Do children need to be given 'prizes' for doing as they are told? - GulfToday

Do children need to be given 'prizes' for doing as they are told?

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This photo has been used for illustrative purpose only. TNS

Some parents like to give their stubborn and dramatic children “prizes” for doing what they are told. When they are told to do something, they have a meltdown and then the parent bribes them; something along the lines of “If you do this, then I will take you to the store and you can buy whatever you want.”

The question then arises, how harmful is this? If you don’t do it often, it’s not. But if you do it, say, several times a week, then it is a big issue.

It should go without saying (but it seems that when it comes to childrearing, nothing goes without saying these days) that children should be taught do the right thing — in this case, obedience to parental instructions — simply because it is the right thing to do.


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Another way of saying the same thing: Children need to learn that good behaviour is its own reward. Maybe you spouse is a warm-hearted person with the best of intentions, but good parenting intentions can create a monster in the long haul.

Teachers often say that one reason so many of today’s children are difficult to motivate is because they are accustomed to receiving rewards for obedience, being responsible, not misbehaving, and so on.

Likewise, researchers have discovered that rewards often produce a paradoxical effect: to wit, they often lead to counterproductive long-term effects. Give a child rewards for doing his schoolwork and he becomes, over time, less and less motivated to do his schoolwork. Like almost all ideas based on bogus self-esteem theory, the idea that good behaviour deserves reward has been a flop.

Indeed, rewards often “solve” problems in the short term. In the long run, however, they risk contributing to even more disobedience, more problems with motivation, more tantrums, etc.

Tribune News Service

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