Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Plenty of parents do give money in exchange for A's and B's -- often $5 to $20 for top marks or $100 for a straight-A report card.

Cities are getting into the act as well. New York City rolled out a pilot program last year to reward kids in poor neighborhoods for good test scores. Fourth-grade students in select schools can receive up to $25 for their performances on each of 10 standardized tests, according to The New York Times, while seventh-graders can get up to $50 per test.

But the trend disturbs many experts on parenting and money.

"Rewarding good grades with money is really a gray area," said attorney Jon Gallo, a father of three and co-author with his therapist wife, Eileen, of "The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps To Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children." "Some psychologists believe that paying for grades is a bad idea because it substitutes an external reward -- money -- for an internal sense of satisfaction and therefore interferes with developing a work ethic."

I heard this on the news the other day and could not decide if it was a bad or a good thing.ON one side it does motivate children to study especially children from low income areas,it helps children who normally drop out of school stay in school, on the other side it does give them a wrong sense of value. we did not give our kids weekly allowences for chores they did at home because it was expected of them neither did we pay them to get good grades.I think most children try to deliver what is expected of them if we set ground rules. I really don't know if it hurts or helps a child. WHAT DO YOU THINK?


deepsat 8:40 PM  

i think it is good for starters. atleast to get the act in place, this is a good approach. everything has its goods and bads. hope it works out!!

Princess Aiz 11:04 PM  


I too think it as a bad habit. We should be telling them the good things they'll get if they study well rather than give them money, then they'll expect money for every little chore they do at home, which otherwise would be a part of their life.


Prash 12:39 AM  

I agree with that attorney, it is a "grey" area. But we have other means of rewarding children, don't we ? like baking a cake or taking them out on a picnic or something...(well, I know these days Kids are more interested in that dollar paper to buy whatever they want rather than eating a home-baked cake!)

Anu,  5:43 AM  

I think the concept of positive reinforcement is a good idea, but using money as a reward is a really bad idea. Like you said, children should learn to do what is expected of them, just like everyone else. Prolonged adolescence has become a real issue in our society as young people (or even older) expect instant gratification, incentive and encouragement for everything that they do. It can be a real shock when just good effort doesn’t produce passing grades (there are no more points for participation) or your boss doesn’t always tell you what a great job you’re doing and only reprimands you when you mess up. Also, college students typically have a difficult time managing money. When they live at home, their money (however much it may be) is used on “extras” (entertainment, clothes, eating out) as the essentials are taken care of. So when it comes time to spend money on necessities (rent, food, etc.) instead of the fun things, responsibility has not yet been learned. It’s almost like we set our children up for failure, despite good intentions.

starry nights 8:32 AM  

deepsat..I hope so too.

starry nights 8:33 AM  

Princess Aiz..I hear you.

starry nights 8:34 AM true.I am also thinking maybe the attorney is right.wrong message with money, maybe other rewards would be ok.

starry nights 8:36 AM  

Anu..very well said.Positive reinforcement is good but the idea of giving money for good grades may not be the best thing.thanks.

Anali 7:19 AM  

It seems like a bad idea to me too. I think that children should learn to feel a sense of pride when they get good grades. The good grades are the reward for the hard work.

If parents want to surprise the kids with something special for the parent's pride in their children that's fine. But the "extra" shouldn't be so closely tied in with the grades.

Renu 10:54 PM  

I dont think its a good idea, its another step towards teaching them materialism.Instead the reward could be in some scholarship or their tuition fee, whatever is required to studymore and higher or give them any facility related to their education--free books, coaching anything.Values can never be taught by money.

Ramya 11:55 PM  

It really need not be a monetary benefit, maybe a slash in their fee or a privilege earned could also count. As long as the grades are earned honestly, its definitely an encouragement! But everything comes with a flip side!

Krithika 4:47 AM  

good for Indian kids.disastrous for American kids.and tats takin into account their brought-ups n their respective mindsets

Sanjay 5:50 PM  

Good post and pretty thought provoking too. I have to say I tend to lean towards not rewarding.
The way I grew up it was simple. If I did not bring good grades, I could not get anyplace in life. And that put the fear in me!

In this case though it just so different too. Often these are kids living in poor neighborhoods, with either a missing parent or parents working hard to just get by with so little time for anything else.
I don't know what the answer is honestly. Prefer no incentives of these kinds, but does anyone have better ideas?

starry nights 4:37 PM  

Anali I think everyone here thinks it is not such a good idea.

starry nights 4:38 PM  

Renu you are so right, maybe all that money could be set asie by the school and given to the student towards tuition for a college education.

starry nights 4:39 PM true and welcome to my blog and I hope you stop by again.thanks.

starry nights 4:39 PM  

Krithika..I personally think maybe wrong for both kids.

starry nights 4:41 PM  

Sanjay..yes there is no really right answer but I am also leaning towards some other rewards than money to encourage students and rewad them for good grades.

Keshi 7:46 PM  

I dun like this idea at all! Tempting kids with money at an early age itself is BUYING them off. It's not such a good thing to practise early in life.

We too did well in school...we didnt get any rewards...mebbe once in a blue moon and that too just a dress or a HUG from my dad! And that lesson helped me alot in my later life as an not get so attached to material things or money! What's imp is VALUES. Kids need to be taught that!

*HUGZ* Starry!


Keshi 9:49 PM  

btw Starry Im bak already...didnt wanna make u all sad. Check out my latest post :) I hope ur happy now hehehe..HUGS n ty sweetie!


Cyberkitty 11:31 PM  

I think it is good and encourages students to work harder - otherwise most are just satisfied with a C.

Krithika 1:50 AM  

wat abt the uneducated Indian bunch out there who are dyin to go to school but cant bcos their parents cant afford it? n as regards America, wat the kids there really need is not a bait(like money) that will make them enthusiastic abt education, but somethin tat helsp them understand its long-term benefits

Priya 6:17 AM  

Starry, this kind of encouragement during this recession period inf ew towns keeps the student motivated to study further. Since school dropouts are pretty common, I think they encourage in the name of money atleast for thes tudents to graduate. Nothing wrong coz here you canot discipline like what you do back home right. If u do parents will be behind the bars when they call 911.
More than anything, they try to make it a point how education can chage their lives for the better.

Jeevan 2:46 AM  

I think money should not ruler there sense. If children comes from poor families it may help them more in studies, but if that not derived into right path its worse then.

Yogi 3:28 AM  

hi lalitha,

Thank you for the compliments, i think its about time you changed to the new blogger :) i think it has a lot more features which you will like!! I am back in Chennai for december, should be out again i jan!

Keshi 8:06 PM  

aww where's my comment here?

btw Starry come n check my Update on that post ;-)


Artnavy 8:51 PM  

I would have to agree no monetray bribing for good behaviour....

starry nights 7:20 PM  

keshi that is so true.I did not get any money for getting good grades neither did my kids, it was just expected of us to work hard and bring good grades.But I think a lot of the inner city kids do not have that family structure and sometimes there is no parental support, so for them I think maybe the money makes them want to work hard.

starry nights 7:22 PM  

cyberkitty..yes I think some kids need the bribe to make them study.

starry nights 7:44 PM hve a valid point also.

starry nights 7:46 PM  

Priya..I get your pint also.I think it has to be looked at at an individual basis.I have to agree that some kids depending on the family structure need a monetary bribe to get good grades.

starry nights 7:47 PM  

Jeevan..I have to agree with you too.Thats what I think also.

starry nights 7:48 PM  

Yogi..good to see u here.I dont want to move to new blogger because I may lose my template.Is there anyway I can transfer this template to new blogger?

starry nights 7:48 PM  

Yogi..good to see u here.I dont want to move to new blogger because I may lose my template.Is there anyway I can transfer this template to new blogger?

starry nights 7:50 PM  

Artnavy..I hear you too.

starry nights 7:50 PM  

Keshi I am so glad you are back.

Kuan Gung 12:31 AM  

Merry Christmas Starry!

Keshi 4:52 PM  

yeah ur right in that sense...but I wudnt support this idea anyways :)


Id it is 12:55 PM  

We have become a people requiring immediate gratification for the smallest thing we do so I'm not surprised by this. However, i am not so sure it is doing our youngsters any real good. Education is their investment for a good future, why does an outside party need to invest in it!

White Magpie 9:59 AM  

I think it is a fantastic idea especially for kids who grow up in the ghettos of south boston, new york, detroit and similar places. Take Dharavi in India for example. Have you ever been to Dorchester in Boston? 5 minutes in that place will be enough for you to realise the value of what you have. The reward in the form of money will at least push them to use their brains and once they reach a certains stage and the hunger is developed, the same can be moved to other intangible rewards. The main objective will be met. Honestly, even if 10% of the kids take this up, it will be of great satisfaction. I am sure similar carrots exist in the better schools and safer areas in some other form.

mystic rose 3:29 AM  

Im not sure either. I have never rewarded my kids monetarily. JUst expressed my admiration for them.

They get a few cents for chores like helping the younger one to read, or watching her for a bit.

mystic rose 3:35 AM  

But perhaps the thinking here is diffrent, to teach these kids to associate material success(which they desperately need) with good education. May be the experiment will work. We must remember that they come from a different background and have a lot of other things that pull them away from their school, life isnt easy for them. The idea is for them to get hooked on to doing well, stay away from peer pressure, or perhaps even enjoy the admiration fo their peers for earning so much:)
When I wanted to encourage a young person, while in India to come to me for studies in the evening after theyve done their work, I would give them an anna for good and attentive work so they do their best to come everyday.

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