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A-Realistic-Example-Of-Carrot-Stick-Parenting

A Realistic Example Of Carrot & Stick Parenting

Are you more inclined to use the carrot or stick when it comes to persuading your kids? Our resident Dad, Pat Fitzpatrick, give a run through his favourites.

Carrot 1: A treat

Me: Tidy your room.
Joe: (age three and a half): I can’t, I’m too busy.
Me: I’ll give you a treat.
Joe: What kind of treat?
Me: I’ll tell you afterwards.
Joe: Is it Maltesers?
Me: No.
Joe: Is it a biscuit?
Me: Maybe.
Joe (crying): That’s not a treat.
Me: It’s not a biscuit.
Joe (stops crying): Is it a cake?
Me: No.
Joe (starts crying again): A cake is a treat.
Me: It’s a cake.
Joe: Can I see it?
Me: Yes, if you tidy your room.
Joe: If there’s no cake, I’ll take three biscuits instead
Me: Two
Joe: Four.
Me: Jesus. 

Carrot 2: A Toy

Me: Just let me go into this one shop for five minutes, and I promise I’ll buy you a toy afterwards.
Freda (Five and a quarter): How long is five minutes?
Me: Ahm.
Freda: Will the woman in the shop know?
Me: Yes.
Freda: Will she count it if I ask her?
Me: No, just ask me.
Freda: Ok.
Two minutes later.
Freda (in the changing room with me as I try on a pair of jeans.): Is it five minutes yet?
Me: No, nearly.
Freda: Now?
Me: No.
Freda: Nearly?
Me: Yes. Jesus, why can’t I fit into these, they’re a 34-inch waist.
Freda: Is it because you have a pee-pee?
Me: Keep your voice down.
Freda: Dad, can I tell you a question?
Me: Go on.
Freda: Will you buy me the toy before we go into the shop the next time, so I’ll have something to play with while you try on jeans?
Me: I really, really will.
Freda: Thanks. Is it five minutes yet?

Carrot 3: Cartoons

Me: Finish your pasta and I’ll let you watch one episode of StoryBots.
Joe: Two episodes.
Me: One.
Joe: Will there be Maltesers?
Me: No.
Joe: *Picks up water and drinks for a good two minutes, eyeing me over the top of the cup.
Me: Still no Maltesers.
Joe: My poos are coming.
Me: No, they’re not.
Joe: Do you want to see?
Me: No.
Joe leaves the table and comes back ten minutes later.
Me: Finish your pasta.
Joe: It’s cold.
Me: I’ll give you Maltesers to watch with your episode of StoryBots.
Joe: I don’t like StoryBots.
Me: I’m moving to Argentina. Don’t try and contact me. 

Carrot 4: The race

Me: First to finish their porridge is the winner.
Freda: But Mom said eating too quick is bad for us.
Me: I’m winning.
Freda: And we’ll end up eating too fast, like pigs, when we’re grown-ups.
Me: Still winning. Which is great, because there’s chocolate for the winner.
Freda: *Nom Nom Nom. 

Carrot 5: An Actual Carrot.

Me: Finish your sweet potato and I’ll give you a carrot.
Joe: You’re a funny Dad. 

Stick 1: Santa

Me: You realise Santa is watching every move you make?
Freda: In July?
Me: Yes.
Freda: You waited until September last year before you mentioned Santa.
Me: How do you remember these things? 

Stick 2: Toys in the Bin

Me: Either you pick up your T-Rex, or I’m going to throw him in the bin.
Joe: He’s not a T-Rex. He’s a Stegosaurus.
Me: I don’t care.
Joe: I don’t like him anymore anyway.
Me: What do you like?
Joe: Nothing.
Me: You have to like something.
Joe: I like my Spiderman costume.
Me: If you don’t pick up your, whatever you called it ...
Joe: Stegosaurus
Me: If you don’t pick up your Stegosaurus, I’m going to throw your Spiderman costume into the bin.
Joe: For how long?
Me: Forever.
Joe: You always say that. Will I get it back after you have a coffee and calm down.
Me: Probably. 

Stick 3: I’m going to turn this car around

Me: Say that to him once more and I’m turning this car around.
Freda: But he was singing it all wrong.
Me: Saying you wish he was dead is a horrible thing to do, just because he can’t sing. It’s not like you’re Simon Cowell.
Freda: Who’s Simon Cowell?
Joe: You said I can’t sing!! *Tears.
Me: Any more talking or crying and I’m going to turn this car around, and there’ll be no playdate with Jack.
Freda: How about singing?
Me: You can’t sing.
Freda: Neither can Joe.
Joe: *Ballistic
Me: Right, that’s it, I’m turning this car around.
Freda: But when we go to Jack’s house we disappear for an hour and you get to talk about grown-up things with his Dad.
Me: It’s so true. We’re nearly there.
Joe: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little ...
Me: I’ll give you a Kinder Egg if you stop singing.
Joe: Two Kinder eggs. 

Stick 4: Neither of you will have it

Me: Guys, if you can’t share it, I’m going to take it away.
Joe: But I had it first.
Me: I don’t care. *Takes Stegosaurus off kids. Carnage.
Wife: In fairness, he had it first.
Me: I thought we agreed no over-ruling each other in front of the kids.
Wife: Ok, but he had it first.
Joe: Dad, leave Mom out of this.
Freda: Ya Dad, cop on.
Me: Jesus.
Freda: Are you going to move to Argentina now.
Me: Yes.
Freda: Where’s Argentina.
Me: Somewhere I can’t hear a five-year-old asking me questions.

Have you tried the carrot and stick method of parenting? Has it failed as miserably for you as it has done for our Pat?! Let us know in the comments section below. 

About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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