My teenager wants a reward from her school grades - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-16-2017, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Unhappy My teenager wants a reward from her school grades

My 14 teenager wants a reward from her studies. She told me that every-time she made a good grades, she will ask me something a reward. I'm scared in the future if she abuse it and demands something that we can't afford. How to deal with this situation behavior?

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#2 of 6 Old 08-17-2017, 01:42 AM
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I would say no. The reward for doing well at school is learning cool stuff and having options for your future.

If you decide that she has worked hard and you would like to give her a treat then fine but I would certainly not buy into ransom demands such as you have described.

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#3 of 6 Old 08-18-2017, 03:27 PM
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Some kids just try. My middle will try to get to finagle money out of us...that does not mean we comply, lol.

I would put on a smile and tell her kindly the reward of good grades is getting into a college program she wants - maybe with a little scholarship. I would let her know you will support her in getting good grades by buying things she needs to thrive in school (such as a good calculator, or other school supplies, a tutor if need be) but no, you will not be rewarding her for good grades.

It is highly doubtful she would deliberately flub her grades because you are not rewarding her for them.

She is simply trying to see what she can get!

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#4 of 6 Old 08-18-2017, 07:07 PM
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I would definitely say no. Good grades say nothing about the effort required to achieve them. Some students can waltz along and earn A's with nothing more than basic attentiveness while for others incredible amounts of work are required for a C. Also, grades are a poor indicator of learning and the divergent thinking that some people possess; they're a better indicator of 'testability' and of safe, teacher-pleasing output. And grades are actually already a reward; they represent approval and recognition by the teacher. Why would you reward a reward? And really, as mentioned by katelove above, you don't pay people for work they do for themselves. You pay them when they do work for you. When students learn well they benefit themselves: they gain competence, skills, knowledge, work ethic, employability and a better range of educational options for the future.

That being said, when he was 11 my ds asked me for a reward system to help motivate him to practice his viola. My initial reaction was no way, but when I talked to him more about it, it turned out he was just looking for a way to create some structure and accountability for himself. He wanted a way to set goals and commemorate meeting them. So we took his allowance, which was fairly measly to begin with, and held half of it in trust. The 'in trust' money he used to reward himself for each week of consistent practicing. He found this helpful. And he was using his own money to do it. He's now a very diligent 20-year-old... and sometimes he still tells himself he'll ______ after he's finished ____. (eg. meet his girlfriend for coffee after he's finished reviewing Units 4 through 8 for his Criminology final).


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#5 of 6 Old 08-18-2017, 07:32 PM
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I was also thinking, er no, the school work is Her work to do well in or not. But if you want to reward her, or see the benefits of rewarding her, then I would set a limit to it, something reasonable like ordering pizza in or new shoes or a new book or whatever seems acceptable. It's good to set goals for yourself, it's good to set out a plan for achievement. Why does she feel she needs a reward?
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#6 of 6 Old 08-21-2017, 09:49 AM
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I agree that rewards for grades should not be demanded. However, my parents often celebrated good report cards with dinner in a restaurant or a similar treat, and after a while my brother and I started to ask for that: "Look, I made honor roll! Can we go to China Garden tomorrow?" It's been similar with my son, and I don't think this is a bad thing.

What concerns me is your teen bluntly informing you that she will be asking a reward every time she gets good grades, and your feeling "scared in the future if she abuse it and demands something that we can't afford." There must be a reason, based on your experience with her, that you expect she'll ask too much and it'll be a big problem if you don't deliver. You don't want it to be that way because it's an unhealthy power balance in your relationship.

One way around this is to agree on the reward in advance. Ask her now what kind of reward she has in mind. If it's something she doesn't need that costs hundreds of dollars, tell her now that that's simply not feasible; you want her to get good grades, but you cannot afford to buy her this expensive toy even once, let alone every semester; she needs to choose a different reward. Have some suggestions in mind, things you are willing to splurge for (might be a splurge of time as much as money) that won't break your budget. Settle on something reasonable. Also agree on what counts as "good" grades and at what point(s) in the school year rewards can happen. (You don't want to get tricked into taking her out to dinner every time she passes a weekly spelling test!)

Then--this is really important--don't give her the thing unless she makes the grade. Even if it is a thing you might have gotten her anyway, hold out on that specific thing until the grade is earned. This has been crucial with my son! While rewards for grades haven't been a big issue (as I said above), we have made him earn some of his tech devices by improving his behavior in specific ways over specific periods of time, and every dang time he's tried to badger us into relenting and buying the thing early, and if we give the slightest hint that we might, his behavior immediately gets much worse as he starts to feel he's won. It's important to hold firm to the original agreement and not be manipulated.

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