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Giving kids pocket money is a subject that has been discussed widely and is still something about which many parents are on the fence. But if you thought deciding to give kids a regular allowance was confusing enough, what would you think about paying them for good grades at school Yes, this has recently become a topic of discussion, as many parents and even some schools have begun to offer financial incentives in a move to get kids to work harder for their grades.
The Reality of The Money for Grades Situation
While on the surface, giving cash for good grades seems like a simple bribe, going deeper we find that this topic is much more complex than it first seems. For many parents, it’s just a form of offering incentives to work harder, while others think that associating everything with a financial reward can create wrong ideas about money. The truth is that kids learn a lot about personal finance and money management from their parents, and a ‘money for grades’ system can have an impact on that.
Why Rewarding Good Grades with Money Isn’t A Good Idea
Now coming to you, should you bribe your child to get good grades? If you’re wondering whether this system will work at your home, it makes sense to take a good look at it.
1. The Experts Agree
Most child experts are skeptical about the idea of money for grades because of the focus it puts exclusively on results and not on effort. A child could try his best and still not get good grades; withholding his reward in such a situation would de-motivate him and send him the wrong message that his hard work doesn’t matter.
2. Our Educational System Is Often Biased
To quote Albert Einstein, “Everybody’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. A child may not be good at getting high grades, but he may be talented in other areas, which get ignored in a pay-for-grades system.
3. No Consideration for External Factors
A student’s grades may depend on several external factors beyond his abilities. Probably the teacher wasn’t skilled enough, or the exam was too hard. Judging him on these factors is both unfair and discouraging.
4. Not The Right Approach to Studies
When learning is associated with a financial reward, it changes the way the child approaches his studies. Studying now becomes a chore, a means to an end, where it actually should be a process that must be enjoyed, where the learning itself is its reward. A child who enjoys a certain subject should study it for the pure joy of learning, rather than because there’s a payment at the end of it.
5. An Expensive System to Maintain
While initially this system may succeed in getting a lazy child to work harder, once the child gets into a routine of scoring high grades, the incentives don’t make much sense anymore.
Why Financial Incentives May Sometimes Work
Now, in spite of the arguments against giving kids money for good grades, there are some situations where this may actually reap benefits.
1. When The Child Is Already Handling Money
This may help him further to realize the role money plays in life.
2. When You Have Customized The Requirement
Rather than focusing on an A+ grade, a parent could base the incentive on how hard the child tries, or if he’s been getting a C, he could be offered an incentive to raise it to a B. This motivates the child better as he works hard towards a more achievable goal rather than one that is doomed to disappointment.
3. For Students Who Are Naturally Bright, but Lazy
They can be roused from their lethargy to work towards their full potential with a financial incentive on the horizon. When they realize what they’re truly capable of, they’re likely to continue working hard for pure pleasure.
Finally, should parents pay for good grades? As with most things related to parenting, it is hard to place a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label on this. Deciding what to do will depend upon each child’s and family’s circumstances, and you can use the points mentioned above to consider if it’ll work for you. The important thing to take care of is that the child still enjoys learning, and does not consider it a chore or something to be done with — an attitude many adults have about their jobs! Encourage your child to focus on working hard and assure them that if they do so with full integrity and sincerity, the results are sure to follow, and they will eventually succeed.