April 25, 2013

We dared our kids to stop annoying us.

Dad vs. Spawn
Mark and I totally did this hybrid bribe/dare thing with the kids recently.

It started with our son who is 7. AJ cannot make it through a meal without talking about poop. Or farts.

I was sitting next to him at the table, trying to enjoy my dinner, when he decides to describe something as "poopy". I'm not one to have my appetite ruined by such talk (if only), but it still really bugs me. I mean, can we just please refrain from talk of bodily functions at the dinner table?

So I turned to AJ and said, "Hey dude. I dare you to not say 'poop' for the rest of the night."

Mark chimed in with, "Or how 'bout anything to do with our butts?"

And then he continued, "AJ, if you can manage to not say anything about what comes out of a butt, I will help you buy a new Xbox controller."

(Because Mark and the kids play a lot of Xbox and a couple of the controllers are getting worn out and wonky.)

AJ accepted the challenge. Pretty sure he thought it was funny AND he wanted a new controller.

So then our 12 year old daughter decides to step into this. Which, of course she would. Camryn asks a clarifying question, ending it with "or something like that".

So I go, "Camryn, I think you should not be allowed to say 'or something like that' for the rest of the night."

Both of the kids look at me, confused. She just said it! Do I really need to explain?

Camryn says "or something like that" at the end of just about everything she is trying to say. Such as, "So I got on the bus this morning and sat down next to this 6th grader....or something like that."

It's like people who always say "know what I mean?" or give a little a giggle at the end of every sentence. I think it's a nervous thing....or something like that.

Now, because AJ was to receive a reward for successful completion of his dare, you know Camryn asked what she'd get.

I thought about it for a minute. "If you pull it off, " I said, "I will completely do a load of your laundry without any help from you."

The girl lit up! She asked, "You mean, sort, wash, dry AND put away?"

"Yup", I confirmed.

"All of it?" She had to try.

"ONE load*," I replied. The girl has a mountain of dirty clothes.

She shrugged her shoulders. "OK!"

And wouldn't ya know it? They both pulled off their respective challenges.

Now, I'm not saying one should employ this particular parenting strategy all the time. These two things weren't things the kids were doing wrong. This wasn't misbehavior, per se.

They were just annoying us.

I suppose you could say it has the potential to teach kids that they should only do something if there's something in it for them.

But sometimes -- just to save your sanity -- maybe it's not such a bad thing.

I didn't have to stick my fingers in my ears and sing, "Lalalalalalala", once that whole night!

So, bribery, FTW!

*Truth be told, I would love to just go in and do all of Camryn's laundry. But I can't do that because I have to be a good teacher and make her learn how to do this stuff on her own because one day she will be a grown up and not live with me anymore and she will need clean clothes and at that point I'm definitely not doing it for her!

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