Don’t buy grades from your kids, cautions Kiplinger—it’s a slippery slope, and confuses the issue, which should be about achievement and investing in the future rather than turning eduction into a Rewards Program that will eventually run dry or lose its appeal. [Kiplinger]


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  1. ChrisC1234 says:

    I don’t agree. Money never loses it’s appeal. My parents paid me for grades, and while that was never the motivation for getting good grades, it certainly was nice around report card time.

    Unfortunately, they had always said that once I got to college, it would stop. SO I had to finance college myself.

  2. bbbici says:

    My mom payed me varying amounts for runs, homeruns, and grandslams when i played baseball and it quickly turned me into the best hitter on the team.

    Paying your kids for good grades is logical and will give them a taste of the real world.

  3. OnceWasCool says:

    What are they afraid of??? It going on their permanent record? :)

  4. Eilonwynn says:

    Too much margin for error. My grandmother paid for grades for my cousins, who were in standard education with a grade point average style mark. I was in an enrichment program, significantly harder, with a totally different grading system. Guess who got enough money, and who didn’t, because their grades weren’t “real”.

    Yup, bitter. Kids are all different – even within the same close family group. I’d much rather see something like if your grades *improve* then you get priveledge X.

  5. Lordstrom says:

    Yeah! Don’t reward kids! Let them simply be satisfied that they did a good job. In fact, how about we all do that. No more paychecks, only self satisfaction.

  6. jesirose says:

    @lorddave: lol, nice. I like the analogy.

    I think if you start doing this early enough, it works okay. My parents didn’t start offering me money for grades until 10th grade, and by then I just didn’t care anymore. They also fined me for poor grades (If I got a D at all, I got no money, and I had to pay them for every F.)

    My grandparents however, helped me pay for college by paying for any classes I got a C or above in. Since I would have to pay for college myself if I didn’t get the good grades, it was actually additional motivation.

    Despite the fact that I only did three semesters, it helped :)

    I think the best thing that helped me with grades was actually getting a job, because I finally had to get some time management set up. If I didn’t do my homework before work, I couldn’t say I’d just do it later, because I knew I’d be at work. But in the end it turned out all the time I spent goofing off on the computer instead of studying history worked out for me.

    Throughout school we keep getting told we need to do well in middle school so we can do well in high school, to get into a good college where we have to work hard and get good grades so we can get a good job and make lots of money. Right now, I make more than my mom and dad who both have degrees in numerous fields. I dropped out after 3 semesters. My husband, who never even bothered with college makes more than I do. College is a scam. If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, go to college. Otherwise, don’t bother trying to get good grades, learn about what you’re interested in so you’ll have skills when you need a job, and you’ll be able to actually work in a field you enjoy instead of struggling to pay off your student loans till you’re 40.

  7. mac-phisto says:

    originally, i was going to defend the idea of money for grades, but after reading the article, i think i agree with it.

    it would make more sense to attach money incentives to chores that translate into good grades (like homework, studying, research, time management, etc.), then use those monetary incentives to teach important financial lessons like budgeting, saving, paying bills, etc.

    i don’t have kids, so what do i know, but i think that would be more valuable in the long run than temporary windfalls that are forgotten mid-semester.

  8. MystiMel says:

    I disagree. Some kids can’t really see how bad grades can affect their future. If they see a monetary reward from putting in the effort now it’s easier to associate that with the monetary rewards that come up in the future. Some kids demonize school because they hear how they have to do alll this homework but they never actually try doing it regularly. They never realize if they just stuck to it and did it it’d only take an hour to finish and they’d get a good grade for the effort. Give them an incentive to do it and they’ll do it and get in the habit of doing it when they get to college.

  9. My dad always tried to bribe me for straight A’s, but it just was never going to happen, precisely because I was in purely advanced classes. I was completely AP/Honors all four years of high school AND both years of Jr. High, and in Academic Decathlon for most of that. It just wasn’t going to work for me.

    My sister went into a Theater magnet and got straight A’s, which my dad continually threw in my face. He always bought her computers and iPods and whatever and pointed out to me how awesome her report cards were. Yeah…

    @bbbici: I’m with you.

    Also, from a psychological standpoint, the article is correct. Kids do likely become dependent on the money and unwilling to do things just because its the right thing (think charity work later on). Parents complain about how their kids don’t read enough…take away the electronics and only take them to bookstores and they’ll turn to reading out of boredom.

  10. EtherealStrife says:

    Uh how is paying your kids for good grades a bad thing? Allowance (yes/no) based on completion of chores. Amount of allowance based on grades. You screw up in either category and good luck affording the latest video game. But to keep up the good grades you can’t spend time playing video games. It’s just like the real world!

    @lorddave: Federation scum.

  11. Sudonum says:

    I got hammered last time this subject came up, but here goes again. I have a step son that is a freshman in high school. His mother, in order to motivate him, gives him a hundred bucks for every “A” he gets. He has to pay her a hundred for every “F”. She started this when he entered 7th grade. It took a while, but his grades are finally coming up

    My system is a little different. If he is getting anything below a “C” at any time during the year, report cards, progress reports, etc.. Then he starts loosing electronic devices until the grades improve. First is the iPod, next is the cell phone, and last is the laptop. If he then requires a computer to complete any school assignment he has to use the desktop with supervision.

    So far I haven’t gotten past taking the iPod. Although he did outsmart me when he was listening to iTunes on the laptop. Gotta give him credit for that.

  12. Sudonum says:

    Oh, and he doesn’t get anything for doing chores. As adults, we don’t get anything for cooking dinner, doing the dishes, laundry, etc.. It is part of taking care of yourself and your belongings. And as to the money he does get for grades, he saves it. He wants us to get him a safe for Christmas. I told him I’d think about it, but I’d rather have him start a bank account.

  13. infinitysnake says:

    @mac-phisto: We do something similar to that. We assign “coupons” of a specific value for chores, routines, homework, completing tasks, etc., with bonuses for citizenship, etc. The kids can trade them for time on videogames/tv/internet, treats, etc., or they can save them and exchange them for cash.

    This way, they get tangible reward for their efforts, and they’re all getting very good at budgeting their time and mone, as well as deciding how worthwhile certain activities are. it turns out television is a low priority when you have to pay for it!

  14. @MystiMel: My grades affected my future by ending in grounding for the next grading period when adequate grades were not achieved. :) It only had to happen once.

  15. timmus says:

    It is interesting to think that if the kid decides to stop going after the carrot and finds happiness with what they have, maybe they’ve learned a different type of lesson. Slack, or living within one’s means… however you define it.

  16. UpsetPanda says:

    Perhaps the issue here is not the reward, but that it is a monetary reward. I was never given money for good grades. I was taught at an early age that getting a good grade was reward enough, because other people see you in a more confident light. You are given more responsibility, more freedoms, because of your achievements, and I was taught that it was better to receive that than money. But instead of money, I got things as physical rewards. Toys, video games, I got it when I did well in school. It was never about money, but motivation to do well. The toys and stuff were just a side benefit.

  17. synergy says:

    There was the expectation that we’d get good grades OR ELSE…

    I think that’s pretty true to real life. Most of the time you’re rarely singled out for a good job, but forget it if you screw up. Every single time you hear about it.

  18. Ben Popken says:

    Kids should only be payed for how many sneakers they can sew in an hour.