A mommy recently wrote me a little bit scared because she realized that she gives her child a reward for just about everything. Forget backdoor bribes, this wee one had become a full on negotiator expecting and receiving a thank you gift for just about every little thing she ever did.
A trip to Target for being good at school. Mcdonald’s for being nice at her friend’s house. Ice cream because she was a good girl while shopping. Candy because she was quiet during church.
This mama was being held hostage by a tiny tyrant who had come to expect the world for bare minimum behavior. She was tired. Afraid. And probably going broke!
First mama, let me congratulate you. You have a generous heart. You are a giver. Your child will be the recipient of a loving and unselfish relationship with you. Likely your child will never suffer with what I see at the other end of the spectrum–a child who grows up with a tightfisted and withholding parent.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
You gotta tame the terrorist. She can’t be demanding or even expecting rewards for good behavior all the time. If she does, you haven’t trained her heart, you’re just training her selfish attitude to become one of, “I’m good to get what I want, or to get what I want from people.” And these are some dangerous attitudes to feed. So it’s great that you recognized the habit! Now we just gotta fix it!
First, read this post. Then, come to terms with the fact that the wee little princess is going to have to go through a little period of learning. It will likely involve some tears on her part. Maybe on yours too, sweet-soft-hearted mommy. But I guarantee with consistency, solid ground rules about expected behavior, and sporadic rewards with constant encouragement, in two weeks or less you will have made significant headway!