Should You Bribe Your Kids...

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Should You Bribe Your Kids...
13
Tue, 09-17-2013 - 8:00am

... to get good grades?

magine you’re back in school and it’s report card day. Would your grades have been higher if you were promised $5 for every A or a video game or manicure/pedicure for earning top grades?

With the new school year upon us, some kids are digging deep to find the motivation from within, while others may be aiming for the shiny brass ring promised by Mom and Dad.

The long-running issue of rewarding children for good grades with money or material goods surfaced again recently. In a Wall Street Journal column, a mom concedes to bribing her four daughters with outings and objects of desire, though not cash, for all A’s or “relative improvement.”

“I admit: It would be best if all children (and adults) could be motivated by an innate drive for high achievement and a thirst for knowledge,” writes Demetria Gallegos, community editor for WSJ.com.

“But I also believe that it's easier to accomplish good grades after experiencing them,” she wrote. “Fake it until you make it. The excitement and adrenaline of success are addictive, and if you get to experience it, whatever the motivation, you're inclined to seek it again."

Should you bribe your kids to get good grades?- http://www.today.com/moms/should-you-bribe-your-kids-get-good-grades-8C11145698

What do you think?  Would you (or have you) ever bribe your kids to get better grades?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 11:06am

I always find these types of statements strange. Children are born with a drive to learn, a curiousity about the world arround them. If that curiousity and thirst to learn is nutured and supported, they will and do find learning fun. 

School is not structured in the same way nature curiosity is satisfied. If we could all stay toddlers and learn what we want, when we want and explore at will, education would be bliss and we would have a country full of high achievers. 

As far as bribing goes, my children are rewarded for their progress and effort. I am sure with many children, this idea of learning for their own benefit isn't even developmentally appropriate, for the average child or teen. Some just simply will not be able to jump into this abstract thinking concerning the benefits of a good education and how learning is an award. And some, quite frankly,  probably have more critical thinking skills and are fully aware that most of what they are dwelling on in school will not be needed in the future. They would probably prefer to go back to toddlerhood where they could develop and learn the skills of interest to them.

Parents who "bribe" their kids send the message that the "end justifies the means".  They are not encouraging self-responsibility or long-term learning.

Or maybe they are sending the message that hard work deserves to be rewarded. Idk, I think this generalized statement is a bit much. Rewarding a child for hard work does not mean the parent is bribing the child in every area of life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 11:05am

Deenasdad .... couldn't agree more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 2:14am

I always find these types of statements strange. Children are born with a drive to learn, a curiousity about the world arround them. If that curiousity and thirst to learn is nutured and supported, they will and do find learning fun.

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of human children and humans throughout history.  Sure, some children have a thirst for knowledge, but the vast majority are quite content to limit their knowledge gathering to the few things that interst them most...history demonstrates this quite clearly.  Go tell a highschool that math class is voluntary and you'll soon see a ghost town in the Algebra class.  The same is probably true for most other classes.  You can also look around the world to see the "drive" that children are naturally born with.  It's quite unimpressive.

Parents who "bribe" their kids send the message that the "end justifies the means".  They are not encouraging self-responsibility or long-term learning.

It's nothing like the ends justifies the means.  You're teaching them that hard work and achievement can garner rewards.  You're giving the kid a reason to care about Algebra or literature or science that extends beyond their own personal tastes.  This teaches them personal responsibility and, as you said, if the learning itself it interesting and of value, it will instill an interest in further learning for it's own sake.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 09-22-2013 - 2:28pm

Children are born with a drive to learn, a curiousity about the world arround them. If that curiousity and thirst to learn is nutured and supported, they will and do find learning fun.

Parents who "bribe" their kids send the message that the "end justifies the means". They are not encouraging self-responsibility or long-term learning.

I agree with this. 

 

 

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 09-22-2013 - 2:18pm
My kids have never been motivated by a bribe, It started at the two year old stage when I tried to bribe them with candy and such for potty training.. Not a chance with grades, They motivate themselves there actually and I shoot them kuddos for their efforts.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sun, 09-22-2013 - 11:41am

"Trying to get kids to believe that learning is it's own reward is to have a fundamental lack of understanding of kids."

I always find these types of statements strange. Children are born with a drive to learn, a curiousity about the world arround them. If that curiousity and thirst to learn is nutured and supported, they will and do find learning fun. 

Parents who "bribe" their kids send the message that the "end justifies the means".  They are not encouraging self-responsibility or long-term learning.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Fri, 09-20-2013 - 1:07am

Trying to get kids to believe that learning is it's own reward is to have a fundamental lack of understanding of kids. ; )  People look for jobs, train for jobs, go to college and accumulate enormous debt and even take jobs they're not particularly fond of because of the "reward" of money.  Quite plainly, incentives work.  If your kids get As instead of Ds becuase you paid them $5 or promised to take them to Disneyland, sounds like a win-win.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 09-19-2013 - 1:41pm

No I have never paid my kids for good grades--that's grandma's job.  lol  Seriously both my kids wanted to get good grades because they were very motivated and they also understood it was the key to their future.  We actually don't talk too much about grades.  If a child got a B instead of an A, I would never say "why didn't you get an A?"  My son, for ex, takes a lot of difficult classes.  He's a senior & has 3 AP classes this year--if the goal was just to get A's he could just take easier classes, but he does want to learn things.  If he ever got a really low grade on a test, I'd ask him if he knew why he didn't do well--did he not study or didn't he understand the material?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 09-19-2013 - 11:07am

I've heard a lot of people equate working with school, but they're not the same. You work with the specific aim of earning money, so money is and should be the reward. If you're lucky, your job will also be rewarding in other ways, but unless you're independently wealthy, you're not going to quit just because you don't like your job.

In school, however, the purpose is learning and that should be the reward. The grades are secondary--they're just a measure of how well you are learning. They're not the learning itself. If you want your kids to take some joy and responsibility in their education, don't pay them. If the grades are the most important thing, then go ahead.

I'm not judging people who pay their kids for good grades. Having just sent my oldest off to college, I do understand how vital it is to have good grades to compete in this world and maybe for some kids, paying them is the only way to achieve that and guarantee their future.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Tue, 09-17-2013 - 6:55pm

Sure, bribe away, that's how the world works.  How many people would go to work each day without the "bribe" of a paycheck?  It's called incentive.

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