Comedian Carey Reilly had to take an important call, and she didn’t have time to entertain any funny business from her 7-year-old son.
So the 30-something mom offered her daughter $10 to occupy her brother—which was met with a demand for $20.
This clearly wasn’t the first time Reilly had resorted to bribery. In the past she’d gone so far as to persuade her 10-year-old daughter to read by plying her with cash—hence how the little girl knew the art of the counteroffer.
“I get very easily frustrated, and it gets them to do what I need them to do in the moment,” Reilly admits. “I need an immediate payoff.”
Turns out Reilly has plenty of company.
But while cash rewards can deliver satisfying short-term results for Mom and Dad, what’s the long-term impact on the bribee?
According to Michael Yogman, who chairs The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, bribing kids is a dangerous slippery slope.
“The notion that the only value is in monetizing everything robs kids of control over their own decision-making,” Yogman explains. “There are things you want to do because they’re correct, ethical and socially appropriate—and you want kids to internalize those values.”
To see just how slippery a slope the practice can be, we shared parents’ confessions with psychology and money pros for their no-holds-barred insight on kiddie bribery.