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Do you do anything special to motivate your children?

(9 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 19-Jul-09 19:15:17

I know there are parents who bribe and/or threaten their children into trying extra hard for good results at school, sporting events, competitions, etc.

I've heard of promises of trips to Disney, purchases of a Wii/mobile phone, etc to reward a child who achieves. And at the other end of the spectrum, have heard of parents who establish a minimum standard that must be achieved academically or 'punishment' is meted out - usually in the form of withdrawal of privileges.

Do threats and/or bribery work? How common are they? Do you do anything to motivate your child into a result they might not achieve otherwise? For those who use them, can you give us examples of when/how they were effective? If you don't use bribery or threats, do you do anything extra to motivate your child?

In the interest of full disclosure: I don't do anything 'extra' to motivate dd, but have several acquaintances who do. Their justification is that the world is a competitive place, and if one wants to excel, they must be motivated. If their children excel, rewards are given - much like a performance bonus at work.

Would be interested in thoughts/opinions.

Takver Sun 19-Jul-09 19:30:39

No, unless it is something of immediate personal benefit to me. Eg - if you walk up the big hill without moaning you can have some juice when we get to the top.

becktay Sun 19-Jul-09 19:46:15

i saw an interesting thing on the tv that suggested it was bad to reward the actual achievement and that it was better to praise effort. i thought that this was interesting, the idea being that the child will get the message that it's the journey and the actual learning that count. rewarding the result alone is not really encouraging creative thought as the child will only learn what it needs to get the required result. i do think that all these rewards are a bit daft personally. seems a bit sad that people are training their kids up for work from a young age instead of allowing them to be kids, but i've just got a 3yr old and a 10 week old so haven't been subjected to the pressures of the school age yet! grin

misshardbroom Sun 19-Jul-09 20:12:33

We really try to reward good effort and attitude rather than actual achievement.

We also try to make the reward a surprise rather than an incentive for which they re working, e.g. the other day it was DD's class assembly. She did a reading in front of the whole school and it was lovely and clear (quite a challenge for a child with speech difficulties).

So after school I said to all 3 of them how DD had done really well in her assembly, and how I was also proud of DS1 & DS2 (both preschoolers) for sitting nicely through the whole thing, so I thought we'd have an ice cream on the way home.

I want to be able to reward them for doing well without feeling as though they've only been trying in order to get the reward, iyswim.

That said, mine are all very young - might be different in 10 years time!

twoluvlykids Sun 19-Jul-09 20:16:33

My kids are now at the age where they can see that a good education can lead to a well paid job.

Neither of them have an amazing talent which means they can work less for more, eg no sporting ability.

I never tried to bribe them over school achievements, however, I bribed them ALL THE TIME when they were tiny with things like biscuits and toys - I had to keep my sanity somehow!

cory Mon 20-Jul-09 00:13:40

I think education is immensely exciting, I keep talking about the new things I have learnt in the day, I am always looking forward to sharing books and music with them, I let them see that these are things that give me enormous pleasure. If they need any more motivation than that, then I am not sure I can help them.

GrinnyPig Mon 20-Jul-09 00:31:08

Many of my DDs friends get rewards for achievements but I just feel a bit uncomfortable with it all. DD1 is doing very well at school and the only reward she ever receives is DH and I telling her how well she is doing! She does tell me that her friends get rewards like mobile phones for doing well in exams but I just tell her that her reward is the good result...Materially, she does just as well as her friends, we just don't base it on results.

Earlybird Mon 20-Jul-09 02:48:17

Interesting thoughts, and I tend to agree with the 'reward the effort, not the result' thinking.

I was amazed to hear what one set of parents did to motivate their child to excel. One of dd's acquaintances is taking riding lessons, and is mad about horses. This child recently took part in a swimming gala that involved about 15 schools competing for a 'grand prize'. I was told that this child's (very competitive) parents promised her a pony if she got the best time for her age in at least two events. Astonishingly, the child achieved the best times (there were just under 200 children competing), and I am told the pony will be delivered shortly. shock

Othersideofthechannel Mon 20-Jul-09 06:13:38

A bit like Cory really. Share our passions and show an interest in their school work. It's early days yet as they are young but I remember my mother debating things that we had learnt in history with us when we were teenagers - (eg were X's actions right or wrong) and that was very motivitating.

No rewards or punishments. I know children under the age of 4 who get taken to choose something from a toy shop for a good report from 'école maternelle'!

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