Why am I being rewarded with money

Reward or Pay? - Pros and cons of certificate money

Sabine always gets it, Manuel never, David sometimes, and everyone thinks it's unfair that adults make such differences.

"No hard work, no gain" - that is a solid motto that could be used here. A clearly regulated system of financial grade rewards provides orientation and security; the children know where their turn is and learn at an early stage that performance and effort are important in order to also have material success.

That sounds plausible and plausible, but a closer look reveals very significant problems and concerns:

A top in mathematics is a matter of course for Sabine, because she learns easily and effortlessly in this subject. For David, a three in this very subject is the result of a tremendous effort,

What amounts of money should be used here? Also, should the amounts of money increase with age? There are certainly differences between first graders and high school graduates.

Here it becomes clear that financial rewards for grades are such a thing. So should there be no reward at all, rather it should be taken for granted without comment that children exert themselves at school throughout the year?

Effort can and should be rewarded. The end of the school year with the certificate is an important turning point at which a visible sign of recognition, praise - and sometimes also of relief about the transfer that has still taken place - is indicated. The price that follows the diligence does not necessarily have to be measured in terms of the quality of the notes. An activity that is interesting for the children seems to me to be more recommendable (it is best to plan it together with the children). Such an activity or undertaking can and may then cost time - and also some money, depending on the family's financial situation - but has a completely different character than paying for grades. What is attractive for children and parents is based on the age of the children as well as on the family conventions, not least on the imagination and creativity of those involved.

It is not uncommon for parents to try to support their children's motivation to learn by making reward promises for a good report card over the year. For children - even bigger ones - such a distant reward is usually not very motivating. You need recognition here and now for small work and learning steps. Looking at these positive sides sometimes needs more attention from adults than the obvious flaws and weaknesses.

Whenever you decide on the recognition of the certificate grades, you will certainly not only get approval from those around you. In the circle of acquaintances, relatives and friends of adults and children, as well as the other educational issues, very different standards often apply. Examples include the amount of pocket money or the type and extent of television consumption.

Here, as with other questions, it is important to find, name and represent your own yardstick

Ingrid Rasch
Graduate psychologist, Cologne
sekretariat (at) beratung-in-koeln.de


First published in "Elternforum", the specialist and association journal of Catholic Parenthood in Germany (2-97)