I have a sister (she knows who she is) who once gave me a book that discussed all the ills of reward-based parenting. The book poetically waxed on and on about how children should just be expected to do things that were expected of them. That by rewarding them you were teaching them that they deserved a reward for things they should already be doing as members of a family unit. That life doesn't give you treats if you clean up your room.
I read it. I studied it. Then, frankly, I threw it in the trash. I threw it in the trash because it's cr@p. Your boss does give you a treat if you do your work that you are expected to complete. It's called a paycheck. In some jobs, you get a bigger paycheck if you did better in school. In some jobs, you get a bigger paycheck if you do a better job than everyone else. This salary plan is often called Pay-for-Performance. Pay-for-Performance is a pay plan of which I am all too familiar with from my former life.
I decided to implement Pay-for-Performance Potty Training at my house. One M&M for the easy stuff, a handful of M&M's for the more complicated parts of successful potty training and NO M&M's for peeing on the bathroom wall just because you thought it was so cool that you could actually pee on a wall. It's kind of like getting a good review for peeing in the appropriate place but getting a really great review for pooping in the potty. I think that a reward be given commensurate with your success. I really don't think that doing the bare minimum should earn you a GS-15, a corner office and the right to give out really, really BAD reviews to your employee who had the HIGHEST RECOVERY OF THE YEAR while your preschooler sleeps under the conference table in your corner office because she was too sick to go to daycare but not too sick to come into the office and cough on all the door knobs. Not that I'm bitter.
Another controversial Pay-for-Performance subject, the jury is still out on Pay-for-Performance for high school grades here at my house. My husband says "no" but part of me says "yes." I mean, if your kid gets a 4.0 in high school, it's less money you'll have to pay for his mediocre college education since you won't have the $100,000 a year to pay for his Ivy education (assuming he gets accepted). I don't think you should give a kid a $20 bill for a C, but maybe there is something to giving them an incentive to do well. I'm not saying your kid should get paid for everything he does. I'm just saying it might not be a bad idea to create an incentive to do something that results in good habits being formed. Like not peeing in your Bob the Builders, if you know what I mean. Luckily we have another 10 years to
argue maturely discuss paying for grades.
Now is a good time to tell you that reward-based parenting doesn't work with my kids anyway. Apparently they have a very high price on their personal freedom and decision-making. Sticker charts? My kids spit on sticker charts. They laugh at sticker charts. They draw on sticker charts with rogue Sharpies found hidden away in drawers. Which means I'll be changing diapers until these kids go to college. Hopefully they'll be going with a 4.0 average.