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Monday, April 5, 2010

Bribery Or Reward

I'm one of those parents that doesn't give much heed to parenting books. Probably because I've failed at all the criteria they cite. I've come to a place where I'm simply OK with my success rate. I get an A for effort, but I no longer judge the final outcome.

Today, I took Addie to get her nails done. Her wee bitty nails that she nibbles on every day, are now blue. With flowers.A few weeks ago I made a behavior chart. She knew that once 10 boxes had a check mark, the nail salon was our next stop. Bribery? Mmm, maybe. Reward? Probably. Either way, she now has nails the color of blue bubble gum.

Somewhere along the parenting journey, we each find our stride. Our rhythm. Are there flaws in the system we use? Absolutely. But, we're trying. We're tweaking. Someone peering in on how our system functions, might have serious reason to judge. It's so easy to point out where other parents could improve. But when you're knee deep inside your own parenting issues, it's a whole different story. Sometimes we actually think we've got it together. But most times, we're simply trying to keep from drowning.

Will the behavior chart continue to work? I have no idea. Have I noticed a monumental difference in behavior since the day it was posted? Not really. But this I do know--for a small, brief moment today, I watched a child enjoy a moment that she KNEW was her own. With each brush stroke, my 7 yr. old felt confidence in herself. She alone had accomplished 10 separate GOOD moments. No matter how brief. And as a result, she got to pick the color of her nails. In my book, bribery and reward aren't even in the picture. All that's there is love. The love of a parent who keeps trying. And the love of a child that is ever unconditional. That love, is a gift. One that is simply disguised under blue nail polish.

3 comments :

Straight Fancy said...

I wonder how many good deeds I'll have to do before Wade will reward me with a trip to the nail salon in Houston????

Rani said...

Thanks for helping me to appreciate 'the moments'. You are one awesome mama! and btw - love the Dumbledore quote!

Krystal the Pistol said...

wait...so bribery is a bad thing? I'm in trouble.