Bribing with Food


Alex, age four, is excited to be going to the store with his dad. Whenever they visit, he gets a lollipop if he is quiet the entire trip. But this time, his dad forgot to bring a lollipop, so why he thinks, should he be good?

Emma, age ten, is told that if she eats her green beans, she can have ice cream after dinner. She was going to eat them anyway, but now she wonders why they are so bad that she must be told she has to eat them, and before getting dessert. Maybe they are not so great after all.

Marcus, age 8, wants some chips. It is 5:00, so his mom says no. He is told dinner will be ready in an hour. But, he REALLY wants them! So he keeps asking, and asking, and asking. He knows if he keeps pestering his mom, she will eventually say yes. She always does. Finally after the tenth request, she screams out “fine, take some chips, but you have to get out of the kitchen and leave me alone while I cook!”

What are the long term consequences of bribing children with food?

Managing Children's Behavior: Overview

All kids act out from time to time. Testing rules and limits is one way they learn what is acceptable. Children's acting out can be frustrating for parents. The strategies parents use to get their children to behave have been found to have lasting effects on their ability to regulate their behavior later in life. Thus, managing children's behavior is one of the most important parenting jobs, and can be the most frustrating. To avoid the frustration in the short term, parents may be tempted to use food to bribe kids for good behavior, or even reward good behavior with food. Teaching parents ways to manage children's behavior can reduce their need to use food as a reward.

Nutrition Educator Training

Read the Scenario at the top of this page.

Then read through the materials on Bribing With Food: Overview, Application, and Tips.

Note the Additional Resources (but you do not need to read them all at this time).

Please RIGHT CLICK the link below and select "open in a new window".

Submit Your Responses