Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bribes vs. Rewards

At my presentation at the Suzuki Association of Utah Convention recently I described the difference between bribes and rewards. I realize that I made a post earlier where I mentioned that I bribed my daughter to practice. I've started to take a new approach:

BRIBE: Something offered to a person to influence that person’s conduct.
For example: if your child is acting up during a practice session and you tell him that if he finishes the practice he can have a prize. You are offering him a prize after he had bad to good behavior. Perhaps the next time he wants a prize he will remember that he had to act up before you consented to give him a prize for being good.

REWARD: Something given in recompense for worthy behavior. For example: before you even start a practice session tell your child that he will get a prize after a good practice. He knows he can't act up or he won't get the prize. In the future, he will know that if he wants a prize he will have to have good behavior.

Bribe: If you practice I will give you _____________.
Reward: When you practice you will earn ______________.

Bribe: If you have a happy practice I will give you _______.
Reward: After your happy practice you can have _______.

Bribe: If you practice every day this week I will give you ______.
Reward: After you practice every day this week you will earn_______.

Start thinking about how you are addressing this issue with your children. I know I have caught myself wanting to say "if you..." but practicing (and other hard things for children, such as chores) goes so much more smoother if I offer rewards instead of bribes.