I refuse to give stickers or rewards for no reason. Today’s mentality appears to be to give stickers, suckers, junk toys for everything. Doctor Visit, Dentist Visit, Therapy Visit, Daily School Thumbs Up, Home Reward Program, Grandma’s Home, Reward for Clean Plate, Reward for Clean Room, Reward for ________. Totally Every Where. Totally Any Thing. Even in church my kids have participated in the kid’s lesson and left with a token.
REALLY. DO WE HAVE TO REWARD OUR KIDS TO EXIST!!
Why do some many people reward kids? Because It Works! But, is this the best solution? Does it really lead to any long-term gain? Does it motivate the kids to reach beyond themselves and push the envelope of their skill? Or does it teach them to expect an instant, physical, tangible gain for every-little-thing?
Let me explore the possible drawbacks of constant rewards
1. Child gets a reward, Child gets a reward, and so on. Child gets tired of reward. Before long you a rewarding a child to clean their plate with a trip to Disney Land. “No Disney Land – Well then I refuse to clean my plate.” Kids never say, “Give me less” They say, “Can I have more” I have never heard, “I no longer need that to motivate me to do what is right.”
2. Constant rewards lead to addictions. When the reward is no longer available, they throw a fit. Are todays kids dependent on rewards to perform? Some are. They are addicted to instant gratification in the tangible sense. As I left a therapy clinic yesterday, I heard a child throwing a fit because the front office was out of stickers. The mom’s response. “I will stop at Target and get you that action figure you saw yesterday” …. “Thanks for working hard for Annie, they should have had a sticker.” REALLY!!
3. Constant rewards lead to the child just completing the task to get the reward. The personal satisfaction of learning no longer excites the soul. They focus on getting done, not learning. The reason behind acting socially appropriate or finishing that hard task should be to learn, to feel good about the effort. Not the concept of getting the task done just so you can attain a reward.
4. When a child performs a task for a reward, we have robbed them of the opportunity to want to do something, because they choose to do it. Kids needs to learn to make choices and complete tasks because they have decided it is the right thing to do. It is in this way the child learns to feel good about their decisions. When they do the right thing the inside of them should light up with delight. You know that internal good feeling we all get when we do something; right just because it was the right thing to do.
Oh YES – Rewards have their Place
I will continue to reward. Occasionally. When will I reward? When will I not? Only time will tell. But I will always refuse to Reward for No Good Reason.
Have a Great Day and I pray you get to enjoy that deep-down, personal satisfaction of being a good person, because you are.