Do you tend to bribe your children?

You’re not alone, and this tool is here to help.


  • Parents usually say bribing doesn’t feel good – and that it doesn’t always work. Why? Because bribing, or using “if,” is conditional. It sends the message of doubt and that children that not cooperating is a possibility.
  •  “As soon as you ___, you may ____” simply affirms the natural schedule, flow of the day, or what needs to happen,  like A —> then —> B.
  •  “As soon as you ___, you may ___” takes away the element of choice and affirms what is. Choice is a wonderful tool in parenting, but we want to be conscious about when we are giving choices or when we can affirm naturally when things in life and routines “just are what we do.”
  • With young children, who still see themselves as part of you, it can be most helpful to say “as soon as we ___, we may ___.” Whatever age your children are, using “we” also builds teamwork in your home. You can try out using both “we” or “you,” and see which one feels most natural.

Parenting Practice:

Create your “As soon as you/we ____, you/we may ___” phrase. Practice it in the mirror/with your co-parent and with your children.