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Book Discussion: Punished by Rewards - Bribing/Rewards vs Intrinsic Motivation


JumpyTheFrog
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DH and I are setting up some incentive plans for ourselves for some important habits that would benefit us greatly but that we need a big kick in the pants about. That got me thinking about incentive plans/bribing kids. Does it work? I read Alfie Kohn's book "Punished by Rewards" a year or two ago and he seems anti-bribe. He thinks rewarding kids for what they should be doing anyway (like summer reading) just teaches them that it isn't worth doing in and of itself.

 

If I remember correctly, the book had lots of examples where implementing reward systems backfired and the subjects (both kids and adults) were less likely to work hard at their school work or jobs after the system was set up than before.

 

Does anyone want to chime in? Bonus points for any personal stories about how a reward system did or didn't work in getting your kids to obey, be more respectful, or be more cooperative about school work.

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Reward systems never worked for DS. I abandoned them years ago. I think they might work for DD, but my parenting philosophy and approach have changed significantly over the years and I would no longer want to implement them at this point.

 

While I haven't read Kohn's book, I've read several of his articles and papers, and am familiar with his philosophy. I agree with some of what he says, but not all of it.

 

Here's my experience and opinion about reward systems in a nutshell:

 

- The kids who really "need" a reward system (from the standpoint of needing extra motivation to do what their parents want them to do) are often the ones who end up gaming the system. This was true of my DS, and I've heard that from several parents of kids similar to DS. It might work well for a week, and then it becomes all about gaming the system, only doing things if there's a reward, asking "how much do I get if I do that", figuring out loopholes, etc. At that point, it becomes counterproductive IME.

 

- Reward systems can become demotivators if you have a child who really struggles with behavioral issues. While you can certainly try to tailor your system to avoid this, the system will by its very nature call more attention to the child's behavior. With some kids, that's the wrong approach.

 

- Reward systems create more work for parents. The constant tracking, updating, etc. might be fun at first but then it just becomes tedious IMO.

 

I think there are much more effective ways to help your child learn to cooperate and develop good habits. For me, the most effective means towards that end have been focusing on developing a strong connection and relationship with my kids, role modeling the habits I want them to develop, and sticking to a daily routine that naturally incorporates many of the habits we're working on. That's often easier said than done, but that's what I strive for. ;)

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The only reward system that has ever worked for us relied on focused responsibility. The Kid and I sat down with a chore contract when he was about 9 and agreed on times/specifics. If he completed his chores before X time in the morning, he was paid for each one. If they were not done (and by 'done', it meant to the specs of an instruction card), he still had to do them anyway AND I got license to nag and complain.

 

Win-win. It put the focus on increasing his self-control and responsibility, which is what I wanted to grow, instead of the outcome of work. The work still got done regardless because it was established to be non-negotiable from the onset. If he chose not to get paid it was fine, and if he chose to get paid it was fine.

 

Every other rewards system I have seen focuses on the outcome - the side effect of the growing being done. It lets the child choose to grow or remain without and I don't like giving my kid those options.

 

LOL....course, right now I'm appealing to the 14yo sloth creature who has taken over The Kid's body and told him if he just completes that last merit badge I'd buy him his cot. So I'm being quite hypocritical at the moment. :laugh:

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- Reward systems create more work for parents. The constant tracking, updating, etc. might be fun at first but then it just becomes tedious IMO.

 

 

This is where it always goes wrong for us. We lose interest after a couple weeks, and abandon the system.

 

It also really depends on the kid. I used a sticker chart when my oldest was a toddler, to get her to stay in bed for naps that she desperately needed. When I tried it a couple years later with the younger, she gave it a couple days, then one day came out & said, "I don't want a sticker anyway." :001_rolleyes: She's got her priorities, and if she gets rewarded for doing what she already wants, cool; if the reward is for doing something she doesn't want, it's not worth it to her.

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Bribes are given before the expected behavior and usually fail. Rewards are given after an expected behavior.

 

Rewards are (sort of) terrible over here for ds, but not dd.

 

I think ds has anxiety and setting up a reward system makes him fear he's not going to get it. I've even manipulated the reward chart so he DID get the reward just to show him it's possible! Still didn't work.

 

He does well with the tracking part of the reward, and that IS the reward for him- ex. you have a sticker chart and kid gets x item once the chart is filled. Ds doesn't do well when something is tied to the chart, but is very happy putting stickers on it and that's it.

 

Rewards are supposed to be faded, and this is where I failed big time with ds until I learned his reward issues. Anyway, rewards should just be short term and faded to nothing, not increased.

 

With dd I can reward for something that she's having a hard time with. This is how I knew violin was done- she wouldn't even work for dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt! Math must be done, but occasionally I'll offer her some small treat for focusing and finishing in a normal time frame.

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I personally hate the local summer reading programs around here- the record keeping is irritating and takes the fun out of reading for us. I think rewards have a great place in parenting or in life for that matter- but natural rewards not manufactured ones. For instance my 7 yo just finished a book that he loved- I bought the second in the series as a surprise gift for him because the library doesn't have it. No record keeping. Or with chores, my teens know that if they slick off the house on Fridays- and I mean a deep clean amazing slick-off- then they can have a party.

 

School work done well and early might mean an impromptu pizza party or a trip to the park because we have the time. But then- none of my kids were ever motivated by stickers or prizes. They either wanted something or not. If not, they preferred to just force themselves to get it done- anything involving record keeping or tracking seemed to make it more odious for them and seemed to slow their progress even more.

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I think that there is a big difference in rewarding yourself for progress and bribing a child to comply. I also think both can be problematic and won't necessarily work. Then there is the definition of "work." We used bribe/rewards with my son on two occasions. Neither were a bad thing and both had short term success. They didn't change the bigger issue, but the more immediate one. I think that rewards can also be good for getting a person to do what you want them to do when they really just aren't there and can't be reasoned about really (for example, potty training is a common one). Mostly, I think progress tracking may be more helpful for most things.

 

As for backfiring? My little daughter...oy. I decided to offer my daughter a special treat she really really wants if she did certain gymnastics things. When she couldn't do them, she got frustrated and quit. Then she decided to try again and got it. Temporarily. After getting the treat, she didn't do it again though she needs it! And since? I've heard over and over, "what do I get when I XYZ?" She pouts off in a huff when I say, "to be proud you can do it now." She won't even practice those things after I've said it. She is one of the most naturally talented girls in our gym (says other people more in the know than I); but she's going to end up moving up just to the next level this year because she won't push for the couple skills she needs, things everyone knows she's capable of doing. Incredibly frustrating.

 

Anyway, but saying, "if we follow this budget, not eating out all month, we can go for a date night" is different. It is cheaper to go to Chili's one time than McD and TacoBell twenty. And putting it in place for yourself is different also.

 

We used to not use ANY punishment, threats, or bribes. Any "rewards" weren't things set up ahead of time, but heartfelt spontaneous things whether a high five or a trip to the museum or whatever. With our new crew, we haven't done nearly as well. I do think that there are benefits to leaving those things out of parenting and relying on relationship, teaching, guiding, helping, fixing, etc. At the same time, you have to do what you have to do.

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Well, isn't a paycheck at the end of a work week a "reward" for coming in every day and doing your work? Depends on how you define all of this.

 

We have occ. used rewards and bribes, etc. to get us through medical procedures with one of our daughters. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

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I have a behaviorist background in my professional work, and I have used behavior charts/interventions and rewards extensively for shaping kids' behaviors. I have found them to be very effective if done correctly and consistently and not overused.

 

I have used rewards for my own kids when a simple behavior (habit) needs changing. If followed consistently, they have been fairly effective. According to behavior research, the best way to establish a new behavior is to provide consistent rewards, and the best way to maintain an already established behavior is intermittent rewards. In my professional experience, the biggest reasons for failure of a behavior modification program are parental inconsistency, incorrect reinforcers, tackling a too difficult task or too many tasks at once, and setting up too long a period of time prior to giving the reward. I've done behavior mod with parents (and my own kids) for years so it can work. However, it is more complex than simply offering a trip to the zoo for acting nicely during a family event. The only two kids I worked with who absolutely did not respond to behavior modification with a reward system both had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

 

There is an entire body of research/work behind behavior interventions, and it is pretty basic and interesting. My experience is different from most people's experience due to my professional background. :)

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My son is 10 and still in speech therapy. He hates it, and he was having a terrible attitude at home when we had to practice. With the speech therapist we set up a reward system in which he earns tv/computer time for doing his speech homework with a good attitude. It works very well. I don't see anything wrong with rewarding kids for doing something they dislike but have to do. Adults do it for themselves all the time.

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Is this the same Alfie Kohn who thinks any parents who want gifted education available in schools are racists? I've never read anything by him that hasn't made me think he's an idiot.

 

Reward systems are fantastic for getting a child over a hump, or introducing a new habit. One of the best bribery methods I've found - and I think I got this from Dr. Sears - is the guaranteed bribe, where you tell the child that the nice thing is waiting just on the other side of the unpleasantness, but make it plain that it's not conditional. We have to do this thing, but then we'll have this lovely thing after. My children also responded well to advance bribery: here's the nice thing now, and you can enjoy it while we're doing the not so nice thing.

 

But yes, many reward systems don't work well longterm, when the novelty wears off. And intrinsic value is important to convey. But some things don't have intrinsic value, or they have value that's impossible for a small child to understand or appreciate.

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Is this the same Alfie Kohn who thinks any parents who want gifted education available in schools are racists? I've never read anything by him that hasn't made me think he's an idiot.

 

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to throw Punished by Rewards across the room. Kohn doesn't know the difference between rewards and reinforcement. He also doesn't understand positive and negative reinforcement. He is the poster child for pop psychology.

 

Reward systems are fantastic for getting a child over a hump, or introducing a new habit.

But yes, many reward systems don't work well longterm, when the novelty wears off. And intrinsic value is important to convey. But some things don't have intrinsic value, or they have value that's impossible for a small child to understand or appreciate.

 

 

Yes and yes. I've used reward systems when working as a behavior specialist at a group home, and while teaching. They are difficult to keep up. Consistency is so very important and all of the adults have to be on board. They're great for the short term behavior modification though, if you do it right.

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I tried a reward system once when the kids were young and it didn't go well. They each had an item they were working towards. They did great and were enthusiastic about the system. And they they earned their reward. They were content and had no other desire so they had no need to continue the system. I even tried doing just money, an allowance based system, but it didn't fly with them. Their free reading reduced too because they didn't care about the rewards. I cut out the system and stuck to a strict allowance system that had nothing to do with schoolwork, reading or chores. They still helped around the house anytime I asked, but they were totally over the whole structured system. I understood though. I've never been good with checklists and rewards for myself. We just do what we need to do when we need to do it. No one chore takes very long so it's not a big deal. I have no idea if that is common for kids to think that way though.

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I tend to agree with the book but I also have a son who seems immune to bribery and most extrinsic motivation. I consider this a good thing as I was a classic hoop jumper in school and feel it was damaging.

 

That said, I am not above giving a few M & M's during math occasionally to keep him focused. It's more about making it a game rather than setting up an If - Then bribery situation. I also feel like accomplishments should be celebrated so I don't think there is anything wrong with going out for ice cream after a big win or milestone.

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of summer reading programs and will not be signing DS up for any this summer, but I can see how some families might find them helpful.

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The bullet points below are an excerpt from a blog post I wrote a few years ago on this topic. I ran a blog for parents of kids with Asperger's Syndrome (I've since shut it down). Kids with Asperger's often share certain characteristics that make conventional parenting methods, including reward systems, ineffective. The approaches outlined below are what I've found to be more effective.

 

The first bullet ("meaningful engagement") is a concept that Alfie Kohn promotes. I definitely don't agree with his entire philosophy, but I do think the concept of meaningful engagement is a valuable one.

  • Meaningful engagement. Have you noticed that when your child is engaged in his preferred activities, he is interested and motivated? You generally don’t have to reward him, and you definitely don’t need to punish him in order to get him to participate or immerse himself in the activity. He just does it because engaging with the activity or subject matter is its own reward. When you’re struggling to get your child to do something, ask yourself whether it’s meaningful. Yes, kids sometimes have to do things they don’t care for. That’s life. But if something is worth doing, there’s always a way to make it more meaningful and to show your child why it matters. If something is truly not worth doing, ask yourself why you want your child to do it in the first place.
  • Provide ownership. Give your child the opportunity to take ownership or responsibility for solutions to problems. It’s amazing what kids can come up with when parents put the ball in their court.
  • Seek win/win solutions. If your child doesn't offer a solution that works for you, explain why and help him come up with one. Once he sees that you're serious about win/win solutions, he’ll be much more likely to work with you to find a solution that works for everyone.
  • Prevent problems before they occur. Think about what usually triggers problems for your child and be proactive. For example, give ample warning before transitions, leave extra time to get certain things done, avoid power struggles, and give him as much control over his life as possible so he has no reason not to want to cooperate.
  • Use natural consequences. Generally speaking, kids should be allowed to experience the natural outcome of their choices. We all need to learn lessons – and life is a great teacher. Just make sure the consequences truly are natural consequences, so that your child doesn't perceive them as “parent- orchestrated punishmentâ€. The lesson learned will be more effective if you can be firmly on your child’s side during the process (which is difficult to do if you are doling out a punishment).

 

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Bribes are given before the expected behavior and usually fail. Rewards are given after an expected behavior.

 

 

Would you say that a reward promised ahead of the action is also a bribe? I'm a little torn - we don't use much in the way of rewards due to many of the reasons already stated, but I do see the value in giving deserved praise and sometimes unexpected rewards for a job well done. For example, when ds practiced very hard and then had a stressful audition, I took him out for an ice cream shake. I didn't say anything about it beforehand, but in the end I think ds felt rewarded for his work in a way that went beyond my own words of praise. Particularly since he knows that our budget doesn't generally allow for eating out and the fact that he's a teenager - food speaks volumes :D.

 

When a child does well or at least makes a genuine effort I do like to praise them, particularly to remind them of the great natural rewards that come from hard work and a job well done.

 

One family we know used a very extensive system of behavior modification and while their kids did in many ways behave well, they were also masters at manipulation and turning that same "promise of reward" onto their friends (my kids). I found them to be very disingenuous.

 

I am firmly against using birthday parties, activities like sports or music programs (band/orchestra/choir) as carrots for good behavior. I have experienced birthday parties being cancelled due to the birthday child's behavior, and also children not being allowed to attend a party due to not having done chores or something like that.

 

 

 

 

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I don't do this now but when my kids were little, they knew they would get a matchbox car after a shot or blood test. They had no choice in getting the shot or blood test, but they were much better behaved once they knew they would get a reward after the procedure. My kids have all learned to reward themselves for unpleasant tasks now.

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My concern is that while rewards may actually motivate a change in behavior for the short term, they often sour the experience for the long term. For example, when dd was younger, we would offer her rewards for helping my mother, who lives next door, with yard work. Then we began to see an alarming tendency for her to ask about a reward structure associated with any "good deed" she had the opportunity to do. She nearly lost the pleasure of doing something nice for someone for an altruistic reason.

 

Even now, many years later, if she has the opportunity to help my mother with something, she will inquire whether or not there will be a reward. She will do the task, if unrewarded, but with a much heavier heart and she seems to feel that she is being treated unfairly and is somehow being cheated. If the task has an associated reward, that now seems to tap into her greedyness. If the nature of the reward has to be changed (perhaps we can't go to the pool that afternoon due to thunderstorms), then the nature of her work will decrease proportionately.

 

Please don't get me wrong. My dd is usually a generous, helpful child. I have seen her run to help someone from church who had a cast on a broken leg carry things to an event that didn't pertain to dd. Somehow, tying the yard work directly to a reward seemed to "monetize" it, and after 6 years that association still hasn't completely disappeared.

 

As a result of this, we have chosen to work more on teaching dd to do the right thing for the right reason. I certainly don't want her to be a doormat/people pleaser, but neither do I want her to be a greedy manipulator. We have focused more on doing things because they are in keeping with our religious beliefs, or because they contribute to her becoming the kind of person she wants to be.

 

I guess the bottom line for me is that rewards systems can work with young children, but I would use them very judiciously as your dc get older. It is far too easy for kids to misinterpret a "reward for doing a good job" into a "what's in it for me" system. I suppose we all do that to some extent, but IMO it is important to make sure that the types of rewards offered are self regulated and appropriate for the individual.

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My concern is that while rewards may actually motivate a change in behavior for the short term, they often sour the experience for the long term. For example, when dd was younger, we would offer her rewards for helping my mother, who lives next door, with yard work. Then we began to see an alarming tendency for her to ask about a reward structure associated with any "good deed" she had the opportunity to do. She nearly lost the pleasure of doing something nice for someone for an altruistic reason.

 

 

 

I agree with you on this, but there is a big difference in a reward system that's used to change behavior and giving rewards for performing a task or good deed. This is one reason I refused to tie allowance to chores.

 

 

Today I told DD that if she found my keys she could have some chocolate. :) I only use bribes when I need something found (keys, DDs glasses, etc.). My husband found them. DD was excited for him and told him he now got some chocolate. :)

 

 

Ds is now old enough and wise enough now that I can openly bribe him. It's all done in fun though. :D

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I wholeheartedly agree that rewards and bribes compromise intrinsic motivation. I am big on boundaries and routine- I think too often rewards and bribes are used in place of these two important elements in daily life.

 

 

Can you elaborate on this? What would you/did you do with a child that isn't intrinsically motivated?

 

I've noticed a big variation among adults in motivation. Some, like my parents, are busy beavers and are as busy after retirement than before. My dad is spending more time on a hobby that was put on hold for twenty years. He's also teaching a blacksmithing class, taking wood carving classes, and going kayaking with my mom.

 

On the other hand, DH and I can't figure out what his mom does all day since she retired. She hasn't started any new hobbies (other than playing lots of Mario on the Wii). She is very different than my parents in that respect. Some people, like my parents, would need a dozen lifetimes to do everything they are interested in. Others don't seem to find much to do in one.

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Can you elaborate on this? What would you/did you do with a child that isn't intrinsically motivated?

 

I've noticed a big variation among adults in motivation. Some, like my parents, are busy beavers and are as busy after retirement than before. My dad is spending more time on a hobby that was put on hold for twenty years. He's also teaching a blacksmithing class, taking wood carving classes, and going kayaking with my mom.

 

On the other hand, DH and I can't figure out what his mom does all day since she retired. She hasn't started any new hobbies (other than playing lots of Mario on the Wii). She is very different than my parents in that respect. Some people, like my parents, would need a dozen lifetimes to do everything they are interested in. Others don't seem to find much to do in one.

 

 

Sure! I agree with research that shows once a child is offered external rewards for doing something, the motivation for continuing to do that thing becomes centered on the reward, not the actual thing itself.

 

With a child that isn't motivated to read a book, do his chores, eat his dinner, etc., I find it usually is an issue with the daily rhythm/routine, and really my job to work to implement that routine do it becomes part of our day. For us, our daily rhythm revolves around mealtimes, quiet time, and bedtime. Those are naturally great ways to anchor our day. We always read aloud before bed, unless one of our children would rather read to himself. But bedtime almost always involves a book- the only exception is when we are out for the evening and come home right at bedtime.

 

It's important to me that reading is done for it's own pleasure and/or opportunity to learn something, not tied to a freebie at a pizza parlor or something similar. Not to offend anyone who enjoys those programs, but I'm not a fan.

 

Chores are part of daily family life, and I find that if I make time to implement a solid routine, the boys usually are willing to work with me. Even my 6 yr old likes knowing that he contributes to the family. If it's part of the dinner process to help dry/put away dishes, there is usually not much complaining. They see me washing the dishes and their dad helping in his way (usually taking out the trash and packaging up leftovers).

 

It works for us. This is probably the one and only aspect of parenting I really feel my own parents got right!

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Can you elaborate on this? What would you/did you do with a child that isn't intrinsically motivated?

 

I've noticed a big variation among adults in motivation. Some, like my parents, are busy beavers and are as busy after retirement than before. My dad is spending more time on a hobby that was put on hold for twenty years. He's also teaching a blacksmithing class, taking wood carving classes, and going kayaking with my mom.

 

On the other hand, DH and I can't figure out what his mom does all day since she retired. She hasn't started any new hobbies (other than playing lots of Mario on the Wii). She is very different than my parents in that respect. Some people, like my parents, would need a dozen lifetimes to do everything they are interested in. Others don't seem to find much to do in one.

 

 

Haha! I forgot to add that reading what your MIL does with her time made me laugh out loud! Has she been retired long? Maybe she needs to decompress. I wonder if it's tied to job/career satisfaction? Perhaps she hated her job and was really burnt out. Maybe your dad enjoyed his more and doesn't feel a strong need to veg out. Just a few thoughts that crossed my mind reading your post...

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Haha! I forgot to add that reading what your MIL does with her time made me laugh out loud! Has she been retired long? Maybe she needs to decompress. I wonder if it's tied to job/career satisfaction? Perhaps she hated her job and was really burnt out. Maybe your dad enjoyed his more and doesn't feel a strong need to veg out. Just a few thoughts that crossed my mind reading your post...

 

 

My MIL has been retired for 2 1/2 years. She was an insurance agent. It probably wasn't the most fulfilling job, but not the worst either. My dad was an engineer and probably received much more intellectual satisfaction from his job, although he hated the Dilbert-style bureaucracy.

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With a child that isn't motivated to read a book, do his chores, eat his dinner, etc., I find it usually is an issue with the daily rhythm/routine, and really my job to work to implement that routine do it becomes part of our day.

 

 

Hmm...this habit training you speak of sounds a lot like the Tiny Habits project by BJ Fogg. He tells people to "anchor" their new habit to a specific event. Examples would be: Always load the dishwasher right after getting up from the table, always do five pushups after drinking the first cup of coffee for the day, etc.

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I am not a behaviorist from a theory standpoint. I am NOT an Alfie Kohn fan.

 

I used a token economy for limited, very specific behavioral changes when my kids were younger. It worked very well for what I was trying to do.

 

That said, I am not a fan of praise or punishment as a parenting paradigm.

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Well, isn't a paycheck at the end of a work week a "reward" for coming in every day and doing your work? Depends on how you define all of this..

 

This is what I always think about when these discussions come up. Real life involves lots of rewards, the paycheck being the biggest and most obvious. If we just relied on everyone to show up at their job and do it well and honestly simply because it's personally fulfilling or because it is important to a functional society, how well would that really go over? Seriously.

 

Life is filled with tasks that we must do, simply because they must be done. Sometimes those tasks have no meaning, at least not to us, or at least not right away. But we do them, often because of the promise of a reward or the threat of punishment (ever been late for an important appointment, there's very little traffic, and you're a good driver who can safely handle high speeds, but you keep your speed in check because you don't want a ticket?).

 

I like a lot of what Kohn has to say about the effects of over-praising, but I don't buy his theories on rewards.

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I read Alfie Kohn's book "Punished by Rewards" a year or two ago and he seems anti-bribe. He thinks rewarding kids for what they should be doing anyway (like summer reading) just teaches them that it isn't worth doing in and of itself.

However, he is not opposed to rewards per se. He is opposed to dangling rewards as a form of manipulation, but has no problem with, say, giving someone a present after they've done something. He also thinks it's benign to bribe a kid for a temporary end, for example, toilet training. I don't know if he says this in the book, but I heard him say this at a talk. He also seemed okay, as I recall, with a summer reading program that gave children more books for reading.

 

Personally I bristle at the books for pizza stuff for myself, but I don't mind signing my kids up for the summer reading program at my local library because they have a cute sheet for keeping track of reading that my kids like as a record, and they get to pick their very own book at the end. My kids also got library stuff last year, and they're quite fond of it. I got a bunch of bags, and my kids each picked a t-shirt. Some of it was set up like an extended treasure hunt, so there was the thrill of the chase involved, and a friendly game atmosphere that encouraged library use and reading, and a sort of communal sharing of library enthusiasm.

 

An interesting discussion of rewards is in the When Children Love to Learn book about Charlotte Mason.

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I have used rewards for my own kids when a simple behavior (habit) needs changing. If followed consistently, they have been fairly effective. According to behavior research, the best way to establish a new behavior is to provide consistent rewards, and the best way to maintain an already established behavior is intermittent rewards.

 

:iagree: Earlier this school year I tackled my child's bad habit through rewards. It worked wonderfully and I weaned her off the rewards as she took on new habits. I've also used rewards as motivation for my child to try something difficult or as something to look forward to after going through something difficult.

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Hmm...this habit training you speak of sounds a lot like the Tiny Habits project by BJ Fogg. He tells people to "anchor" their new habit to a specific event. Examples would be: Always load the dishwasher right after getting up from the table, always do five pushups after drinking the first cup of coffee for the day, etc.

 

I've never heard of that book- sounds like it's for adult habit training, not parenting? At least, I'd hope.

 

I did read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and that book tied a daily routine to feedings, as well as an evening bedtime ritual, which we still follow, although it has evolved to brush teeth/go potty/bedtime stories now that my children are no longer infants.

 

Waldorf Ed also promotes a strong daily rhythm to help children learn what is expected and offer the security of knowing what comes next. I read a ton about Waldorf early education and the daily rhythm aspect really resonated with us.

 

 

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For a number of years I spurned all book rewards programs; pizza, library, and one that our homeschool group did every year. Ds was a reader and I didn't see any reason to make him think he should be rewarded for doing something pleasureable. He however, couldn't understand why his friends got all this cool stuff for reading and he got nothing even though he loved to read. I finally decided to make it work for us.

 

Rather than have him get rewarded for simply reading, his goal in the rewards program was to choose genres outside of his comfort zone. At first I chose the books for him, but after a few summers, he learned how to choose them on his own. This way he got to participate (our hs group always had a luncheon with cool freebies every August), but it didn't make him think reading wasn't supposed to be enjoyable. As a bonus, he found a few genres he might not have tried if it wasn't for the program.

 

Just thought I throw that out there for people who don't like reading programs, but don't like seeing their kids left out of the fun either.

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