Watch CBSN Live

Paying Kids For Good Grades

Some parents believe money or rewards can be great motivators to get kids to do well in school, or even to behave. It's a quick fix for parents, and children may feel as though they are working for a goal.

Others disagree, perceiving such schemes as bribes. CBS This Morning Correspondent Thalia Assuras spoke to two experts with opposing points of view.

Psychologist Robert Butterworth is all for paying for good grades and does so himself. Parents should use the same methods industries and companies use to motivate their employees: rewards and a positive environment, he says.

"How many people work for free?" asks Butterford. "So what we're doing is really tying all that research on performance, what works in industry and trying it with kids and saying, Â'Listen, this is your job.Â'"

"'You go back to school. This is your work. And you should be paid for it.' It's the way the world works, and it works with kids and it takes the emotions and threats and anger and just pulls it aside," Butterford says.

He points out that in the 1990s, kids are more savvy about how the world works and how money is used.

But Neale S. Godfrey, author of Ultimate Kids' Money Book and parent of two kids, 13 and 16, argues that such rewards can send children subtle negative messages.

- Advertisement -
Ultimate Kids' Money Book
School is so much more than a place to earn good grades, Godfrey says. "Work is something that you get paid for. School has to do with self-enrichment."

"If you start paying the kids, you are only bribing them," she says. "And you're really teaching them the wrong values."

According to Godfrey, the payment method usually brings short-term results; sometimes enthusiasm for the reward declines and so do the grades and good behavior.

"Then the kids are going to start saying, Â'Hey, we're going to grandma's today. You want to pay me for that?Â' So now we're into extortion. It's really dangerous to start paying these kids for grades," she says.

Butterford, however, maintains the payment method teaches kids the value of money and resources. "It works with my 14-year-old. He gets all As, and we don't have to bribe him to go with us when go to the museum."

"It's easier, it works, it takes the emotion out of it, and believe it or not, kids like it," he adds.

Neale S. Godfrey: School is requirement.

Godfrey supports giving kids an allowance and celebrating their success. But she emphasizes that being in school is a requirement.

"They're not entitled to get this because they go to school. They have to go to school," she says.

And kids may get the message that if there's nothing in it for them, like money, there is no good reason to do well, she says.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue