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How do you differentiate between rewarding a child and bribing them?

Do you reward your children for good grades or good behaivor- or do you say they should do this no matter what? How do you differentiate between what is expected and what should be rewarded?
My children make their beds, clean their rooms, clean up before and after dinner and breakfast daily- or they owe us a quarter (they are 5, 6, and 9).
Yesterday, my 6 yo was being lazy at his soccer game and I told him that he better get in there and do his best or he would have a consequence- he then scored 4 goals in 6 minutes. Afterwards, he was SO proud, but then he starts talking about what he DESERVES for doing that- and I said, like what?, thinking he wanted ice cream. He says- I don't know, like a nintendo DS or a skateboard, bc I did AWESOME mommy. What? I told him he did an wonderful job and I was very proud, but that doing his best was what he should always do.

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Asked by pat7879 at 8:58 AM on Oct. 24, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 7 (167 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • A reward is an incentive for a job well done an a bribe is a push into doing the job.

    Answer by older at 9:03 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • For me, a reward system is based upon pre-determined ground responsibilities, grades, etc. When it comes to saying "if you do this, I'll give you that" - that's when it turns into bribery.

    Answer by specialwingz at 9:06 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • I have never believed in rewards or allowances. Getting good grade/going to school is something they are suppose to do. Chore or cleaning the house and yard is part of being a family that live in the same house. The adults of the house do not get allowances or rewardsfor things. The kids of the house should not either.  Perks should not be attacked to  things they do.

    But on the other hand I do believe in not giving a child something because he/she was bad or did not do what they where suppose to do. 


    Answer by louise2 at 9:08 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • Louise - I am TOTALLY on board with you on this! We never did allowances either, for the same reason. One of my DD's teachers called me once about a school project they were doing about family chores and allowances. My DD told her she didn't have chores and the teacher just flat-out thought it was wrong. Told that teacher "what for". LOL. In our house, we have life...and life comes with responsibility. In order for a family to function properly, everyone has to participate. Wanna eat? Put the dishes away out of the dishwasher so mom can cook. Want clean clothes, get your laundry to the laundry room in time. Son't want it to look like crap - fold it and put it away.

    Answer by specialwingz at 9:34 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • I think there are simply things in life you do because they are the right thing to do....... they should not be rewarded and children should not be bribed into doing these things.

    A reward would be for something above and beyond what is expected.

    Bribes are only useful in the short term and do not teach anything long lasting. Yes, in a pinch they can help a parent... but there is no long term benefit from a bribe.


    Answer by sahlady at 9:50 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • He should want to succeed for his personal gratification and feeling of self worth. There should be no consequence at home for how a soccer game was played.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:12 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • I think the answer is in your question.........

    He played well in a soccer game..... BUT you HAD to tell him to do so AND THEN he expected a HUGE gift for it.

    THAT is why you dont bribe kids......... it makes them expect something every time they have even a little success.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:18 AM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • Rewards should be given for going above and beyond the expectation. Bribes are given just for meeting the minimum standard. So...

    If you're good in the grocery story I'll buy you a treat= bribe. Kids should just be expected to behave while shopping.

    You got an A+ on your term paper after spending weeks on it so you can go to a movie with your friend= reward. If a child puts in the effort to go beyond what's required they can earn a reward.


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 1:09 PM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • Rewards are for children. Bribes are for politicians!

    Answer by Pnukey at 5:54 PM on Oct. 24, 2010

  • i wouldn't know how to answer you because my kids get everything they want and no they are not spoiled. they do their chores and get good grades any way.

    Answer by tinker16233 at 8:24 PM on Oct. 24, 2010

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