The Tutoring Center, Long Beach CA 

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12/02/2014
Exactly how to prompt the behaviour and results that you want for your children can be utterly confusing. Many parents rely on rewards (monetary or otherwise) to get their children to work hard. Today, The Tutoring Center in Long Beach would like to offer a brief overview of the pros and cons of rewarding your child’s performance at school.

Rewards tend to focus on results rather than the process

It’s important to consider whether you want your child to simply gain good grades, or to establish good habits that will last through their life. If your child is taught that value lies in results rather than hard work, dedication, etc., they may become totally distraught at the first sign of failure, or they may have very little drive to work for anything that does not have a fixed prize. On the other hand, if you make sure to focus on praising or rewarding good behaviour periodically, even if your child does not achieve everything you would like them to, you can help to establish good study habits and a strong work ethic.

Rewards may not be particularly effective

Recent academic studies (for example ‘Patterns of motivation beliefs’ in the Journal of Educational Psychology, June 2012) have indicated that extrinsic rewards are only effective for a small number of students, and even then only for a relatively short period of time. It seems that the promise of a reward in the future is too abstract to ensure hard work in the short-term. Other studies have indicated that the inner drive to succeed and do well is far more effective in producing the behaviour you’d like to see in your child. Motivating them to love math, for example, means they will work hard regardless of the promise of reward, as the success and overcoming any problems will feel like rewards in themselves.

Promising rewards creates too much expectation

Promising your child a reward if they get an A on a particular test may actually harm their performance if they have a tendency towards becoming stressed under pressure. They may feel like they absolutely must get an A, and this can paradoxically lead them to procrastinate and stall in their work due to a fear of failure. On the other hand, if you do not promise any rewards, but instead offer them praise when they are working hard, or even spring a surprise gift on them if you see them putting in special effort, then this may bolster their good study habits without creating unhealthy attitudes towards work or putting them under unnecessary pressure.

One way to help improve your child’s academic performance if they seem to be struggling is to hire a tutor. The Tutoring Center offer free diagnostic assessments to pin down exactly which areas require our attention so we can offer targeted support. Call 562-653-4380 to organize tutoring in Long Beach today.

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