Thursday, August 21, 2008

So, Bribe and Threaten Parenting: what it is and how to do it

To put it simply, Bribe and Threaten parenting is a well- researched time tested technique for remediating the maladaptive and pre-criminal behaviors of children. It has been used by strung out and exhausted parents since the start of parenting. Here is an example as I posted on
"If you 2 pilgrims don't quit hitting each other with your stick dolls I am going to pull over this wagon and you can get out and walk. And pick up the horse poop while you're out there".
As previously mentioned, while the technique has been around forever, I officially titled it as 'Bribe and Threaten Parenting' last summer. My sister was having her second baby baptized at a Greek church in Chicago. For us, the event required 2 days of travel from northern Wisconsin to southern Wisconsin to stay with grandparents then to Chicago for the day and back, then back home the next day. Traveled with a toddler lately? How about 2 of 'em? Oh, and give one of them a good attack of some reactive attachment disorder. Are you thinking what I think you are thinking? That this sounds like a famous circle of hell? The really firey agonizing tortuous circle? You got it.
Sound travels in church. In this particular church the acoustics are fabulous if you are in the choir. If you are 2 children trying to be as disruptive as possible, sound positively echoes!
At its most basic, BAT parenting goes like this:
If you do this good thing you will get a treat. IF you do this bad thing you will get a punishment. (YES! I used the word punishment! and I meant it! Come and get me Parent magazine!!!). Good is delivered with a smile, bad is hissed through the teeth for best results.
After 2 hours in the car we arrive at the church. Genea has cried, whined, nagged and disrupted us all for the whole trip. It feels like someone is tap-dancing on my last nerve. But, I am armed with BAT philosophy. We get to our pew and sit. For like, 3 maybe 4 seconds. Commence whining. I clench my teeth and threaten them with the basement. Recommence whining. I beg them to shut up, flashing my cracker stash. I have bought us 2 more minutes. More whining, getting up, trying to make a run for it. I give out sips of juice for quieting down. Mind you all, the ceremony has not even started yet. Hiss- knock it off or we are going to sit in the basement. Got me 2 more minutes. It occurs to me that some of these ummm, more devout people may think it inappropriate to have a meal in here. (the joke is on them, they have no idea how inapproprite we can be!)Ceremony begins. I was here for the first nephew being baptised and I recall clearly how long it was. Around 17 hours. Look at my beautiful children who have decided to take advantage of the calm and quiet to really fire it up.
Forget it. Into the basement with us.
I consider this to be a successful implemetation of BAT techniques. We lasted in the church for at least 5 minutes into the ceremony, if not longer!

1 comment:

  1. This is just too funny. I loved the "joke is on them" line ^_^


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