Wait… now we can’t reward our kids?! Okay… since I’m so confused on this topic, Breezy Mama turned to Dr. Dembo — a parenting expert and author of THE REAL PURPOSE OF PARENTING: THE BOOK YOU WISH YOUR PARENTS READ — who makes some excellent points on how parents can get carried away with rewards, what’s the most beneficial way to reward your child, why rewards have gotten such a bad rap and more.
What’s the difference between a “good” reward and a “bad” reward?
A good reward is something that motivates the child to recognize their behavior and a bad reward is one that punishes the child without any real learning involved.
Why have rewards gotten such a bad rap?
Rewards are getting a bad rap because parents are using them to get the child to “comply” rather than finding rewards that teach lessons.
When is it okay to offer a reward and what’s a suitable reward?
It is okay to offer a reward or positive consequence when it motivates the child to become aware and make healthier choices. A suitable reward is something that a child sees as something earned rather than something bargained for. Bargaining with your child is dangerous…motivating your child is healthy.
At what point should parents recognize they’ve gotten carried away with rewards?
When kids begin to expect rewards and negotiate for them, parents should recognize that they got carried away with rewards. You do not want your child only doing what they are supposed to do IF they get a reward.
I’ve also heard that if you reward a child for certain things, for example, reading, they will miss out on reading for enjoyment, but instead only read for a reward. Do you agree with this?
I do agree with this point. There are things parents value that need to be woven into the daily culture as a family value so that the actual experience of doing it is the reward.
I was once told not to be overly excited when my child accomplishes something – but can’t I share in their joy?
It isn’t about sharing the joy of your child’s success…of course we should enjoy that with them. It really is more about not condemning them for their failure or mistakes. If you don’t make either success or failure too big, a child will learn that their intention to give effort is where the good feelings are and that is what parents can join in on…feeling the success of effort, not outcome.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Reward your child for being who they are and not what they do. Teach them to feel the process of their life and learn the rewards of effort.
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ABOUT DR. DEMBO
Dr. Dembo is author of THE REAL PURPOSE OF PARENTING: THE BOOK YOU WISH YOUR PARENTS READ and an expert in helping parents raise amazing kids, who make good decisions, live a life with integrity and a strong conscience.
Using simple strategies and analogies, such as basketball parenting, to help
parents set boundaries, Dr. Dembo has a way of making difficult situations
easy to understand and handle for any parent.
For 30 years Dr. Dembo, aka Doc, has helped thousands of people live better lives. His unique relationship strategies have led his clients to personal, business, sports performance and family success. His work with professional athletes, including a recent NFL kicker who was the top scorer on his team, has helped them rise to the top of their game.