Yeah, I Said It: I Bribed My Kid With Candy For Family Pictures


I side-eyed the hell outta the family with the obeying kids, who sat in their corresponding studio portrait positions and calmly said, “Cheeeeeese.” Even after the puff of the shutter and the flash going off, they had still remained seated. What kinda freaks are these people? Better yet, what did the mom lace their morning cereal for such angelic children in their matching velveteen attire?

I’m the mom, who had to (I hate this word as much as you do) bribe her child with candy. Well, fruit snacks but candy nonetheless.

Ok, baby. Say, ‘Cheese!’

‘Chee…’ *toddler grin*

Maybe this isn’t so — *toddler tuck and rolls off my lap*

NO! That’s not a real apple. So sorry he ate your apple prop!

I originally stashed the fruit snack pack for when we were finished but at this early in the game with one smile and one pose, I knew it was an early yet necessary evil. For every smiley pose, I promised half a fruit snack. For handing back the photographer’s hook stick, I handed him a fruit snack. A fruit snack for when he came back in the room after bolting, sat still longer than 30 seconds, smiled when asked, etc. He followed through; I followed through. We got through a few shots until I was down to that last half-piece and had a few more shots to do and still review our photos to order. Shit. The logical next step is, what else, Curious George. We perch him on the lounge couch and hand him the phone. He takes the bait. Fresh out of bribes, we leave the studio content with the scenario and somewhat little damage (emotionally and environmentally) caused. More importantly, we still praised Humnoy for everything anyway. It was new experience for all of us and wasn’t normal Saturday routine.

For such a new situation, Humnoy did well and did even better when I busted out the food bribe. I mean, if you knew you had candy waiting for you just for sitting there to show your teeth, you’d look like this too:

How do you handle bribes? What are situations where you use them, if at all?

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21 thoughts on “Yeah, I Said It: I Bribed My Kid With Candy For Family Pictures

  1. I bribe my kids all the time to play in the room with good light so I can photograph. It’s expected now that when they let me practice on them, they get M&Ms. I usually only give them 4-5. Bribery is an essential part of parenting. I try to limit it to just photography.

    Oh that toddler smile. Thalia does it all the time. I take what I can get though.

  2. My thoughts before kids: ‘Parents who bribe their kids are letting the kids run their lives and I don’t feel sorry for them when their kids act out.’
    My thoughts now that I have an 18 mo: ‘Sometimes bribes are just the only dang way to get something done. I feel bad for parents when their kids act out because they might just be tired/hungry/scared/bored/or a million other things.’
    So… yeah. We’re actually pretty good at being consistent with discipline, but it’s hard at this age when they don’t fully understand everything and there is no reasoning with them through conversation. Sometimes a snack is all that will work. And hey, who doesn’t like snacks anyway?! 😉
    Cute baby bump btw!

    • I was the same way. There I was, a fresh out of college teacher judging other parents about their bribes tactics used at home. HA! Karma has her ways of teaching humility.

    • You know that’s the winner going on our holiday card this year! I love it too 😀

      I’m not a fan of bribes but I had to do what I had to do. I’m just glad he smiled, as super-cheesy and non photogenic as Humnoy’s photos turned out!

      • Your name is showing up at Theek instead of The Laotian Commotion now and it confused me 🙂 Another comparison to my beloved and crazy brother, he has a notoriously fake, cheesy smile that he even still has hardly kicked as an adult! Humnoy is adorable anyway though!

      • Hi, yes, I changed my display name to something that hopefully connects to more of authenticity. It’s my family nickname. 😉

        I’m interested to see what else Humnoy and your brother have in common. They’re already quite the pair matchup. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m glad to hear he’s turned out so well! *crosses fingers*

  3. You’re not bribing…you’re getting him ready for the working world: a) do something you dislike or would rather be running around outside and b) you get paid to do such thing mentioned in a. Way to go mama! 🙂

    • That’s a great point! I guess with all my teacher prep educator program, we are taught food should never be used as ‘rewards;’ we never used the word “bribe” in teaching. Oooooops!

  4. Very cute pictures! My son was the kid that ran around in the picture studio, behind the back drop and refused to come out, would not smile, and even with bribing he wouldn’t always do as we asked. But you know, they have to take at least so many shots and even when i say enough they continue. Haha it was quite tragic and some what embarassing but now he is adorable and loves to come up with the family poses. It gets better. 🙂

    • Awww, that’s so cute. Our poor boys hating the portrait studio and us mamas dealing with the behavior, it’s depleting. I was super depressed because he’s got such a cute smile but he just overtly smiled for that fruit snack. I swear he’s cuter than these pictures 😀

  5. The last portrait studio experience we left with only 2 pictures of my son (age 2 yrs 4 months) and both of them consisted of my husband holding him upside down by his feet with out a shirt on because he refused to wear it. It was the only way he would smile or even consider getting in front of the camera. Hahaha

  6. No bribes for pictures with our toddler, she loves posing but mommy bribes for most things! Means to an end I am however finding out that the star chart is doing wonders. Lovely pictures 🙂 You look awesome

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