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Buying favours, or bribery, is a practice that has been abhorred in most cultures for a long time. In the English-speaking world, it is certainly frowned upon. Yet many parents use bribery as a form of control for their children, or even their spouses.

‘If you don’t do your homework you won’t be going to the movies.’?

‘If you eat all your vegetables, you can have some ice cream.’?

‘Do as you are told and you can have some lollies.’?

A few months ago, a young boy told me that his mother (divorced) had made him tell his father that he doesn’t want to see the father unless the father pays the mother more maintenance. Furthermore, the mother had told the boy that he wouldn’t be able to do what he wanted to at home if he didn’t comply.

The mother is determined to drive a wedge between the boy and his father using any manipulative methods possible. She is blinded by what others see as her hatred for the father. In fact what is happening is that the mother is feeling so guilty for having caused the divorce that she is determined to try to make the father ‘pay’  (emotionally) by not seeing his son, so that he feels as much emotional pain as she does.

The dreadful tragedy of this situation is that the only person she is affecting is her own son. He will be robbed of a relationship with his father and grow up under the negative influence of his manipulative mother.

When this manipulative behaviour goes on long enough, it can have dreadful consequences for the children in later life. If you’ve had an experience like this, or you know of someone who has, perhaps you’d like to comment?