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Your opinion: Do you pay your kids for good grades?

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Paying your kids for good grades is like paying them to grow and learn and you can’t put a price on that. The hard work that goes into getting good grades is a hard-earned life lesson.

Kids learn accountability and responsibility from their grades; good or bad. In most cases, grades are a direct reflection of efforts and when kids work hard and do their homework they get good grades. When they slack off, fall behind and don’t do homework the result is bad grades.

I think paying kids for good grades teaches them a sense of entitlement and therefore, for everything they do right they will want a reward handed to them. Life just doesn’t work that way in the “real world.” They need to earn it. Those that do pay their kids for grades will say they earn the money, but I say they earn their grades.

When kids get good grades they get benefits that they have worked hard for like college scholarships, graduating with Honors and really proud parents! Those benefits are the ultimate payoff and ones that they were fully invested in. If they get bad grades there are built-in, out of parental control, consequences such as going to summer school, being held back (although they don’t do this in high school anymore – you just don’t graduate), and they may not be able to “walk” with their graduating class on graduation day. Those are real life consequences that have meaning. Way more meaning than a few bucks from mommy or daddy.

If you haven’t guessed already, I do not pay my children for good grades, or for doing household chores. They have one, alright two, true responsibilities in life; they should be able to handle them without being paid.

With the expectation being good grades in my house, there are consequences for bad grades. Consequences are generally the most meaningful time-sucker of the moment i.e. cell phone, iTouch, computer games… Meaningful consequences work.

Life only gets more difficult and the responsibilities that rest on them only get heavier and more life altering after high school so letting kids experience real life accountability is good for them. It is especially beneficial if they can learn these lessons while still in the home and under parental guidance so that if/when they fall down, a parent can show them how to move forward.

Do you pay your kids for good grades? Why or why not? How do you motivate your kids in school?

Guest blogger Jill, writer of Single Mom on a Budget, lives in a suburb of Denver with her three boys. She is dedicated to helping families have fun on a shoestring budget, getting out of debt, and saving money two pennies at a time. She is also an avid couponer who enjoys sharing deals, writing about her family, and helping community.

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  • comment avatar Jaime March 29, 2011

    My son is only seven, so we don’t give him money, but I do admit that when his spelling tests weren’t reflecting his true ability, I offered up candy as a reward…the “too expensive” kind. I also started making creative flash cards and working with him at home. He’s had 100% success on the last few tests and most recently enjoyed a Juicy Drop Pop and Toblerone chocolate – funny choice for a seven-year-old, ha. I’m going to have to put a little more thought into my tactics for the future! Thanks for getting me thinking 😉

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz March 29, 2011

    This is a very thought-provoking article. The answer in our home is no, for many of the reasons you mention.

    Also, paying for good grades addresses the effort side of performance, but ignores ability. What about a kid who really is doing the best s/he can, but is just not able to pull off As or Bs?

    Put that kids side-by-side a sibling for whom school comes easily, and you’d end up DEmotivating one or both kids, at least instrinsically.

  • comment avatar Dayngr March 29, 2011

    I don’t pay cash but I do reward my kids when they make the honor roll. Their rewards range from going someplace special (like their favorite park or Chuck E Cheese) or getting a treat (like a special toy they’ve wanted) to seeing a movie. Whatever it takes (within reason) to motivate them to get good grades works for me! It’s hard for a 5 year old to understand how grades will impact them in the future so rewards seem to give them something to work toward.

  • comment avatar Jill March 29, 2011

    Great points Lori! So very true.

  • comment avatar single parents April 7, 2011

    I do not condone paying children for good grades, perhaps rewarding them but they need to work to be payed.