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“There’s one big danger of paying your children for A’s: They’ll see the value in schoolwork only when there’s a cash payout.”
While opening the wallet when Jennie brings home good grades is not every families’ tactic, there are some pros and cons to the practice. Read excerpt or click for full WSJ article by Ruth Mantell.Facts of Life Almost half of parents pay kids at least $1 for getting an A, according to a July poll conducted for the American Institute of CPAs, a New York-based professional association. Among those who pay, the average reward for an A is more than $16. “Paying for grades is one way to prepare them for adult life,” says Mark DiGiovanni, a certified financial planner in Grayson, Ga. “One of the big facts of adult life is that you do get paid for performing well,” he says. “So this is a way of showing young people that when you do something well, you can get financially rewarded for it. And when you do something poorly, you don’t.” But sometimes it gets complicated. One danger is that students will see the value in schoolwork only when there’s a cash payout. “The downside of using money as a motivator is that it discourages true learning and changes the purpose for learning,” says Neal Van Zutphen, a certified financial planner in Mesa, Ariz. That’s not just a philosophical issue; it has practical implications. Some students will quit trying to learn once they’ve earned a reward for reaching a specific goal, experts say. So the student who gets an A without too much effort might coast the rest of the way, never reaching his or her full potential.