For so long, I thought “I’m not going to bribe my kids.” I am learning not to set these walls up, because each time I do I have to go back on my words. I back myself into a corner for no reason! Why am I my own worst judge and critic? I judge myself and make life so much harder on myself.
Let’s just get this out of the way.. I’m not trying to tell you how to parent. Lord knows I don’t have this thing figured out. This is just what is working for us in this moment in parenting. It probably won’t work forever, but for now it’s been so helpful!
That aside, here’s our new system. We picked something that our kids really wanted. They will get a sticker each day that they don’t fight or talk back. And then they can earn additional stickers for kind acts. If they fight or act rude then we can take a sticker away. Once they get 50 stickers, they will get their special toy.
I’m sure I’m not the first one to come up with a system like this. The main reason I’m sharing is because of the lesson I was taught : to not judge. Not to judge myself or other parents. Not to judge my kids or others’ kids. This gig is tough, y’all. And we’re not going to come out unscathed. We will all have good days and bad days (or bad weeks or bad months) and you never know when you’re witnessing someone’s bad day.
I will never forget one day I was struggling to get out of Target. I had my pile ready to check out and one baby in the shopping cart was throwing a fit and the other toddler pulling on my pants for a snack. The woman ringing up my items had a t shirt I had grabbed for myself and she said there was no price tag on it. I know the drill, someone has to go find a matching shirt and bring it back to get the price. I let out a sigh and told her to just forget the shirt, it wasn’t worth it. She continued to ring up my items and I’m trying to push everyone and everything out of the store. A woman who was directly behind me in line runs up to me and holds out the shirt with no price tag. Y’all, I’m crying writing this because of her kindness. She had run to the women’s department, found a similar shirt with a tag and bought me the shirt. I don’t even remember what words she said to me, but I remember the utter joy on her face to be able to give me that small gift.
Be kind. My new favorite thing to do is speak to moms and dads in a store. You know the one I’m talking about, the one struggling to get through the check out line in one piece. Ask to help them. Tell their kid a joke or give them a compliment about their shiny pink shoes. Let’s show up and be there for one another.