See also: How much do you pay for Allowance? and Teens: Poor Performance in School
A question for the parents of older kids (12 and up):
Do you pay your kids for report card performance? Does it work? Do you do this in addition to allowance or instead of? How much do you pay for A's & B's? Do you deduct for Ds and Fs?
(Not that anybody *I* know makes Ds and Fs ... I was just idly wondering whether brib-I mean "financial incentive"- works for improving kids' grades, since for certain people very little else seems to ...)
Rather than paying money for grades for my older child, we used an incentive that was meaningful to him. In middle school he wanted to have a TV in his room, something I was not in favor of but his dad thought we could let him have if he kept his grades up. He had to buy the TV with his own money, but we still set the standards for being allowed to watch. He had to maintain an A average or the TV went back in the box until the next marking period. We left him to budget his own homework time with no nagging or reminding, but the box was standing by as a silent reminder. Now that he is in high school he manages his time very well, but the box is still there. We would not try this with our younger child though; you have to fit the incentive to the child.
* Do you pay your kids for report card performance? We pay $50 for straight A's. Our notion of straight A's is quite liberal. Only academic subjects are included (not P.E. or extra type classes such as yearbook or band), and we consider a B in honors classes as an A. * Does it work? I can't say for sure. This reward system started in the 6th grade when grades are first given in our school district. Report cards are sent quarterly. Our older daughter (entering 11th grade) earns the $50 about twice a year. Our younger daughter (entering 9th grade) used to earn the $50 regularly but her academic performance really dropped in 8th grade and the money reward was not enough to make a difference. * Do you do this in addition to allowance or instead of? This is in addition to an allowance.
From: Joyce (7/98) I teach intro psych, among other things, and just finished lecturing on learning through reward and punishment. Here are the research findings on the effects of using rewards. 1. Rewards do entice people to do things that they wouldn't normally do, at least while the policy of rewarding the behavior is in effect. (Skinner) 2. Rewards are a form of extrinsic motivation, as opposed to personal interest, which is a form of intrinsic motivation. a. If you are starting out with no intrinsic motivation, you might as well use extrinsic motivation. Sounds like this is your kid's situation. b. If there is some intrinsic motivation to start with, you should watch out, because work driven by intrinsic motivation leads to greater creativity than work driven by extrinsic motivation (Amabile). Furthermore, extrinsic motivation tends to kill whatever intrinsic motivation was there in the first place (Spence & Helmreich), specifically when the reward i) is expected, ii) is something important to the person, iii) is tangible, and iv) is given regardless of the quality of the work. (Cameron & Pierce, Eisenberger & Cameron) Some of this is counterintuitive, like (ii), but it's what happens, and the reason is that the person starts thinking that the only reason they're studying is so that they can watch TV and not because of any internal desire to do well. (Of course, if there wasn't any internal desire to do well in the first place, this is irrelevant.) Anyway, be careful with this. 3. Because it has been found that what people normally think of as talent is actually due to practice (Ericsson, Charness), having some practice even if it's not intrinsically motivated can give people a degree of skill that they can use, and which can be the basis of further learning. This fact is unintuitive to Americans but seems self-evident to people from other cultures. In any case it's a robust research result. 4. Because some intrinsic motivation depends on one's skill level (Czikszentmihalyi), a policy in which practice is rewarded even if it is not YET intrinsically motivated may eventually lead to intrinsic motivation later, when skill has improved to a point where they can be proud of what they can do, and it starts being fun. (as in, when the violin stops being squeaky, and starts making music). Hope this sheds some light. Joyce post-doc in psychology at Carnegie Mellon Univ (Pittsburgh PA) about to be asst prof at Alverno College (Milwaukee WI)
My usual reward for good grades is a trip to Cody's or Black Oak Books (yes, I'm pretty smug about the psychology in that trick). Add ice cream or other sweeteners as desired.
You mention monetary rewards. I find them too short-term in their effectiveness. I get more mileage out of noticing and commenting on the small good things about my kids: saying, "You look really nice today"; "Thanks for your help with [whatever]"; "Look how your little sister got her hair cut just like yours -- she admires you so much that she wants to be like you", "I really like this school project you did", and so forth.
I continue to try both positive and negative reinforcement, but the older my kids get (7, 10, and 12), the less the negative reinforcement works. So I wait (sometimes a long time) until they do some little thing right, then I thank them briefly and matter-of-factly. I know that they appreciate it, becuase sometimes they actually say so or give me a hug. I also tell each of them once in a while how glad I am to have him/her as my child. When I do, they look relieved and happy, as if they needed to be told.
|UCB Parents Home Page||UCB Parents Recommendations||UCB Parents Advice|