Incentives Aren’t Bribes

Let’s be clear about something:

Bribes are rewards for doing something wrong.

Incentives are motivation for doing something right.

(To be read a la Stephen Colbert’s definition of a balrog:)

When I tell my kids, “If you eat your dinner, then you can have candy for dessert,” that’s not a bribe. It’s an incentive.

If I told my kids, “Hey, if you whack your brother in the face, I’ll give you a piece of candy!”–that’d be a bribe.

Don’t bribe your kids.

But give ’em a dang piece of candy when they eat their dinner sometimes. *Especially* if they managed to chew their meat.