Home » The Problem with Rewards

The Problem with Rewards

This video is the 2nd in a series about boosting emotional intelligence from The Raising Happiness Homestudy. Check out the rest of the Homestudy here.

Parenting Practice: Cut out the Bribes, Threats & Rewards

Pick a situation that you’d like to change in your household. Would you like more help with the cooking, for example? For your children to keep the living room clean? For now, just start noticing when you use if-then statements or rewards to motivate your kids. You can also start to try out something different. For example, instead of using a bribe or a threat, ask them a question like “What’s your plan for getting your work done?” Note what happens. The next video gets into even more specifics about what to do instead of using threats and rewards.

This goes for allowance, too: no more tying kids’ chores or behavior to their allowance. I know that the theory behind rewarding kids sounds good — the real world has reward systems, for crying out loud! — but the science of motivation has proven otherwise. Kids get allowance for reasons beyond doing their chores (to learn to manage their money, for example) and they do their chores because they are a contributing member of the family (rather than simply to get their allowance).

I’ve received a lot of questions about what exactly constitutes a bribe, reward, or threat over the years. What questions do you have? Leave it in the comments below, and I will answer there!


If you would like to download the audio version of this video to listen to in your car or on the go, click the link below.