So is it a good idea to bribe your kids to behave?

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Is it a good idea to bribe kids to behave?

I have been asked to appear on the Vanessa Feltz Show tomorrow that will be aired on TV in April to give my opinion on bribing kids to behave ……

I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences so why not post them up here and let’s hear them !

So…… here are my thoughts !

There are so many important reasons why it’s not a great idea to bribe kids in order to get them to behave, and I have seen lots of kids who displayed superficial behaviour because they are just bribed by their parents  to behave well.

Here are some of the typical questions I ask all my parents who work with me is:

“What are you teaching your children if you bribe them to behave?

“What are they learning about you, Life, relationships and the way the world works from your actions?”

Who’s driving the bus, holding the keys and got all the power if you bribe your kids to do as they are told?”

“What at the long term repercussions to their behaviour if you bribe them to behave?”

“What will happen as they hit the teen years?”

“Are they learning to self regulate themselves and learning to control their own behaviour long term?

“What  a happens when you are NOT there to discipline them?”

 To me, bribing isn’t the best way of training our children to become good citizens, adults or parents as it brings out lots of negative aspects, and here are just a few of them.


This means they will behave only because they can get something in return. Children need to behave because they know it is the right thing to do. I think our job as parents is be confident, assured and clear in our own minds about  why we want our children to behave, be well mannered, do as they are told and to be pleasant to be around, because once you are clear about the WHY the rest is easy.

We must instill in their minds that good behaviour can’t be bought or sold and that it comes from their inner self.  I believe that good behaviour  determines your child’s future – as it sets them up to learn more effectively at school, have more friends as they are more socially pleasant to be around and teaches them to have self control in all sorts of circumstances.

So grab a cup of coffee and a pen and jot down WHY you want your kids to behave.

In my best selling book “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” I suggest that is makes your life easier in the long run ! But there are also lots and lots of practical ideas there too to help you discipline your children firmly, fairly and consistently so take a look in Chapter 13.


Most kids who are used to be bribed by adults will lie to defend themselves when they make mistakes, or get things wrong. Also children who are used to being bribed to behave will only display good behaviour  when someone is watching but when they are by themselves they often act very differently from what you expect.

Bringing up children and disciplining them takes hard work, commitment and lots of patience as well as lots of energy but if you get clear on WHY you want them to conform to your rules, and you praise them often and very specifically, you will all enjoy growing up together so you can focus on having fun with them not nagging, cajoling or arguing with them to do as they are told

You are your child’s primary role model in all you do, say and in how you act so just remember they take all their lead from you, so if you find you are having to resort to bribing your kids to do as they are told then start to work on your own confidence first.

Love to hear your thoughts !

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How to give your kids the gift of self-esteem by clicking here

About the author

Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the  famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.

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  Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
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