Host: Should I use money to reward or punish my children?
Janet Bodnar: I really do not think that you should use money as a way of rewarding or punishing your children. Those two things should be separate. Money is a way of teaching financial responsibility and so money should be linked to financial responsibilities.
Rewards and punishments for other things are totally different and those rewards and punishments should be suitable to the offence or suitable to the good thing that your kids do. So, for example, if the kids are fighting over watching TV or who is going to play the video game system now or whose turn is it, you do not dock them their allowance. What you do is you turn off the TV and say, "Nobody is going to do this until you guys work out a system or a schedule about who is going to do it now.
" So, that is a punishment that's more appropriate to that particular offence than simply docking their allowance which has nothing to do with whether or not they are watching the TV or whether they are playing the new V-system. So, the point is it really has to be appropriate to what their behavior is and that is also true as for as for example, grades. A lot of parents are tempted to reward their kids with money if they get good grades but oh, there are just so many problems with that.
I think that getting good grade should a subject of internal satisfaction for the kids. Also, you lose your leverage as the kids get older, they keep wanting to 'Up the ante' and then when they can earn money on their own you lose some of your leverage you just -- it's a slippery slope that is very, very complicated. Again, learning is influenced by lots of things other than money.
Money is probably the last thing that influences your kids to learn. It depends on their native intelligence, their family situation, what kind of learner are they and also you might again, instead of rewarding just good grades you might want to reward good effort too. Maybe your kid is just going to be a C student but he really tries hard so you want to reward good effort and the best reward is just share of parental pride, a big hug, a hi-five. "You did great, we are really proud of you.
" Maybe a spontaneous reward like taking the kids out to dinner or a real big blowout Sunday or something like that, but anything is better than paying them off to do things that are good or paying them not to do things that are bad.