“Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.” — Orison Swett Marden

In this week’s What Would You Do series, we ponder if pay for performance is a child appropriate reward system. The question was brought to light when Dana Rudolph at Mombian asked, “Would you pay your child $100 for making the honor roll? Or $20 for each A?”

Gold StarsShe continues, “Some parents swear by monetary grade incentives, reports the Hartford Courant. Others say the practice sends the wrong message, and the good behavior will disappear if the reward does. They also worry it may cause parents to ignore the root causes of poor grades, such as depression or learning difficulties.”

If you click on over to the Hartford Courant article you’ll see that, “The answer is a muddy one. There are those who believe it is never appropriate to pay a child for a particular behavior. Others say it depends on the child’s age, the situation, how it’s done, the size of the reward, etc.”

Kathleen Megan interviews experts on both sides of the spectrum. One said, “The more you reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in what they are doing to get the reward.” Others point to, “Research has shown that the best way to change behavior is through positive reinforcement. And while the intangible rewards – the satisfaction, a word of praise – may be preferable, it often takes more tangible rewards to get kids – and adults – moving.”

That expert is preaching to the choir with me… after all, I’ve spent the better part of my work life in commissioned sales. A good reward always motivates me but what about our innocent babies… is paying for good grades nothing more than a parental bribe?

ParentCenter has a black and white answer: “No. Rewards are fine, but you should teach your child that homework and schoolwork are responsibilities ” not something simply done for money.”

So what do you think? What’s wrong with bankrolling behavior that leads to good grades? Or is a cash bribe fine for the kiddies? You decide. Comments welcomed.