savings

Should You Punish For Bad Grades?

Our series continues with a look at the flip-side of paying for grades.

I've been following your columns on paying for grades [part 1, part 2, part 3].

I think the concept adds an appropriate level of incentive if done correctly. When I put my own plan into effect, I sat my children down and explained that I expected good grades (which for the most part they got anyway). Their "job" was to perform well in school, which I knew they could do based on test scores and previous grades.

I told them they would earn a certain dollar amount for A's and B's, but the dollar amount would be reduced proportionately by any grade of C or below. I also made it clear that anything below a C would result in grounding. The youngest child got a D on an interim report card, and that message got across a lot more clearly when she had no access to television, phone or the Internet for one week.

I think my system works, as indicated by my kids' grades and approach to school. My ultimate goal, of course, is to get them into the proper habits of studying and learning.

You've come up with an interesting combination of financial incentives and nonfinancial consequences. Given that your children did well in school anyway, I'd venture to say that taking away your daughter's Internet access had more of an effect than paying for grades.

Also, parents have to be careful when "punishing" kids for getting a grade of C or below. In an online post, one woman recalled that she and her brother were always happy on report-card day because they got paid for their A's and B's. But, she wrote, "my younger sister, who got mostly C's, would start to cry on the school bus on the way home because she really did try to do well."

If parents are going to give an incentive, they should reward effort and improvement as well as the result.

Societal pressure

I have lived in westernized Asian countries, and I can't imagine that students there would study only if they got some sort of monetary reward. There is pressure in those countries to get good grades, but it's not about money. We live in an increasingly competitive world. If we Americans have to dangle money in front of our kids to get them to study, I don't think our country will be able to keep up.

Little did I know what a hornet's nest I was tapping into when I offered my own opinion on paying for grades (I don't like the idea). Ever since then I've been inundated with responses, both pro and con. Thanks for contributing your unique perspective.

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2022 vs. 2021?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2022 vs. 2021?

Depending on your taxable income, you can end up in one of seven different federal income tax brackets – each with its own marginal tax rate.
September 20, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2022
dividend stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2022

Yield isn't everything when it comes to finding the best dividend stocks. Income investors know there's no substitute for regular dividend increases o…
September 22, 2022

Recommended

How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost (And Is It Worth It?)
Amazon Prime

How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost (And Is It Worth It?)

Plenty of prices are higher in 2022 and membership in Amazon Prime (up 17%) is no exception. Are you still getting your money’s worth? We’ll test the …
September 22, 2022
10 Best Benefits for Military Members and Their Families
savings

10 Best Benefits for Military Members and Their Families

Service members face a range of threats – from the lethal to the financial. An array of military benefits and programs are meant to offset some of the…
September 16, 2022
Having Trouble Saving Money? 3 Tips for Young Professionals
savings

Having Trouble Saving Money? 3 Tips for Young Professionals

Here’s how to leverage your savings rate to keep expenses in check and get on track for retirement.
September 6, 2022
HBO Max Is Offering Huge Discounts
Smart Buying

HBO Max Is Offering Huge Discounts

Looking for a streaming service deal? Warner Bros. Discovery is cutting the price of HBO Max.
August 18, 2022