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Hi. I was wondering whats the difference between rewards for good behaviour or bribing a kid to do something and he will get something he wants. Please help me determine the difference because I use both and I get in touble only for the bribing part. Isn’t bribing and reward charts really the same thing?


Posted by fibear, 18th March 2014


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  • To me
    Reward-
    I reward her if she does good behaviour. Do what I ask, or do something extra (depending on what it is) and you get a reward.

    Bribery-
    Set and expectation of “if you make your bed, you get a treat” because she will then expect something everytime she does that or other actions.

    I used to do the latter with my 4y/o and she caught on and expected something anytime she listened.

    Hope this helps


  • Can you explain how you get in trouble for the bribing part ?
    I think it’s kind of the same, although bribery might be more an in the moment thing, while reward can be more delayed. Just do what works.
    For example my youngest has Down Syndrome and has no clue of time. We’ve had some struggles with dinner lately. She didn’t want to eat dinner/veggies and didn’t want to eat by herself. So knowing she loves ice cream, I now offer her an ice cream after she eats her veggies all by herself, followed by tracing letters (another non-preferred activity). So when she does both she gets an ice cream for desert. It works, so I’m happy to do so. I see this more as a strategic form of bribery.
    Another example; My 9 year (foster) daughter struggles to listen and is frequently disrespectful (besides other behaviours). She can get 1 hour television late afternoon when she behaves well. I see this more as a reward for positive behaviour.


  • For me the difference is that bribes tend to occur under duress. You tend to give them when need to change the child’s behaviour quickly, and you offer something on the spur of the moment that you might not normally give (think candy bar in store). The child might “negotiate” by playing up more to get even more of what they want, either this time or next. It ends up putting them in the ‘drivers seat’ and can be quite unsettling because there is apparently no boundary; they can get what they want if they just run riot.. A reward is set out in advance. The child knows what they have to do, and works to comply with that, for a particular gain. So if the child behaves on 5 shopping trips then on the 6th they are rewarded (hopefully not the candy bar!) with something or an activity they want. They aren’t driving the situation, the parent is, and that is one of the differences.


  • Reward is for good behaviour that is expected to occur, bribery seems more like if you’re unsure of your ability to enforce good discipline.


  • It’s basically the same thing, the child gets something in return for doing what you want them to do, it doesn’t matter how you dice it, the end result is the same.


  • Reward is for achieving something..bribery is a trade off u do this and you get that


  • I think it all falls under the same category whether you make them do chores for goodies or if they do something good then they know you will reward them.


  • I think it is, I don’t use them I just let the kids have treats and if they are naughty then they just get told no. it is pretty simple


  • When you reward kids you give them something after the fact. When you bribe them you use the item as a bargaining chip for them to behave.


  • there are some good comments here


  • For anyone raising a girl like me – mine is 9 going on 19 – this is the most brilliant book I’ve read.
    Raising Girls, by author Gisela Preuschoff – she is an amazing writer and has helped me great deal.
    She has a chapter on this topic as well.


  • Bribery is I give you something and I want this done in return.
    Reward is for an achivment or good behavior when it wasnt expected.


  • there is a thin line between both, but rewarding them for good behaviour is more of a spontaneous act where the child is not expecting it.


  • Bribery is offering the incentive before the action. Rewards are given after a positive behaviour has occurred.


  • Such a tricky one – I guess it’s not really bribing it’s just rewarding if you say ‘if you put away your toys you can have a freddo frog’. But I see where you’re confused. I think each parent just needs to do what works for them – don’t let anyone tell you off beacuse they don’t agree. You’re mother – you know what works best for you.


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