Q: My husband and I disagree about the use of money to
encourage our children to get good grades. I think bribing children with money takes away from their natural desire
to learn. Do you have an opinion on
A: A bribe is compensation
for something dishonest or illegal, while a reward is a tangible form of
appreciation for something worthwhile. There is a big difference between these two!
It is not a bribe to give an Oscar for
an outstanding actor or actress, or to award an athletic letter, scholarship or
weekly salary. These provide recognition
for a job well done or excellent performance.
Studies on incentive motivation show that
human beings work harder, better, and achieve more if they receive either
social praise or material goods. It is
important to give your child a role in deciding on a reward for a specific
Negotiating the expectations and rewards
together will ensure that the reward has meaning and therefore will be a
motivation. You may find that other
things or privileges are more of a reward for your children than money. Talk it over with them.