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Should Children Get Paid for Good Grades?
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The argument for paying children for good grades bases its logic on the connection between school achievement as the child's job in the family and therefore to be compensated appropriately.

There is some evidence that grades do improve, as well as attendance in the cash for grades scheme, but the results are mixed. Some do improve their grades until the novelty wears off, and then the demands escalate. Some have not learned to connect a far off goal with current performance and so get bored.

The family responsibilities argument does not reflect family reality, either. The picture of the man's role to earn the money, the woman's role to clean and cook, the child's role to go to school is so antiquated as to be the butt of many jokes. Basing actions on such a world view is really crazy.

I think what makes most sense is to teach children that one's role in life has many compensations, some immediate and some postponed until a future time. Then follow through by some immediate rewards for good grades like praise, a dinner out, an extra allowance, a special trip--recognition combined with reward. Experiences will provide a lifetime of memories.

And it's more realistic, too. The things we do in life that are worthwhile are not always rewarded (or recognized) but are still worthy of respect and self-satisfaction. Expecting that anything worth doing will be measured by the money it brings in lays a false value foundation for a child (or an adult). In fact, it sets a child up for a lifetime of unfulfilled expectations and unsatisfied greed.

And, by the way, a child's other successes--athletic, musical, artistic, literary, relationships, connections, social skills--should be acknowledged and rewarded as well. Maybe a little extra acknowledge for parental contributions (food, clothing, shelter, love) would be in order, too. Thanks, Mom, for all those years of support and encouragement (and not one red cent for A's).

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