Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
Little-known facts about this ancient Jewish community.
Why serious conversations can help speed up the dating process.
After moving out and initiating divorce, my husband is vowing to change. Should I give him another chance?
Watch this video to find out.
There’s a time to uphold the law and there’s a time to outright break it.
The extermination of the Jews was not a means to any end; it was an end in itself.
5 ways to combat the pressure to be perfect.
There’s so much pain in the world. But I’m just a teenager. What can I do?
An apology isn’t enough.
After leaving the NICU I was indescribably happy that my baby was alive. Then regular life kicked in.
The sublime act of thanking God after going to the bathroom.
Happiness doesn't come to you, it comes from you.
Convey the message: I enjoy spending time with you.
If you don't know what you're saying, why say it at all?
An epic true story of one family and a dryer.
Don’t let Ryan Gosling teach you about love.
Busting four prominent dating illusions.
She went ballistic after our break-up because I took her suicide threats seriously. Was I wrong?
Why do Jews obsess about details, and why do we need so many mitzvot anyway?
The tongue holds the keys to life and death.
Mohammed reacted with anger when Jews refused to recognize him as the last of the prophets.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
Little did I know that the source of my chutzpah reached back thousands of years, to Mordechai.
Watch the Purim story come alive.
This Purim, remove the four masks we wear and experience true joy.
Giving your teens helpful, safe guidelines.
You can tell the year that someone moved to Israel by the clothes that they wear. Here’s how.
As an English teacher at a Jewish high-school, I am witnessing firsthand the demise of cursive. And I couldn’t be happier.
How would your friends have reacted?
An exciting performance on top of a NYC skyscraper featuring two great Jewish performers.
Taking responsibility for the environment. A message for Tu B'shvat.
A 4-minute film on the life of Rabbi Noah Weinberg, commemorating his 5th yartzeit.
April 10, 2010
April 15, 2010 1:52 AM
because i said so
I think the word "bribery" and giving kids money rubs us the wrong way in our society... but aren't most of us ok with a reward system, and allowance based on helping out with chores? To me the difference is whether it is something that is established before-hand, or if it is offered in the heat of the moment when you can't think of anything else to motivate them. Also, as #11 said, you can always stop the bribery at a later point. As an example, I don't know ANYONE who potty trained their kids without some sort of candy reward. Still, at this point, my daughter knows that she is not going to get chocolate chips for going where she is supposed to.
Another thing I think is crucial is for children to understand that, ultimately, the parents are the ones in charge. I love that my kids question, and want to know why they have to do certain things, and I explain my reasoning so that one day they will be able to arrive at their own right conclusions. But in the end, I am the mom. So for example Me: "Put on your coat before you go out" They: "But I don't want to" Me: "It is cold outside, you need your coat so you will be warm" They: "Oh, but I don't want a coat when it is cold." Me: "Mommy said you need to put on a coat before you can go outside." End of discussion.
April 14, 2010 9:55 PM
This is exactly y our kids are so spoiled.
April 14, 2010 6:17 PM
Impressed by your wisdom Lori. Thanks a lot!
April 14, 2010 7:57 AM
I love it. You know, we modern, new age baby boomers think we're above this primitive type of motivation. But it works because of how we're made - a body and a soul. Excellent!
April 14, 2010 4:37 AM
Context of study
I actually read the study #2 had in her comments. And if I read correctly, this study showed that children who were rewarded showed "less intrinsic interest in the activity than control subjects." Of course, they had to be bribed to do the activity in the first place...obviously it was an activity they did not enjoy the first time, so why would they do it again? This study was done on preschoolers. Small children are in the here and now...they do not have the ability to think abstractly about things. You have to do something over and over again to finally not do it for extrinsic purposes, and sometimes even that doesn't work...ex. yo yo dieting.
Also, I think it is horrible to constantly bring up the past struggles like shoshana said, "remember how we were fighting and now we are not." Children must also understand that parents are human and do make mistakes. They cannot just soley rely on the parents' judgements. I'm glad when my children challenge me and ask me why they have to do so and so. Not because I said so (although I say that too) but I have to give them a reason...so they can understand and eventually make their own decision. Ex. Me: "It's cold outside, take a jacket" They, "no, I don't want to." I let it go and a few minutes later, "Okay mommy, where's my jacket, it is cold outside."
April 14, 2010 4:13 AM
I agree with Lori on this one...however with restrictions. Of course bribary works...or no one would use it. We do go to work because we get paid...so must kids be rewarded. Maybe the word "bribery" sounds bad Shoshana...maybe use the word, "reward". Not everything is always "well you have to do the right thing". That is hard to do, even for adults. Kids do like to get "rewarded", whatever the reward...a movie, money (not much though) etc. Even teachers use it...hand in hw for so many times and get tickets to whatever, or get a homework pass. It is like the TORAH says, doing a mitzvah for the wrong intentions will eventually lead to do the mitzvah for the right intentions.
April 13, 2010 7:26 PM
I like this advice. Mostly for the line " If I paid you $100.00 would you do it ? " " Really ?" "No - but at least you can see that you can do it, if you try. "
Good sense. Thank you.
April 13, 2010 7:04 PM
I also paid a bribe to get my daughter to agree to a haircut
But I didn't pay with money. I agreed that she would have her ears pierced on her next birthday, instead of waiting until age 12 as I had originally said.
April 13, 2010 4:52 PM
This assessment is a disappointment
Rewards are important--after the fact. When a child does the right thing, recognize it, but do not bribe in advance. In my experience as an educator, I've seen children get gold stars in kindergarten, and they expect Mercedes when they turn 16. The ante must always be upped. I only use bribes for children with severe special needs who are not able to internalize the values. It takes a lot of patience, but that is the way to build mentschlichkeit.
April 13, 2010 4:32 PM
One commentor (mother & teacher) cited that bribery is detrimental. She's right BUT Lori is right as well. Balance is everything. Sometimes it takes bribery to motivate change. Being young has its disadvantages ... you're usually unable to see how a change can impact your life in a positive way. The key is to enable them to desire the needed change. If it's an on-going task, there can always be a stopping point to the "bribery" once you see the desired result, ie, they see the benefit. (When it comes to chores, I believe a small "allowance" should be given for tasks that benefit the family, but never for something that will always be their own responsibility.)
April 13, 2010 4:04 PM
the exchange value of m & m's
Perhaps those who are uncomfortable with the word "bribe" would prefer "remuneration" as a motivator. When my daughter was young I developed the m & m currency exchange. When we were both tired at end of a full day of work and preschool, I determined that a mere 3 m & m's could get her into the car seat for the ride home. On a airplane this ubiquitous chocolate candy proved invaluable, and few were required; the mere promise of "payment" was usually enough for appropriate behavior when boredom set in. Later, our self-motivated child was rewarded, after the fact, for good grades. We felt that she learned that we, too, valued her work ethic and successes. Now at college in an academically challenging field she continues to work hard to make her parents, and herself, proud. And we still give her "rewards" from time to time, always unannounced, and she is always grateful that we acknowledge her achievments.
April 13, 2010 3:46 PM
Works for adults too
Five years ago AishDC advertised a "Sushi Kiddush" one Shabbos morning. That got me to visit for Shabbos and led to my regular Shabbos observance and taking on many other mitzvos.
April 13, 2010 3:37 PM
I dont think there is a rule about rewards. Common sense is needed for each case. Sometimes - especially with young children - a reward is very effective and doesnt take away from the educational ideal. If parents create an atmosphere of materialism being the ideal of life - then of course this is wrong.
April 13, 2010 2:51 PM
Lori, you never heard of "No More Tangles"?
I have to say that I'm disappointed in you Lori. I can't believe that your daughter: A. wouldn't cut her hair for $10 and
B: twice you mention a movie as a bribe for the adult and for a child. Is that the only bribe you can come up with? A movie? How about a new book, game, walk with you, etc.?
April 13, 2010 2:35 PM
The body can be compared to the shell with some meat inside. The soul is the precious pearl. It's eternal.
April 12, 2010 10:36 PM
Paying to get what you want - got the job done!
Lori!! $50 bucks?? I'll bet she would have cut it for $25. !! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brushing teeth $5.00. Feeding the dog. $5.00 Calling Grandma $15.00. Cleaning room $15.00. Doing homework $5.00. If she is a smart girl and you can afford it, ...... she could make a tidy sum. Happy Mother --- Happy Child.
April 12, 2010 12:27 PM
I totally agree with you Shoshannah.
April 12, 2010 3:03 AM
Glad to have a new method
Thank you, Mrs. Palatnik! I now have a new method on how to get my friends/cousins who aren''t religious to study a bit of torah. I didn't know what to do before. Many people tell me to do nothing and mind my own business, but I think bribery might work. It seems so immoral, but it's been known to work and this is for a good cause, so thanks again!
April 11, 2010 1:26 PM
Negative effect of Bribes on Children's Internalized Values/Motivation
While I normally love Lori's advice, as a mother and educator I strongly disagree with the practice of bribing children to do the right thing. We must teach our children to do the right thing for the sake of Heaven, or for the sake of honoring parents, or because it's the right thing to do...and not because they're going to receive immediate gratification in the form of money, candy, etc. In life, the reality is that we won't always "get something" in return for doing the right thing and I think it's ultimately bad for the child to create the expectation that they should expect to "get" something in return for their cooperation. Why couldn't the little girl have been rewarded by being allowed to sit with the mother and choose her new hairstyle together? The lack of physical pain and fights in the morning should have been enough natural reward. While the little girl might not be of an age to cognitively forecast future rewards like this, children should learn that their parents will make decisions for them in their best interests and to trust their judgment. This could be positively reinforced for the girl every morning after the haircut when there is no longer a fight or pain. All you have to say is, "Do you remember how we used to fight over brushing your long hair? I'm so glad we made the right decision together to get it cut." etc. Positive reinforcement is its own reward--there needn't be a tangible "prize" like money involved. We don't need to buy our children's affections. The best prizes to be valued should be shalom bayit.
Here's an educational study demonstrating the harm of extrinsic rewards...even weeks after the bribe:
April 8, 2010 12:56 AM
Takes the edge off of drudgery
Hey it works even on adults. On my job we have continual education classes on the computer. This one co-worker was taking so long to finish her classes, so I sent her back to the computer classroom an 1 1/2 hours before the end of her shift letting her know she could leave early if she got done. What was taking her 2 hrs to finished, she got done that day in 45 min. Some people just need modivated by rewards, expecially concerning unpleasant but necessary task.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.