So, your kid brings home an ‘A’ on their report card – or gets a 98 on their latest test.  Should you reward them with money? Experts say that’s a tricky question because instead of inspiring your child to do better, paying them off could backfire, and make them do worse.

According to a recent poll, almost half of parents pay for good grades. The average reward is $16. But here’s why it might not be a good idea:

Say your child barely studied for the test, and got an A anyway. They might decide they don’t have to work hard at anything and they’ll never reach their true potential. Or, maybe they tried really hard, but only got a C. They might feel like a failure, and stop trying. And what if you’ve got more than one kid?  If one kid constantly gets money for good grades, while the other gets nothing – the kid at the bottom will become frustrated, and resentful, and may decide they’re the “stupid kid” in the family.

So, what should you do?

Experts say that if you’re going to reward your kids, do it for more than just good grades. Say, for trying really hard or doing their homework without you having to tell them to, or for completing their science project without any help.

Because learning that discipline and persistence is what gets the job done is a skill they’ll use throughout their lives.

And the reward doesn’t have to be money. Praise them verbally or reward them with a special outing to the park. Knowing that mom and dad are proud – whether they’re succeeding or just trying - makes them feel proud, too.  And they’ll work hard to get that praise again.