Paying For Grades?

"EVERYONE IS DOING IT!" Believe it or not, this is what my 10-year-old recently yelled at me -- and his father (which he should have thought of before doing the later). You may be asking yourself the same question as we wanted to know: what is he talking about? It's paying for grades! "Well, so what," their dad and I chimed in at the same time -- and adding, "we are not paying for good grades in this house."

Q. Should parents pay for good grades?

It doesn't work, period and should be the end of the subject. We tried it with all four of our kids and it nearly ruined our family with "it's not fair" wars! Let them make good marks for the sake of their own welfare, and to build their self esteem. - M.S. in Pasadena, CA

We don't pay for good grades because it doesn't seem like the right thing to do. Children should be working hard for their grades because they want to get good marks on their own, and not for a price. What happens to the student who tries very hard but still doesn't achieve that desired "A"? That student deserves a reward more than the one who easily achieves the A. Parents need to treat their all their children the same. This can't be done if grades come easier for one than the other (especially if money is involved). Paying for good grades causes a dilemma that isn't solved by money. - Pam in Fort Wayne, IN

We've found something quite different that works with our family regarding good grades: For getting at least 4 A's at the end of the year, they get to hit either my husband, or myself, with a cream pie! This has been a big hit and loads of fun! Luckily for me, they like hitting their dad best. - Pam Begley in Raleigh, NC

Parents should not pay for good grades. Try to instill that learning is a process that hands out rewards all by itself. - Dottie Mack in Peachtree, Georgia

Rather than paying for good grades at report card time, I have found it more effective to reward my children throughout the entire school year for their hard work. Every Friday, we stop at Dairy Queen on our way home form school.

Those children who complied with our household rules concerning homework, bedtimes, getting ready in the mornings, etc., may order a treat. If a child's behavior was unacceptable or disruptive that week, they forfeit getting to order anything.

When report cards do come out, I take the children to the local businesses that reward good grades. This doesn't cost me a thing, but lets them see that their community will reward achievers. - Carol Roth in Ft. Wayne, IN From Jodie:

Many families feel pressured into paying for good grades because "everyone is doing it." Some of these children have told my kids they get up to $15.00 an A! We do not pay for good grades in our family. We do let the children acquire points during the semester and let them bid on special family activities at the end. Things like: favorite restaurants, movies, arcades, weekend trips, sport facilities, museums, book stores, etc. The key here is to keep these activities special by not letting them become areas the family attends on a regular basis. Children need to learn from the very beginning that they want to make good grades for themselves. Remember, in all of their accomplishments, don't say, "Good boy," or "Good girl," - simply say: "Good job!"

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