The Case Against Bribing Children

Has this ever happened to you? You’re riding in the car and your toddler starts screaming for reasons only God knows. She’s fine, everything’s fine, you know she’s just testing You. You can’t get her to stop so you bribe her with a lollipop.

 Maybe your kids are older and they just don’t “feel like” going to school. Instead of parenting them, you bribe them telling them that you will give them something in exchange for their obedience. Does this sound familiar,”If you get straight A’s mama will buy you…”?

I think there is a fine line between teaching a child ethics and bribery. I see these scenarios all the time and they make me crazy for reasons most won’t understand. You see, at my core all I care about is the big picture. I’m a big picture thinker and in that picture where there is a parent just tired of fighting the kid so they give them whatever the kid wants, I see a world where those kids grow up to be out of control adults. I see these kids not finding self motivation to contribute their part in the world. They lack patience and are complete narcissists. I theorize that this is where those reputations came from about the millennial generation. The parents of this generation made a collective decision that they didn’t want to go with the status quo and adopted the belief that every child must find their own way in the world. This parenting style is referred to as “individualistic parenting.” Maybe this style of parenting came from the social issues from their perspective at the time. Back in the 60s and 70s they had plenty of things taking away the full attention of the parents. While parents were off trying to earn a living or change the famous gender and race issues, kids were left on their own, literally and emotionally. This is not much different from the way many parents raise their kids today. The products of those family scenarios are now raising their own kids passively (that is the definition of individualistic parenting, by the way). There are plenty of books out there and podcasts and the like but how do we know for sure which ones work? Or which ones are RIGHT? 

I don’t claim to be a parenting expert in the least but I do see the big pictures no one else seems to. 

When we bribe kids to get them to do what we want (or just what they’re expected to do in the first place) we relinquish all control into their immature and totally incapable hands. How do we not see this as an issue?? How can we not possibly realize, with all of the science out there about the human brain and how it develops, that this might not be a smart choice? This might be more harmful to society than helpful. 

Discipline does not take away individualism from the child. It actually hones it and refines it. Teaching them how to live in the world verses offering a simple (and seemingly innocent) bribe forms and shapes the next generation, but most of the time not in the way that is the healthiest. 

Oh I have been there, trust me. I get what it feels like to be in a very public place while my kid throws a Texas sized fit only to have judgement slinged at me from complete strangers… Or so it felt like. My son is a redhead and lives up to the cliché characteristics well. He is GOOD at it. 

It’s in those moments that our kids learn social expectations, respect and dignity. Kids are turds. They’re supposed to be…THEYRE NOT DEVELOPED. They are supposed to test the world around them. But that doesn’t mean we let them control it. Those are learning opportunities for them to experience why it might not be a good idea to act in such ways. In these moments it is absolutely our jobs as parents to teach these kids. It’s also our job to decide which way we want our kids to grow. There’s a fork in the road each and every single time an opportunity arises to bribe the kid… This is where #parentingainteasy comes from. Its not supposed to be! 

Teach a child about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Do you want your kid to grow up expecting the world to take care of them? Do you want them to always be thought of as inferior to society? If so, then by all means… Bribe away. Because bribing kids teaches them that they are not valuable enough to have our full attention of the matter. It teaches them that we are not the ones in control, that they are… And that’s NOT actually what they’re looking for in the moment. Kids need to know that you are the stable rock leading them. 

 If that is not the goal for your family (and by the way, everyone should have a “family goal”) and you would rather teach confidence and humility, characteristics that are kind of essential to adulthood,  then it would be a great time to think on a big picture level the next time little Jimmy loses his mind in aisle 5. Don’t bribe him. Train him with the mind and maturity of your fully developed brain because it is your job to use it for such a time as this. 

How? 

1. Decide that you love your kids “too much to let them act that way.” This is a common saying in our house when our kids are raging. We said these words many times a day to our toddlers way back when. So much, in fact, my daughter once repeated it back to me while witnessing a kid throwing a fit in Wal-Mart. 

2. Surround yourself with people who you think raised good people. Humble yourself to receive some teaching from them. 

3. Take some parenting classes and seek out those books and podcasts on this subject. I personally recommend Love and Logic. Family life changing, yo. 

Believe it or not, you are your kids’ first and most important teacher. Don’t leave this important job to a lollipop
What are some ways that you have overcome bribing your kids? I’d love to hear them! 

Advertisements

Let’s talk about SEX!

image

It’s here! It’s here!

This has been a year and a half In the making, you guys! In about 6 weeks, the educators of Life Choices, a non-profit pregnancy resource and medical center, will be holding a very special “Parent Talk” event! Our Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialists, such as myself, will be educating the public on the matters of what this generation is learning when it comes to sex. We will cover what the Colorado State Standards are and what is being taught in the schools across our state. Then, we will introduce simple concepts to implement in your own home. It is our first priority that you as the parent be the first and most important role model and sex ed teacher for your child. We will cover what ages to start “the talk” as well as tips to keep that intimate and important conversation going. Other topics to be covered are: apps, social media, sexual exploitation, and more! After we cover the what, when, where, why and how… We will introduce a who, explaining the importance of accountability to teens.

Be there or be..hind! Your kids need you to know these things, and you do too!

It is recommended the kids stay home during the conference, especially the little ones, due to subject matter.

Light refreshments will be provided. Come ready to take good notes!

No RSVP needed but if you would like more info, you are welcome to call Karen, Education Dept Director at the number and ext listed on the poster.

If you are a parent of a child under college age, I am personally inviting you to be a part of something BIG in Colorado. Parents, you have more power than you know!

Make good choices!

With love, Becky

The P31 Woman is Not the ONLY Woman

Do you know that God made you? We tell our kids this but do we actually believe it? I think Christians have an impressive way of making the bible suck. We are known for being judgy buttheads… because we ARE!

(I’ve have already lost a few of you with that statement… but for the rest of us who personally feel that judgement, keep reading.)

We, Christ followers, know there is a better way to do everything. We are like the mother-in-law (not mine!) of the religious world. No matter what we are dealing with, there is an answer for our situation, and if we’re really good, we can twist it enough until it suddenly makes complete biblical sense that we don’t vacuum the house that day! Come on! The human mind is such a wonderful, powerful thing that gains momentum when coupled with other thoughts from other people (insert social media HERE).

But what do we say about ourselves in all of this?

I was recently talking with a good friend of mine… a good, kind-hearted mom who just wants her kids to grow up strong and healthy, as you can imagine any mom would. She was telling me how horrible she felt every time she lost her temper with her kids.

*SIGH*

Moms. How many of us have been THERE?! How many of us struggle with this very thing on a daily basis?? I’m not talking about the ACTUAL temper. I’m talking about the way we see ourselves, the struggle with feeling like we never measure up? For this very reason I have grown to dislike the Proverbs 31 wife reference. Perfectly well meaning women (and men) love to throw that in our faces any time they may think we “need” it but what I think us moms and wives and sisters and daughters need is a little freedom FROM the Proverbs 31 Wife. She’s so perfect. She never has a lazy day. She always looks outstanding. AND SHE NEVER LOSES HER TEMPER. Some of us don’t do well with that sort of pressure.

I want to offer you a differing approach. What if… God made us the way we are… on purpose? We love to walk around and say things like this to other people in hopes of raising spirits but we don’t really believe it do we? If we did, there would be much less talk about how awful we are at whatever job we’re doing at the moment and more talk about accepting differences in others. Do you think God, The Almighty, The All Knowing, All Powerful, Great I AM made you solely for the purpose of changing everything about you? Do you think He really wants you to be like the other mom that makes the best meatballs known to man (that’s me, by the way…)?

Now if the foot should say, “because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being a part of that body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts of the body, every one of them, JUST AS HE WANTED THEM TO BE.

-1Corinthians 12:15-19, NIV

Just as He wanted them to be. We’re so quick to quote growth and change from the bible… and don’t get me wrong, I think God wants us to grow to be all that He wants us to be… but I don’t think He wants us to change every aspect of who we are.

I just so happen to be a bit loud. I have been called obnoxious in my day. But wait! God wants a GENTLE spirit! God ONLY wants and uses quite, submissive women. I have spent the better part of my entire life apologizing for being who God made me to be. I was even medicated to repress some things in my nature throughout adolescence.

How do I know God made me to stand out (for lack of better words)? Because when I suppress my natural tendencies to express and be joyful and spirited, something totally opposite happens and I FEEL the evil. I feel anxious and miserable. Not only that, but the people around me feel the “off” that’s happening in me. Suddenly I become this completely different person and it HURTS. Deeply. I have had my dear family beg me to bring the real me back when I’m in those “moods.”

Do you think God has a sense of humor? ABSOLUTELY! Do you see the above picture of a Llama!? They’re hilarious! Do think He wants us to be an army of robots? I’m pretty sure He does NOT. He wants creativity. He wants boldness. He put them there. Just like He put the stars in the sky. Everything He does is on purpose and for a purpose. 

So what about all of the “bad” personality traits that seem to just come with the territory? For example, I am bold. And Loud. And super animated. I’m also a great big feeler. Satan sees this and tries to use it for his agenda. I have a bad habit of taking responsibility for things that are not mine to take (Sound familiar? Like, moms do all the time for their kids? We’ll talk about that one later). I have this theory that God placed that in my heart to help me grow to be MORE of the person He wants me to be but He did not place it there for me to constantly feel shame. That is Satan using his techniques to his advantage.

Me not being naturally gentle is not a bad thing. I am gentle when I need to be but most of the time I’m… me. And contrary to popular belief, God likes me 😛 He made me on purpose FOR a purpose and He put those in our lives that He did on purpose, too. We need to stop unintentionally attacking ourselves with doubt and shame and comparison. We can all stand to learn a little something from everyone, but let’s work to not forget who we were made to be.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Make good choices,

Becky

Everything is Fixable

I love my job. Have I mentioned that before?? This time I’m talking about the sex education job, getting to teach the truth about sex and share my testimony over and over. This week I am in an all-girls 8th grade class where we kind of introduce the notion that they are more than just a physical being – that sex is a really big deal, inside and outside of marriage.

In this particular job, we have outlines to follow that are in line with district standards across the board. We use activities to get the point across and I especially love the conversations that ensue from them. These sweet 8th graders’ questions are REAL and pure and intense at times. And other times they are just funny. Kids are HILARIOUS.

Today, as we were talking about consequences of sex and how one might be bigger than another, I asked a question that I ask all of my classes because I think this message is important; “What is the one thing in life that is not ‘fixable’?”
One little girl raised her hands and shouted “Herpes!”
It was… Awesome. We laughed together as a class because I just told them what a virus was and that it’s not curable. But in the same moment, she confirmed for me why I do this. Why I feel so deeply for these kids. I am definitely an advocate for abstinence (Because of my story not in spite of it). I am pro-life. I am pretty old fashioned and conservative but I also know the day we live in. I know what these kids are facing and I. Get. Them.

In a world where the media rules, majority opinion rules over fact and truth, and what used to be considered inappropriate is now not only appropriate but trendy, these sweet kids are… For lack of a better word… Confused. They have no idea what is right or wrong. Only the opinions of their parents and other influences can determine that, and if the parents are under the influence of the media…well…
These parents are effectively raising this generation to be narcissistic, trend following zombies void of Truth. Respect. Honor. Self control. Not all of them. But a lot.

What’s happening is by the time I am getting to these kids they have likely already had some experience in the area or have the people around them unintentionally giving them the message that they should. I have seen so much tragedy the last year of teaching than in all my own years of middle and high school and raising my own kids.

So back to the question. What is it? What is the one thing that cannot be fixed in life?

Death.

Think about it. Death can never fix life. If these kids get too many messages that they are not good enough or that there is no way out of their situation, they are at a much higher risk for suicide.

Did that just get a little too heavy for you? Read on.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-25 years old with Colorado being one of the states with the HIGHEST rate*

image

So what should we be doing?

1. We need to be telling our kids the truth
Parents. Its our job to train up our child. Its important that we teach them right from wrong in the beginning so they will always have a voice in their head. Kids do dumb things. Its part of their development but we play a vital role in communicating the values and morals that our kids carry for the rest of their lives. Speak truth to them and be consistent.

2. Speaking of truth, what IS the truth?
I have said this time and time again to my inquiries… In order to TEACH you have to KNOW the subject. And by KNOW I mean KNOW… You know? You must believe with all of your heart that what you’re teaching your child is the truth of all truths. Facts. What do you believe about the world, God, promiscuity, drugs, broccoli, respect, gender, bullies…? Such a long list and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! Parents, I want to challenge you to call a meeting with the spouse and other adult influences in your kids’ lives to determine your world view and how you are passing that legacy down. Because you need to know where you stand on these issues BEFORE they arise.

3. Speaking of influence…
Who is your child’s greatest influence, other than you? If you said friends you’d be half correct. Their friends… And the media… Is IN their heads. When I say media I am talking about movies, news, magazines, music, and especially social (FB, Twitter, YouTube, IG, etc). The eyes are the windows to the soul and if what they are being exposed to tells them they have to be in the “IN” crowd to survive… And these things most definitely ARE… then we’re not doing our job well. Now, I like a good Mean Girls party as much as the next #90skidd but my daughter was to a certain maturity that I deemed appropriate before she watched it. And when she did it was with me. And we talked about it. All the way through the movie..lots of talking. Lots of questions and answers. Just her and me.
I’m not saying to never expose your kids to the world (because I personally believe if we do that they cannot effectively be a light in the darkness) but I am saying they need guidance and YOUR influence.

4. And the most important thing of all…
Drive it home that EVERYTHING IS FIXABLE. Everything.
I tell not only my own kids but especially my students, every single presentation, with tears in my eyes because I just can’t hold it back… Everything is fixable. The only thing not fixable is death. If you get an F on a paper, can we fix that? Yes! What if we can’t? Then we move on. This too shall pass. What about something more serious like the herpes we mentioned earlier?? Herpes is not curable but it can be managed. I tell them that we can figure anything out.
These kids are so afraid of the what ifs and are literally STUCK in the moment (it has everything to do with how the teenaged brain is developed) that they simply can’t see what’s next. That’s why adults tend to think teens are “so dramatic”. Kids just can’t. Teens just can’t. Its our job to speak life and truth over them and to make sure they have a safe and consistent place to come home to. I’m pretty sure if more kids heard THAT mesage we’d have a much lower suicide statistic to deal with, especially here in Colorado.

We get ONE CHANCE, ladies and gentlemen, to raise a good, noble, productive member of society. You’ve heard the saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”? Well this is how. Take your job seriously and raise this generation so that they can effectively make a good next generation themselves.

Make good choices,
Becky