6.07.2011

Reward or Bribery?


Ahh, the second week of summer. Is the honeymoon over? Surprisingly, it’s not (yet).  

This past week included ballet recital portraits (photos forthcoming). We went to the movies to see Kung-Fu Panda II- Janie Kathryn has declared that she will become the Kung-Fu Master of the Skeen House by summer’s end. We took our maiden bike ride on the Greater Memphis Greenline (awesomeness). Janie Kathryn caught her very first firefly and was over the moon! We spent A LOT of time swimming (and reading) at the JCC and rounded out the week by shopping for a new bathing suit for me. Note: If you ever need an unsolicited, honest, straightforward opinion of what you look like in swimwear, look no further than my daughter. Five-year-old girls are very (very) direct. 

We’ve had a great time this week, even squeezing in work with math, sight words, and science. However, I have been pondering the parenting puzzle of reward v/s bribery, in regards to successful piano practice and lessons. Recently, I instituted a new house rule (effective the day school dismissed for summer). Janie Kathryn does not receive a reward if she asks for it. This new rule nullifies the age old question, "Mommy, if I am good at the grocery store, can I get a treat?" No, you cannot get a treat for something that I expect of you anyway!

I mean really, she is five, she has to learn at some point that the world is not going to reward her for being a well-adjusted human being. In fact,  Reality TV tells us opposite. This brings me back to the perplexing parenting of piano practice...

Janie Kathryn is very musically inclined (this comes from her piano teacher, not the bias of her parents). However, as of late, she is getting lazy about it. She doesn't want to focus at lessons and fights practice at home. So, I've resorted to rewards- rewards which she, of course, anticipates for doing something that is expected of her anyway. You can see the hitch. 

If this were ballet or karate or soccer, I'd let her quit. However, I cannot let her give up on a gift. For now, I guess I'll tread lightly with my contrasting principles and hope that she thanks me for it later.
Fudge Pop anyone?

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