Should You Bribe Your Kids...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Should You Bribe Your Kids...
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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: 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.

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

Deenasdad .... couldn't agree more.

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.

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