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KIDding with Kayla — Most parents are guilty of bribing their child to behave at some point or another. If you are good at the store, you get a prize! Kayla Sullivan talked about a time she bribed her niece and son in a recent viral video.

Can rewards be a double-edged sword though? Early Childhood Therapist Ryan Allen said yes. You might find yourself always needing to offer an incentive for good behavior.

“Kids will go to the store and they will say, I’ll be good, do I get candy if I do? And now you’re in a situation like, well, what do I do to that?” said Allen. “Sometimes we try and frontload the reward which is kind of like bribery, if you do really well in the store, then I will give you a toy. Instead, if you change that and you say, ‘You did such an awesome job in the store, I’m going to get you a toy.” That flips it.”

Allen also emphasized the importance of being specific when you say “be good” or “do well”. This could mean saying something like ‘In order to get a prize, you will have to use your inside voice, hold onto the shopping cart and help find items on the shopping list.’

Bribes are tempting because they usually work in the short term. However, Allen said you don’t want it to become a parenting crutch because children need to learn to do the right thing on their own.

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