Thursday, November 24, 2011

Are we over-rewarding the kids?

We give prizes for kids when they perform excellent in exam, finish their homework or helping with the household chores. I think modern parents are so addicted to this rewarding method and so am I. The situation can be sometimes out of control that the kids threaten back that he/she wouldn’t do what we want them to do if their demands are not fulfilled.  The questions rose: are we over-rewarding the kids?
After some reading, there are few things I need to be careful when I reward them next time.
1)      Reward based on good behavior not on good result
Children that have grown based on expecting reward can feel disappointed when it does not come. I once heard a story about a primary school student who expressed deep disappointment when he scored only 7A over 8 subjects. It was like the end of the world for him. When being asked further, it was the reward that he doesn’t get that upset him but not his feeling on the grade. Could you imagine whether he will still study hard when the rewards go away?
A long term more effective way is to reward the good studying habit rather than the result or score. This is of course more difficult to measure or monitor compared to reward based on their exam report, but it is more important that we instill their good habit or behavior since kids to ensure perseverance.

2)      Reduce the reward frequency
We need to increase the value of the reward to suit their ever increasing desire if we reward too much. After they have all sorts of toys, books, are them still be interested if you reward them with small items like sticker, coloring books or pretty pencil box? No, they will ask for more and I guess they will certainly ask for an expensive ipad or even smart phone one day.

Instead of rewarding, we need to help them focus on the self-satisfaction derived from the achievement they have made. It is the self-enjoyment that fuel further learning.

No more rewarding on finishing homework, but to reward based on self-discipline.

Hope I can reward her of taking good care of his brother one day.

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