That is too funny.
We try not to too much, but it happens. It is never a reward for eating other food though. If there is dessert we all get some. She would happily eat veggies all day so we are fortunate not to have to bribe her to eat her dinner. I have been heard to offer more peppers as a treat for actually eating some meat though.
I do use candy or dessert as rewards when I feel that I need to. Potty training involves "Thomas Treats" (PEZ candy in a Thomas the Tank Engine dispenser; Tiven had Elmo Treats) because neither of my kids has ever been into stickers or collecting marks for a toy or any of that. And Weston is so super-resistant to eating vegetables right now (even things he used to love, he now says are "too spicy" LOL) that I'm happy to give him a cookie if he eats them without arguing or whining but it's not a negotiation. If he doesn't eat his veggies, I don't say you can have a cookie if you do. I simply told him once that I might give him a cookie if he starts eating his veggies like the big boy that he is, and when he does it, I give him a cookie after dinner. Both of those things will disappear as they are no longer needed. I can't imagine my 8yo expecting a treat for using the bathroom. I don't even know most of the time that she's using it unless I have to go at the same time & the door is closed. That's weird and kind of creepy to me.
Having said that, from a practical standpoint, if T knows there is dessert, he would choose not to eat dinner and just eat dessert every time. He's got his dad's sweet tooth for sure (my husband, a supposedly grown man, would also happily skip dinner and just eat dessert if I would let him. :lol:) I can't abide to have T eat sweets as his dinner, so on the nights we have dessert, I insist that he eat a reasonable amount of food or else no dessert. He doesn't have to clean his plate, but I feed the kid every night, and I have a pretty good idea of how much he eats for dinner, so I expect him to eat around that same amount.
We don't do dessert most nights though, so I don't feel *too* bad about the whole thing.
I only use food in food-related situations. Like...if you don't eat dinner at all, you don't get snacks afterwards, period. If you make a good effort with a meal, there can be dessert. Stuff like that. But if the issue isn't food-related then I keep food separate from it.
I also bake a lot, so sometimes for good behavior or to make up for something else not going right, I let them decide what I'm going to bake. Juliet picked out these awesome pumpkin gingersnaps last week.
I do encourage my daughter to eat her whole plate (my oldest, 7), because otherwise she is acting like she is starving within 30 minutes. It is frustrating to go to an all you can eat buffet and she is saying she is hungry before we leave the parking lot. She easily eats as much as I do and you can still see all her ribs.
We don't really use sweets as rewards, but I'm also very open to the boys having them. For example, they can have a couple of cookies when they get home, if we have any in the pantry. And luckily half of the time they actually choose fruit instead. We rarely do dessert, since I'm usually just happy with getting dinner on the table. I'm like Jessica - sometimes we'll just go out for a treat without it having tagged to some sort of behavior or expectation.
As much as I have tried not to, I do use it as a reward sometimes. It sucks but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and a brownie square to get him to leave me alone for a few minutes is what I feel is the last resort before I go crazy, lol. I very much worry about how this will impact him; I don't want him to grow up battling excessive weight. I will say he is not a picky eater though and at least he eats a very healthy variety as well. I still worry though :/
We use M&ms for potty training, but that has only ever lasted about a month. We also go to a really cool ice cream shop for "special night" every now and then, but I like to pretend the girls like it because it is special and not because of the ice cream
We do not do dessert very often, maybe less then once a month.