Many promise their children fabulous prizes as a motivational tool to get them to study. The proposal arises from the best will. But detractors of this ‘method’, including many psychologists and pedagogues, consider it a dangerous strategy which, furthermore, is not always accompanied by the best results or, at least, the expected ones.
Those who are against argue that no person likes to fail, just as no student likes to fail. That is why they consider that if we take into account that satisfaction with success is a natural reaction in people, the reward system is not necessary. It can even be counterproductive and the kid can resort to blackmail and always ask for some reward in return as an essential requirement to get good grades. Proponents of the ‘no prize’ believe that the student’s work is their studies and that of the parents to support them and help them in their training, so giving things in exchange for their effort is over. Learning is part of your responsibilities. You have to teach them that those who benefit the most from their grades are themselves. “Children have dignity and want to be respected, so they prefer daily recognition of their work and effort than a material award,” say those who advocate not rewarding. In addition, they emphasize that on many occasions, despite the effort, it is not always successful. For that reason, if we have not made material promises for the result, everything is easier.
Likewise, when, despite the promised reward, our son does not get good grades, the feeling of failure increases because he has not achieved the goal even with the announced stimuli. From that perspective, the bigger the prize, the greater the inner malaise that failure causes. and more lowers self-esteem.
Another different thing is that the whole family rejoices in the successes of one of its members, praises him and celebrates him. The grades arrive, they are good, we are happy, we congratulate the student and It is celebrated in the way that we like the most: everyone going to dinner, watching a movie, going to a show and even giving away (Why not?) What made him so excited.
In short, those who oppose awarding grades argue that the important thing is to praise the effort, even if the result has not been as expected. They consider that we live in a society marked by a mercantilist logic, based on the exchange that has been transferred to the education of our children, where we exchange behaviors for goods. And it’s not about that.
On the opposite side of the scale are what they argue that prizes in themselves are not a bad thing, but that they are a fundamental educational tool to promote positive behaviors in children. The problem arises when we use it in an inappropriate or indiscriminate way, they assure, since this is how we show them that things are always done to obtain some kind of profit in return. That is why they opt for more restricted uses that do not condition the relationship. The rewards, they say, have to be used to reinforce behaviors in the minor; so that you eat properly, when you behave well at the doctor or dentist. That way, he will be motivated to do it again.
How to get it right? As almost always, staying in the middle: the award is not always negative. But it must be used as a means to achieve positive behavior that helps the minor to function in their environment. It will always be preferable to praise, praise, applaud and celebrate good grades, but never buy them. What all pedagogues agree on is that we must never forget to recognize their merits and abilities in addition to helping them accept the limitations that they may have, like everyone else.
Here are some suggestions for the ‘good use’ of the award:
1. Experts Recommend do not give sweets or sweetsas they negatively affect eating habits. It is better to use stickers, stars, happy faces, pictures or a small toy. Another very good tool can be a new proposal that attracts the minor.
2. It must occur once the kid has already performed the expected behavior. Not to be offered as a bribe.
3. Use it within a calendar system, where compliance with the behavior leads to earning a daily star, which repeated over time, will translate into a greater reward.
4. Don’t improvise, but to have previously defined what behaviors will be reinforced and with what type of rewards.
5. what don’t become a mechanism to muddle through, that is, give it to calm or silence the child at a difficult time. Although it is a good and tempting alternative, it will be useful for a while but with negative consequences in the medium and long term.
6. The adult must be the one who decides and administers the premios. No object can exceed the value of the timeshare, especially with mom and dad who, today, is almost a luxury good.
7. Avoid making promises for grades; trying to buy the approved with a material gift is not educational.