Parents are increasingly turning to bribery to help deal with the behaviour of their children, according to a recent survey by personalised children's chart website, KiddyCharts. But does this really mean that we are turning in a nation that's willing to give our kids chocolate just to keep them quiet?
The recent survey showed that 83.1% admitted to bribing their children with anything from extra time at the computer, to handing over sweets and chocolates.
But are we really bribing our children - or are we really just trying a little bit of positive encouragement?
Mum to two, Helen Neale, who owns www.kiddycharts.com which provides beautifully drawn personalised charts for children helping with everything from staying in their own beds to potty training, says:
"Sometimes parents can be confused as to whether they are offering a bribe or a reward to their kids. It really depends on when you provide that little incentive."
So perhaps this could explain why so many parents are resorting to what they feel is a bribe to help them with their child's behaviour?
Helen continues, "If you are in the middle of trying to manage your toddler who is having a tantrum in a supermarket, and you offer a sweet for them to calm down; then that's bribery. However, if you have given them something after they have behaved well, or they have achieved an agreed goal, that's a reward. It's the desperate placation of challenging behaviour that we should try to avoid if we can. Though I know myself how hard that can be."
Two-thirds (66.12%) of parents admitted to using sweets and chocolates to coerce their children. It's important that even though we might resort to this in extreme circumstances, we must try to remain resolute when dealing with those terrible twos.
Helen adds, "All parents have experienced those public tantrums when all we want is the world to swallow us up. But our children have long memories, and if we give in for a bit of peace and quiet now, that can spell a whole world of trouble in the future."
Dr Amanda Gummer, a child psychologist who works with The Good Toy Guide, says "Bribery and positive reinforcement are two sides of the same coin. The difference is that with positive reinforcement the aim is to help children learn the natural consequences of their actions. These can be positive and negative, but you get more of what you focus on so it's good to incentivise, notice and reward good behaviour."
She re-iterates Helen's warning too, "Occasional mild bribery is no bad thing and it helps children learn how the world works so they can be a bit more street wise and not succumb to actual bribery, but do it too often and you'll end up with a child who won't do anything you ask without asking what's in it for him/her."
To help parents with the increasing challenge of parenting in today's fast-paced world, Helen has developed a range of personalised children's reward charts at KiddyCharts retailing at £2.99 each for printables, and £4.95 for A4 and £8.95 for A3 charts. The company's charts are the only behaviour charts to feature in the Good Toy Guide. Uniquely, subscriptions are also available so parents and schools can use the charts as and when they are needed throughout the year without paying extra. For the largest subscriptions, per chart costs are as little as 50p each.
Aside from helping to stop the need for bribery, KiddyCharts products can help with other aspects of parenting including:
Care charts, that use images to help working parents show who looks after their children day to day
Progress charts, that allow children to move along a track to reach a pre-agreed goal, and can also be used a simple reward charts
5-a-day charts, to encourage children to get their five different fruit and veg in everyday.
All the charts allow photo personalisation where pictures can be placed as an integral part of the background; turning our children into pirates and princesses!
"Our personalisation is not just about dumping a photo into the background. It's about involving the child in building the charts so they really feel they are part of the learning process and not just an afterthought. That way the charts are so much more likely to be a success in helping you help them."
More information on KiddyCharts can also be found at:
Facebook: KiddyCharts Printable Reward Charts
Google Plus: KiddyCharts
Disclosure: I have NOT been paid to post this infographic. I took part in the survey behind it and was interested in the results. Helen is a friend, and there is no commercial relationship between us.