What do you think of when I say the word bribery? Do you think of manipulation? Blackmail? Maybe pay off? In terms of the law, bribery is defined as the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence. Bribes are always intended to influence or alter the action of various individuals.
When I think of the word bribery, I think survival. Threenager survival.
I never wanted to be ‘that’ parent. The one who yells. The one who loses her temper. The one who’s son tells her “Be nice to me Mommy.” The one who hisses “GET BACK IN BED!!!!!” Or “I SAID IT’S TIME TO TAKE A BATH!!” And my personal favorite “NOW LUCAS!!!!!” The one who gets so frustrated she needs to bite someone’s head off to release some of the tension. Unfortunately, Walt is usually the victim of that casualty. But it’s happening. It’s happened. The threenager is winning.
The threenager is winning the “he won’t stay in bed” battle. He either needs to pee 500 more times or it’s a 3:00AM wake up call because something crawled out from under his bed and rudely woke him up and told him to wake up his Daddy so they could sleep together in the guest bedroom because “I scared.”
He is manipulative. He is stubborn. He is wearing us out.
I know he doesn’t really understand what he’s doing (at least that’s what I want to think.) I know he’s testing boundaries, and learning where the line is. He’s just being three, right? But when I ask him why he won’t stay in bed, he looks up at me with those big baby blue eyes and says, “I don’t know Mommy.” Sounds innocent enough right? Except he has this look on his face. This sheepish grin, the look of “Ha ha Mommy! I have you right where I want you! MUAHAHA!!!”
Dealing with this little threenager of mine, I no longer find myself asking, “How can I turn this into a teaching moment for Lucas?” but instead, “What’s the easiest way to get him to stay in bed ALL NIGHT LONG?”
Bribery. Lots and lots of bribery.
Although I’m on the fence about using reward systems upon demonstration of proper behavior, and it might not be the best tactic, (actually, there really is no “best tactic” at this stage) it’s the best I can do to keep everyone’s sanity and Walt’s head intact.
So… Threenager, aka Lucas, will go down in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the world’s largest collection of hot wheels by the time he reaches four. But who cares! He’s stayed in bed ALL NIGHT LONG!!
No, I did not beat my threenager. He had an epic face plant at school. And I mean EPIC. The kind where it was only your face that broke the fall. Hands and knees completely unscathed. Epic.