The Bad Parent Chronicles: On the Uses of Bribery


Saturday morning.  Sweet Husband was working, and I really wanted to hit up this awesome tag sale that only happens a few times a year.  Also, the Kid desperately needed new shoes.  

When you're a two year old boy, those two errands in combination are--as my grandfather used to say--"bad on rotten".

The Kid is on the verge of being able to be reasoned with, so, as we stood outside the gate at the tag sale, I offered an incentive.

"OK, bub, you have to be really good here.  And then we're going to get you shoes, and you have to be really good there too.  But if you can be a good listener at both places, we'll go to the feed store last and you can pick out a new tractor."

"Can I get a 'Bop-cat'?" he asked.  (There's been a bobcat working in the parking lot of his school and he's been fascinated by it.)

"Yes, you can." I had faith that our feed store would provide.  "But you have to be so, so good, ok?"

I try not to make bribery a regular thing--that seems like a bad, bad road to get onto--but every so often...well, it works.  Because every time he started to run away or cause mayhem, all I had to do was remind him of that "bopcat".  At one point he even told a slightly confused stranger, "I haf to be really good so we can get a bopcat."

The only place it got dicey was checking out at the shoe store.  But even I was exasperated with the clerk before we were done there, so.  (I know, I know--he's required to ask me to sign up for the card and the coupons and who my third cousins are, but when it reaches the level of 20 questions....gah!)

But--woot, woot to the feed store!--they did have a perfect little bopcat.

Other parents out there, tell me, do you also engage in occasional acts of bribery?