Pay Kids for Good Grades?

Consider rewards other than cash compensation to encourage your children to do well in school.

I just read your response to Amy Chua’s book about Chinese mothers, and I’m curious to know how you feel about paying kids for grades. When does paying money work best? Is it best to pay as a last resort? Are there certain children who respond better?

As I noted in my column, Amy Chua doesn’t address the issue of paying for grades in her book. But if I’m reading between the lines correctly, I’d say that no Chinese mother worthy of the name would be caught dead paying her kids for grades. She’d simply expect nothing less than an A -- and her kids would produce.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.