The Candy Reward, Oh the Slippery Slope

I'm trying to un-do some bad behavior.

Not theirs.


Remember how I did a little thing called, give a child candy for going poop in the potty?

Well he's long past potty trained now. And he's still asking for candy. He's not getting candy, but he's still asking for it.

So now we're on the path of the whole "doing good is it's own reward" thing.

Because it's such a slippery slope between the "reward" and the "bribe" anyway and I'm noticing now that he wants "something" for even doing normal things that we expect of him, like cleaning his room and not hitting! What have I done! And now I have to totally un-do this thought process!

I've actually heard him say, "If I do this.. can I get something?"

And I've said, "No honey, you can have a great feeling of accomplishment instead." Which is the perfect way to elicit a glossed-over look in a three-year-old.

In fact I've already heard some of my great monologues and by that I mean that these monologues come out of my mouth and I see his eyes gloss over and I'm still talking and even I am finding myself saying,"What on earth are you saying?!"

The first crazy talk about doing good came earlier this week when we got an empty brown bag from his school with a little note attached to it. I recognized the bag, it is the same kind of brown bag we filled up with turkey dinner and fixins for needy families last year. His school does this every year and I think it's the coolest thing ever. They literally fill the gym with food for families. It's awesome.

Well, I, of course, in my excitement, began telling him what the bag was for and how we are going to use it to help families who have no food.

"Why, Mommy?"

"Because they don't have enough money. Do you know when you're hungry and you ask for something and Mommy gives you some food? Well, some families don't have food when they're hungry."


"Because! And we have to help them, we have to give them some food! They're starving!" Then I started describing how we have food in our pantry and some people don't, trying to make him have a visual of what I mean and all I got was that same glossed over look where he completely hasn't a clue of what I'm talking about because I tend to use bigger words than I should with a 3year old anyway and he says,


And then he wants candy because he's starving.

Oh this talk is all going terribly wrong.

Now every time he's hungry, he says he's hungry because he's starving. And even if he's not hungry he says he's hungry because he's starving.

There's always next year. Maybe.

My latest monologue was with a tiny superhero who was out saving the world this morning and it actually kind of went well and went like this.

Him: I put the mean man in jail, can I have some candy????
Me: No, honey. Besides, it's 8 in the morning.
Him: But I saved someone! And I put the mean guy in jail! Now can I have candy??
Me: No, honey. Doing good things is its own reward.
Him: (blank stare.)
Me: (inner monologue yelling 'hurry before you lose him!') Do you feel good about yourself?
Him: Um..
Me: Are you proud of yourself?
Him: (proudly sticks chest out like chicken) YES!
Me: Are you happy that you did something good?
Him: YES!
Me: See? That's the best part of doing something good! That feeling of accomplishment!
Him: (rides off on motorcycle. I always lose him on the word "accomplishment." Must find synonym.)

It looked like he got it, anyway. Until the next round of rounding up villains and saving people anyway.

Then of course he rode up and yelled, "I'M STARVING!"

Maybe not.

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