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 this?
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 behavior.
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.