Friday, 9 November 2012

Let's Make A Deal

Recently it became obvious that the boys were in dire need of a hair cut. They could possibly be mistaken for girls if I left it much longer. Especially Mr 4.

This was a prospect I relished with all the enthusiasm normally reserved for a root canal.  For some reason Mr 4 has an unreserved antipathy towards hair cuts.  In his short life, I had only managed to make him have one at the Barber's once. 

To do this, K, the lady barber we always go to, was only able to manage to complete the procedure by shoving the lolly pop, usually handed out upon completion, into his glowering mouth, thusly shutting him up and putting a plug in his protests.

This has meant he has sported many a dodgy at home hair cut done by Micky Blue Eyes.  I wouldn't even attempt it. This may be considered the equivalent of child abuse to some people.

Unwilling to subject him to such embarrassment any longer, I decided it was high time to use my exemplary parenting skills and take swift and immediate action. Like so.

I  gave him my sternest look and said firmly "If you get a hair cut, I'll get you McDonald's after."

"Okay," he agreed quite happily and immediately. Well, duh.

Yep. Bribery. Works every time. 

I'd always been reluctant to use bribery on my boys and resisted it greatly when Mr 11 was little.  I suffered the indignity of every other parent smugly informing me how their child was fully toilet trained while I was still struggling with it. I'd never thought of using bribery.

I bribe my boys with junk food. And the Mother of
the Year Award goes to...

Well, that's not entirely true, I did think of it, but assumed that it would be the wrong thing to do.  What a novice parent I was. Some time later, I realised that I was the only idiot and other parents went straight to the bribe tactics. 

"Oh no, I always bribe them, " a neighbour told me, unashamed. 

So the bribery began.

Now Mr8 is a seasoned deal maker.

 "What do I get?" he demands, when asked to anything. Even something as simple as picking his shoes up.

"I'll give you a massage," he'll offer " for five dollars!"

But back to the hair cut.

Arriving at the Barber's, Mr 4 warily sat himself up in the chair. Reluctantly, he allowed the hair cut to proceed, eager to keep up his end of the deal. Trying to get him to talk, however, wasn't going to work.

"It's his birthday tomorrow," I told K

"How exciting!" she enthused, while he sat sulking and she kept clipping away.

Meanwhile, in stark contrast with Mr 4's sullen silence, Mr 8 happily chatted away.

"One time Dad took us to this other Barber's," he informed us " and they accidentally cut our ears."

"Really?" K replied "I don't think I've ever done that to you."

''Yeah," he went on "they were really bad because they were Chinese."

Taken aback, I admonished him, mortified.  Apparently, I was raising a racist. Oh dear.

K just laughed. Then it was his turn for a hair cut.  While he was in the chair a lady popped her head in to purchase a packet of cigarettes.

"Why do you sell cigarettes?" Mr 8 demanded, his tone dripping disapproval. 

"Oh, because my boss wants me too," K answered.

"It's not illegal to sell them," I told him. He looked astonished.

Apparently I am raising a deal making, racist, anti-smoking fanatic. Oh dear. Admittedly,I'm actually quite proud of the latter.

Mr 11 decided to skip the hair cut.

"I'm growing my hair," he announced. For years he hadn't cared what he wore or looked like. Suddenly at age 11, all that has changed.

He has to have Nike shoes and he's growing his hair. He's too cool for me. In a few years he'll be taller than me I expect. My miracle baby. Not a baby anymore. Sigh.

Hair cuts completed, we exited to conclude the deal with some Maccas. A done deal.

Until the next one.

Do you use bribery or rewards?Or would you? Is there a difference?


  1. I have a kid with extra thick, fast-growing hair. I had to always bribe before each haircut. It started with books, stories, treats but then it was Lego, always Lego. He tried to up the spend from the cheapest but I did not let it go there. I think we only weaned off rewards by about age 9-10! :/

    1. Mr 4 and 8 LOVE Lego, so consequently we are already drowning in it, so I went for the junk food bribe.

      So going by your experience I only have ohhh another 5 or 6 years of bribing..oh

  2. For the first 4 years of my son's life, he wore a hat in pretty much every photo - because I used to have to cut his hair while he was asleep :)

    1. My Mr 4 hates hats as much as hair cuts!

  3. I have no children so I'm not sure how I'd react in the situation... Though, now that I think of it, I do believe my parents used some bribery with me growing up and I turned out okay (mostly).

    1. Yes you have turned out better than okay, so that's good to know.

      Yeah, you never really know how you'll be as a parent until it happens. I had many lofty ideas about how great I would be, but...oops...