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bars1

They taste so much better than my photograph suggests!

Yesterday I mentioned bribery as a parenting tool. I’m sticking by that word. In the past, I would have used the word incentive. But, really, if it involves sugar of any kind it’s a bribe. Pure and simple.

I’ve always been one of those mothers who wouldn’t buy you a chocolate bar in the check-out line no matter how you howled and cried and lamented  “you not a nice mommy!” And while I firmly believe in incentivizing—-my kid has always been a junior banker. If there’s not money in it for him, he can’t be bought. So, my incentives usually sound like, “If you don’t clean up that room, I’m going to take away your computer and  your candy privileges.” You see the subtle difference, right? In one, I’m bribing you to be good. In the other, I’m reminding you of your responsibilites and the consequences for not meeting them. Or, that’s the case when I’m not desperate.

That would make me a wise parent if my child wasn’t so oppositional. He can try the patience of a saint, and his mother is far from being one. Despite my well-intentioned parenting philosophy. Lately,(since he turned 13!!) no amount of incentivizing (threatening, hounding, preaching, lecturing: Oh yeah, those are all in my arsenal too!) can entice him to focus appropriately on his schoolwork.

This brings me to my end. He’s a smart kid, but so dang lazy. And while most people figure out by the time they’re his age that unsavory tasks are best done quickly, this child slowly pulls off the band-aid of schoolwork. He’s waiting me out. Watching to see if I explode. If he can just push me over the edge, then the focus shifts to conflict resolution, not doing his schoolwork. I swear, he’s a born lawyer!

So, yesterday, I beat him at his game and resorted to bribery. “If you get all your schoolwork done by 3. And that means your German, Math, History, and Programming, then we can bake. If you don’t, no baking for you!”

I’d hang my head in shame, except it worked. We made these incredible bars Kerri put up on her blog. We used dried cherries and almonds and subbed Smart Balance for margarine. Two words: Ah. Mazing.

We had a nice, conflict free day. He got his schoolwork done in a timely fashion. We spent some time together baking and talking. All of which is incentive enough for me to use bribery again very, very soon.

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