Paying your children to do what they should be doing anyway: working joyfully in school and paying attention —creates the perfect environment for entitlement. Children who are rewarded for good grades start to feel entitled to a payout, which robs them of the ability to cultivate a love of learning and a sense of responsibility for their own education. The achievement of grade A at any level does not guarantee the future success we’re banking on. Instead, parents need to help their children develop the school skills they need to succeed now and down the road. Bribe like strategies do not work at all. The reward for good work is the grade you receive. Research has suggested that external rewards dampen internal/intrinsic motivation. When you dangle a financial “carrot” for a good grade, you put the emphasis on the reward (payment) instead of cultivating the drive to excel and a love of learning. The child begins to perform not because of intellectual curiosity and interest in a subject, but for the payout. Paying students for good grades may start off their youth incorrectly. Instead of focusing on getting an education, the reward of money is likely to block their priorities. Students will be angry when not given the money, and not being able to raise test scores or grades. In order for a bright and successful future, students should not be paid for good grades.
Here are some reasons why we should not pay children for earning good grades:
Once You Start It’s Hard to Stop: Giving your child a nickel or a dollar for all A’s on their report card in kindergarten is much different than forking over a $20 bill every time they do well on a test in high school. So, if you start rewarding your child for good grades from a young age and then suddenly stop when you feel they’re older enough to take on the responsibility themselves, they’re likely to do worse. Since there’s no longer a prize for their hard work it’s possible they’ll stop seeing the point in trying at all — and that’s not beneficial to anyone.
Rewards Demean the Excitement of a Task: It’s always refreshing to go into a kindergarten classroom and see bright-eyed students eager to read books and take tests. Paying your child for good grades is a great way to take the fun out of learning and school as a whole. Instead of approaching a test or worksheet as a fun learning experience, they’ll feel a pressure to do well — and sometimes they might not even try something for fear of failure. Learning should be something your children look forward to; not a chore that just needs to be done.
They Will Feel Entitled to a Payout: Children who are paid for their good grades from a young age grow up expecting rewards for their good work. This expectation could spread to other parts of their lives as they get older. Your children could start to see simple chores like dishes or laundry as an opportunity to ask for pay. They could even see volunteer work as a pointless action because they aren’t getting anything monetarily out of it. The mentality of only doing a task if there’s something in it for them could change their whole personality — and no one wants their child to be self-centered.
It Encourages Cheating and Lying: If your child wants that incentive enough they’ll do just about anything to get it, even if that means breaking other rules they’ve been told all their lives. Cheating may not seem like that big of a deal if it means they get 10 more dollars in their pocket. This is something that should be taken into consideration before you decide to pay for good grades.
Education is Priceless: A lot of times our generation takes advantage of the fact that we live in country that provides free education to every child. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to study, learn, and grow into intelligent people, but all too often we take that for granted. You want your child to understand that education can’t be measure with money bills that going to school is so much more than zeros in your bank account.
Rewards Decrease Motivation: Rewards do motivate to some degree in the short-term–but this motivation isn’t sustainable. Kids will eventually want us to up the ante, which leads to increased bargaining and appeasement. Their motivation for a quick-fix is short-term and external rather than long-term and internal. Also, when we offer rewards, it sends our kids the message that we don’t have confidence they can achieve good grades without added incentive. Paying for grades actually robs kids of much greater wealth. It doesn’t matter whether your child is headed for preschool, community college, or the higher level of learning. It is true that long-lasting success requires skills that money can’t buy.
(The author is a teacher at Govt. High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)