Little White Bribes

8 Mar

A little white bribe is a bit like a little white lie in that it is used with purely good intentions. Parents are some of the most accomplished and creative little white bribers around. Little white bribes are generic in their format “if you do x you can have y”. Apparently the top little white bribe in Melbourne is “if you sit quietly and let mummy/daddy drink their coffee I’ll get you a babyccino”.

I consider myself to be somewhat of a master where little white bribes are concerned. I use them liberally and have a comprehensive repertoire. Bribes are offered to Max in return for walking, sleeping, eating, silence and of course letting daddy sit and drink coffee. The reward is usually something biccie shaped and flavoured. As a teacher I was taught never to bribe a child, the reward should be in the achievement of what you’re being asked to do, but I’m not a teacher anymore, I’m a parent, so stuff that.
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Yesterday though I overstepped the mark, I went too far and crossed the line of bribe decency. Max is two and a tad years old. He has quite the vocabulary and can generally copy words if you ask him too. The other day we were at a garage sale and amongst a collection of plastic sea creatures was a dugong, he spent the next fortnight dugong’ing his little heart out. So he can talk, boy can he talk.

But there are three little words that seem to have escaped his expanding collection. Three words that he uses in isolation from one another without a problem. Three words that I have been holding out for for quite some time. I Love You. Why is that so hard for you Max? You can wax lyrical about your day at ‘school’, you can explain to me exactly why you don’t need a bath and you regularly tutor me on the finer points of steam train engineering; but “I Love You” just wasn’t quite happening.
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I had imagined the moment many times. Perhaps it would be as I tucked you into bed, just after bathing, reading and getting you in your jimmy jams. You’d probably lean in and whisper it gently in my ear. Or perhaps it would be at the park, you might have taken a tumble down the slide but Daddy was there to catch you, kiss the injured area better and dust you down, “I Love You” you’d probably shout at the top of your lungs for all the other parents to hear. I’d probably ruffle your hair and say “that’s my boy” loud enough for all the other parents to hear.

It didn’t happen like that. What actually happened was Max was slumped on the sofa at the end of a busy day with Dad. He had watched one Peppa Pig and as is his custom he began with “more Peppa, more Peppa”, like a junkie after his fix or a parent after their caffeine. I saw the opportunity and I went for it, “Max if you say I Love You Daddy you can watch another Peppa”. And there you have it I bribed my child to tell me he loves me.
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It’s your turn now. Where do you stand on a little bit of harmless bribery? Do you have a bribe your particularly proud/ashamed of? How was the big I Love You for you?

Linking up with Girl Friday Grace at With Some Grace

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24 Responses to “Little White Bribes”

  1. Emily March 8, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    I like that term. Little White Bribe. I’ll be using that.

    I haven’t gone down the ‘if you tell me love me’ path (yet!!), but hubby definitely uses them to get cuddles and kisses when he arrives home from work.

    • daddownunder March 8, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      It does taint the whole thing Emily, don’t stoop to my level ; ) thanks for dropping by

  2. Rachel March 8, 2013 at 3:54 am #

    I have 3 boys aged 10, 8 and 5 and unfortunately granting or denying access to the Wii has become a convenient way to stimulate required behaviour or sanction the other sort.

    Yeah, it’s effective but I don’t feel great about it. And it’s not even that they spend that much time on it – even when they do have access it’s only for an hour before i inisit they go and do something else. I guess it’s just that I don’t like the fact that a machine holds so much power over them.

    • daddownunder March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      My wife uses the iPad to bribe me, if you do the washing up you can have an extra 10 minutes ; ) I’m going for the whatever works approach to parenting, ignore the guilt its always lurking around somewhere isn’t it. Thanks for the comment

  3. Julie March 8, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    I am still holding out for Jarvis to say Mum/Mummy. He can say Dad, Cat, Tir (the cat’s name is Tira) Kaka (his big sister is Tamika), he can even say Sisi (My sister’s name is Susie), but you think a single Mum has passed his lips. Yes I have tried so many times to get him to say Mum. If I say it, he yells Dad at me. Bugger bugger bugger.

    • daddownunder March 8, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      I feel your pain Julie! I can’t believe the cat got a mention first! Have you tried bribery?

      • Julie March 8, 2013 at 10:54 am #

        The cat, then his sister, then my sister! How do you suggest I bribe a 15 month old? I am very open to suggestions

  4. catbeloverly March 8, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I love that you admitted this and I totally understand why! I had a very chatty 2 year old (now an even more chatty 4 year old) who was is very giving of his, “I love you” and I still love every single one. Mr 1 isn’t as chatty by half and I just may have to do the little white bribe (I too love that term).

    • daddownunder March 8, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      Hold out for a real I love you Cat, I felt a bit grubby afterwards : ) although I have since done it again. Thanks for saying hi

  5. Cara March 8, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    My boy is 3 and a bit and has already started with “I love you mummy. Can I have….”. I definitely feel all warm and fuzzy… NOT. But the real deal is pretty special when it happens. I also have to say how much I love your blog. Reading your dads eye view stories is both entertaining and enlightening. 🙂

    • daddownunder March 8, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks Cara that’s really kind of you. So kids can bribe too? I didn’t think of that

  6. Mary J March 8, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Ah, Peppa Pig! Tonight my six year old was going on and on about Danny Dog (out of context) and had to remind me exactly who he was. What is it about that show? I have to say I do still have a fond spot for it, I think it’s the snorting and laughing, and that Daddy is sometimes a bit silly. I don’t blame you for using Peppa love to hear some words you’ve been waiting for!

    • daddownunder March 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      Peppa is the only one that doesn’t make me want to flee the room! Mummy and Daddy Pig make parenting seem so much fun, all those trips to the beach, sledging, fairs, etc. thanks for saying hi Mary

  7. rhian @melbs March 8, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Mine is a bit younger than yours and has just learned the word no which he says in a weird cockney accent. So when I ask for a cuddle he just says a straight out no, no negotiation or bribery will change his mind. I haven’t got a hope with getting him to say I love you that’s for sure.

    • daddownunder March 10, 2013 at 6:19 am #

      Have you tried reverse psychology Rhian, Max usually does the opposite of everything I say. Cockney accent has to hurt for a northerner? Thanks for dropping by Rhian

  8. Enna March 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Hahaha….bribery, a little white bribe. 3 kids under 4, the only way to get things done.

    Bribed child 1 with orange pieces to get him to walk.
    Bribed child 3 with lollies to get her toilet trained at 20 months.
    Bribed all 3 children with gummi bears to pick up all the toys off the lawn so I could mow, no gummies left, lots of toys outside.

    Ohhh and just a hint, after 36 episodes of peppa pig in a row, they become zombies, but mummy caught up on sleep and no one was hurt.

    • daddownunder March 10, 2013 at 6:21 am #

      The nobody hurt method of parenting is vastly underrated. Child 1 was easily pleased with a healthy bribe. Thanks for commenting Enna

  9. Kell March 9, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    Don’t feel guilty. Little white bribes are just practise for bigger teenage bribes. An absolute necessity. Trust me.

    • daddownunder March 10, 2013 at 6:23 am #

      But then you can call it pocket money and it sounds acceptable? I sometimes forget they grow up to be teenagers ; ). Thanks for commenting Kell.

  10. Mandy March 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Bribery is totally acceptable, every parent is doing it these days. lol.

    • daddownunder March 10, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      Thanks Mandy, the consensus see,s to be bribe away.

  11. Have a laugh on me March 10, 2013 at 5:07 am #

    I like to call it negotiation – but yes it’s bribery but by another name! We all do it – it helps the world go around and our lives so much easier, quieter and less stressful! Love those pics x

    • daddownunder March 10, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      Little white negotiations sounds much better, your not a politician are you?

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