Share this article

print logo

The Parent ’Hood: Is it wrong to pay your child for straight A’s?

Your spouse wants to pay the kids for straight A’s. You don’t. Who’s right?

Parent advice:

You are. Learning is its own reward. Money sends the wrong message about academic performance.

Do it for the sheer love of the subject, or the love of getting into college with the proper roster of courses, or for the love of proving you can do it even if the teacher is a jerk. But to earn $50? No.

– Bill Daley

I say don’t pay, but applaud all equally. The child who may be struggling, but really trying, does not need to be thought of as any less hardworking or intellectual than the sibling who easily pulls in an A with no effort. Better a special ice cream expedition or movie to note how everyone’s been working hard. Individual applause and “good job” hugs can then be handed out for jobs well done without fueling sibling competition.

– Judy Hevrdejs

Expert advice:

“Paying for grades encourages your child to get good grades for external reasons – whether that’s money or some other reward,” said Joline Godfrey, family finance educator and author of “Raising Financially Fit Kids” (Ten Speed Press). “What you really want to do is help your child develop character and the internal drive to succeed.”

Cash, Godfrey said, can take the place of the conversations parents need to have with their children about the importance of setting goals and developing a strong work ethic to achieve them.

Have a solution? Your toddler obeys dad, but not mom. Should mom step aside? Find “The Parent ’Hood” page on Facebook, to post your parenting questions and solutions.