Bribing Daughter to Go to Mass

I was wondering, is it okay to bribe my 5-year-old to go to Mass? Most times it's not a question with her, she just likes to go to Mass with me and loves shaking hands with all the priests. Plus we always go on a mommy daughter lunch after Mass each week (it's out little thing to do together).

But this past Sunday, we've had my in-laws staying with us (along with their daughter about the same age). They don't go to Church (and neither does my husband who told me I probably shouldn't take my daughter to avoid "drama"). Plus my daughter sulked at the idea of going to Church and not playing with her cousin. I considered not taking her, but felt badly about the idea and I decided to trust my gut.

So I bribed my daughter to go to Mass. We went early in the morning (so we'd leave when no one was awake yet and maybe be back before they got up--no missed play time) and I promised her we could buy doughnuts for everyone and surprise them. I feel badly about the bribe, but not as horrible as I would feel if I didn't take her at all. She doesn't really understand what's going on during Mass the whole time, but at the same time, I don't want to set bad examples.

Seems to me that this is more of a one-time bribe. Methinks it would be a far different thing if you had to bribe her every week, and we all know that the “value” of the bribes would need to be escalated every week as she discovers what new-found power she has over you.

Don’t fret over this…it sounds to me like it was the perfect thing to do in that circumstance. Sometimes we parents have to be creative. :wink:

[quote="mellowcalico, post:1, topic:181162"]
I was wondering, is it okay to bribe my 5-year-old to go to Mass? Most times it's not a question with her, she just likes to go to Mass with me and loves shaking hands with all the priests. Plus we always go on a mommy daughter lunch after Mass each week (it's out little thing to do together).

But this past Sunday, we've had my in-laws staying with us (along with their daughter about the same age). They don't go to Church (and neither does my husband who told me I probably shouldn't take my daughter to avoid "drama"). Plus my daughter sulked at the idea of going to Church and not playing with her cousin. I considered not taking her, but felt badly about the idea and I decided to trust my gut.

So I bribed my daughter to go to Mass. We went early in the morning (so we'd leave when no one was awake yet and maybe be back before they got up--no missed play time) and I promised her we could buy doughnuts for everyone and surprise them. I feel badly about the bribe, but not as horrible as I would feel if I didn't take her at all. She doesn't really understand what's going on during Mass the whole time, but at the same time, I don't want to set bad examples.

[/quote]

I don't see any problems with giving her a reward. Children aren't intrinsically motivated to do a lot of things, and it's our responsibility as parents to get them into the habit of doing things until they understand. I look forward to an eternal reward for following Christ.

Did you follow through with the offer of donuts? That would not be a bribe, but a reward.

That is just good parenting.

I think it would be a bribe if she got it before mass and a reward if afterwards?

[quote="Newbie2, post:4, topic:181162"]
I think it would be a bribe if she got it before mass and a reward if afterwards?

[/quote]

That's how I understand it.

[quote="graceandglory, post:5, topic:181162"]
That's how I understand it.

[/quote]

I agree- and furthermore she didn't just get the doughnuts for her she got them to share which is furthering loving, sharing, and caring. These are all Christ-like things to instill in a child.

Thank you all! :slight_smile: I feel better now.

Yes, it was a follow-though that happened after Mass. I even let her pick out all the doughnuts (which is why we had half a box of doughnuts with sprinkles on top–lol). Funny thing was, once Sunday morning rolled around, she was more interested in showing Father the Scooby Doo plush toy she got on Christmas morning than the doughnuts (we went to Christmas Vigil).

Thanks again.

[quote="mellowcalico, post:1, topic:181162"]
I was wondering, is it okay to bribe my 5-year-old to go to Mass? Most times it's not a question with her, she just likes to go to Mass with me and loves shaking hands with all the priests. Plus we always go on a mommy daughter lunch after Mass each week (it's out little thing to do together).

But this past Sunday, we've had my in-laws staying with us (along with their daughter about the same age). They don't go to Church (and neither does my husband who told me I probably shouldn't take my daughter to avoid "drama"). Plus my daughter sulked at the idea of going to Church and not playing with her cousin. I considered not taking her, but felt badly about the idea and I decided to trust my gut.

So I bribed my daughter to go to Mass. We went early in the morning (so we'd leave when no one was awake yet and maybe be back before they got up--no missed play time) and I promised her we could buy doughnuts for everyone and surprise them. I feel badly about the bribe, but not as horrible as I would feel if I didn't take her at all. She doesn't really understand what's going on during Mass the whole time, but at the same time, I don't want to set bad examples.

[/quote]

"Bribing" children, IMHO, is not effective parenting. Although it really doesn't sound like you bribed her, more like you went out of your way to accommodate a 5 year old's schedule. (Which I wouldn't do, but that's me).

Perhaps a better approach would be to emphasize that we go to Mass to be with Jesus and emphasize how very important that is. A 5 year old does not have an obligation to attend Mass, but certainly setting the example and the expectation that we always go to Mass no matter who is a guest in our home or what else is going on is very important.

It should never be a question of "whether" you are going to mass or not. And, you should just set the expectation that she goes too. Period. No arguments. And, that's so very important in light of the fact that her father is setting a bad example every week.

Do you use bribing in other situations?

Aloha mellowcalico,

IMHO, I think you did GREAT!:thumbsup:

you were responding to a special situation in what seems to be a way appropriate to her age and to the occasion. If it were a matter of routinely resorting to bribery for this or any other thing she has to do, that would become a real parenting problem as her demands would escalate. the mommy-daughter brunch is a beautiful idea in any case. And the donuts were a one-time thing, which is good–my grandkids I think so firmly associated donuts with Mass at their former parish that they must think their new parish is guilty of liturgical abuse because they are not offered. btw it was worth it because you taught her the valuable essential underlying lesson, yes we go to Mass on holidays, and yes we go even when others do not.

Your husband said it was not a good idea. Your five year old wanted to play.

I think you did a great job!

This sounds like an absolutely reasonable solution. Yes we have to go to Mass every Sunday, but since you had guests it is understandable to change to time you normally go and even to stop for a treat for everyone afterward. It wouldn't have been strange if you'd decided to get a treat for your guests on a Saturday morning, so why not Sunday? Sounds like you did just fine!

Exactly

Children don’t have a mature enough intellect to curb their disorderly emotions so often parents must reward and punish children to get them to desire to do something good. We must perfect the virtue of prudence to judge when to reward/punish them however, because too much either way can be bad.

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