“Son, if you are Top 2 in the whole school, I’ll buy you an iPad.”
She’s having exams now. J related this to me a few days ago. This was exactly what the father of her classmate said to his son.
Don’t ask me why #2 and not #1 or #5. I don’t know. Go ask J’s classmate’s father.
Anyway, at a glance, the statement looks okay although it sounds like a bribe. Many parents say that. I heard of it even when I was a student then.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
Even though it sounds normal, I WON’T say that to my kids. At least I will refrain myself from saying it and the statement will not come out so easily if I ever say it.
Giving rewards for getting good grades in school is not my way to motivate my kids. The kids should be driven to excel by other factors, especially intrinsic motivators. Such as eagerness to learn and sense of achievement. Not some materialistic rewards like toys, food, or even money.
If you keep dangling the carrots, how long do you want to do this? Until university? If you offer a 9-year old an iPad for excellent academic performance, what do you get for your child when he’s in university?
As you can see, it can get very expensive as we go along. I rather save the money for retirement.
When you give rewards like this, you equal success with materials – which, to me, is false sense of achievement. Unknowingly, you are raising a materialistic person. As we all know, there are many people who have everything but they are not happy.
That said, I am not saying rewarding your child is necessarily bad. I do sometimes (but very rarely) give rewards to J and K. But when you do, think of the long term implications the reward you are going to give on the child. And the message you are sending to your child from the reward.
If you really want to give rewards, do it in moderation and with care.
Come to think of it, never did my parents reward me for good grades. Not even once. All I knew was I just wanted to get out of the sheer sufferings of poverty. Despite being no rewards, I still managed to graduate from the university.
There will be more stories about how I teach my kids about school and life lessons in my new book “The Uncensored Guide to Parenting.”
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I thought I have completed the book. But as I reviewed it, it’s not up to my satisfaction and I end up by adding more contents.
It might take a while before it hits the store.
So please be patient.