Should You Pay Your Kids for Good Grades?

by | Oct. 25, 2013



I'll admit it: I pay my kids for earning good grades. Cold, hard cash.

Is this a bribe? Many parents would say yes.

So, why do I do it? Well, my parents paid me for good grades, and I thought the system worked great. "Your job is to earn a scholarship," my dad would tell me. Thankfully, I did. (Although, I'm a perfectionist by nature, so the money wasn't as much an incentive as a nice bonus for working hard.)

Unfortunately, my children didn't inherit my thirst for knowledge or my competitive drive. In fact, their lackadaisical attitude toward their education is one of my greatest frustrations as a parent. I was desperate to motivate them to work harder in school, and it turns out a cash reward at the end of every term is a pretty strong incentive—enough of an incentive that I see them pushing themselves a little harder and sincerely trying their best (most of the time, anyway). And as long as they learn the concept of working toward a goal and accomplishing it, then I'm happy. My theory is that as they learn what success feels like, they will gain more confidence and learn to expect it of themselves more often.

Some parents believe that paying for good grades will backfire in the long run and that kids need to learn to work hard for the sake of working hard. I understand that line of thinking as well. Let's face it: when our children are grown, they will have to motivate themselves without Mom and Dad constantly rewarding them.

So, where do you stand? Should parents pay their kids for earning good grades? Take our poll below.

Do you pay your kids for earning good grades?

Yes, I pay them cash.
No, but I reward them with other things like a special outing, video game, or new clothes.
No, but I would reward them in some monetary way if I could afford it.
No, kids should learn to value education without expecting rewards.
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