can be confused as to whether they are offering a bribe or a reward to their kids. It really depends on when you provide that little incentive."

So perhaps this could explain why so many parents are resorting to what they feel is a bribe to help them with their child's behaviour?

Helen continues, "If you are in the middle of trying to manage your toddler who is having a tantrum in a supermarket, and you offer a sweet for them to calm down; then that's bribery. However, if you have given them something after they have behaved well, or they have achieved an agreed goal, that's a reward. It's the desperate placation of challenging behaviour that we should try to avoid if we can. Though I know myself how hard that can be."

Rewards can be a very useful and positive tool, and I try to use them where I can.  For example, Ruby has eye exercises that she has to do every night.  It can become boring for her but she receives a sticker in her book every time she completes them, and for that task it is enough for her.

We are also tackling her sleeping which has become a major battleground.  She's been promised a treat at the weekend if she manages to sleep all night, in her own bed for the week.  Week One down, and she managed it perfectly - it did however mean I had to endure the One Direction movie, but I guess that's a small price to pay!  We are halfway through Week Two and so far so good so it seems to be working.

Dr Amanda Gummer, a child psychologist who works with The Good Toy Guide, says 

"Bribery and positive reinforcement are two sides of the same coin. The difference is that with positive reinforcement the aim is to help children learn the natural consequences of their actions. These can be positive and negative, but you get more of what you focus on so it's good to incentivise, notice and reward good behaviour.

Occasional mild bribery is no bad thing and it helps children learn how the world works so they can be a bit more street wise and not succumb to actual bribery, but do it too often and you'll end up with a child who won't do anything you ask without asking what's in it for him/her."

To help parents with the increasing challenge of parenting in today's fast-paced world, Helen has developed a range of personalised children's reward charts at KiddyCharts retailing at £2.99 each for printables, and £4.95 for A4 and £8.95 for A3 charts. The company's charts are the only behaviour charts to feature in the Good Toy Guide. Uniquely, subscriptions are also available so parents and schools can use the charts as and when they are needed throughout the year without paying extra. For the largest subscriptions, per chart costs are as little as 50p each.

Aside from helping to stop the need for bribery, KiddyCharts products can help with other aspects of parenting including:

  • ·       Care charts, that use images to help working parents show who looks after their children day to day
  • ·       Progress charts, that allow children to move along a track to reach a pre-agreed goal, and can also be used a simple reward charts
  • ·       5-a-day charts, to encourage children to get their five different fruit and veg in everyday.

All the charts allow photo personalisation where pictures can be placed as an integral part of the background; turning our children into pirates and princesses!

"Our personalisation is not just about dumping a photo into the background.  It's about involving the child in building the charts so they really feel they are part of the learning process and not just an afterthought. That way the charts are so much more likely to be a success in helping you help them."

1 comment:

  1. I think we are all guilty of it in some shape or form aren't we - even if it's not as obvious as giving chocolate because they are screaming in the supermarket.