The after eights edition of my extrinsic rage.

Tonight we go back to martial arts, and it’s got me thinking: how many people are raised with an obligation to just get through the broccoli so they can get to the chocolate cake?

If desserts/puddings/junk food whatevers are labelled and valued as treats, it can actually devalue other foods. The treats are seen as desirable, more worthy and delicious than the other food. (And if you’re thinking, yeah, but they are! perhaps cast an eye back to your own childhood!) So kids stop looking forward to the carrots, the entree, the banana. They want the biscuits, the juice, the sweets.

This post isn’t about food. I have a lot to say about food, but here it is just a metaphor.

Because I wonder if all these extra bribes and treats will teach the kids that martial arts is something to get through, some sort of weekly obligation, and if you manage to put up with it all you get toys. Because of course kids like toys. Mine effing love them. They’d probably do just about anything for the chance to earn a toy. Fair enough, I guess. Toys are awesome.

But bottom line? Martial arts is awesome, too. No, really, it is…no, not just because bribes are being thrown at you, uh….no, I know it’s all a subtle attempt to control kids…yeah, but…I….

Oh well.

original post on this topic

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2 thoughts on “The after eights edition of my extrinsic rage.

  1. Totally agree with you that bribes zap the intrinsic enjoyment of the thing. (Also I think they can introduce conflicting feelings – I really don’t want/am scared to/ don’t feel up
    To do X but I really really want Y, que escalating distress; and sort of gloss over the chance to address what’s causing the reluctance that makes the activity seems to ‘need’ a bribe). I think the reward notion is similar, squishes the internal motivation and makes it all about external motivation and labels the activity as something you had to get through, or something unpleasant, or something you can’t be bothered to put the effort into otherwise etc.
    I wish there was another word to use for sweet things instead of treats, as you’re so right it gives them exalted status, when A was little I tried using ‘a sometimes food’, but that is too cumbersome and the rest of the world used treat. Or maybe we have to describe all the delicious savoury food, fruit etc as treats too. (Sorry for epic comment…. Am avoiding attending to house that looks like burglars came, riffled through every room and item, and had a dinner party for 20 to boot…sigh!)

    • I’m all about procrastination using the Internet. To be honest if I’d known the class would have been like this, I’d have found another one. But it was fine for months, and the kids have settled. The whole thing is such a shame as the instructors are good, aside from all this nosy extrinsic stuff, and the martial art in question is great. Sigh.

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