Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When your daughter tries to BRIBE you...

I'm not quite sure how to feel about this.

As all moms and dads know, parenthood is a topsy-turvy world. Much like the fun-houses you enter at a Carnival, you are constantly being surprised by unexpected twists and turns, albeit in a colorful and "fun" environment. A place you entered at your own will, knowing sometimes the "fun house" will make your heart jump and your adrenaline speed up.

Sometimes you think you're doing a good job as a parent, but then you look in the mirror and you see a distorted version of yourself- in other words- you're not sure how "good" or "bad" of a job you're doing.

This week, I had an incident happen to me.

Sometimes I reward my daughter's achievements with "prizes" in the form of gifts, money, or promises to take her to the movies with popcorn and soda to boot. Well, if you choose to call it a bribe, so be it.

But on Friday, my daughter turned the tables around and I was just not quite sure how to react.

Basically, she got a bad mark on her behavior sheet which means she talked out of turn in class. Every day, parents are to sign this sheet so you can monitor your kids daily behavior and read the teachers comments to see what kind of misbehavin' they've done so you can apply the appropriate lesson at home.

Before my daughter handed over her behavior sheet so I could sign it, she told me, "before you see it, mom could I give you $5.00 so you won't be upset?" With that pre-emptive strike I knew I was probably going to see something I didn't like, but how should I feel about my 8 year old child bribing me?

I had mixed feelings. First, I appreciated her creative spirit. She anticipated a conflict and before facing it, thought it out and figured out a plan about how to mitigate it before it got ugly. Second she demonstrated an entrepreneurial side, hey if money gives you rewards, then money can also help you "buy" your way out of a problem.

But how should I feel, as the parent. My mixed reactions also included, "Oh, no! Have I been teaching her that money can 'allow' you to be 'bad' in class as you can 'buy' your way out of trouble?"

I took the money, and gave her a disapproving smirk. I know at this young age, she values money as I always make her save it and buy most of her own stuff like toys and other miscellaneous knick knacks.

I know giving up an entire $5.00 was slightly painful for her, and punishment in and of itself. Much like many parents have "swearing jars" at home, where you need to put a quarter in the jar every time you swear, I figured, for her giving up a weeks worth of A's and good behavior on her sheet was something that probably pained her.

But she was not completely out of the woods yet. The next morning as I drove her to school, I started  lecturing her on how she needed to behave in class, not talk out of turn, yadda yadda yadda.

As she exited the car, she said, "mom, you are lecturing me, so now you owe me my $5.00 back.!"

PARENTHOOD... quite the fun house it is... But I'm keeping the money.

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