Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Little Bribery Goes a Long Way

I heard from a super nice Realtor from South Carolina this week and in telling me about her move from Ohio with two - count ‘em two - teenagers, she told me about the bribes.

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Worrying about the kids is the hardest thing about a move. If it weren’t for them and their precious stability, self-esteem and security we could rock a relocation, am I right? My concern for my kids during our moves had me a nervous wreck, I have to admit. I was more worried about their first day at the new school, specifically the 30 seconds that they walked into the cafeteria with their tray and stood looking for a table, than I was about the neighbor who may or may not have been a registered sex offender.

So . . . bribes? Heck, yes.

Here’s what Cathy, my new South Carolina Realtor friend, said:

“Oh the bribing that occurred . . . We bought iPods and a souped-up golf cart and even a piercing - LOL! Now looking back it’s comical but it was as stressful as it was exciting.”

What? No tattoos?

I wish I had thought of the golf cart. I promised a pool, then a bigger, better, in-ground pool, both on which I made good. Those were followed by a trampoline and a treehouse, which I backed out on. The trampoline is still brought up by my daughter 14 years later as a sign of my deceptive parenting. The treehouse I had to nix because, while we had a beautiful wooded lot behind our house in New Jersey, that lot was inhabited by black bears, which I was told could climb trees better than a monkey or two middle-school kids hanging out in their cool treehouse.

Giving your child a golf cart or a tree-death-house to soothe the sting of a move is perfectly acceptable. I’m not even sure it counts as a bribe, by definition. It’s more of a prize. Or a reward. Or a get-well-soon gift.

What you’re really doing is saying, “I know this move is going to be hard for you. But there’s a bright side to every life event. In this case, if you weren’t moving, you’d never get this brand new iPhone5!” And they’ll get the unspoken rest of the sentence:  “. . . which you’ll get if you stay positive and don’t whine too much.”

What you want to be careful of, however, is to keep it in the bribe column and out of the blackmail category. I’ve had some tough moves, but I’m proud to say I never threatened to show my kids’ friends their toddler naked bathtub photos if they didn’t help me pack.

Have you ever resorted to outright bribery to get your kids to be happy about a move? Or are you too ashamed to go public with it? Come on! Spill it!


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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