I’m no stranger to bribing my kid; it honestly comes with the territory from the day your kid starts to talk.
You know, it’s things like: “If you brush your teeth and put on your pjs, we’ll watch an hour of Moana” or “If you have a good attitude, you can go swimming.” Stuff like that.
But if you were to ask me if I would ever reward my kid for having a tantrum, my answer would certainly be ‘No! Of course not!’
But let me tell you a little story.
The other day, my daughter threw a typical 2- year old fit. Nothing unusual about that around here…
I waited till she calmed down. Then–without thinking– offered for her to watch a show on Netflix.
Then I was scooping myself some ice cream and decided to offer some to her.
I continued to let her watch tv while eating, knowing she’d make a fuss if I turned the TV off.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me what I’d done; I’d bribed my way out of a tantrum.
Sure, I didn’t give her the ice cream and TV show while she was having a tantrum, but I had sensed that if I didn’t intervene with a good bribe soon, another tantrum was on its way. Out of a desire for continued peace– I’d gradually caved and gave in to the bad behavior.
From there, my thoughts quickly spiraled into a “terrible parent” tornado:
What kind of a mom rewards tantrums?
How will she learn discipline if I bend when she whines?
I’m seriously the worst.
Have you been there?
To be fair– I think we’d all agree that rewarding tantrums is a bummer mom move. Clearly, kids DO need discipline and we should NOT reward tantrums.
But here’s the thing, we all have moments of weakness in our parenting– and when we do, we must remember this truth:
Kids respond to consistency in our parenting, not perfection.
There will be moments in life when we will be tempted to think that we have ruined our children by a single response, action or moment of weakness. In their book No Nonsense Toddler, Moms on Call refers to this mom behavior as the “forever mindset.”
It’s the idea that if you reward your kid for a tantrum once– they are RUINED.
It’s the thought that if you can’t get your kid to eat vegetables this week, that they will die of malnutrition.
It’s the feeling that if you snap at your kid once, you are the worst parent ever.
Can you relate to this?
Most of the time, we can’t go back when we’ve had a moment of failure or weakness; instead, we need to look ahead and ask:
When this happens again, what will my response be?
And then do it.
Give yourself a little grace today and start fresh tomorrow, parents.