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Thread: Time for a bribe

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    Not a Mod finallyME's Avatar
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    Default Time for a bribe

    My 13 year old 7th grader is having motivation problems. He doesn't want to do anything with school, and even after I force him to do his homework, he forgets to turn it in. He failed 2 classes last semester and might have to retake them in 8th grade if he wants to go on to high school. Despite my best efforts, I want to strangle him. So, yesterday we went down to the farm store and looked at shotguns. The deal is, B's in all classes along with no bad citizen marks. The farm store had a Rossi 20 ga, .22lr combo for under $200 (barely) and some 20 ga pumps between the $200-$300 range. I think they are Rossi dealers, so I can problem special request one, and they can order it without much hassle. I think a 20 ga/ .223 combo would be better for him. Of course, if he wants a pump, we will go for that instead. I want to keep it as close to $200 as possible. He seemed really excited, lets see if it works.
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    If that works, who would I be to quibble with success? But it won't last as bribes seldom do.
    In general I'd find broader ways to motivate him to do well; after all, he needs to understand in real terms the advantages good education provides which translates into better jobs which would ultimately allow him to buy whatever the heck he wants.

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    My son struggles with the same issue, what works is taking away the things he enjoys, like video games, youtube channel, etc. Not only do we typically see his grades improve, but he also gets outside more.

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    While I do agree with Benesse about the broader long term solution, sometimes you just beat your head against the wall with teenagers. But maybe you can build on success. My dad bribed me in grade school with a huge tacklebox filled with all kinds of goodies. I got all A's save a B in gym. I got the box. While my grades dropped a little, I had a taste of success and carried on well. My brother was a solid C/D student but an outstanding athlete. He landing on the upright pole vaulting in college and put it through his armpit and out the shoulder, End of decathlon career. He immersed himself in studies and earned a phd. Ya never know what will trigger motivation.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    My parents didn't have much of a problem with me.....for some reason the motivation was always those in the words.
    "Do you want to paint the fences?.... or own the fences"?
    You can do anything you want if you work for it...Good grades makes it easier.

    But teens can make for trying times....

    With that kind of bribe...at least it's something that may help with a better bond between both of you.
    Good luck.
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    My parents didn't have much of a problem with me.....for some reason the motivation was always those in the words.
    "Do you want to paint the fences?.... or own the fences"?
    That put me in mind for a different approach. Tell him...I understand if you don't want to study and do homework, here's something else you can do instead...then load 'im up with chores so he doesn't have a free minute to himself.
    He just might realize, studying and getting good grades (not to mention praise and rewards) is easier than working his fingers to the bone with sucky work.

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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    I call them bribes sometimes too but isn't it simply a reward for doing a good job? Don't we ALL work for a reward? I know I wouldn't go to work if they didn't pay me. That's the way the world works. And yea, with teens you have to do what you have to do. Not all of them have the same motivation ect. Good luck.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Advice from a father, grandfather, career teacher;

    Stop the bribes and choices and Kick his A$$ !!

    He is 13, he has no ability to make choices other than "I don't want my A$$ kicked"!

    Good things happening are optional, an it is YOUR option.

    If you give him options at 13 he will be running the place by the time he is 15 and trying to cut deals on every aspect of life that should be an automatic "given".

    His bad performance for last semester should not get him a new shotgun for scraping by this semester, It should get him summer school while everyone else is on vacation!

    It is life lesson time. You work hard and struggle every day and give life your best and you keep your job, you screw up ONCE and you are FIRED !!!

    I have a niece that got thrown out of nursing school in her last semester, at 22, due to a "possession" charge. Her scream was that they did not give her a second chance or even call her in to cut a deal! She had been raised on bribes and bargaining for behaviors and could not comprehend a zero tolerance policy. Her career as a crack whore is now in full swing and she is very successful in her new endeavor.
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    Is this a sudden occurrence? You might look for possible reasons that his behavior has abruptly changed. Personally, I don't agree with the bribe. It's your son and it's not my place to tell you how to raise him. Life doesn't bribe us and bribing him doesn't make him want to learn. It just entices him to do the minimum to obtain the shotgun, if that's what he wants. Kicking his rear accomplishes the same thing. Neither approach will make him want to learn. Try to find out what's changed his behavior and/or why he doesn't want to work at school. There are a lot of reasons that could be behind it and you can conjure up your own nightmares. But I would be far more concerned about the root cause than forcing him to do something that he clearly is trying to avoid. The goal here is for him to WANT to learn not just attain a set grade. He can do that without learning anything. If necessary, he might even hire a friend to do his homework for him just for the prize. You know the old adage, be careful what you ask for.

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    Thanks for all the responses! There is a lot of experience here. I will say that this isn't the only approach we are taking.

    We have been doing the punishment thing for a while now. I think he is in the giving up stage. He will still be punished for failing...and he still has to retake the classes he already failed. He also doesn't play video games (because he failed his classes) or watch TV. He spends his free time reading books or building something (some things are genetic).

    Benesse, a couple weeks ago, his class did a "job shadow" day. Every 7th grader in the district went out and found someone to job shadow (mostly it is your parent, but sometimes it isn't). Anyways, I took him to work and showed him what people with college degrees do all day. Then I took him to my brother's job. He is a construction manager. That day he was managing the construction of a bunch of 4 plexes. He showed him all the different jobs and explained the difference in education. Basically my brother is the boss and the only one with a college degree. He said that if we wanted to on another day, he would let him ride around in the truck with him for a day. And, in the summer actually let him work with one of the crews for the day.

    For some reason, I never gave my parents any problems. I think I just had more pride and wanted to be better than everyone else. My brother (same brother as above) struggled through school and barely passed High School. It took a couple years with sucky jobs to convince him to go to Community College. At first he wanted to be a dentist, but failed some of the classes. His brother in law has a construction company (he is working for him now) and pushed him into construction. He eventually found something he liked and started doing really well. He transferred to a 4 year and graduated with honors in Construction Management.
    I have two BILs who have a similar story...did poorly in High School....sucky jobs.... Community College...find what they love...one is a Doctor and the other got a masters in Biochemistry.
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    FM, you are doing all the right things, "job shadow" being a super useful way of making it all very real and not theoretical. Kids whose parents put in the time to guide them in the right direction will sooner or later straighten up and find the motivation they need to keep going on their own. Parents just prefer it to happen sooner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Advice from a father, grandfather, career teacher;

    Stop the bribes and choices and Kick his A$$ !!


    He is 13, he has no ability to make choices other than "I don't want my A$$ kicked"!

    Good things happening are optional, an it is YOUR option.

    If you give him options at 13 he will be running the place by the time he is 15 and trying to cut deals on every aspect of life that should be an automatic "given".

    His bad performance for last semester should not get him a new shotgun for scraping by this semester, It should get him summer school while everyone else is on vacation!

    It is life lesson time. You work hard and struggle every day and give life your best and you keep your job, you screw up ONCE and you are FIRED !!!

    I have a niece that got thrown out of nursing school in her last semester, at 22, due to a "possession" charge. Her scream was that they did not give her a second chance or even call her in to cut a deal! She had been raised on bribes and bargaining for behaviors and could not comprehend a zero tolerance policy. Her career as a crack whore is now in full swing and she is very successful in her new endeavor.
    I could not agree more, and I am so glad to hear/see a former teacher say this. I struggled with my youngest son after he began school, and basically was forced to put him on meds for ADHD or keep him home. The meds work for a while, but he would outgrow the dosage and was constantly needing adjustments to his meds.

    Then I began bribing him with $$ each day that he came home with a good behavior report (at the time it was .25 cents a day, but he was in 1st grade so to him it was bank) but the too had to be adjusted continually. I tried everything, taking away his privileges, video games ( worst thing ever for a kid to have in the first place)time outs everything except what he really needed= his rear kicked, that ended when he went to school and they told him that spanking was abuse.

    Bottom line is, be a parent and set the rules, do it now before he is of the mind that he doesn't have to do what you say, and nothing you can do about it. You as a parent have the right to punish your child (big difference between punishing via spanking/whipping and abuse). My son eventually dropped out of high school at 18 he still needed to go another year to make up the credits he screwed up by not doing his work, and by arguing with instructors instead of listening. as a consequence of dropping out, he has a hard time getting a good job and keeping one when he does get one.

    He has been homeless twice since dropping out, and once told me when he asked me for money and I refused (didn't have it to give to begin with) he said that since I was his mother, it was my job to help him out.

    Somewhere, I went way wrong when I bought into the schools mentality that a kid needs drugs to control their behavior and that spanking was cruel and abuse. Good Luck to you and your son. If you buy him the gun this time, what will it take the next time, and the time after that when he decides he doesn't want to do the work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    My parents didn't have much of a problem with me.....for some reason the motivation was always those in the words.
    "Do you want to paint the fences?.... or own the fences"?
    You can do anything you want if you work for it...Good grades makes it easier.

    But teens can make for trying times....

    With that kind of bribe...at least it's something that may help with a better bond between both of you.
    Good luck.
    No college degree here and I own the company that cleans the fences - its good to be a business owner

    Quote Originally Posted by 1stimestar View Post
    I call them bribes sometimes too but isn't it simply a reward for doing a good job? Don't we ALL work for a reward? I know I wouldn't go to work if they didn't pay me. That's the way the world works. And yea, with teens you have to do what you have to do. Not all of them have the same motivation ect. Good luck.
    If I won the lottery today I would have at least one business going within a year, employ a few people with good wages based on business success, not the lottery winnings. Rewards from work are diverse

    Quote Originally Posted by finallyME View Post
    Benesse, a couple weeks ago, his class did a "job shadow" day. Every 7th grader in the district went out and found someone to job shadow (mostly it is your parent, but sometimes it isn't). Anyways, I took him to work and showed him what people with college degrees do all day. Then I took him to my brother's job. He is a construction manager. That day he was managing the construction of a bunch of 4 plexes. He showed him all the different jobs and explained the difference in education. Basically my brother is the boss and the only one with a college degree. He said that if we wanted to on another day, he would let him ride around in the truck with him for a day. And, in the summer actually let him work with one of the crews for the day.

    For some reason, I never gave my parents any problems. I think I just had more pride and wanted to be better than everyone else. My brother (same brother as above) struggled through school and barely passed High School. It took a couple years with sucky jobs to convince him to go to Community College. At first he wanted to be a dentist, but failed some of the classes. His brother in law has a construction company (he is working for him now) and pushed him into construction. He eventually found something he liked and started doing really well. He transferred to a 4 year and graduated with honors in Construction Management.
    I have two BILs who have a similar story...did poorly in High School....sucky jobs.... Community College...find what they love...one is a Doctor and the other got a masters in Biochemistry.
    College is great if you're interested in working for someone else the rest of your life. Personally I found freedom and happiness when I started my own business and I do not have a degree.

    BTW, when I see some of you college educated condescending, smug attitudes, my prices go up. Its a shame your parents didnt teach you to respect everyone regardless of their education or profession. You pull your pants down to use the bathroom same as everyone else, a college degree does not change that.

    Sucky jobs??? Most people do what they do because they enjoy it, whether or not you think its sucky has nothing to do with their decision. How can you be so smug, arrogant and condescending??? Is your life so miserable you need to look down on others to make yourself feel better??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizz
    Its a shame your parents didnt teach you to respect everyone regardless of their education or profession.


    Wow. Looks like the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe your parents should have done the same.

    I'm college educated, worked for someone else and had all the freedom and happiness I wanted. Just because someone works for a company does not mean they are slave trade. You should really examine why you feel the need to talk down to others, which is exactly what you are berating them for. Personally, I have great respect for all trades. Unless, of course, they come across as you just did. Maybe your attitude is what is driving their condescending one?

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    Grizz, you being a successful, non-college educated, business owner makes you the exception and not the rule. That is something to be commended for, but is not the reality for an overwhelming majority of people. Many things take education regardless. Can't open up a clinic or a vet office without having the college education in those fields, or experience in those fields for that matter. If you are a fence washer owner, port-a-potty service owner, car wash owner or the like without a college degree and are happy, good on you. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner, though, or they desire to own a business in a field that requires extensive knowledge. I have worked for people a lot during my life, and I enjoy the relationships that I build with my bosses and employers. Some of my former employers have become friends of mine and many have taught me things beyond the job that I will carry forever. Just remember, you are the exception and not the rule.

    As far as the disciplinary actions for a child lacking motivation, all that depends on the child. Things that "motivated" me did not work on my younger brother and vice versa. Same with my two young ones. Some things work better for my daughter than my son and vice versa. I am not an expert parent by any means, but I have learned you have to use the consequences (positive or negative) that fit your child. Overall, I use a combination of negative and positive reinforcement. They do well, they are rewarded. If they do bad, they are punished. It is up to them to choose what they want. It is my thought that when they reach adulthood, they will look at their decisions and the that consequences that follow, more simply known as "cause and effect". Right now, my kids are 5 and almost 8 so I have no idea how it will work out. Ask me again in 12-15 years, If they are still living at home I will know!
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    Gee. Let's see....got a college degree and have worked for others and own my own business. With a condescending attitude that was displayed in post #13 I'm pretty sure that I would have to close up shop and go work for somebody else again.

    Yeah - good luck with that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizz123 View Post
    College is great if you're interested in working for someone else the rest of your life. Personally I found freedom and happiness when I started my own business and I do not have a degree.

    A few disconnects in your reasoning there, grizz. One can start his/her own business even with a college degree and find freedom and happiness in being self employed. Which doesn't mean you can't achieve the same without one the way you did.

    BTW, when I see some of you college educated condescending, smug attitudes, my prices go up. Its a shame your parents didnt teach you to respect everyone regardless of their education or profession. You pull your pants down to use the bathroom same as everyone else, a college degree does not change that.

    There are A holes with and without college degrees. The fact you only had issues with those who went to college is curious. Obviously you don't respect everyone regardless of education or profession or you wouldn't have such bitter bias against people who went to college.

    Sucky jobs??? Most people do what they do because they enjoy it, whether or not you think its sucky has nothing to do with their decision. How can you be so smug, arrogant and condescending??? Is your life so miserable you need to look down on others to make yourself feel better??

    I don't know whether most people do what they do because they enjoy it or because they'd rather work than be unemployed. Let's be honest: any job is better than no job, but some jobs are better than others in terms of fulfillment and a chance to grow and prosper. The more option you have in getting such a job, the better. How can that be a bad thing and how would you not want that for your children?!
    Grizz, I don't know how old you are and what your experience has been so far to make you think the way you do. You might have overcome a lot of challenges to get to where you are today, but obviously you carry some deep seated bitterness that is bound to affect your work and interaction with people. If you have kids I sincerely hope you keep it all in check.

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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    My family consists of 5 girls. All but one is college educated. The one that did not go to college is the most successful according to normal American standards. Big house in Ft. Worth, sports car, vacations in Barbados etc. I'm happy for her because she is happy with her life. That life would not have been possible for me though. She moved to "the big city" the minute she hit 18 and went to work, worked until she rose to the top, you know, the normal way to get "there" in times past. That wouldn't have worked for me though as the big city is not for me. I went to college to be a high school English teacher. I taught for a while but found it really wasn't for me. I loved the kids and teaching. Teenagers don't scare me. But the background politics of any school is what drove me away. Now I am in an unrelated field that I worked myself into. It would not have been possible without a college degree.

    College isn't for everyone but education is. It doesn't matter if that education comes from a school or trying to make rent on a Taco Bell wage. I have one kid who will not be going to college (unless he changes his mind years down the road like I did) and one who will. I think both of them can be successful and satisfied with their lives. It is my job to teach them how to live life and while they are still young, that may involve "bribes". I teach them about consequences; both positive and negative. Sorry but their young minds are not always up to par with making the right choice. That is what we are for. The cliche young and dumb is a cliche for a reason. No one can say how we parent our individual kids is right or wrong. There is no right or wrong way to make successful adults (not talking about out and out abuse here of course). Sorry, my 17 year old son has been taller then me since he was 11. He's been to big to spank for years. My 14 daughter never really needed it because she was and is an easy child.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Going back to the OP, and kinda in line with my previous post.....seems you would really like to set him up with a hunting tool.

    Maybe not directly tie it to grades.....just spending time with him...... training, shooting, hunting, and doing it together, may help him wanting to do well.

    Just a thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Going back to the OP, and kinda in line with my previous post.....seems you would really like to set him up with a hunting tool.

    Maybe not directly tie it to grades.....just spending time with him...... training, shooting, hunting, and doing it together, may help him wanting to do well.

    Just a thought.
    That might be the best advice given in the whole thread, hunter. A bribe may or may not help, but some one on one time with Dad doing something you both enjoy, a little time to talk....might help to figure out what exactly the deal is with him and school. i know, finallyMe, you've been doing your bit as a parent, but changing the dynamic a bit can make a world of difference. I'm not a parent, mind, but that sort of thing worked for me when i was a kid and I was struggling with the system.

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