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Table of contents




  • The Curse of the Maple Leafs (Hockey Night In Canada Junior Book 1);
  • Should You Give Kids Rewards?.
  • Do rewards work? - Today's Parent;
  • Mac Slater 2: Imaginator;
  • MORE IN LIFE?

But not all experts agree. Virginia Shiller, a psychologist and instructor at the Yale Child Study Center and coauthor of the book Rewards for Kids, rewards can help parents teach their children new habits. Shiller says the key is in how the incentives are given; in setting appropriate, realistic goals; and in figuring out a strategy to achieve them. I'm much bigger on using it as a learning opportunity. Here are a few of my favorite so far:.

The Trouble with Rewards

A homemade meal down the hatch. Only a parent understands the strange juxtaposition between the shear joy and relief of seeing your child scarf up a meal you made, while simultaneously trying not to become too outwardly excited -- because then they will likely never eat it again.


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Wait until they've excused themselves from the table and are busy playing before you do your little happy dance, fist pump, and shimmy. Congratulations, it may be weeks before you see that happen again. An unprompted "thank you. Saying 'thank you' is a social custom, not an inborn reaction, so it takes time to learn. We all seem to know this, but still can't help but be embarrassed when our 2-year-old snatches the sticker from the nice store clerk, and then pretends to be mute when you give her the look and finally ask, "Is there something you want to say?

Showing a sibling kindness.

The Trouble with Rewards - The Natural Child Project

I've never met a parent who won't admit that their children have confrontations with one another. Some claim it happens sparingly and is resolved after a short counselling session with one of the parents. Still, even the most challenging sibling pairs will sometimes drop their guard and treat their brother or sister with love, respect, or kindness or -- gasp!

MORE IN Parenting

Few things make a parent feel like they are doing something right as much as watching an older brother take his little brother's hands and help him move across the living room as he is learning to walk, or when an older sister decides to offer her most favorite lovey to her little sister to help calm her tears after a tumble.

These are the moments that give us faith our children will grow up to treat people like, well, people. Inevitably, the possibility of failure brings fear of failure. Rewards, though on the surface so much more appealing than punishments, do have some built-in risks and problems.

(Parenting) Accidentally Rewarding Bad Behavior - Parenting Mistakes, 3 of 4 (SOS Programs)

The biggest problem is the hidden message that if there were no reward, the child would not perform the task in question. It can even be said that the fear of not being rewarded is a punishment. As author and educator John Holt wrote, "When we make a child afraid, we stop learning dead in its tracks. My own preference, when helping a child to learn a new task, is to stay focused on intrinsic rewards.

All external rewards - whether tokens, school grades, gifts, or deliberate, manipulative praise - are arbitrary; that is, they bear no direct relationship to the matter at hand.

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Interestingly, punishment has the very same built-in problem. For example, helping a child to learn the importance of keeping one's room orderly and clean, while staying focused on the actual issue, would mean helping the child to appreciate the inherent rewards: These kinds of explanations, if shared respectfully, will make more sense to the child than any external reward, and will also show trust in his own abilities and motivations.

This approach also has the benefit of helping the parent to determine priorities. If a parent can't explain the reason for doing something, maybe it isn't worth the effort of helping the child to do it! In a "focused" discussion, it may be the parent who learns the most about priorities: Using a focused approach with an emphasis on intrinsic rewards, the parent is also free to offer the child practical tips and actual help.

What is discipline?

The parent and child remain on the same side , so that both can contribute ideas to make certain projects easier. When external rewards or punishments are used, the parent is more likely to feel that the child must perform the task alone. When my son was young, I was fortunate to find books, by John Holt and others, that clarified the importance of focusing on intrinsic values. I began to believe that children could appreciate the benefits of such things as an orderly room, and I helped my son to identify the inherent rewards that orderliness brings. He felt free to ask for my advice and help, and I felt free to help him whenever necessary.

Over time, he learned that every effort toward cleaning a room - or any other meaningful activity - always brought along its own rewards. He learned that such rewards are automatic and immediate.