Paying Your Kids for Good Grades = Epic Parent Fail

Rant 41

Scrabble letters spelling "MONEY"I was a good student growing up. I always got good grades so it was never really an issue. Same with my wife. And now (we're hoping), it's the same with our kids. At least so far.

My wife and I try to instill the importance of education in our kids. We try to show them that they need to go to school and learn as much as they can. How else are they ever going to become Video Game Makers when they're older?

We certainly encourage our kids to do well in school and praise them for working hard. But we've never rewarded them for a specific grade on their report card. I find it sad, actually, that some parents will pay their kids for every single A that they get on their report card. This is just all kinds of ridiculous to me.

I pay enough school taxes as it is already. I'm paying the teachers' salaries, but now I gotta pay the students to learn too? That just seems idiotic to me and a complete betrayal of the entire education system.

I'm all for encouragement and positive reinforcement. Your kid gets an A, that's fantastic. Let them know how proud you are. Heck, even if your kid gets a C, if they normally get Ds and worked their butt off to get a C, they deserve some praise. It's all about putting in the effort and doing your best. In the end, that's the ultimate take away from school.

You're also setting a horrific example by paying kids per letter grade. So what if they don't really care about the money at the moment? Maybe they just had a birthday and got a ton of dough. So now they don't bother putting in any effort and they get Ds. Oh, well. Too bad. Kids have a horrible sense of money to begin with, so you're not really helping at all.

The knowledge kids get and the self-confidence they nurture is the true reward of going to school. Yes you can do something nice or fun for your kids if they do something extremely well. Go out to dinner. See a movie. But don't make it a habit that's predicated on the exact letter grade he or she gets on a report card.

As for grading the parents, well if they're paying their kids to learn, I'd have to give them a big fat F!

Do you pay your kids for good grades?

Photo via Philip Taylor/Flickr

education, elementary school, grades

41 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Momin... MominPa74

I was never paid and don't pay my kids. Then again they are both in extra curricular activities thar require them to keep their grades up. The school requires a 75% or better in ALL classes. But Mom & Dad (my DH and I) require 80% to stay in Choir and Powerlifting (2 girls. My sophmore is the top female powerlifter at the school). So in a way they do get paid. For perfect attendance we have "pick a place to eat". Cash in our house is limited. And my girls are good students. So we do what works with what we have... Which is what all parents should do.

Texas... TexasGirl512

If parents want to pay their kids for good grades that's their business NOT YOURS. Wanting your kids to be "Video Game Makers" where they'll work 70 hours a week and where only about 10% of games released in a given year will make any real money isn't exactly a parenting success.

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

The way I see it, school IS my kid's job.  If I want to reward her with a bonus for good performance, how is that any different from my husband getting a cash bonus at work?  It's not.

Diane Davis

I do pay my children, either with gifts or money. I feel that they should be rewarded for effort and make sure they know that sound grades and work are tied to how much money you make. The further you go in education, the more you are likely to make. The better you are, the better you become. I think that anyone who doesn't reward children for hard work is just a moron.

Alleah Marie Poirier

actually studies have been done on this, and it was found that grades do actually improve with monetary compensation.  And why not?  We're raising them to be a part of the real world right?  You don't work your butt off for nothing int he real world, do you?  And kids brains aren't formed enough to see the concept of going to college and getting a high paying job in ten or fifteen years as any kind of reward.  You have to reward them then in the moment, to give them motivation to continue to work hard.  I think it's a straight up life hack.

Tripl... TripleC14

I totally agree. Paying for grades is ridiculous. As is paying for chores. Being a good student and productive member of the household are basic requirements in our family, and you don't get paid to do what you're supposed to be doing in the first place. On the flip side, there are punishments associated with bad grades and not doing chores. That's motivation enough.

April... AprilJune

I remember occassionally getting a litte toy from my Mom for a good report card when I was a kid, but there was never a relationship between good grades and monetary compensation. I earned an allowance by doing chores. I agree with the writer of the article that it's silly to reward kids for good grades with money. We all sit around talking about how entitled kids are these days- I wonder why? Doing your best in school should be expected...not something to pay kids for, in my opinion. And, there is an inherent value in doing your best- that reward of knowing you met a goal or did well, needs to be enough sometimes. Also, I don't feel that in the real world, MOST people get paid extra for a job well done- some jobs do, but I don't think most do. We should be teaching our kids to do their best all the time, regardless of the outcome, because sometimes in life, we don't get rewarded for doing good things. I'd rather my kids do their best all the time, instead of only when there is something in it for them. Of course, I understand that just because that works for my family, it doesn't mean it works for everyone's.


@ EstellaHavisham:It sounds like your Dad taught you very valuable lessons. I think rewarding you like that taught you far more than just handing you cash for an A. Even though I disagree with the idea of paying for grades, I think it was used as a teaching tool in a great way. You should thank your Dad (if you haven't already) for teaching you about money :)

miche... micheledo

My parents paid us for good grades, but I never really expected it.  I don't even remember how much - maybe the most we got was $5 for an 'A.'  It was whatever they could afford, and some years it was nothing.


My parents expected A's.  In fact, I remember one year bringing home a report card full of A's - A+'s, a few A's, and one or two A-'s.  My dad wanted to know why they weren't all A pluses!!

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I was never given money, nor would I give my kids money. In my house being sub-standard wasn't an option, but you were expected to be the best of your OWN abilities. That's why I don't agree with giving money. Some kids are more inclined towards certain disciplines. Offering me money for getting A's in science or maths would have been shitting money away, nor would the offer of money have raised my grade in languages like Irish and french, because i'm simply not a languages person. 

teddy... teddysmama09

I was never paid a certain dollar amount for good grades, but I was rewarded for doing well. By reward, I mean verbal praise and a pat on the back followed by a trip to the library. I enjoyed getting good grades because it gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride, I didn't have to get paid for it. I won't be paying my kids to go to school.

21-30 of 41 comments First 12345 Last
F