Bribery for Behavior: Using Their Need for Parental Attention To Your Advantage

One of the reasons why parenting is so exhausting is the sheer amount of attention your rugrat requires. What’s worse is that they know you are obligated to pay them their attention and they use it every single chance they get.

However, this obvious weakness of theirs is by far one of the best weapons in parenting, if used correctly. While I am not saying completely abandon and neglect your spawn (not unless extreme measures are called for), I am saying if you teach your offspring that your attention is a reward delivered for certain behaviors, then they will pretty much mind you until they reach their teen aged years (and that is a whole separate battle).

Here’s how it works. When your mini human starts acting like an entitled monster, tell them they are being little horrors and then ignore them. And not just ignore them; blatantly remove yourself from their vicinity. Tell them that until they start acting like more civilized creatures, you don’t wish to be around them and then just get up and go. However long enough you keep this up is depending on the severity of their monstrosity and how much of a break you need from their constant yammering. Some parental units will leave their offspring for days or weeks at a time.

Now, some have raised the question of “what if they follow me?”. Simple. Tie them up THEN leave them. If you don’t have suitable ropes, duct tape will work in a pinch. You can even have a designated spot for your child when they are being ridiculous. This can be an oversized dog kennel or a bare, no-nonsense room.

Taking this approach will do one of two things to your spawn:

1.       It will teach them what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. It will also terrify them into behaving for fear of losing your attention/ presence. This means they will behave more often than not.

2.       Your child will also learn self-sufficiency and self- soothing which means that there will be less actual parenting for you to do. 

On a side note, if you have more than one offspring, it may be beneficial to start giving one more attention than the other. Play favorites and make sure everyone knows. To keep them on their toes, switch up your favorite based on who is being good. This will up the sibling rivalry and make each of them strive for your approval even more.

Happy Parenting!


Bribery for Behavior Part Two- When to Blackmail Your Child

Blackmail is the practice of making people do what you want by threatening to expose a secret or something they’ve done to others. Many people get quite a lot of money this way. I say, why stop at mere money? Why not use it as a way to get your child to behave?

Warning: this does require quite a bit of planning before any expected reward. Patience is key. Here are three simple steps to get you started:

1.      Gather evidence of embarrassing outfits and situations. Dress your child up in ridiculous clothing. Stage compromising scenarios.

2.      Through the child’s life, allude to some terrible secret that would completely ruin the kid’s life forever. Really make them paranoid and fearful of anyone finding out. Make them convinced that thing you have evidence of is the epitome of shame.

3.      Any time the child acts up, threaten to tell the world about the embarrassing behavior/scenario.

The results of this process are amazing. Obviously it isn’t effective for children who don’t understand the concept of shame (seven and under, I’ve found), but it does work fantastically on those obnoxious teenagers. The trick is to plan early and execute knowing you’ll need this evidence later.

If you didn’t have the foresight to manufacture your blackmail material, you can always trick them into giving up a terrible secret. There’s also the rumor mill approach where you can threaten to start a devastating rumor about them in their chosen social circles.

Really, there are many options to choose from. Believe me, it works.

Happy Blackmailing!


***Disclaimer***Azra has been around children for centuries. While not having any of his own, part of being an exiled angel means blending in on earth. As he traveled the globe, he picked up on a lot of parenting practices across the globe. This blog is meant to share his parenting wisdom with a new generation. And to win a bet.

*Note: any advice given is meant to be satirical and not to be taken literally. Please do not exercise it upon any living being, child or otherwise.*