Thursday, November 18, 2010

Report Cards, To Reward or Not To Reward

This week marked report card week for Jack and Kamden. They looked forward to it as much as I did. Yes, the nerdiness runs true in our blood.

Self Portrait

The best part of report cards, aside from the awesome drawings that come with it (Kamden's self portrait - done it multi medium), is the confirmation that the boys are doing well in school.

They are trying their best and learning.

Not only is that the goal, it's kind of their job.


FB was abuzz with parents antipating their children's report cards. One of the comments on a friend's post about report cards asked whether the children would be getting money.

My friend, rightly so, quickly responded with a great big fat no.

Grade one

Why is the report card not enough? Why is it not enough for kids to be told they are doing a good job? Why do they need a reward for doing what they are supposed to do?

Ugly Duckling

In today's world, where stuff is a plenty, we seem to find any reason to ply our children with more stuff. My house is a testament to this continuing problem. Toys and books and stuff are pouring out of every orafice. Okay not orifice but you know what I mean.

Side rant: It is to the point that they come home from school on Halloween with enough candy that really, do they need to go out Trick or Treating and get more? I am that stingy parent that doesn't send anything with my kids because, seriously, I throw 90% of the junk they bring home out. Burger gummy candies, are you kidding me? You might think I am mean but my kids won't even eat that. They are smart, what can I say? And if they bring home one more fancy pencil, I will go postal. Ever tried to sharpen one? An exercise in frustration. Dollar store crap that is adding to my already hefty anger managment therapy.

Makin' me laugh

My friend also noted that when she was a kid what she got for having a good report card was the gift of knowing her parents were proud of her hard work.

What could we possibly give them that would 1) be more valuable and 2) more memorable?

I guarantee my boys won't remember that they get taken out for supper on report card day, but rather that Jay and I were proud of their hard work and their success.

That is what I remember too. I always knew my parents were proud of me, not because they bought me everything my heart desired, but because they told me.

It really seems quite simple to me.

(if you do reward your kids, that is your choice, just saying this is our way)


Stacie's Madness said...

i feel the same way....
usually get caught (now that they are older...and smart alecks more) in the saying...'s your JOB to do well in school...
in which they reply..."shouldn't we get PAID for doing our JOB?"


I feel the same about chores. I will not pay my child to clean his or her room. Or to help clean off the dinner table...common sense and respect says you should keep your things nice and help your mom by taking your plate to the sink...

whoa. few days away from blogging and a good topic and look at me gooooooo

Jen said...

We don't reward either. Lots of praise and telling them how proud we are.

We do go out for dinner on the last day of school as more of a celebration than a reward. Just kicking off the summer holidays!

nicole said...

We don't reward it with material things either. Sometimes we will surprise them with a treat (dollar movie, ice cream) that is for doing a good job in general. I never got paid for my good grades. I got praise and that was good enough.

I thought it was hilarious that your son said he was good at beating up his brother! Sounds like my husband and his brother.

Angella said...

I've never heard of rewarding them for their report cards - people may do it but we sure don't.

And your kids get candy at school on Halloween? They don't do that here at we go trick or treating. :)

Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

cute projects. And I agree that children should not be "paid" or rewarded for a good report card. it should be I do a good job because that is what I'm expected to do... even more because that is what I want to do. I stay stick with your guns on this one

Anonymous said...

I would never pay my kids money for a good report card, but we did take both boys out for a family dinner after their reports earlier this year. Mostly because of Tyler's self-esteem issues and how we have been trying really hard to get him to believe in himself and have confidence. Of course we couldn't just take Tyler because he had specific needs, so we made it a fun night out and my parents came too. I doubt the boys will "expect" this to happen every year, but we take them out for dinner every so often anyway. It was more like having an excuse to go out to eat!!

More importantly, we told them that we were very proud of them and pleased with their hard work. We made sure that their grandparents read their reports and knew how hard they had been working.

I kind of feel that it depends on your child(ren), too. I have a job. I work full time as a writer, and I am a mother. I get rewarded for my writing job, with a nice pay rise and bonus at the end of every year (I don't count my weekly salary as a reward). I am rewarded for my job as a mother when my kids and/or hubby make me breakfast in bed or write me lovely notes, or tell me I am awesome. I don't work harder at either job just so I can get the rewards, but they make it a lot sweeter.

So that's kind of how I look at things. My boys know that we expect them to work hard at school, and they don't do it just so they can go out for dinner. They do it because they want to make us proud.

Cheryl said...

I'm with you 100%, big hugs, dinner and a "well done" is what they deserve in my books!

Ashley said...

My parents were strongly against "paying" us for our grades. They felt that praise was what we needed, encouragement on the things that were tough and the right to phone every relative in their address book to share the news. Our report cards were always a super big exciting thing to my parents and my Mom always made a special report card day dinner, so we could talk about school and stuff. Then at the end of the year we went to Dairy Queen for a blizzard (because seriously what else would you eat at Dairy Queen?) and she would again reiterate how proud they were that we'd face another challenge and suceeded in whatever capacity that was.

Those are good memories and ones I plan to pass on to our kids. I have a cousin who rewarded her daughter (who is yet to reach 13) with an ipod two years ago for good grades, last year was forced (her word not mine) to upgrade that to a laptop and this year it looks like an ipad maybe. I'm pretty sure by the time her daughter, who's greed is mounting turns 18 she'll own a portion of the Parliment Buildings at this rate. In my over opinionated books it's flat out disgusting and is sending the message of worth being in what you have not in who you are and what you can do.

Bet you didn't plan to open that whole can of worms today did ya?

Midwest Mommy said...

I don't think I will be rewarding my kids. My praise should be enough, lol

Jen Wilson said...

I think we're always different. I definitely agree with you 100% though. I don't remember what I got when I was a kid - only my dad telling me that he was proud of me.

We sometimes take Kaylie for dinner on report card day, but not every time - I think more as a celebration of the completion of a term than because she "did well". And it's usually just McDonald's.


teeni said...

I think you have the right idea and definitely for kids - making your parents proud should be the goal because in reality, if they are doing that, then they are going to benefit themselves in the long run (although I'm sure they don't realize or understand that yet) and I think that is where the parents' true pride is derived from. Great post and great comments!

Karen MEG said...

I reward my kids with a big hug, smile and words of encouragement at report card time.

I was never rewarded for good grades as a kid. My mom, however, gave each kid cold hard cash when she saw their reports this term - one buck per year of age per kid. Too funny :)! The kids thought it hilarious, but they don't expect it at all.

My kids' halloween bags sit gathering dust. And yet when we're at the supermarket cash, the girl still wants a kindersurprise. You can't win.

I love the boys' work - so cute!

Elaine A. said...

I completely agree and your friend is spot on! As are you.

And the friggin' pencils are driving me crazy TOO!!!!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I wish it always worked that way. Sadly, all I got was their happiness and it wasn't enough. My grades started slipping around 8th grade and I didn't have any motivation to get good ones anymore. Money or a privilege would have helped me with my middle-child loosey-goosey tendencies. I know it would have.

THAT SAID: what are grades, anyway? As a homeschooling mom, I internally laugh at "good grades." They are just a marker from Da Man on whether or not the system likes the way your kids respond to questions. If my kids understand the information, THEN I'm happy.

Dude. It's 6 am and I need coffee...