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Do you pay your kids for grades?

Do you pay your kids for grades?

If you have school-age kids, do you pay them for grades?

My son and I have a deal where I pay him for good grades, he pays me if there are bad ones, and no one pays for C’s. It seems reasonable to me.

As a kid I always wanted to be paid for good grades. After all, I thought, people were always telling me that going to school was my job, and don’t people get paid at their jobs? Maybe I was just hoping for some extra money, but that sounded like a good argument to me.

If I remember right I was only able to convince my parents of that once though. I think the thinking was that good grades are their own reward, and that they are also expected.

Of course good grades can lead to academic scholarships, which certainly pays off.

So what do you think? Is it a good idea to pay for grades? Were you paid for them as a kid?




View Comments (9)
  • What works for one kid doesn’t work for the other… But if you have two kids in school you have to be fair to both, you can’t pay one and not the other. It’s all a balancing act.

  • I was not paid for grades, but we do pay our kids. First, their allowance is partly based on the ‘chore’ of completing their homework on time, neatly and most importantly, with a good attitude (no whining or complaining, no procrastination). 2nd, they receive a bonus for exceptional school work – report card based. The oldest is given a bonus if he receives all B’s because he struggles to get them – it’s all A’s for the middle son. They both must also achieve, in school, good marks in citizenship, personal conduct, etc. or the bonus is zero – same for any lower grades.

    We do this mostly as a money management teaching tool – you must earn your $ and you earn more when you work and perform extra well.

    Next year the schools are moving away from A, B, C, D & F grades to “Performance Levels 1, 2, 3 & 4” which = Exceeds Standard, Meets Standard, Progressing Toward Standard, and Limited Progress Towards Standard. I think we will then move towards giving a bonus for each individual level (levels will be broken down into sub-categories, ie Writing will have subs of content, fluency, spelling, organization, etc – 12 in all – and each of these will also be graded by Level and then the whole is also given a Level grade). It will be a lot more complicated to figure out!

  • I don’t have kids but I strongly believe it’s a bad idea. I was never paid for grades but had friends who were and I hated it because here I was getting good grades and had nothing to show for it.

    But now I’m glad I wasn’t rewarded for simply doing my best. I think this could lead to entitlement later on in life. Especially if you’re paying your kid for a B. I mean, that’s Good right? So kids are going to expect something in return for “good” work? I don’t think that’s such a good idea.

    Granted, I don’t have kids so maybe I’m speaking from an ignorant point of view (how else can you motivate them?), but that’s how I feel right now.

    What motivated me when I was a kid? My dad would get very serious if I got anything below a B. Otherwise I was fine. Plus, it just felt like the right thing: to work as hard as I could and do my best (cheesy and cliché, I know).

    And as for having one standard for one child and another for another: how do you get away with that one? My sister and I got different kinds of grades but since we didn’t have an kind of reward system, it didn’t really matter. If we did….boy would my parents have heard about it.

  • I don’t pay my son for good grades. Good grades are required – he’s a smart kid, and he’ll only get bad grades if he’s lazy. I don’t want him to do the right thing ( getting good grades ) only because he’ll get paid – I want him to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

    Teaching him that money is the only motivator is a bad road to go down, in my eyes.

  • Llama Money took my thunder. We were not paid. They were expected of us. (Although MSMomsmoney’s idea of the kid paying you for bad grades is an interesting twist.)

  • If your job as a parent is to teach your kids how to live in the real world then they should be paid for grades. School is their job and there should be monetary compensation (aside from room and board). I like the concept that they should pay you for bad grades. There are a ton of lessons to be learned from that especially if at the end of the report card they end up in the negative.

    They’ll know that sub standard work will cost them and they’ll learn some debt management. Maybe even charge them interest on the money they owe you :)

  • If you do pay your kids, I think it should reflect effort, not grades. You want to encourage your kids to put effort where it is needed, not where it has the highest return.
    My parents would do something extra at the end of the year if I did well, but it never was linked to a numeric value. That’s just setting expectations for a year over year increase, and reality is that you can only give out a bonus if the family as a whole is doing well financially. Much like a business bases its bonus system on not just individual but also company performance.

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