Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rewards for Good Grades?

So the end-of-the-year grades came out recently. How did your kids do? Here is the big question: do you reward your kids for good grades and/or do they get a consequence for "poor" grades?

One of our children gets good grades all the time and is completely self motivated. (Although, I have to point out, parents can't really determine how well their children are doing on their academics in elementary school with the generic marks of "Basic," "Proficient," or "Advanced" - and they only give out "Advanced" at the end of the year.)
Our other child wasn't trying very hard on his school work and so in turn was not earning very high grades (they do receive the traditional grading letters in middle school) - although we knew he had the capabilities of getting great grades. He just wasn't motivated to do his best. We saw what was happening, he didn't care, so we attached a carrot at the end of the string.

When my husband was in grade school he wasn't motivated to get good grades either. A grown up in his life told him at the beginning of the year that he would give him a dollar for every "A" that he received on his report card. Back in the day when one was graded on every little thing, and the list of possibilities inspired the young boy. That was the year he worked very hard and this grown-up person was so surprised at the string of As my husband as a young boy received on his report card. The grown up had to fork over $85.00 and my husband took the money, jumped on his bike, rode across town (when kids could ride across town by themselves), and bought himself a motorized helicopter. He will never forget that day and that helicopter was a prize well earned. The next year that grown up wasn't in his life anymore and no one offered up a reward for good grades and the young boy's grades fell and he just wasn't motivated anymore.

But then you hear of all those over achievers who tell the story of how their parents would look at the end of the year report card and ask why so and so got a "B" on their report card. Then the over-achiever child would feel so bad about themselves for not getting straight "A"s and that it affected their entire life and they never felt good enough. I heard that story plenty of times.

My son said that some of the kids in middle school got a penalty if they got a grade point average below a 3.8. They would be grounded for the entire summer.

So, what do you do? Do you reward or give consequences for "good" and "bad" grades. If you do or don't, why not?  How about if you have one self motivated child and the other non-motivated child? Do you give them both the same reward? I am interested to hear your viewpoint.


  1. We reward for "A's", as that is what all of my kids are capable of. My daughters have always been self-motivated, over-achievers, so they had no problem earning quite a bit of money over the years. My son, on the other hand, is as intelligent as his sisters but had no motivation. The reward system worked somewhat for him, but not as well as we had hoped. When the kids were little we rewarded them with a book of their choice at a book store for their good report cards, plus an ice cream cone. As they got older we started rewarding with cash (books aren't so motivating for pre-teens or teens!).

  2. Thanks for your feedback. It is difficult to know if the reward should be based on the same grade point average or same amount of "A" for all your kids since they all learn differently and are capable of different grade points. My sister is great at school and ranked in the As while I could give a mean speach but could bomb a test. My parents didn't give rewards bc we were both motivated and the rewards were unequal as one could do better than school than the other. Little did I know that I would have computer skills that at the time didn't amount to much when I was growing up.