Reward or bribery?


With a little over a week to go until the recital, she threw the biggest tantrum ever. Mind you, this child has never thrown a real tantrum in her 5-1/2 years of life. Well, just when she was 18 months and we were at Cape Cod. She didn’t want to leave or walk so she plopped herself down on the pavement. To laugh or not to laugh?

The other day, she kept crying about going to a Daisy Scout meeting. Um, she already had her last meeting. I had mentioned continuing with DS next year on our way home from school. She kept bawling about wanting to go to Daisy’s. I think she would have bawled about anything. The real reason was that I took her away from the playground fun she was having because I had raw meat and dairy in the car. Then she threw a tantrum about practicing for the recital that evening.

It continued after school yesterday. “I don’t want to go. I don’t like piano. I don’t want a recital. … You’re making me not like it!” There it was – I am the tiger mom that my husband was accusing me of becoming and the tiger mom I was dreading of becoming. I started with asking if she wanted to change into her new sandals. She smiled and said, “I want to wear a dress.” The quick change occurred and she was instantly in a better mood.

“Are we going now?” I hoped. “No!!!” she replied. “I want to play my own songs!”

Out of tactics, I resorted to offering to reward her with a sewing kit she was eying at Barnes & Noble. In the end, we agreed on an Alex sewing kit through Amazon if she went to the last two lessons and the recital. She went, played beautifully without the sheet music, and smiled. Tiger mom or not, I knew she could do it. Even if I had to use bribery.

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